Thursday, 19 October 2017

How I Brainstorm Outfits

Firstly, I must apologise. This post was supposed to be a video instead of a text post (which would have made it easier to elaborate on my points, but I will try my best to explain everything) but due to some bad timing, I am unable to make a video. I had to come off my medication for a medical examination and as a result, I have had bad acid reflux and keep losing my voice. So it is a bit difficult to project my voice for recording a video at the moment.

So a couple of weeks back I received a question from somebody asking me how I go about creating my outfits. I figured it would be a good idea to show you the thought process I go through whenever I get a new piece. I really wish more lolitas would do posts like this. It is fascinating to see how the minds of other lolitas tick!

So today I am taking you through what I did when I received my Le Miroir bird print skirt in the mail. This is essentially how I do things for every new piece I get. In some places my brainstorm may seem a bit basic, but the point is that I have a written record that I can refer back to. Any fancy, elaborate stuff can be added afterwards when I am feeling a bit more adventurous.

So firstly, what type of lolita am I aiming for when I make an outfit with this piece? This is important because obviously if you have a dark or gothic piece for example, you probably want to be keeping those cutesy details at bay. For this skirt I have gone for sweet/classic, as I feel this skirt straddles both styles (probably leaning slightly more towards sweet). I also get quite an Otome feel from this skirt, so I added that on as a potential extra area to explore in the future.

Next, how fancy is the skirt? Some pieces are simply too plain for an OTT outfit and others are too OTT to be toned down for more casual everyday wear. So I like to make sure I know whereabouts on the Fancy scale my pieces lie. Here I have made a note to say that this skirt could be dressed up a bit, but it is leaning more towards the casual side of things (especially being a skirt, rather than a dress, which tend to have a more casual feel anyway). So I know that I could wear this skirt to something like a local community meet and on a day-to-day basis, but I would not necessarily wear it to a massive gathering with big guests where people tend to wear their best outfits.

Next I will look at the colours. I feel it is a good idea to divide the colours in to main colours and other colours (smaller uses of colour on the piece) because it helps me when I am trying to work out colour balancing. The main colours are where I will start considering items such as blouses and shoes. I will be looking through my wardrobe to see what basics match the skirt. It is also a good idea to try and find a good, solid basic colour that is typically easy to co-ordinate with. Colours like white, black or ivory fit this category. So for this skirt, I have off-white. I have a lot of off-white items in my wardrobe, so now I can go through my blouses etc to see what matches, always keeping in mind the style I am aiming for (such as sweet) in mind as I look through. Then we move on to the smaller colours. These are colours that I may consider adding to my outfit, but are not overly dominant in the outfit. So it could be that I have a small accessory that is on one of these lesser colours or a larger accessory may feature a small bit of these colours. As the birds on this skirt are very colourful, I have a fair few options to choose from! You may also see that I have added some notes next to some of the colours. For example, I have put 'dull tone' next to the gold, because that way I will hopefully avoid choosing golds which are too bright. As Otome can feature clashing colours, I could also consider what additional colours I could add to the colours I already have.

Then we move on to themes. So this skirt features birds, berries and flowers. When I am listing themes, I will see if there is any way I can extend on these themes further. So for birds, I have listed cages, feathers and wings. This is because these are things that you may typically associate with birds and so it connects back to the main theme of birds. Perhaps there is an accessory in my wardrobe that features these smaller details, such as the feathers? It is around this point that I will really start to focus on what accessories and jewelry I can add. 

Then if I am still feeling uninspired, I will look in to broader patterns and motifs on the skirt. So this skirt features vertical stripes. If I don't have any suitable bird themed items, I may consider going for stripy items instead. There are bows on the lace, so I can consider wearing items which feature bows. My shoes may have a bow on them, for example. I also added hearts to this list, but they are quite small and hidden in the print. So if I were to add these to the outfit, I would keep them small and subtle. 

Finally, I will take some photos of items laying on top of each other so I can get a good visual idea of how well they go. It doesn't matter if they don't match in these photos, because the point is that we have that visual representation to refer back to and it saves us from digging out items at a later date which we know may not match. So for this photo I have tried some leg wear with my skirt. By taking this photo I have discovered that the flowers on both pairs of socks may not be ideal for this skirt, as the pink of the skirt is a lot more dusky. But I have not completely written off the AP socks on the right, because the flowers are pale and subtle enough that I might just be able to get away with wearing them. Plus the cage on those socks goes brilliantly. These are all things to bear in mind before I go completely dismissing them. Plus, I now have this photo I can go back to and reconsider at a later date. This leg wear photo is just one example and I will sometimes take photos for all sorts of things like accessories. I have albums full of 'floordinate' shots!

So that is about the general gist of how I go from buying a piece to making an outfit. I have tried to be as detailed as possible. I am just sorry that I was unable to make a video for this. This is the method I use quite frequently and the photos offer a bit of trial-and-error. At this brainstorming stage it doesn't matter so much if things do not match. We are trying things out and at this point it can be fun to get a bit more daring and experimental. I hope you have found this helpful!


  1. Ooooh this was a great read, thanks for sharing! I love that you actually properly document things with notes and photos, it's very sensible and super thorough.

    1. Thank you! I never used to document stuff, but I find it makes things a lot easier long term. Years ago, I used to keep trying to pair things together that didn't match and then forget how they looked together and try to do it again!

  2. That's such a great way of keeping track of what you have in your wardrobe! Well, at least as far as main pieces go, doing that for every little bit of accessory, blouse (especially if one has lots of offbrand blouses to use with both Lolita and other styles) and pair of socks would get a bit tedious. But it's great, especially to make a note of the shade - because matching colours is a nightmare. I feel inspired to make a cute notebook with references like that of what I own now.

    1. Yeah, I mainly just do this brainstorm with main pieces unless an accessory is especially OTT or noteworthy. It is a shame that Poupee Girl is no longer around because taking pictures of accessories to get extra points meant that I had an online visual record of my entire wardrobe! Nowadays I just try to go through my accessories every few months just to organise them, remove what I no longer want and remind myself what I have. I am glad you are feeling inspired!


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