Thursday, 8 December 2016

Thoughts on Getting Older in Lolita

Apologies about the quality of this post. It is the first more 'personal' post I have written since my current health problems started. I tried my best and I hope you all enjoy it. Unfortunately my health has deteriorated further and it could be that I need to stop blogging for a while. Perhaps I will start my Christmas break a bit early. So hopefully you will all be hearing from me again soon but if you don't, I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas. The rest of this paragraph should probably come with a bit of a Trigger Warning and if you don't wish to hear about my health problems just skip on to the next paragraph. It is only just dawning on me just how sick I have been, not just recently, but for a long time. I tried to put on a brave face and I pushed people away because I hate being a burden. The problem is, I need to find a balance. When I get stressed, my body basically goes in to meltdown, like it is doing right now. I did a test run of a lolita outfit a few days ago and it was physically painful even having a petticoat on for a short amount of time. And all I could focus on was how my rib cage and pelvis was sticking out because I have lost so much weight. That 'magic' I feel when I wear lolita wasn't there and all I could see was this shell of a person. Unfortunately I haven't even been able to support my closest of friends when they have been having problems, as the second I feel overwhelmed it is as if my emotions switch off to spare me the physical pain. This is incredibly selfish of me but I haven't figured out yet how to stop that 'switch' from clicking. I realise now that I didn't allow myself the space I needed to grieve when my nan died earlier this year (see, I don't think I even mentioned this on here because I was so determined to put on my "everything is fine" face) or have the courage to tell people that I was feeling too upset/depressed to do things, which has been going on for a lot longer. I put so much pressure on myself that wasn't necessary and I needed to tell myself that it is okay to cry, it is okay to not have all the answers and importantly, it is okay to be a bit selfish from time to time and just take time out for yourself. I am sorry for this emotional outburst and I will focus on getting better (and I mean properly better, not pretend better). And now, on to the post I attempted to write...

I was in my local drugstore recently, trying to find my usual anti-aging serum and was utterly dismayed to find that my local branch had decided to stop stocking it. It means I now need to order online (when I get given loyalty card coupons which don't work online) or travelling to the nearest bigger store. Maybe it is the stress I have been under lately, but I could feel the rage building and in my mind I was firing up a long-winded complaint letter to be posted publicly on their Facebook page. I felt absolutely distraught that I couldn't get hold of this serum and frantically trying to remember how much I still had left in my current tube. It was a bit of an eye-opener really, because I had always felt that I was okay with getting older, but my actions seem to tell a different story. I am spotting the early signs of getting older around my eyes and on my hands (which never seem to get softer, no matter how much hand cream I put on!). There are a lot of people my age who are starting to get grey hairs. This is yet to happen to me, and I don't think I know how I am going to feel about it until it actually happens. I would like to hope that I would spot that first grey, give a little shrug and then continue going about my day. It is not as if I wish to be a slave to this "ideal" that the beauty industry shoves down our throats, but at the same time it is not as if I haven't noticed the changes I am going through either. I guess it comes down to personal preference.

I have been thinking more and more lately about how I feel about becoming an 'Older Lolita', not that I am there quite yet. If you were to ask most lolitas, I think the majority would probably say that an 'Older Lolita' would probably be somebody in their 30's. That is not to say that people in their 30's or above are old, but that if you look at the age of the typical lolita, it would probably be somewhere in the early to mid 20's. Age is a bit of a sensitive topic in this fashion. A youthful appearance is something that is not necessary to enjoy the fashion, but certainly 'desired'. Whilst there are many older lolitas who get admiration, there are unfortunately some who make negative comments about age. Words such as "Grandma" get thrown about casually, when some of the lolitas these comments are aimed at are not even old enough to be a grandma.

I will admit that when I first started wearing lolita, I had this set idea in my mind. I was going to limit myself to a maximum of 10 dresses (I currently own about 40 main pieces), I was only going to wear lolita to conventions (I ended up writing this blog, being a part of a lolita community and wearing the clothes casually on my own) and I would probably stop wearing the fashion when I hit 30 (It is looking increasingly less likely that this will happen). But what my younger self didn't realise was that it wasn't my age that was important, but my self-confidence. I may be in my late 20's, but I certainly don't feel 'past it'. Do I still feel comfortable wearing lolita? Yes, I do. And it is less to do with the opinions of other lolitas, and more to do with how I feel within myself. I have had all sorts of insults hurled at me over the years, but getting older is a fact of life that none of us can change.

As I have gotten older, I have found that wearing lolita has become a whole lot more enjoyable. Most lolitas will find that they can afford to buy more dresses and attend more meets because as we get older, typically we find we have more disposable income. I have had younger lolitas say to me before that they wish they could afford as many dresses at me and my response to that is usually to tell them that when I was their age, I was in a similar position myself. I understand that frustration of seeing all these new releases coming out and feeling overwhelmed by the size of my wishlist because I experienced these feelings when I was younger. It feels a lot easier to wear lolita when you don't have the guilt of working out how you are going to be able to afford things.

I also don't feel that older lolitas should feel the need to change to a more 'mature' lolita style as they get older. Let's be honest here- if you were to ask a member of the general public, chances are they will still think that you are a weirdo regardless of whether you are wearing sweet, classic or gothic. I have found that I have developed this built-in 'cutesy scale'. When it comes to dressing up in sweet lolita, it is almost as if this 'cutesy scale' instinctively tells me when something is too cute for comfort. Whilst I may still wear sweet lolita, I have in the past sold items which I don't feel comfortable wearing any more. Again, this has less to do with the opinions of others, and more to do with how I feel within myself. I think as well that as time has gone on, my style has evolved. I wear sweet in a more mature way now because that is simply what I prefer to wear now. Sweet lolita is the style I fell in love with and what took me from a casual lolita to a more regular lolita wearer.

I think another factor that has become more apparent as I have gotten older is the age difference between me and other comm members. There have been meets where I have been more than a decade older than some of the other lolitas. It feels really strange to hear conversations about school when you have been out of education for so long! But I feel it is important to give everybody a chance. I have met very mature 20 year-olds but also some very immature 30 year-olds. At the very least, you should have lolita fashion as a common interest if you go to a lolita meet.

So I guess to summarise this post, getting older in lolita is less to do with wrinkles and grey hairs and more to do with how you view yourself and confidence. If you want to wear a more sugary cutesy outfit as you get older, then that is your choice. When I was going through my initial ita phase, I came to realise that despite not looking my 'best', I was still enjoying the meets I was going to. And I feel a similar thing could be applied to age as well. If you are happy and enjoying yourself, then you are never too old for lolita, regardless of your actual age. A good outfit is still a good outfit, no matter who is wearing it.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Rosette Collection by Angelic Pretty

Apologies for the lack of post on Thursday. Today I am looking at Rosette Collection by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, a beret and socks.

First up is the OP. The bodice looks quite well fitted and the overall bodice shape is generally very smart. I am a little unsure about how the sleeves look shape-wise, but I wonder if it is just the way they have been positioned in the stock photo. The cuffs at least look very cute, with an interesting shaped edge. I really like the emblem gold buttons and braid on the cuffs too. The braid on the cuffs matches the lines of braid on the collar. There is a stripy ribbon belt, which appears to be the same red and blue on each colour-way. This choice of colour for the belt seems to work better on some of the main dress colours than it does on others. However, the belt does help to neatly define the waistline, even when the sash is left on. The bodice features several lines of lace, which sit neatly on the dress. I especially love the choice of lace for the front middle ruffles. As well as being of good quality, it also has a lovely design which fits in with the overall feel of the series. There is then a line of buttons in the middle. The buttons are spaced out quite well, but I think AP could have gotten away with adding one more button. It is also a shame that the 'Angelic Pretty' text part of the print was used behind these buttons because you can't read the writing between the spacing of the buttons anyway. The collar is a very cute shape and a decent size. It is set out very neatly with the gold braid. This collar is topped with a detachable stripy bow, which I think is a good shape and size. It helps to balance out the colours on the belt as well, so I personally would leave it attached. As mentioned, there is also a sash. The 'Angelic Pretty' text on the sash is a good size, so that you get to see the whole of the brand name. The gold braid and buttons on the sash are lovely too and are a nice finishing touch. I like the choice of font for the writing too. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. However, the stripy fabric means that the zip is very well concealed. The stock photos show that the skirt is generous in volume and flares outwards plenty. It should hold a good amount of petticoat. The skirt is then kept simple in design, so the print is displayed wonderfully. The bottom hem is then finished off with a pleat. Whilst the pleat has been done really neatly, I think it is perhaps a bit too wide. Due to its width, it feels like there is a wide strip of solid colour at the bottom.

Here we have the JSK. The bodice looks very well fitted and I adore the shape. The halter neck straps (and additional set of straps hidden at the back) look very supportive. I like the folded down collar too. It has sharp, clean lines, which are emphasised by the use of gold braid. The collar and the straps underneath are lined so neatly with lace too. This same lace is used subtly in lines going down the bodice as well, which helps to break up the empty space at the sides. There is a waist bow, which is a bit too big but is otherwise well executed. I like the way how the bow tails have been folded. It gives the bow extra depth and makes it look more interesting. The use of gold braid on the bow also matches the braid on the collar. It appears as though the waist bow is not detachable, which is a shame. It is always nice to have the option. The bodice has 4 gold buttons with an emblem design. These buttons are well set out and positioned. There is a gold chain between both pairs of buttons too. These gold chains are a good length too. To finish, there is a rosette attached to the collar. I think the pleat on the rosette is lovely, but the stripy tails could do with being a bit longer in length. I feel that if these tails had been longer, the rosette would have looked a bit more balanced. Although it isn't shown on the dress listing, I would assume this rosette is detachable. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and it flares outwards lots. I think there is a lot of potential to create a fantastic shape. The skirt is then kept simple in design, and the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a pleat, which I feel is a suitable width, unlike the one on the OP.

Finally, here we have the print. As we can see, this series comes in ivory, green, wine and black. As a lover of navy blue, I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a navy option! I am not sure why, but the black version just doesn't appeal to me. The other 3 colours look great though. As for the print, I am getting a strong sense of deja vu. It is like Chocolate Rosette minus the chocolate and Loyal Rosette minus the fluffy dotty bit at the bottom. I never liked that part of Loyal Rosette though, so in my opinion this print is an improvement! The rosettes are well spaced out and I like how it alternates between rosettes and tassels. I have always had mixed feelings about tassels in prints, but these ones a nicely adorned. I love how they have crowns and moons. The rosettes are gorgeous too with interesting details. There is plenty of variety in their design as well. The stripy regimental background is smart as well, and I like that the Angelic Pretty text is not too prominent.

This is a good release from Angelic Pretty, but it is nothing original and it feels as though they are just recycling previously popular designs. To be honest, I would rather get Chocolate Rosette over this series, but that isn't to say this print isn't pleasant enough to look at. There are a few things I would tweak about both dress designs, but they are quite solid efforts which are bound to have wide appeal. I do wish the JSK came with a sash option as well though. Would I buy this series? Possibly, but it is not something I would go out of my way to get. It has a lovely mature feel to it though. My top choice would be the JSK in ivory. I am not 100% sold on the OP. I think it would be great though, if AP decided to release some of the rosettes in the print as accessories. Even though the JSK has one, it would be lovely to just be able to buy a rosette if you feel a bit unsure about the main pieces.

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