Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dracula's Ball!

Dracula's Ball is a huge goth event that is held 4 times a year in Philadelphia. There are several dance floors, live bands, and even gothy trinket vendors. While the live acts are primarily Industrial, the crowd is a mix of different alternative types, from fetishwear and cybergoth to historical ball gowns and gothic lolita. Some people put together amazingly intricate ensembles, some people wear the classic black t-shirt and black jeans. I'd like to really go all-out sometime, but it's quite difficult to get my goth-dance on in a 5-hoop skirt.
I went for the first time last year to see Black Tape for a Blue Girl and i-Scintilla...and I've been pining for it ever since! I do love our little local Club Orpheus, but Club Shampoo (where Drac's Ball is held) is really one of the coolest, largest clubs I have ever seen.
This past Saturday was the 53rd Ball, featuring Conjure One and kHz. My friend and fellow lolita Casie, my boyfriend Peter, and myself went on a little road trip to break out of the slightly sluggish Baltimore scene. We had an amazing time!
Our adventure began early in the afternoon, as we wanted some time to shop on South Street, and pick up our tickets.

 I didn't want to drive for 2 hours in a corset and choker, so I fancied up a bit once we arrived at the club. Unfortunately, it was dark by the time we arrived, so the photos aren't the best. The flash really distorted the color and texture of my outfit. I was wearing a modified Bodyline dress and a Living Dead Souls coat, Casie was wearing all Metamorphose I believe (with the exception of my borrowed BL coat).

Once inside, Casie and I partied hard! We danced from 9 pm to nearly 2 am, almost non-stop. My boyfriend doesn't like dancing too much, so unless something particularly good was on, he just sat around and looked fashionably aloof. My favorite area was the smaller dance floor, which had a great DJ who was kind of going on a "Goth 80's Prom" theme. He played things like The Cure (Peter and I waltzed to "Just Like Heaven <3), Billy Idol, Joy Division, Tears For Fears, as well as some rockabilly and 80's pop. We saw a few other lolitas, but lolita fashion in general was not nearly as well represented as last time. Our guess is that they all went to Dances of Vice in New York, which happened on the same night.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tall, Dark, and Fancy

In Lolita related communities, especially loli_secrets, there is always someone waxing poetic about how they wish they had a prince of their own, or wishing that their current partner would dress up with them. Sometimes other girls can be very harsh in response to these sorts of posts, considering the prince-seekers selfish and immature. I can see both sides of the argument, and it's much more gray than black and white. Usually, a compromise and a frilly happily ever after ever are indeed possible.

On one hand...
Dressing up with someone is terribly fun. I admit that I have never dated someone "normal", I'm just much more attracted to people into some kind of alternative fashion. It's rather romantic to go out together all fancied up! If Lolita (or goth, punk, visual kei etc) is a big part of your life, it makes sense that you'd want to share it with someone you care about.

On the other hand...
The quality of a person is so much more important than their clothes. You can't enjoy the romance of being in your own little world through fashion if your boyfriend is a jerk. A person who respects you, loves you, and is compatible with you is so much more important than looking dandy in a tophat. Of course, even if they don't participate, they need to respect your choices. Making fun of your clothing and tastes, belittling you, or trying to change you is not okay. Likewise, show them the same respect.

 ...yeah, okay, but I still want a prince D:<

If your heart is set on some aristocrat arm candy, then here are some basic strategies for going about it.  But first there are two important things to remember:
1. A boyfriend, girlfriend, or best friend is not a fashion accessory. They have feelings and opinions of their own, respect that.
2. No means no. If you've brought it up and they've refused, that is not license to pester them until they submit to your will.

With that in mind, are you content with a platonic prince? Or do you really want a love connection too?

It's generally much easier to convince friends to get gussied up with you. See if a friend who has admired your style would be interested in coming along with you to a meet up. Offer to help them make an outfit, help them pick one out, or if you're really committed, offer to buy them one.  Or perhaps if you're lucky, maybe there's a lolita you know who's been wanting to try a boystyle anyway.

If it's your partner that you need to win over, you've probably already asked (and if you're looking for tips, they probably said no). Why did they say no?

Do they not have the money?
Coming by a basic starter kodona or aristo outfit actually doesn't require much more than a trip to the mall. You can get a black or white collared shirt, a black vest, and black pants at H&M and other discount retailers. A top hat or other appropriate head wear can be acquired at Hot Topic, a Halloween store, and sometimes even "normal" hat stores. Walmart and Target sell pocket watches for $8. Other accessories like a cravat are very easy to make yourself.

Are they embarrassed by the attention alt fashion attracts?
If it's a case of stage fright holding them back, try to getting them to go out in a large group. There's safety in numbers, and most people feel much more comfortable standing out as a unit rather than by themselves. Invite them to a meet up or get some friends to dress up and go out with you.

...Or is it just not their thing?
If it's just not the kind of fashion they are into, the only strategy I can recommend is calling in a personal favor. Ask them to do it for you as a present for your birthday or Valentine's Day, or some other special event like a convention or big meet up. But if this is the case, consider how much it means to you versus how much of a sacrifice it is for your partner. If you love boyfriend, don't make him do something that truly makes him uncomfortable.

Well, what if I don't have a partner already?
If you're single and looking for a tall, dark, and fashionable mate into aristocrat or kodona right off the bat, that's a bit more tricky. The fact is, the lolita community is vastly dominated by girls (if you're bisexual or a lesbian, you're in luck!), and most guys at meetups are there with their girlfriends. So if your local community is like most, you probably won't have much success searching within that small pool. I recommend that you broaden your scope to include communities for Victorian goth, Steampunk, and related fashions. These groups are much more equal in gender, and much of their Victorian-inspired men's attire is extremely similar to aristocrat. Try trolling for potential princes as your local goth club, or at a steampunk meet up.

When it comes down to it, fashion is just a delightful bonus. When looking for your prince, it is much more important that they make you feel like a princess, rather than help you look like one.

My prince and I <3

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sew Loli

So, this past week, I ran out of things to do. I'd tailored, altered, and modified everything in my wardrobe that needed it in addition to making 3 dolls new clothing, and cleaning and vaccuming my whole apartment. Then, I recalled the huge lost of tutorials that Fuck Yeah Lolita has. I browsed through a few and decided to give it a try. I don't often make clothing from scatch, mind. I usually prefer to eviscerate existing garments. So, that night, I made a pair of bloomers. And then I made 2 more. And it just spiraled from there.

For the bloomers, I used this tutorial. It's pretty simple and easy. I didn't add lace though because I didn't have any to spare.

Then I decided to move onto a basic JSK. I loosely used this pattern, for a lolita nightgown. I made the top panel to my measurements instead of 60", and pleated the bottom panel instead of using elastic. I made it just loose enough to pull on and off without a zipper, because zippers are my enemy.

Then I dyed it purple.

I made a second JSK according the the same method, with a slightly fuller skirt and wider shoulder straps. I absolutely adore this fabric, I found it in a clearance rack at JoAnn's. It's dark red with a black sheen, with black velvet patterns on top.

Next I made an OP according to this tutorial. The fabric is very light, I think I might make another slightly heavier, though as it is it will be very comfortable in summer.

I tried drafting a pattern of my own, a simple scoop neck with a more fitted bodice. It turned out nicely, though I made the armholes a bit too big.

I also made a simple elastic waistband skirt, without a pattern. 
Basically, make a trapezoid two times your waist measurment at the smaller end, and sew up the side so that it makes a tube. Now add a ruffle or lace to the larger end of the trapezoid if desired. Then, fold the top edge over, leaving about a half inch/inch of space, and leave about an inch unsewn right at the end, to make an opening. Take a piece of elastic, wrap it around wherever you want to skirt to sit on your body, fit it until it is comfortable snug, and cut. Then, thread the piece of elastic through the tube made by the hem, sew the ends together, and sew up the last bit of your hem.

I also made a bonnet with this tutorial. It's very basic, but I am glad I got to see what one looks like on me before purchasing a more expensive one.

I just made an empire waisted JSK last night, and am in the midde of another OP, so expect a Sew Loli Part 2 in the future!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Laser Tag Meetup and recent coords

Last weekend my local comm met up at Shadowland in Gaithersburg for a rousing night of cheesy sci-fi war games and cheap pizza. 
It turns out that I kick ass at laser tag. I ranked #5 and #8 in two games of 20+ people!

My boyfriend and I's outfits:

Outfits from other days this week:

I cut all the ruffles off of a F+F Meta replica. Ruffles all over the bust and shoulders really do not flatter me! I like it much better more form fitting.

JSK, Blouse: F+F
Boots: Na Na
Accessories: Online/Thrifted

This coord features an previously lumpy and ill-fitting cardigan that I turned into a bolero. Much better! 
Cardigan: Lady Heather's Fashions
Necklaces: Random (raven skull is from BillyBlue22 on Etsy)

This week I've also been doing a ton of sewing. So far,  I've made 2 JSKs, an OP, 2 skirts, 3 pairs of bloomers and a hard bonnet. I will post about that sometime this weekend, one I get a few more things done! Here's a preview, one of my JSKs:

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