Have a dress-up day- I am not talking about preparing an outfit for a meet. I mean just dedicating an amount of time to having some experimental fun. Try going through your wardrobe and try things on together, especially items you would not usually think to put together. See how things look together. I myself do this from time to time and I usually take photos, even if a combination works out badly, just so I have a visual record of how my experiments turned out. I find that if I don't have any meets coming up, it is good to have these dress up days to keep myself in the mind-set of coming up with outfits so that when an event does come up it feels easier to get the ideas flowing. And if the creative juices are not flowing, I can always browse through my folder and remind myself of any good ideas I may have come up with. I try to have these dress-up days once a month, although sometimes I can't do it this frequently. If I can't find the time, I will at least write down any ideas I have come up with in a notepad so I have the ideas ready for my next dress-up day.
Learn some basic sewing skills- I don't know what the education system is like in other countries, but when I was in school I left without any basic sewing or cooking skills or basic life skills (which is pretty appalling, because these are the sort of lessons I probably needed!). I had never been taught how to sew on a button or repair tears and I had to teach myself how to do it. Anyway, my point is these skills are very useful to have if you wear lolita fashion. Being confident at basic sewing skills is great for those incidents when a button flies off your dress or you need to do some basic repairs. I once got a dress which arrived in a condition much worse than I was expecting and I had to repair this fraying loop that was holding some ribbon in place. I managed to fix it but I had to look up how to do it first, because I had never done this sort of sewing before. I will at least know what to do if this ever happens to me again, but the experience did teach me that as well as learning how to look after your clothes, you ideally need to know how to repair them.
Do a Monthly Budget- Sadly, we can't all be super-rich lolitas who can just buy whatever we please! Thankfully, my own financial situation is a lot better than it was a few years ago and I can afford to buy more lolita now. But that doesn't mean that I can be careless and so, every month I make a list of what I have earned and everything I need to pay out for over the next few months. I find it is definitely better to plan a few months ahead. It gives me a better idea of how much I can justify spending on lolita. Writing everything down also gives me a better perspective of how many times I can afford to go out, attend meets and do interesting stuff whilst wearing lolita! There is definitely a balancing act between buying new pieces and attending more meets. If you buy too many pieces you may find you can't go to meets and have the opportunity to wear your new purchases. Another thing I do is put a little sum of money aside each month for Christmas and also have an emergency fund, so that I know nothing nasty can sneak up on me.
Learn a new hair style- Something I have learnt recently is that I rely too much on wigs! And when I use my real hair I always do the same style. There is nothing wrong with using the same hair style if it works for you, but sometimes it can feel a bit repetitive. I am one of those people whose hair is very difficult to style, but I do try to do a new style every now and then. In fact, I am attempting to do a new hair style for Regalia in September. I don't know when I will get around to publishing this post, but if you see me wearing a wig at Regalia, it means I chickened out! The great news is that there are now more gadgets and hair pieces available that make hair styles a lot easier. Checking out your local Claire's Accessories or beauty store could prove useful.
Plan a Meet- Are you one of those lolitas who keeps meaning to host a meet for your community but never get around to it? Well, now is the time to plan that meet! As somebody who has hosted a fair few meets, I feel they get a lot easier to plan once you have hosted a couple and know what you are doing. Once you have gotten used to hosting and know your local community better, you will wonder why you were so apprehensive to host a meet. It does obviously help if you have a lovely local community and thankfully, my friends are very supportive!
Learn a new craft- There is something quite satisfying about knowing you have made something yourself. Well, that is at least how I feel. There are so many different crafts that can be used to make lolita accessories- crochet, knitting, decoden, embroidery... These are just some I have come up with off the top of my head. Learning a new craft can also be a calming experience if you are feeling stressed or just need some quiet time.
Make a scrapbook- This is something I have been meaning to do for a while. I want to print off all my outfit photos and do a diary of my experiences. This idea was inspired by some old print-outs I printed when I first got in to lolita of dresses I wanted. It was really interesting to see what I liked back then and how my tastes have changed. This made me realise that it could actually be quite fun to record all of my lolita memories and maybe in a few years time I will discover that my tastes have completely changed again. It is also quite a warm feeling to look back at old meets which I remember enjoying. I even feel a lot better looking back at my early outfits and seeing how my style has evolved, even if it is a little embarrassing!
Improve your beauty regime- I have never been one to obsess about the latest products but as I have gotten older I have noticed changes in my appearance. I realise now just how important it is to look after my skin and have a regime in place. It does make an impact. There are other small things I feel I could improve as well. Like for example, I do a lot of gardening, and my hands could really do with a bit of extra love. So I am making a note to use more hand cream and look after my cuticles a bit better. If you take care of yourself you will find that it makes a difference to how you feel when you wear lolita. I always feel a bit more confident when I have upped my beauty regime before a big event.
So hopefully this list has given you a few ideas to start with. I know I could benefit from taking some of my own advice! Even if my list did not inspire you, perhaps you can think of some of your own ideas. If you sit down and think about it, you can probably come up with your own list.