It is very easy to just dole out advice when you know a situation doesn't really affect you. However, today is a bit different, as I am actually going through this myself right now. It came as a surprise, and if you had asked me even just a year ago, I wouldn't have thought that I would ever be in this situation. But now I am in it, I feel as though I have a better understanding of the mentality surrounding it and I can appreciate that it isn't always as straight-forward as it may seem. I am of course, talking about returning to wearing lolita after taking a break. When I stopped wearing lolita, I always knew that I was going to come back to it. I still love the fashion, I just needed some time away from it. As I have mentioned in recent posts, I feel like this was quite an eye-opening experience and I learnt a lot about myself. So I wanted to detail the ways in which I am re-introducing lolita in to my life.
As my situation has settled down somewhat and I am in a better place mentally, my mind has returned to my lolita wardrobe once again. As I am writing this, I have actually worn lolita recently. I wore Rose Toilette last weekend, but it was quite a laid-back casual affair. I didn't bother to curl my hair or go overboard with the accessories. I guess this was because I didn't want to overwhelm myself as I gradually ease myself back in to lolita fashion. When you have taken a break, it is very easy to make up excuses to not wear lolita. Things such as the weather not being right, not having a specific reason to dress up, or if you are feeling unwell are just some of the many excuses you may come up with. So to go from not wearing lolita to suddenly planning elaborate outfits with fancy hair styles and complimentary make up can be intimidating. I had forgotten just how much effort goes in to wearing lolita! So to combat this, I went more casual and simply didn't share it on places such as Tumblr, so only my friends saw it.
Another way I have been getting back in to lolita is to focus on why I fell in love with the fashion in the first place. This involved me re-reading a lot of the magazines and blogs that I used to read years ago. Sadly, a lot of the blogs from that time are no longer active, but I could still go back and check all the old advice and meet reports. As I looked at the pictures, I remembered how I felt when I first saw them. The lolitas in the pictures were happy and going on fun adventures. But I also fell in love again with the aesthetic and the styling. A big part of me wearing lolita used to be that I liked to express my personality through the way I was dressing. Outfits were a bit like mini works of art and I loved seeing how they turned out. It was also fun reading the English Gothic Lolita Bibles again. It was actually a picture in the first English GLB (A model wearing the AP Fruit's Parlor apron skirt. I never did get a hold of that print, but years ago it was a dream of mine to own that skirt) that turned me from being a simple admirer, to an actual wearer of lolita fashion. Seeing that picture again stirred up a lot of old memories, and it made me miss dressing up. I saw this as a big indicator that I was missing wearing lolita.
I also ended up looking through my old lolita scrapbook again. For a recent blog post I did on collections lolitas seem to accumulate, I dug out all of the old notes I had received from lolitas over the years, as I store them in my scrapbook. For years I have been meaning to go back and completely re-organise my scrapbook so that I have a timeline of my time spent as a lolita. Going through all of the magazine cuttings and pages I had printed off reminded me of what inspires me. I even had notes written down for outfits I had been planning which I had completely forgotten about. I don't even own some of these dresses anymore, but I could read the notes and visualise the end result. It made me think about how I never really seem to make these notes anymore and how I want to go back to doing that. Writing down how I feel and my dreams for the future has been a bit of a healing process. I think a big part of returning to lolita is reminding yourself why you loved it in the first place.
Taking a break also reminded me of the aspects of lolita fashion I didn't like as much. As my break from lolita was not just about stopping wearing lolita, but also about not buying any clothing or going on lolita-related sites, it meant I was completely free from the bits I didn't like about lolita as well as the bits I love. It gave me a good idea about what I didn't miss, and as I return to lolita I am making a conscious effort to rid myself of the more negative aspects of the lolita lifestyle. I came to the realisation that I loathe trawling auction sites for stuff I want when I only have a few accessories left that I really want to get, so I am not stalking second hand sites or auction sites as much as I used to. I am not on Tumblr as much, because recently I have been getting followed by a lot of kink and fetish blogs and that is really not my scene. There are also certain situations I don't really want to return to, so I am simply avoiding them for the moment until a time where I feel a desire to be a part of them again. I can still wear lolita for myself, in the way that I want, without any negativity. It may mean that it changes the way that I share my outfits, or how and when I wear them, but the important thing is that I will be doing this for myself and nobody else.
Trying to care less about what others think has been a big part of my return. If I want to try a new sub-style, then I will, even if I have no experience of wearing that style. If I don't want feedback, then I just wont share things in places where I may get it. I almost ended up with a completely new hair cut recently. I chickened out at the last minute, but the idea that I could have a new look and start afresh was reassuring. So I think trying a new style is something I would consider suggesting to somebody taking a break from lolita. Sometimes it is refreshing to get a new spin on something you love. When you have been in to lolita fashion for a long time, you start to see the same themes and styles repeat themselves over and over again. It is about finding a way to reignite that initial 'spark' you felt. Alternatively, if you have a style that you have always worn and absolutely love, you shouldn't feel bad for wanting to stick to it. Every outfit doesn't have to be super original and unique. Another thing I have been considering is whether I want to stick solely to lolita, or branch out in to other J-fashions. I have really been getting in to otome and larme-kei recently, so I think I may want to give them a try. I will still wear lolita, but sometimes I get the desire to try something a little bit different. And trying a different fashion means a different aesthetic and way of styling outfits.
So I guess my advice, at least from my own personal experience, is to try and remember what you love about lolita fashion and focus on that. Wear lolita fashion for yourself and nobody else. Cut out the negativity where you can (and for different people this may mean taking completely different actions, depending on what bothers you the most). Most importantly, don't rush back in to it. If you do, you may find yourself associating lolita with more negative emotions. Take your time, decide if coming back is what you really want. And try not to forget how you felt when you took a break from the fashion, as that could give you a good indicator as to why you decided to take a break in the first place. I am not sure how helpful this post is, as I am still in the midst of making my comeback. When I wore lolita the other day I felt positive about it. The sun was shining, I was dancing around the garden and I felt cute in my dress. However, I do know that this is only the beginning of my comeback. There may be times when I don't enjoy wearing lolita as much as I did at the weekend. But as long as I still love the fashion, I will keep wearing it, no matter how frequently that may be.