Over the past weekend the Tea Party Club held a welcome afternoon tea event in London. Sadly, I was unable to attend, but a lot of people from my Facebook feed did go. I am really glad to see that a lot of my friends seemed to have a good time, although it seems there are things they wished they had done, be it get around to talking to more people or doing something different with their outfit.
This got me thinking a bit about how I usually feel after attending some of the bigger lolita events- not just what I enjoyed, but how I feel things could have gone differently. Every time I go to an event I promise myself to do things a bit differently next time, only I never seem to quite achieve all of my goals! So here are the vows I hope to stick to the next time I attend a big lolita event.
I shall attempt to talk to at least 3 new people- I feel the social side of these events is something that I personally need to work on. As somebody who has issues with anxiety, I am really awkward when it comes to striking up a conversation with people I don't know! But chances are, there are a lot of people at these events who feel exactly the same way as I do. So sometimes you just have to make that initial push and fingers crossed, you may make a new friend. At least with lolita events you know you at least have the fashion in common, but maybe somebody has crafted something that you could ask about, or perhaps they have a keychain dangling from their purse of some anime character that you happen to like. Be observant, find an opening conversation starter and hope that things progress from there.
I shall not impulse buy- This has been a big problem for me at certain past events! I know what my problem is- I get frustrated that I am missing out on this chance to buy things without a shipping fee, that I feel I need to take advantage of the situation. So I end up impulse buying, which usually results in me trying to shoehorn some random accessory in to an outfit and then selling it after one use. Thankfully, this is one lesson I have learnt from. When I went to Regalia back in September, I was critiquing every thing I fancied buying. I asked how well it fitted in my wardrobe and if I really needed it. If all else fails, I ask a friend now if something is a good deal or not. I know my friends well enough to trust that they will give me good advice.
Be grateful to hosts- This shouldn't just apply to big events, but any sort of gathering. As somebody who has hosted loads of meets, I can not stress how glad I am when somebody thanks me for hosting or I can see that people are having a good time. Make a host feel loved, and they will be more likely to host bigger and better events next time. If you are enjoying yourself, make sure people know!
Respect people's belongings- I wont say which event I was at, but there was an occasion where I witnessed people trampling over stuff that guests were selling and just carelessly tossed things on the floor, making no effort to pick them up. I appreciate that bring and buy stalls can get a bit chaotic, especially when there are some good deals on offer, but it only takes a moment to pick up anything you may have dropped. I have lost count of the times I have had to pick things up because of other people not being a bit more thoughtful.
Make the most of the guests- It is really amazing getting to meet designers from some of the biggest lolita brands but to tell the truth, I have always been a bit shy about interacting with them. Q&A sessions are the perfect time to really get to know your favourite designers. Think up some questions you want to ask beforehand. I find that if you are not prepared for these occasions, a lot of the time the same sort of questions get asked and recycled at every event. If I ever get the chance, I am going to ask Baby about my blouse lucky pack idea! Other ways you can get involved include asking the guest for a photo (most guests will have a translator hovering nearby) or taking part in projects like the scrapbooks that sometimes get made for the guests.
Leave time to come up with an outfit- When it comes to the big TPC events in September, I usually start planning my outfits in April. That may sound a bit extreme, but with work and life commitments, I am grateful for any free time to plan my outfit! This way I have enough time to make new accessories (last year I made my own sash and rosettes) and it also means I can plan something a bit more elaborate than my typical lolita outfits. Every time I come up with some idea for an outfit, I always try to write it down, so I have it saved. It also means I can do a trial run of my outfit long before the event, so I can break in any uncomfortable shoes and fix all the small issues that usually plague me during a very long day.
Don't compare your outfit to other people's outfits- I know it is difficult when you are in a room full of OTT outfits and imaginative ideas, but it is a lot easier to enjoy an event if you don't try to compete with other people. If you have come up with a good outfit, be proud of that achievement, even if you feel others look better than you. At the end of the day, stuff such as Tumblr notes or getting more photos taken of you don't really mean that much outside of the lolita community. I feel that lolita is a fashion that is meant to be enjoyed, rather than being some sort of competition.
Those are my personal vows. I don't always stick to them, but I try my hardest! Do you make any promises to yourself before big events? Do you stick to them? I would be really interested to hear other people's vows.