Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Lolita Basics 4: Mistakes To Avoid

Hello! ♡
Welcome to part 4 of Lolita Basics! Last week, we covered building a basic lolita wardrobe. This week, we will talk about the mistakes that new lolitas often make as well as other errors that even more experienced lolitas are prone to. Basically, this week we are talking about avoiding being an ita*. Let's begin!

Lolita Basics 1: The Sub-Styles ✓
Lolita Basics 2: Where to buy, where not to buy ✓
Lolita Basics 3: Building a basic wardrobe 
Lolita Basics 4: Mistakes to avoid 
Lolita Basics 5: Lolita Terms

*Ita: An insult used in the lolita community to describe a really bad lolita. Derived from the Japanese word 'itai', which means ouch. Basically, a lolita so bad that it hurts to look at. Ouch.

Of course, lolita fashion is a learning process. Every Lolita starts out with some ita coords, though at first we may think we look great. But that's okay! We all start somewhere and learning and exploring is part of the fun! It's okay to make mistakes- after all, learn from your mistakes.  Don't believe me? Look at my first 'coord'... (I am gonna regret posting this)

I was also wearing plain white ballet flats, but you can't see them here. No blouse, wig isn't the worst but it doesn't really match this JSK, no petticoat (though this dress has a built-in one, so I can kiiiinda be forgiven?) and the shoes don't match. On the plus side, the JSK is quite cute (I still have it, but I can coord it a lot better now) and the head bow matches. So yay for me. Also, I was an ugly 13 year old.

Now, here's one of my more recent coords (not the most recent, but recent). It's more of a country-sweet look, and leaning towards casual (not that I don't love OTT sweet anymore!), with a strawberry theme because strawberries are life okay. The shoes just don't match, but as soon as my white shoes arrive, I will redo this coord with them. My petticoat was being weird too. I'm also wearing matching accessories- the strawberry necklace and bracelet set from my shop!

Oops, I'm rambling again. Typical me. So, what are the biggest mistakes made by Lolitas?

  1. NOT WEARING A DAMN PETTICOAT. Wear a petticoat. Without a petticoat, it might be Otome-Kei, or a cute dress, or Yume Kawaii- any style that the dress might be, but not lolita. What makes lolita lolita is the length, modesty and distinctive silhouette that you achieve with a petticoat. Where you get the petticoat or how much it cost or what colour it is doesn't matter as long as you get the shape. I discussed in part 3 where you can get good petticoats ^^ Also remember that petticoats are considered undergarments and shouldn't peek out through your skirt. That's scandalous.
  2. Wearing a JSK alone. When wearing a JSK you need to have either a blouse under it or a cardigan/bolero over it (or even both sometimes). As you can see in the cringe-inducing picture of my first 'co-ord', I made this mistake. Don't be like me. Wear something with a JSK. SOMETIMES, you can get away with wearing a JSK alone. But only sometimes. Like, if it's extremely hot and you can pull it off. 
  3. CAT EARS Cat ears, and animal ears in general, have a cosplay look to them. It's best not to wear them, especially when you're starting out in Lolita. However, animal ears can be worked into outfits with animal prints, but apart from that, stay away from them. You'll look like an ita weeb.
  4. Crappy/ Excessive Lace Yes, lace is important in lolita. But how much is too much? And remember that quality matters too. Dresses that have lace everywhere are called lace monsters. Sometimes you can get away with a dress with lots of lace but it must be good quality and done right. The worst offenders are black dresses with lots of white lace, as that has an ita anime meido look to it. If you want to wear black x white, the white lace must be good quality, in the right places and not in excessive amounts. Cheap lace is a no-no! Soft and pretty lace is a yes-yes.
  5. Satin and shiny fabrics You know the cheap-ass shiny satin costumes you see around Halloween? Yes... that's a definite no-no in Lolita, especially since it's a fashion where quality matters. Stay away from shiny dresses. Yes, shiny things are nice, but when dresses are shiny enough to blind you... 
  6. TOO MUCH SKIN Remember in part 1 when I mentioned that Ero lolita has a bit more leeway for showing skin? Even when wearing Ero, this does not mean you can show your shoulders, cleavage or butt. I know this sounds like a school dress code, but this is a modest fashion. Take it or leave it. Of course you can put your own spin on lolita and show more skin if you want to, but don't call it lolita! Anyways. No shoulders. Skirts can be maximum 3 inches above your knees. No cleavage either (no lolita blouses are low-cut enough to show any though). Ankle socks are fine though, so don't stress about that and go out in 40 degrees celsius weather wearing OTKs.
  7. Mismatching hair and make-up Hair and make-up are important too! Of course, fancy and pastel twin tail wigs aren't a must. Sure, pastel wigs can look great in sweet/ OTT sweet coords, but a lot of the time, natural wigs and natural hair are just fine! Just make sure to take care of it and it doesn't look like you haven't washed it for 2 weeks. If your hair is dyed, say, green and you want to wear classic then I'd suggest wearing a natural wig in a colour such as blonde or brown. If your hair is a natural colour then a wig isn't a must ^^ You can just wear your hair down and add some accessories or in a cute style. It's up to you! As for make-up, especially in gothic lolita, don't overdo it with white face paint and black lips as that looks cheap and bad. Make sure your make-up is done well, avoid looking like a clown and try to go for a more natural style.

There we go! Seven common mistakes of new lolitas. Just like seven deadly sins. What a coincidence. 
Of course, if you want to wear an AP JSK with cat ears- go ahead! If you love maid dresses, wear them! Just don't label it as lolita as you'll likely be called an ita. You'll also make it confusing for beginners, making it harder for them to tell what's lolita and what isn't. 

QUESTION: Which mistakes have you made as a new lolita? Are they on the list? 
Let me know in the comments, and...

 Have a lovely day!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Lolita Basics 3: Building a Basic Wardrobe + Printable Checklist

Hello! ♡
Welcome to the third part of the Lolita Basics series! Last week, we discussed where to buy and not to buy Lolita fashion, and this week we will discuss building a basic wardrobe ^^
So, without any further ado, let's go!

Lolita Basics 1: The Sub-Styles ✓
Lolita Basics 2: Where to buy, where not to buy ✓
Lolita Basics 3: Building a basic wardrobe 
Lolita Basics 4: Mistakes to avoid
Lolita Basics 5: Lolita Terms

When starting out with Lolita, build a basic wardrobe first based on your favourite substyle. When you get this done, you can buy more pieces in different colours and styles and explore other substyles too.

Here's what you need to build a basic lolita wardrobe! I have added a printable checklist at the end ^^

A plain JSK/OP

Get a JSK/OP without a print on it, where the focus is on details like lace, ruffles and bows. Sometimes prints can be hard to coordinate, especially when you're first starting out, so a plain dress is a must-have and versatile. If your style is Sweet, get a pastel dress, if Gothic- black or other darker colours, and for Classic try ivory, beige or muted pink.
Whether it's a JSK or OP is up to you- it's nice to have one OP and one JSK for a start. It all comes down to personal preference ^^
My recommendations;

A JSK/OP with a print

There are a loooooooot of motifs that can be seen on lolita prints and dresses. From macarons to deers and gothic architecture, find a dress that reflects your personality! If you love reading, get a book print such as the Angelic Pretty Memorial Library JSK. If you are a cat person, then try the Lyre Ivy Spoiled Cat OP. If gothic architecture is more your thing, then Moi-Meme-Moitie's ruins catchedral OP  might be the dress for you. You get the idea! Every print that I have and is on my wishlist has some sort of meaning to me. My first print was this , bought at a Lolita bring and buy sale. I bought it because I loooove candy and also because my style is sweet- like candy ^^ 
Although the brand isn't the best (a lot of their pieces are ita), the JSK isn't a bad dress and I still wear it- but of course I can coord it much better now ^^ When I first bought it, I wore it without a blouse, a wig that didn't really match and no petticoat (though the dress has a built-in petticoat) and ballet flats >-< 
So- choose a print that reflects you as a person! Don't get a print just because it's popular. Use Lolibrary to help you!

A skirt
A skirt comes in useful especially when you're doing more casual coords- and when you're new to lolita, it's good to start with a skirt to get used to the fashion. Whether or not it has a print is up to you, my first skirt had a pretty strawberry cake print  as I looooove strawberries.
My recommendations;

A blouse

A blouse is a must for wearing JSKs and skirts. It is generally agreed that a JSK without a blouse is a no-no in Lolita- there are exceptions, such as if it's really hot and the coord is done well, but at least one blouse is a wardrobe staple. Luckily, blouses are quite easy to find- just go to a thrift store and you'll likely find some grandma blouses that can work. Look for details like ruffles, lace and perhaps bows. If  you can't find a blouse when you're out shopping, get a plain white blouse and sew on some details such as ruffles- use the internet for inspiration. Of course lolita blouses are very plentiful on the Internet so you shouldn't have trouble getting one! Blouses with detachable sleeves are lovely because one blouse can be worn when it's hot and cold ^^
It's best to get a blouse that can go with everything in your respective style- white for sweet and classic, and black for gothic. You can always buy more colours later.
My recommendations;

As I have learnt from experience, you can't just wear ballet flats in your coord. A priority should be a pair of Lolita shoes in a versatile colour- either black or white, depending on your style. I made the mistake of buying my first shoes in lilac- of course they'll come in useful for when I get a lilac dress, but they don't match all my coords. So, first get a pair of shoes that will go with everything- black or white. The style isn't really important; do an image search and look at coords to get an idea of what to look for. Shoes go from more extravagant styles such as this, to simple "tea-parties" like these. Bodyline is very good for shoes and they go up to larger sizes, and An*tai*na does custom sizing ^^
Brand shoes aren't really worth it. They are pretty much the same style as shoes you can find on TaoBao, Bodyline, etc. and the quality is basically the same. So unless a brand has a unique shoe design that you fall in love with, there's no use in dropping the few hundred dollars on brand shoes.
Brand shoes tend to go like this;
  • 22.5cm/S - EUR size 36/ UK size 3/ US size 5
  • 23.5cm/M- EUR size 37/ UK size 4/ US size 6
  • 24.5cm/L- EUR size 38-39/ UK size 5.5/ US size 7.5
  • 25cm/ LL- EUR size 39-40/ UK size 6-7/ US size 8
The shoe size conversions are just approximations ^^ Asian shoe sizes are by cm- so a 240 is 24cm, 245 is 24.5cm, and so forth. Measure your foot first ^^ Do this by laying it flat on a sheet of paper, then mark where your toes reach, and mark where your heel is. Then, just measure with a ruler. I got around 24cm, so I would need a Japanese size 245, as a 240 would be pretty snug >-<

A good pettiocat

Lolita fashion has a certain silhouette and length. Without it, it's not Lolita. To achieve the characteristic lolita silhouette, you need a petticoat. Some dresses have built-in petticoats, but often it's not quite there. Bodyline is great for many things but petticoats is not one of them. Good petticoats are from Classical Puppets and Dear Celine.
A petticoat poofs up your skirt and gives it a shape. There are two lolita silhouettes as I mentioned in Part 1- A-Line and Bell. Some dresses are made for only one shape, others are good for both. Sometimes it says which shape a dress is best for, other times you need to see photos of the dress being worn to determine the best petticoat for it.
It's good to invest in a good quality petticoat as it'll last you a long time and it's better than buying lots of cheaper pettis. White or black are the best and easiest to find colours ^^

It's good to have one pair of tights, one pair of OTKs/knee-highs and one pair of ankle socks to be worn according to the weather ^^ For tights, first get solid colour ones ( such as white for sweet and classic, beige for classic,black for gothic), for OTKs/knee-highs choose plain ruffle-top ones or ones with a versatile design, and for ankle socks plain ruffle-top ones are best ^^

A coat
For wearing lolita in the colder months, get a cute coat to keep you warm ^^ There are plenty on TaoBao (which are also resold on AliExpress, Spreepicky,etc.) as well as from brands. Bodyline also has some very cute coats. There are lolita-specific coats that are the length of a dress, as well as coats that are normal length. Which one you get is up to you, I prefer normal length coats as they are more versatile and don't cover up my skirt, but it all comes down to preference ^^ Sometimes you can also find loli-able coats in normal stores, or coats that can be made loli-able with a bit of DIY ^^
To get an idea of what to look for, some coats I'd recommend are;

A cardigan

You can also wear a JSK with a cardigan instead of a blouse. It can just be a plain cardigan you picked up at the thrift store or a fancy one made for lolita with ruffles and bows- it's all up to you! You can also modify a plain cardigan.

A cutsew
Cutsews can be worn in place of blouses with a skirt and are great for casual Lolita (cutsew+skirt+tea party shoes is a great starting coord for getting used to the fashion). A cutsew is basically a cute, lolita top that is not a blouse. It could be a t-shirt with ruffles and bows and a cute print, there is a wide range of styles. With some DIY, you could even make your own!
 Examples of cutsews include;


Accessories add a finishing touch to outfits and make them unique. Luckily, they are easy to find, both brand and off-brand ^^ The accessories you need to have at least one of are;
  • A versatile bag (eg. this one and this one)
  • A necklace (eg. this one from my shop and this one from IW)
  • A bracelet (a pearl bracelet is fine but there are also fancy ones like this)
  • Wristcuffs (you can make them yourself or buy affordable ones from Bodyline)
  • Headwear (a headbow, a hat, bonnet or headdress)
  • Parasol- for blocking out the sun on sunny days. This is actually optional but for many lolitas, it's a staple ^^ A plain parasol with ruffles is just fine. There are also fancy brand parasols out there ^^
As promised, the printable checklist can be found by clicking here ^^

When you have everything on this checklist, you can experiment with more colours and styles and prints c:  You will also be able to put together quite a few coords with these basics ^^
Now, a question- what is your Lolita staple? Which piece of your wardrobe can you not live without? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

 Have a lovely day!
~LilacBlossom ♡

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Lolita Basics 2: Where to buy, where not to buy

Hello! ♡
Aww yes- we have reached 2,000 views! Thank you to everyone for contributing, and let's hope Lilac's Journal keeps growing ^^ I have something special planned for when we reach 5,000 views, we can do it! :D
Welcome to the second part of Lolita Basics! Last time, we covered the Lolita substyles, and this week- we will talk about where to buy Lolita clothes- as well as which shops to stay away from. So, without any further ado, let's go! :D

Lolita Basics 1: The Sub-Styles ✓
Lolita Basics 2: Where to buy, where not to buy ✓
Lolita Basics 3: Building a basic wardrobe
Lolita Basics 4: Mistakes to avoid
Lolita Basics 5: Lolita Terms

A common misconception among newer Lolitas is that all dresses are $200 big brand pieces. That's not always the case! Although Lolita isn't the cheapest hobby, it's much less expensive than you think. Also, you don't have to completely stay away from AliExpress and eBay. These sites don't have the best reputation in the community, but it's a matter of knowing where to look, checking store ratings and reviews- and you can hunt down gems for affordable prices. With so many shady shops all over the internet, how do you know where it's worth spending your money? Where do you look for lolita fashion for different needs, and which stores should you keep your credit card away from? Keep reading to find out! ^^

Where to buy
There are many many places to buy Lolita- from the big brands to small Indie brands.
The big brands are very expensive- but by buying from them, you are supporting the designers and brands! You also get your money's worth- the pieces are very beautiful and high quality. This isn't to say that you can't be a true lolita without having any brand- whether your wardrobe is all handmade or all brand, you're still a lolita! Brands, however, tend to have smaller sizing- but many dresses also have shirring and elastic to fit a much wider range of sizes.

Indie brands tend to be cheaper (but not always), and there are more and more of them. By buying from them, you are supporting independent designers, and many of them also offer custom sizing.

There are also many other places to buy from. TaoBao and Bodyline are more affordable options, and eBay and AliExpress can be good places to find hidden gems. Of course, I can't list all the places to buy from in this post- but I'll list as many as I can. Discovering more shops is up to you!

What are the big Lolita brands?
  • Angelic Pretty- best for Sweet Lolita, but some of their dresses are also good for Gothic and Classic. While new dresses directly from them will average around 30,000 Yen (250$), they are very beautiful, detailed and well made, making them worth every dollar. AP requires a shopping service (more on that later) as they don't ship internationally.
  • Baby, The Stars Shine Bright- Similar to AP, with most of their pieces being perfect for Sweet and Classic. They also ship worldwide!
  • Moi-meme-moitie A gothic lolita brand, with prices being a bit higher than AP and BtSSB. It was created by Mana, a very important and famous figure in the community. Colours are rich and deep and motifs include gothic architecture and crosses.
  • Innocent World A brand perfect for Classic Lolita. While their dresses aren't cheap, they tend to be cheaper than the above brands. 
  • Mary Magdalene Similar to IW- also a Classic Lolita brand. 
  • Metamorphose temps de fille- While most of their pieces tend to be classic/sweet, they also have some perfect for gothic.

Bodyline is the perfect place for Lolitas on a budget. Their dresses are very affordable, most are very pretty and quality is quite good. However- there are some worse pieces, so if a piece interests you, make sure you look up reviews beforehand. Don't go into the Cosplay section, and use your common sense- don't go buying a lace monster. If you look up 'ugly Bodyline dresses' or something similar, then you'll see which dresses are just not for lolita. When starting with the fashion it can be hard to tell what's good for lolita and what's not, so the Internet is your friend ^^ This is a very helpful place for all things Bodyline! (Oh, and I wouldn't reccomend their petticoats. It's best to invest in a good petti) Their shoes also go up to larger sizes.

TaoBao- the massive Chinese online marketplace, where there are LOTS of unique and lovely lolita brands. I will in the future write a separate post dedicated to TaoBao, but here I'll cover the basics. Dresses tend to be more affordable (though some brands are more expensive than others). The catches?

  • It's all in Chinese (I have a built-in translator in my browser)
  • You must search in Chinese
  • You must use a shopping service
When browsing TaoBao, I use this to help me search for what I need as well as Google Translate. As for shopping services- there are LOADS. I heard good things about TaoBaoNow and TaoBaoSpree, they basically buy from TaoBao for you. There is a service fee that's different for each SS, but it usually isn't much. There is also the question of shipping- every SS has different shipping options, but there are also shipping calculators online such as this one that will help you estimate how much you'll need to pay for shipping. Like any other online marketplace, TaoBao has its fair share of dodgy sellers. Make sure you check each seller's rating- TaoBao's rating system is explained here.
There are also some stores that are TaoBao resellers, such as GlitzyWonderland, which I love because FREE.SHIPPING. Here is a nice list of TaoBao shops.

eBay and AliExpress
Often, if you mention eBay or AliExpress to a lolita, they will tell you to steer clear. HOWEVER. Not all shops are bad! There are so many hidden gems you can find there, it's worth having a look. To avoid getting an ita piece, use common sense and check seller ratings. If anything, both eBay and AliExpress have buyer protection should you get anything weird. Make sure you also check feedback and reviews- if the store seems trustworthy, then go on ahead! If you see what looks like new brand pieces at very cheap prices- don't fall for it. They are either replicas or just rip-offs. The images are likely stolen and you definitely won't get the real thing. Seeing the same dress sold in many stores is a different thing- it's probably a TaoBao reseller, and should be fine to buy as long as you check feedback. Check the materials- does the lace look cheap? Is it shiny polyester? Is this labelled as Cosplay? Does this piece look cheap? Answer these questions in your head before taking the plunge. I would reccomend looking into eBay and AliExpress only when you have been into the fashion for a bit, so you can tell the good pieces from the bad. AliExpress is much better for lolita than eBay, as quite a few things on there are from TaoBao, and almost everything has free shipping. There's also no need to go through a shopping service, which is a plus. This thread is very useful for shopping on eBay ^^

Indie and Western brands
There are many smaller Lolita brands, with lots of them being in the West, with very pretty and original designs. Prices differ- some cost around the same as a big Japanese brand, others are much more affordable. One plus of Indie brands is that some of them offer custom sizing. While there are looooads of them, I'll list just a few nice Indie brands, as well as their price range and general style.

Wear It Cuter- Adorable sweet lolita skirts- each one costs around 80$, there are some accessories too ^^ Everything is made-to-order for your size.

Porcelain Doll- They have a physical store in the Czech Republic and the style is mostly classic, with some gothic and sweet-classic pieces. Skirts go for $40-60, and dresses are around $80.

Haenuli- A Korean brand with mostly Gothic, dresses are expensive- around the same as brand, perhaps even more sometimes, but very unique designs.

Lady Sloth- An Indie brand based in Poland, with a range of styles- I'd say mostly classic. A dress would be around $150.

Anna House- Based in China, with the style being classic and sweet. Although there are some more lace monster pieces out there, it's generally a good brand with almost all dresses being under $100.

For more Indie brands, click here!

Buying second-hand is the best way to get brand at much cheaper prices. Although some sellers like to overprice their pieces, if you look around a bit, you can find some great deals! It's also a good way to find pieces that are not available anymore.
There are quite a few places to buy second-hand lolita, including...

Lace Market- the international lolita marketplace. Some sellers overprice their pieces, but it's a great place to buy second hand lolita nonetheless ^^
Closet Child- Japanese site, prices tend to be cheaper than LM, there is a little guide for placing overseas orders (you must message them).
Yahoo! Japan- Auction site, but Japanese brands are easy to find at good prices. I'm not a fan of auctions in general, but I know plenty of lolitas who swear by this. Requires a shopping service such as Buyee.
Lolita Desu- Pretty website design,  good prices and a wide range of brands and styles.
Alice+Fururun- Also a Japanese site, similar to Closet Child. Here is their guide for overseas orders.
EGL Comm Sales- One of the best places to buy second hand lolita, it's hard to navigate at first, but a lot of lolitas swear by it!

Where not to buy
There may be plenty of places to buy lolita online, but as you discover more shops-not all of them can be trusted! Make sure you stay away from these stores ^^

Milanoo is notorious in the Lolita community for stolen photos, scams and hideous pieces that look nothing like the photos. DO NOT BUY FROM THEM!!! But it's not just Milanoo. It's also a bunch of other shops under different names that you should stay away from, a good list is here. There are also some helpful tips for identifying shady websites. Stay away from these sites and you'll be fine!

So, that's it for where to buy Lolita clothes! Of course, there are lots of stores out there and you'll discover many more while you're in the fashion, but I hope this guide was helpful! What is your favourite Lolita brand? Where do you tend to buy your Lolita clothes? Let me know in the comments!
Have a lovely day!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Lolita Basics 1: The Sub-Styles

Hello! ♡
I thought I'd write a series of guides made for Lolitas just getting into the fashion, because I know just how scary and intimidating it is at the start! All these different brands, terms, communities- where do you even begin?  There will be 5 parts- covering all the basics you need to know when you're a new Lolita! I hope my guides will help you out ^^

Lolita Basics 1: The Sub-Styles ✓
Lolita Basics 2: Where to buy, where not to buy
Lolita Basics 3: Building a basic wardrobe
Lolita Basics 4: Mistakes to avoid
Lolita Basics 5: Lolita Terms

The Sub-Styles
Lolita fashion has many, many sub-styles. The three main ones are Sweet, Gothic and Classic. First, I'll go over the three main styles, then I'll discuss some of the other styles. When starting out with Lolita, it is best to choose one of the three main styles first, and stick with it until you get more confident with the fashion. For instance, I chose Sweet, and I still stick with it. Take a look around and choose one that fits to your personality and style best- there's bound to be one!

Sweet Lolita

Sweet Lolita uses pastel colours, lots of frills and bows, and motifs including;

  • animals
  • toys
  • sweets
  • flowers
  • cupcakes and pastries
Old-school sweet, sometimes considered a sub-style of its own, has focus on ruffles, lace and details rather than the print. Currently, elaborate prints and border prints are very popular in sweet lolita. OTT Sweet tends to feature border prints, pastel wigs and lots and lots of accessories.
Usually, the silhouette in sweet lolita is bell-shaped- but in old-school lolita, A-line is seen a bit more. Of course, it all comes down to the dress itself and personal preference. Sometimes, sweet lolita is mixed in with darker colours- this is called Bittersweet, but it's not a style of its own. Sweet lolita is perfect for those with a cute, girly and feminine style, and lovers of pastels!
Gothic Lolita
Commonly seen in anime (though not necessarily accurately), gothic lolita makes use of rich and dark colours such as black, navy, deep red, dark purple and emerald. Popular colour combinations include red and black, purple and black and emerald and black. Black and white is also very popular- but it's very easy to get it wrong and look like an ita anime maid, so black and white isn't reccomended for new lolitas. The main rule is to use white details sparingly and in the right places. This style is perfect for those who love wearing black and dark colours, and love gothic motifs. It's also great for lovers of gothic architecture, as that's a popular motif on dresses!

Motifs in gothic lolita include;
  • crosses
  • skulls
  • clocks
  • roses
  • cathedrals
Classic Lolita
A more elegant and mature style, A-line petticoats are more common in classic lolita. Classic with a hint of sweet coords are quite popular, as the combination of elegance and sweetness is lovely. Skirts tend to be longer in this style, and colours are soft and muted- ivory, beige, brown, rose and wine red are common in classic lolita. This is a perfect style for those whose style is more mature, elegant and muted, but still feminine and cute.
Motifs include;
  • Elegant animals (birds, deer,etc.)
  • Books
  • Flowers
Other Sub-styles
Apart from the big three, there are many many more sub-styles in lolita! If you're new in the community, once you get comfortable with one of the big three, you can explore the other styles if you wish. Each has its own unique aesthetic, some bending the rules of lolita- but they still retain the signature aesthetics of the fashion- poofy skirt, modesty and elegance. There are hundreds of styles out there, but I'll go over just a few. ^^

Wa Lolita
'Wa' means Japanese. This sub-style can look like a bad anime cosplay if not done right, so it must be coordinated carefully. The dresses retain the lolita aesthetic, but with some elements inspired by Wafuku- or traditional Japanese clothing. Dresses may have elements of kimono, such as two crossed collars, a belt resembling an obi and wider sleeves. Prints are often inspired by kimono motifs, and kanzashi (Japanese hair accessories) can be used. I'm yet to see Nihongami, or traditional Japanese hairstyles (or something similar) worked into this style, but I think it'd look interesting.

Casual Lolita
I'd actually recommend beginners to start with this style. It's a good way to get your first Lolita items while getting used to wearing Lolita. Casual lolita is very toned down while keeping the signature elements of the fashion. A typical coord would be a blouse or cutsew, a skirt with a smaller petticoat and tea parties, as well as some accessories. Casual lolita is more comfortable, and attracts less attention- it's perfect for beginners, but also for more experienced lolitas who want to wear the fashion without dressing up too much.
Hime Lolita
Hime means princess in Japanese- and this style is the most elaborate and extravagant, and can be difficult and expensive to pull off. It features an abundance of frills and ruffles, as well as pearls and accessories like tiaras. Dresses are very elaborate. It is inspired by Rococo, with elaborate, curly hairstyles. Although it is most often seen in light colours such as pink and ivory, it can sometimes be seen in darker colours too.

Ero Lolita
The most risky style, bending some of the rules of lolita while still keeping the overall cute and modest aesthetic. While Ero is more mature and can be more revealing than usual- it must still retain the modesty! This means no boobs and no butts visible. It can't be too revealing. Skirts can be a bit shorter than usual, and blouses can have a lower cut. Fishnet tights and corsets are also popular. A difficult style to pull off, but if done right, it looks great!

I hope you found the first post of the Lolita Basics series helpful! If you're a lolita, what's your favourite style? The one you wear most? Or if are you looking to get into the fashion- which style will you try first? Let me know in the comments!
 Have a lovely day!

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The Death of Harajuku Fashion- Real Concern or BS?

Hello! ♡
I am a little late on this topic, as it seems like every other J-Fashion Blogger and YouTuber has already covered this topic, and then there's me...
If you're in the Japanese Fashion community, you've probably seen almost everyone panicking about the death of Harajuku fashion, but is this really something to be concerned about? Is this just BS, or should we start taking action?

Harajuku- a neighbourhood in Tokyo famous for its eccentric fashion scene, where young people could be seen wearing creative outfits ranging from enormous platform shoes to poofy petticoats and frilly parasols. Could, because Harajuku fashion in Harajuku itself is becoming rarer. Why is this, and does it mean the fashion is dying?

How did Harajuku even get famous in the first place? Harajuku is a place where creative youth could go out, showcase their outfits, and just have a nice time without feeling too out of place. The eccentric fashion there is bound to get attention- especially from Westerners, who have never even heard of such a thing! And so, media coverage of the district started- for both the good and the bad. Good, because this meant that word spread and the fashion gained new fans abroad- thus, helping the fashion grow. Bad, because this meant an increase of tourists in Harajuku, treating the people like attractions. You wouldn't like it if tourists kept taking photos you while you're trying to enjoy a day out, wearing different clothes that make you happy. Because of that, less Harajuku fashion wearers would go out to avoid the tourists- or, they'd go to different places.
However, that's not the only reason Harajuku fashion is 'dying'. The district itself is changing- more mainstream stores such as H&M and Forever21 are opening there, thus making Harajuku lose some of its charm. Don't get me wrong- I've seen that there are still plenty of unique stores there, but the more mainstream stores open up- the more charm Harajuku loses. The closure of certain iconic shops in Harajuku has also been a cause of alarm- such as the Milklim store. However... Milklim is still an online shop. Still- it is sad news for many of us, as it's lovely to just buy an item from a physical store, without the hassle of shipping. On the other hand- many new Harajuku fashion brands are launching, but online- especially in the West. One could argue that while Harajuku fashion might be declining in Japan, it is sharply growing in the West. While I can agree that is is growing in the West, I'm not sure about the situation in Japan. To me, while it's not rapidly growing there, it still seems quite strong.

It is also important to note that times are changing- why go out to showcase your outfit when you can just take a picture, post it on Instagram, and stay at home? Just because there seem to be less people in Harajuku wearing the iconic fashion styles (as I've heard from many who have actually been there recently), doesn't mean it's dying out. Just search Instagram hashtags such as "HarajukuFashion" and you'll see that Harajuku Fashion most certainly isn't dying out.


The event that has caused a lot of panic is the fact that KERA, FRUiTS and Gothic Lolita Bible, the biggest J-Fashion magazines, have announced they're going out of print. Is the situation really that bad, however? FRUiTS is going out of publication because it has been said that there are no more cool kids to photograph- this is quite concerning. However, remember when I mentioned that times are changing? This could be because of that. Or perhaps, the photographers are being too picky. Who knows? However, the other two magazines are going to continue digitally. Print magazines are dying out everywhere. It's quite sad, because I prefer physical magazines. On the other hand, it means that they will be more accessible around the world, so they can reach a bigger audience! It's not because Harajuku fashion is dying- this is happening to adjust to the changing times.

So, do I think that Harajuku fashion is dying? No. If anything, it's growing! Rest assured that even despite the changes, you do you and wear what you love, even if it seems like nobody else is! Fashion is there to have fun with it, and it grows, changes and evolves. Things go in and out of fashion. Does that mean you can't wear them? NO! The panic around the 'death' of Harajuku Fashion is unnecessary, because as long as we keep loving and wearing it- it's not going anywhere! Keep Harajuku Fashion alive by wearing and sharing it- and it'll keep growing. 

What do you think? Is Harajuku fashion dying, or is it just a false alarm! Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments!
Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Sheer Blouses in Lolita Fashion?

Hello! ♡
Sheer blouses in Lolita fashion are a controversial topic because Lolita fashion is all about the modesty- and sheer clothing isn't exactly modest. I was inspired to write this post when I went thrifting and found this ADORABLE blouse that could easily be worn with Lolita, and it had short sleeves- I needed a short sleeved blouse. Without hesitation, I bought it. After washing it, I tried it on and saw that it was sheer! (I somehow didn't see this at first... .-.) I panicked and thought... how on earth would I coordinate this? What if I wanted to wear it with a skirt? Would I get called an Ita? So, I quickly researched the topic and found lots of lovely coords with sheer blouses, and lots of gorgeous sheer blouses from the big brands- that was a huge relief knowing that it could be done. Sheer blouses are actually very cute and elegant, and can be worn in pretty much every Lolita style.

Wearing a sheer blouse with a JSK is easy- no need to put anything under, as the bodice of the JSK is covering everything. But, with a skirt, it gets harder. The solution is simple- wear a vest under it! But what colour? You have two options- match the colour of the blouse (best done with white and black blouses, which are almost always used, but with other colours this works too! Of course, no need to be an exact match), or you can use a nude colour that matches your skin tone as closely as possible. This is all down to personal preference! I prefer to use a vest matching the blouse's colour.

What if it's hot, though? Honestly- there's hardly any difference with a vest underneath. I haven't felt any hotter when wearing a vest underneath my sheer blouse, so the heat shouldn't be a problem.

A simple Google search will get you so many beautiful coords ranging from Gothic to Sweet that you can use for inspiration.
Below is my own (sweet with a hint of classic) strawberry themed coord featuring the blouse, as well as accessories from my shop (the necklace has been sold, but the bracelet is still available! Just click here), then a picture of me wearing it with a white vest underneath. Very cute, right?  (Excuse the less than perfect background)
It's more sheer than it looks... that's why I didn't see it was sheer in the store!

I hope this post has helped you out if you have a sheer blouse you're not sure if you can use, or don't know how to coordinate. Do you have any sheer blouses? Are you perhaps planning to buy one after seeing this post?
Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Rice Powder For Better Skin?

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Hello! ♡
Recently, I wanted to try out a face mask that I could use on a regular basis. So, I started searching for the perfect mask.
My criteria were:

  • Easy, affordable and quick to make
  • Anti-aging properties (15 might be too young to start thinking about these things, but it's good to start early ^^)
  • More radiant, brighter skin
The rice powder face mask met all of the above criteria- even with some extra benefits! So, I started using it twice weekly, just under a month ago. Results don't come immediately, though right after removing the mask, skin is visibly brighter, but it's temporary. You should start seeing results, such as brighter skin, after 1-2 months of using once or twice a week. 

What is rice powder? How do I use it for better skin?
Rice powder, or rice flour is just finely milled rice. It has a subtle, sweet smell to it. Rice powder is widely available at grocery stores and is very affordable. It is very easy to make into a mask- just put 1.5 tablespoons of rice powder in a bowl and mix with milk or water until you have a paste (milk also has its benefits, so I prefer to use it). Then, apply on your face (like a cream) and leave it for about 15-20 minutes. By then, it will be mostly dry. Next, just wash off the mask with some warm water and enjoy your soft, bright skin! 

What effects does this mask have?
Rice powder has plenty of nutrients that are beneficial to the skin. Some of the effects of using a rice powder face mask are;
  • UV protection. Rice powder acts like a natural sunscreen and helps protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays. However- still use sunscreen even if using this mask!
  • Increased collagen production. Collagen is what keeps the skin smooth and soft. Using a rice powder face mask can increase its production.
  • Brighter skin. After about 1-2 months of use, you will see a change in your skin tone. Rice powder brightens skin.
  • Can help treat wrinkles, blemishes and pigmentation- has anti-aging properties.
  • Softer, smoother skin in general!
My experience
I've only been using rice powder as a face mask for just under a month. Right after washing off the mask, skin is temporarily radiant and soft. With regular use, these effects become more permanent. I feel like my skin has started to become lighter, softer and much smoother- it's very pleasant to the touch. Washing off can be a bit annoying- that's why I always use this mask when I'm having a bath, as it's much easier to wash off there. The sweet smell makes this mask very pleasant to use!

There's no harm in trying- I hope you give this easy mask a try! If you do, let me know your thoughts. Did you see any effects? What do you like (and/or maybe don't like) about this mask? Let me know in the comments!

 Have a lovely day!

Friday, 24 February 2017

Review: Vassen Cloud Nine Blue Circle Lenses ♡ (PinkyParadise)

Note: This review is not sponsored
Hello! ♡
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Circle lenses are, for me, an important part of my kawaii makeup. They come in a wide range of designs, colours and effects- but they have to be used with care. I plan to post a guide to circle lenses in general in the future, but if you have never worn contact lenses before, please go to an eye doctor to see if you can wear contact lenses, and get a copy of your prescription, which will tell you the measurements you'll need to get. The most important of those is the base curve, because if you get the wrong one, the lens will be too tight or too loose, which can result in eye injuries. Please take great care with using circle lenses and take all hygiene precautions, and don't forget to get eye checkups! If you take care, circle lenses are fun and safe to use; if you don't, then you risk eye injuries, infections, and even blindness!

Now that's done, let's get to the actual review! This pair is my second pair of lenses, and I ordered it from PinkyParadise. PinkyParadise is the biggest and most popular online store selling circle lenses, and I have only had positive experiences with them. The lenses I ordered were Vassen Cloud Nine Blue. Below are the lens specifications ^^

Brand: Vassen
Colour: Blue
Diameter: 14.5/15.0mm (you can specify which diameter you want)
Base Curve: 8.6mm
Water Content: 42%
Life Span: Dispose of within 1 year
Prescription Range: -0.00 (plano) to -10.00
Cost: $23.90 per pair

~Use the code 'lilacsjournal' at checkout and get a free mystery gift with your order! ♥~

PinkyParadise Review:
  • Shipping: Despite using the cheapest shipping available, my order arrived quite quickly (11 days after I placed the order) and safely packaged. I'm very happy with PinkyParadise shipping ^^
  • Service: PinkyParadise has great customer service! When I ordered my first pair in December 2015, I made an error with my address. I noticed it quickly and emailed them if it could be changed, and I received a quick response and resolved the issue ^^
  • Variety: PinkyParadise boasts a wide variety of lenses and beauty products, meaning there's so much to choose from and there's something for everyone! From what I've seen, however, they don't really restock that often. 
  • Prices: PinkyParadise has fair prices, with quite frequent offers, which is really nice! The prices are not marked up, nor are they so cheap that they are suspicious.
  • Reliability: You can rely on PinkyParadise to purchase authentic, high quality circle lenses from the best Korean brands. PinkyParadise has been up since 2006, and they are the most reputable lenses seller out there, with plenty of positive reviews.
Circle Lenses Review:

Short Review-
Natural Eye colour: Hazel
Enlargement:  5/5
Comfort: 5/5
Colour: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

Longer Review-
The lenses are very comfortable- so much, that after a while I couldn't even feel them in my eyes! I find that this is the case with circle lenses in general, sometimes being even more comfortable than my regular contacts! They seem to be made with a more gentle material, and circle lenses from the big, authentic brands (Geo, EOS, Vassen, etc.) tend to be very high quality. The lenses have a lovely, dreamy design- if you look closely, it kind of looks like flower petals! The limbal ring is also quite unique- it's thick and black and solid, but it also has 'teeth' which make it look more natural. The flower petal design means that the lenses blend into your natural eye colour nicely. The colour is very gorgeous and vivid- a beautiful bright blue, that is very vivid in sunlight, and a beautiful, deeper azure colour indoors. The effect of the lenses makes my eyes look much larger, and doll-like. Overall, those lenses score a perfect 5/5! ♥

Close-up image, without makeup;

Close-up image, without lenses or makeup;

Worn picture, with makeup:

I hope you found my review for this pair of lens informative and helpful! Have you ever worn circle lenses? What is your favourite pair? Do you want to try them out? Have any questions about them? Let me know in the comments below!
 Have a lovely day!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

10 Things I Love About Winter

Hello! ♡
I'd like to begin this post with an apology for not posting for over a month, without announcing it beforehand. However, the hiatus was much needed, as maintaining this blog began to feel like a chore, I wasn't enjoying it anymore nor was I really inspired. I'm back now, feeling quite inspired, and I missed this blog quite a bit.

Also, I have put together a survey for readers of Lilac's Journal. Since this blog is written for you, the survey will allow me to hear your opinion and suggestions to make the blog better. If you can spare a minute or two, please participate by clicking here!

 This week's post is fitting as by mid-January, most of us are just fed up with winter. It's dull, it's cold, it's dark- we start to crave the warmth and brightness of summer. To raise our spirits and appreciate the winter before it's over, here's a list of my ten favourite things about the season.

  1. Short Days- I know, I know- the short days are one of the main complaints about the winter season. Waking up when it's dark and getting home when the sun is setting means we don't really get to enjoy as much daylight during the winter. However, there are some great things about it- for example, waking up before the sun rises mean you get to witness it, and the long evenings are really cosy. 
  2. Winter Evenings- While we're talking about cosy evenings, evenings during the winter are lovely and cosy. If you have a fireplace, even better! There's no better feeling than snuggling up with some soft blankets and bedsheets, a hot drink and a good movie, no? 
  3. Hot Drinks- Tea is one of my favourite drinks. However, in the Summer it can be quite hard to drink without feeling even hotter. Winter is the season for hot drinks to warm us up- from hot cups of aromatic tea, to coffee and hot chocolate with marshmallows, there is a wide array of hot drinks to enjoy!
  4. Seasonal Drinks- This in a way links to the previous point- many restaurants and cafes offer seasonal drinks for each season, and winter is no exception! From Vanilla Chai Lattes to Gingerbread Lattes, each winter seasonal drink has a unique flavour.
    Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/15032014@N06/4493264576/
  5. Snow- Of course, snow! In most places, snow doesn't stay on the ground for the whole winter, but when it's there, it's beautiful! From the pretty falling snowflakes to the fluffy white cover, and being able to do fun things such as making snowmen, having snowball fights and sledding, snow gives winter a unique charm.
  6. Winter Sports- Winter comes with lots of fun sports. If you're like me and can barely ski, it's a great time to try something new and take up a new sport. Even if you don't want to take up skiing or snowboarding, there's always ice skating (one of my favourites!) and sledding, which are still a lot of fun.
  7. Winter Fashion- Winter fashion means layers, layers and more layers. This means cute and soft sweaters, pretty boots and cute coats, gloves, hats and scarves. The more layers, the more cuteness! 
  8. Pretty Landscape- You might be thinking since when does a dull atmosphere and bare trees count as a pretty landscape. But even if there's no snow, frosty winter mornings can be stunning, and when there's snow, ice and icicles- even better!
  9. Socks- Really, I think this deserves a point on its own. Winter calls for cute, fluffy socks. And, there are so many of them to choose from! They feel so good! They're adorable! What's not to love?
  10. Christmas Decorations- Around December-January, many places have pretty lights and decorations put up. In the evenings, they light up and make everything pretty, and they are great to admire! Seeing everything lit up for the holiday season is one of the best things about winter.
Before I close off, what are your favourite things about winter? How do you spend a winter evening? Let me know in the comments below! 

Have a lovely day!