Monday, 22 June 2020

Gothic Lolita Soundtrack: Volume IV

Hello bats! In this edition of Gothic Lolita Soundtrack, we'll be visiting some of my favourite visual kei and symphonic metal bands. I'm still trying to keep the selections limited to slightly less obvious picks, but I'm running out. Maybe I should just make a separate post about the essential visual kei bands for gothic lolitas...

† Madeth Gray'll †

Madeth Gray'll was a short-lived visual kei outfit formed in the late 1990s. Even though they didn't get a chance to release much material, they gained a cult following and still have dedicated fans to this day. They were known for their dark, baroque rock sound. I think they were more influential on other bands than they're given credit for. After a number of lineup changes, some of the former members went on to form Schwardix Marvally, another tragically short-lived visual kei project.

Recommended Songs: Lucifer, MisantroopOpera Za no Higeki

 Schwardix Marvally †

After Madeth Gray'll split, a few of the remaining members went on to start Schwardix Marvally. Some other notable members include HIZAKI of Versailles fame and Ko~zi of Malice Mizer (and about 1 billion other projects). They have a really classic 90s visual kei sound with baroque instruments and clean soft vocals as well as some touches of power/symphonic metal. You'll like them if you enjoy Lareine and Malice Mizer, as well as power metal bands like Hizaki Grace Project and Versailles.

Recommended Songs: Flowers of Dearly, RequiemLucifer (Madeth Gray'll cover)

† Hollow Mellow 

Hollow Mellow's music sounds like it comes straight out of a gothic fairy tale. I honestly don't know what genre I'd call it...baroque rock/pop/metal? If you're a fan of Ali Project, you'll enjoy Hollow Mellow. They're a perfect example of what I would consider "lolita" music - dark, romantic, yet still whimsical and cute. Their music videos perfectly capture that spooky fairy-tale feeling. I was lucky enough to see them perform live at Anime North a few years ago. The lead singer and composer, Iruma Rioka, is a gothic lolita herself, so she knows exactly what we like!

Fun fact, the violinist is the well-known Jill of Rose Noire - she plays in so many different bands, it's unreal!

Recommended Songs: Romantique, The Red Shoes, Eat Me

† Unlucky Morpheus 

Unlucky Morpheus formed as a symphonic power metal Touhou cover band that later went on to produce their own original music. I originally discovered them while looking for Touhou music know, weeb. I really like that their vocalist goes for rock-style vocals instead of operatic-style vocals - I could never get into bands like Nightwish. They're really technically skilled in terms of composition and playing, too. Their songs CADAVER and REDEVAC are mirrors of each other, designed to play one after the other!

Plus, Jill's in this band, too.

Recommended Songs: Black Pentagram, Knight of Sword, Unknown Child (U.N. Owen Was Her Cover)


Amadeus is an underrated 90s visual-kei band that I lovingly refer to as Castlevania-kei. Their vampire aesthetic extends beyond the floor-length velvet coats and eyeliner to their music, too.They have a dramatic neoclassical sound that you will enjoy if you like Versailles or Lacroix Despheres. While they aren't nearly as heavy as either of those bands, but still features baroque instruments and intense guitar solos. Plus, you may recognize the vocalist - it's Seth of Moi dix Mois!

Recommended Songs: Kyouzou no Kami

Thank you for reading, and be sure to check out the rest of the posts in this series!

† Volume I  Volume II  Volume III †

Saturday, 13 June 2020

This Is A Public Service Announcement: I'm Tired

Hello, bats! I was asked to write a guest post on on racism and colourism in the lolita fashion community for Rose Red Memorandum's blog. R.R. Memorandum is new indie brand that's bringing back the old-school lolita aesthetic in a big way. I haven't had a chance to purchase from them (the joys of long work hours and differing timezones) but I do plan on building a small old-school wardrobe, so I can't wait to score some cute bloomers and accessories!

I'm pretty much just posting it here for posterity, too - you can also view it on their blog. I haven't been posting a whole lot on social media, even though I only returned to work a few days ago. I'm just having a hard time writing lighthearted blog posts given everything that's going on right now, you know? So here we are, with a not-so-lighthearted blog post.

What drew me to lolita fashion back in 2005?

The early lolita subculture really embodied the punk ethos, far beyond the handmade clothing, tartan, and Vivienne Westwood shoes. Lolita fashion was an unapologetic, self-indulgent rejection of the intensely limiting cultural restrictions on young Japanese women. And while they may not have started wearing lolita fashion for that specific reason, by choosing to defy cultural expectations and instead choosing to do what made them happiest in a very visible way, they were pretty punk. Even though they didn't wear lolita purely to make a statement, lolita fashion itself makes a statement: "I'm doing this for myself, regardless of what you think."

It's a cute, frilly, and ultimately small form of rebellion against the establishment - safety pinned jackets and handmade band patches aren't exactly staples of lolita fashion, and you won't find lolitas meeting up in seedy punk bars these days. But it's still rebellion nonetheless. Lolitas willingly made themselves into outsiders, and were treated as such - and had their own value system to match. Lolitas weren't concerned about following mainstream beauty trends and lifestyles, so they created their own.

Of course, as an outsider myself, who was a weeby teen who discovered lolita when the community outside of Japan was still very new and very small, and who couldn't wear the fashion until much later, maybe I'm romanticizing things a little bit. I'm sure that a lot of lolitas also wore it simply because it was cute, or because their friends wore it, or even because they were just going through a phase. And all of these are perfectly valid reasons to wear lolita, too.

But I think that there's something to be said for the people who are trying to recapture that rebellious feeling. The recent old-school lolita revival, spearheaded mainly by younger lolitas who admire the carefree, creative spirit of the proto-lolitas of the 1990s and early 2000s, has turned into a much wider trend. Fashion is cyclical, so what is old becomes new again, and it's far back enough in the past now that it's become charming and retro to people who would have dismissed it as outdated and ugly only a few years ago. But when something becomes a trend that's divorced from its roots and its original context (which, to be fair, is happening to lolita fashion as a whole), the original spirit of the movement is lost. And sadly, some lolitas are all too quick to uphold and enforce some of the restrictive mainstream ideals that drove people towards alternative subcultures like lolita in the first place.

I've seen many of these very same lolitas describe themselves put it bluntly, pretty self-aggrandizing terms like "revolutionary" and "punk" for wearing lolita fashion. And I don't think lolita fashion really has that rebellious punk edge anymore. I'm honestly not sure if the lolita community outside of Japan ever had much of that energy at all, to be honest. Lolita fashion is rooted in feminine rebellion, and many lolitas outside of Japan feel like lolita is a feminist fashion...or at least, they used to. I'm not sure if anyone else feels that way anymore. Maybe it really is just clothes, and there's no underlying attitude to go along with it. And maybe there never really was. I guess I have a very idealistic view, right?

Now that we're experiencing a global pandemic, economic downturn, and massive social unrest all at once, many of these self-proclaimed punks and rebels are oddly silent. And I'm not saying that lolitas need to go out and protest en masse, or burn down Angelic Pretty, or chain themselves to trees as demonstrators, or devote the entirety of their social media to championing a social cause. At the same time, it's very telling when self-styled punks spend more time posing for their Instagram followers than talking about some of the very real problems within the lolita community and in the wider world around them. I think we can do better, too. We can't save the whole world, but maybe we can tackle some of the problems in our own community, especially because many of these larger global problems are reflected in the lolita community as well.

Even though lolitas are outsiders, we're not so far removed from mainstream culture that we completely reject the value system that comes with it. Racism, colourism, size discrimination, ageism, transphobia, classism, and a whole lot of other "-isms" are definitely a lot more frowned-upon than they used to be, especially because society as a whole is much more tolerant than it used to be,. Things that were completely normal to say as recently as ten years ago are no longer socially acceptable. But they're not exactly absent, either. And in my opinion, this all runs counter to the original rebellious spirit of lolita fashion. How can you claim labels like "feminist" and "punk" while ignoring the problems in your own backyard?

While the lolita community has become more understanding and sensitive towards differences, the lolita fashion community hasn't always been receptive to Black people, and other people of colour with dark skin. People in our community like to pat themselves on the back for being members of an inclusive and diverse community while glossing over the very real problems that we face. Hell, we had to boot a girl from my local comm for tossing out racial slurs at an employee of a venue we were visiting - a diverse comm in Toronto, literally the most racially diverse city on the planet. I can't speak for the lolita community in Asia, where the vast majority of lolitas will of course be Asian. But my own experiences in the international, English-speaking lolita community haven't always been positive, especially online.

What does posting online mean for Black lolitas? In my experience, it means getting well-intentioned comments about what colours to wear that won't clash with a brown skintone. Getting less well-intentioned comments about how dark skin is not elegant or cute enough for lolita. It's being disparaged for having curly hair or braids. It's being dismissed as "hysterical" or "militant" when you try to bring up colourism or racism in a lolita space. Sometimes it even means seeing racial slurs and insults.

It's also never being seen as good enough. People are less likely to interact with your posts. It's being criticized harshly for flaws that other people get away with unnoticed. Some lolita brands never use Black models in their overseas fashion shows, so I don't waste my time applying anymore. I'm truly grateful to the brands, big and small, who make an effort to make their overseas shows more inclusive. But the message has been made perfectly clear: you are not good enough for us. And believe me, we heard it. Over and over again.

If you asked anyone to envision the ideal lolita, she would probably be pale and straight-haired with delicate Caucasian features. I'm unambiguously Black (I'm also 1/4 Arab), but I'm also thin, light-skinned, and my hair isn't very kinky. Because of that, I already know that I have an easier time of it than other black lolitas. What I'm describing is just the tip of the iceberg compared to what other people go through. I'm not writing this to whine about how hard it is. I'm trying to show people that this problem actually exists. How can people say that this isn't an issue?

I've been asked so many times by non-Black lolitas to host a panel about my experiences with racism and colourism in lolita. And while I'm not against the idea in theory, I've never been asked to host a panel on, say, Moi-même-Moitié, or visual kei, or or any of the other dozens of subjects I could talk about that don't have anything to do with my race. I'm sure they meant well and wanted to highlight some of the problems in the lolita community, and I respect that, but hearing the question so many times really does make me wonder why I'm regularly being asked to parade around my painful experiences on a stage to "educate" people. Do people ask male lolitas to deliver speeches on sexism in the lolita community? It just makes me feel like a token.

As outsiders in a community of outsiders, Black lolitas formed our own safe communities where we could share our outfits, our experiences, and just...exist peacefully without having to read comments about how Black skin, Black hair, and Black bodies don't suit the lolita aesthetic, and without worrying about being seen as a spokesperson or a representative for all Bblack lolitas. We can just be lolitas.

I'm proud of being Black, but I'm getting tired of being viewed as a Black lolita when I could just be a lolita. Is my race the only thing that people see when they look at me? I don't want people to suck up to me so that I can be the token black in their friends list now that #BLM is trending. I don't want people to follow me on social media so that they can say they support black people. I certainly don't want their pity. I just want understanding. When the protests die down and people will no longer give you extra props for caring about Black people, I don't want things to go just back to normal. Normal wasn't working for us.

I don't talk about these issues often not because I don't care, but because I'm just so tired of feeling like I need to advocate for myself. My whole community is tired of advocating for ourselves. It shouldn't take mass protests to make people take notice, but I'm happy that it has, because it's time for someone else to have these hard conversations and discuss these topics. I've seen more than a few people speaking up, which was honestly more than I could have hoped for. I don't expect every single lolita to become a crusader for justice, leading a revolution in our community. But if you feel like wearing lolita makes you feminist or punk or a rebel, it's time to stand up and prove it.

[Current Music: Run The Jewels - Early]

Friday, 15 May 2020

Lolita Blog Carnival: Have A Friend Make A Coord For You

For this week's edition of Lolita Blog Carnival, we were prompted to ask a friend or SO to make a coordinate for us. I recruited my best friend @vudu_juju since she's a gothic lolita and Moitié devotee, just like me! She and I will often gravitate to the same main pieces, and we buy the same things in different colours for twinning purposes, but we'll often coordinate the same items totally differently. She loves to experiment and go OTT with unique accessories and interesting materials...and I generally throw on a comfy OP and call it a day. This goes for our non-lolita wardrobes, too! She looks like an elegant vampire who plays synths in an 80s goth band whereas I just kinda channel sloppy 90s goth. But hey, mallgoth is back in style if Instagram is anything to go by.

I really like the coordinate she came up with for me! I wouldn't have thought to use white as an accent colour, but there's actually a bit of white in the print, so I think it goes together quite nicely. I also don't get many opportunities to wear this corset, so I'm happy that she chose it. It's actually a jacquard fabric so it looks really beautiful in person.

I've also been interested in trying longer cuts recently. I still prefer short cuts just for the cuteness factor, but long cuts look so elegant and mature. Granted, since I'm rectangle-shaped and not very tall, I think they make me a little stumpy, but whatever. I also think that going without a petticoat looks much better with a long dress than with a short one.

Skirt: Enchantlic Enchantilly
Blouse: Alice and the Pirates
Corset: Alice and the Pirates
OTKs: Atelier17, Moi-même-Moitié
Headdress: Metamorphose
Shoes: Metamorphose
Accessories: Moi-même-Moitié

Thank you so much for reading! Be sure to check out the other LBC bloggers discussing today's topic. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Ideas for Online Lolita Meetups & Activities

I've been laid off for nearly 2 months, and I've left my immediate neighbourhood maybe...5 times, at most? It's been hard not being able to see my friends or go out, but I'm managing. Video/voice chatting while painting or crafting, or just to shoot the breeze, has been a godsend. I'm also very thankful that my lolita community has been actively hosting meetups and activities so that we don't all die of boredom. Here's a list of things I've been doing with my comm and my lolita friends - maybe you'll get some ideas!

Host a watch party. I We also watched a bunch of terrible low-budget "documentaries" about lolita and roasted them. My comm held watch parties and streamed lolita-approved movies like Emma, Kamikaze Girls, and Bara no Konrei. In some ways it's more fun that going to a theatre since you can't talk in the theatre, but during a watch party you can chat all you want! It was tons of fun discussing and riffing on the movies, especially Bara no Konrei.

Bara no Konrei doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it's aesthetically pleasing.

Watch2gether has been great for this since you don't need to sign up for an account or anything - just plug videos into the playlist and send people the link to your chatroom. You can also use platforms like Kast, Discord, and Twitch.

Attend a virtual visual kei concert. In the same vein, I recently hosted a Malice Mizer live concert watch party with my friends where we all wore Moitié and watched the concerts in chronological order. I have a few Malice Mizer DVDs kicking around. Youtuber Cantavanda has uploaded a ton of Malice Mizer concerts and music videos in HD so you can view them if you don't have the DVDs. If Malice Mizer isn't your bag, Youtube has lots of full lives uploaded for bands like Versailles, Hollow Mellow, and Lareine. if your group of friends is anything like mine, you'll have a fun evening of nostalgia and fangirl tears.

Now you can go to the concerts you couldn't go to when you were 14!

Take a virtual tour. Many museums and tourist attractions have online tours or walkthrough videos available - there's a great listing here. I'm partial to this tour of the Louvre and this tour of St. Vitus Cathedral. I also found an unusual but interesting tour of the Tim Burton exhibit at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas! Ghibli Museum's Youtube channel is uploading tours on a weekly basis. It's no replacement for travelling, but at least there's no crowds or crying babies. Plus, the tour guides can get up close and personal with the artwork without being swatted away by a security guard.

The Vatican even has a 3D reproduction of the Sistine Chapel. Admittedly, this one isn't that exciting, but I thought it was sort of cool.

Take an online class. It's always more fun to study together, so why not take an online class in a light subject? It's important to keep your mind active, and lots of websites are offering free trials or even entirely free courses that are entirely self-paced. Many public libraries offer free subscriptions to many of these websites.

The Museum of Modern Art offers this course on fashion as design via Coursera.EdX is also another good resource, and even offers instruction in languages other than English. Want to fulfill your weeb aspirations of learning Japanese, but you only speak Chinese? Say no more. Or you can learn French so that you can finally figure out how to pronounce Metamorphose Temps de Fille correctly. That's right, I'm calling you out.

It's ok, people were confused in 2004 too.
I hope that some of these ideas were helpful! What have you and your comm been doing to stay connected?

[Current Music: My Bloody Valentine - Only Shallow]

Friday, 1 May 2020

Lolita Blog Carnival: Pros & Cons of Keeping To One Style Vs. Multiple Styles

Wow, I haven't done a Lolita Blog Carnival post in absolute ages! Today's theme is discussing the pros and cons of sticking with one style. This is definitely something I think about pretty often since I only wear gothic lolita but I love all 3 of the major substyles and would really like to try them all someday. So let's start off with some of the pros of wearing just one style!

Building multiple wardrobes is expensive. It might be easier to build a wardrobe of gothic and classic, or sweet and classic, since those styles cross over easily and allow you to share items between your two wardrobes as long as you stick with certain colours and themes. But if you want to wear both, say, OTT pastel sweet and Moitié-style gothic, you're going to have to buy two entirely separate wardrobes. Goodbye, money. And where are you going to put it all?

I've wanted to try other styles, but I prefer wearing gothic, and that's what I want to save my money for. Old Moitié ain't cheap! Even a super basic starter sweet wardrobe can be expensive since literally none of my pieces would work for OTT pastel sweet, and because I'm not really into the type of sweet that the less-expensive Chinese brands put out. Even old stuff like Sugary Carnival and Milky Planet aren't that cheap. I think I'd just end up buying an OP set so that I could easily try it all at once and resell it if needed.

Good thing my comm has style swap meetups!

I wish Moitié would release full matching sets like this for beginners. It's hard to find perfectly matched items.
Your wardrobe can look cohesive without much effort. I think it's important to build your wardrobe as a functioning wardrobe and not as a collection of distinct coordinates where individual parts can't be swapped out to make new coordinates. It's better to be flexible so that you get more mileage out of every piece - otherwise, what's the point of spending hundreds of dollars on a dress you can only style in one way? In order to do that, you need to make sure all of your pieces go together.

If you only wear one substyle, you don't need to make a concerted effort to make sure that all your pieces work together so that you can get multiple coordinates out of your collection of dresses and accessories. It's even easier if you stick to one or two colours. if you've seen my old wardrobe post, you'll notice that I only wear black, white, and blue gothic-themed items (I've recently started adding red, too!) and that's made it very easy to add new stuff to my wardrobe without worrying about having to buy new things to match it. I already know it'll work with what I have!

You can devote your energy to completely mastering one substyle, and you can be creative without changing your substyle. You're limited in that you can only use items from your chosen style, which forces you to be creative with what you have. Techniques that work well in one substyle might not work for another, so if you're trying to learn and be experimental, I think it's much easier to start with just one! For example, layering of corsets and underskirts in different textures or fabrics looks much better in gothic or in classic than in sweet, in my opinion.

I've been trying to cut back on purchasing lolita pieces (and all purchases in general) and am instead trying to reuse my existing wardrobe in different ways - layering, different colour combinations, etc. It's been a lot of fun! I can still branch out without having to try a whole new substyle, since the gothic brands are all so different and can be combined in different ways. I'm not exactly a master of coordinating, but I'll get there!

Atelier Pierrot staff are so good at coordinating items that I wouldn't even think to put together! Image from from Atelier Pierrot Shinjuku's blog.

Of course, it's not all sunshine and roses. There are a few cons, too.

It's harder to dress up for themed meetups. This is a bigger dilemma for some people than you think! As a gothic lolita, sometimes it can be really hard for me to follow the themes for some of my lolita comm's meetups. I'm in a big comm (100+ members), but I'd estimate the split is about 75% sweet, 20% classic, and 5% gothic. Realistically, the only themed meetups that work for my wardrobe are going to be at Halloween and Christmas.

As an example, my comm was supposed to have a fruit-themed picnic meetup...before the pandemic struck, anyway. Lots of sweet dresses have fruit themes, and some can be coordinated in a way to make them look more classic. It's much harder if you only wear gothic, though. I could sort of fudge it by wearing fruit accessories (Suppurate System's apple necklaces come to mind) but I can probably count the number of fruit-themed gothic prints on one hand.

I can see Alice and the Pirates being able to pull off a Persephone-themed print with roses and pomegranates, or a Garden of Eden print with snakes and apples. I dunno, I just really want some gothy fruit prints.

Black Cat, Witch, and the Apple Tree is such a cute print! I'm hoping to find the red JSK soon.
Brand tea parties and events can also be tricky. Most of my favourite gothic brands are unlikely to be invited to Toronto as guests since there wouldn't be much interest. We've hosted the big sweet and classic brands like Angelic Pretty, Victorian Maiden, Juliette et Justine, and Baby, the Stars Shine Bright, but never an exclusively gothic brand. Now that I've been wearing lolita for several years, I have enough goth-friendly pieces from those brands that I could probably manage. I have one  but prior to that I wouldn't have been able to attend any events with wardrobe requirements without borrowing an outfit. And borrowing outfits for a tea party makes me nervous. What if I drop my jam?!

Angelic Pretty, but make it goth.
Still, I'd love it if Sheglit, h.naoto, Atelier Pierrot (I went to their tea party in Gatineau!), or of course Moi-même-Moitié were able to attend an event in Toronto. Granted, if they did, my comm would be scrambling to find brand items for the party. And since these brands don't appeal to the vast majority of my comm t wouldn't be fair to the brand guests since they wouldn't make much money selling their merchandise. It wouldn't be fair to the attendees either, since they probably wouldn't be that excited to see the brands.

And that brings me to the end of this little discussion! The question was actually a little harder than I thought, which is why this blog entry is so short. When I think about it, in my opinion it's actually better to branch out and wear multiple styles - the only truly prohibitive aspect is cost and storage, whereas the other problems can be overcome with some ingenuity.

Thank you for reading, and please check out what everyone else in the Lolita Blog Carnival had to say!

Lolita Blog Carnival

[Current Music: Aphex Twin - Come to Daddy]

Thursday, 23 April 2020

My Favourite Gothic Lolita Fragrances

Whenever I wear lolita, even casually, I like to put on makeup and perfume that suits my coordinate. It's an important part of my daily ritual. I also just like things that smell pretty because they make me feel like less of a goblin. I find that my tastes in perfume have changed a lot over the years, from uber-girly candy scents (think anything from Victoria's Secret) to darker and more mature scents. I put together a list of scents that I really like to wear when wearing lolita.

Gothic lolita is such a broad substyle that it would be easy to pick a thousand different perfumes that suit the fashion. Gothic lolita is dark but sweet at the same time, so I think that slightly sweet floral or fruity scents with a hint of darkness embody the fashion perfectly.

So, some notes about my taste. I usually like rather gothic perfumes, especially with a dark and fruity flavour. Patchouli, incense, smoke, wood, and rose are common notes in gothic perfumes - fruits are less common, but you may find berry notes as well. Basically, anything that invokes images of an old church, graveyards, vampires, a garden of thorny roses, dusty get the picture. If that doesn't sound appealing to you, then you probably won't like my picks very much. This topic has been covered in the Gothic Lolita Bible a few times and in the EGL Livejournal community, so I'd recommend checking those out instead.

Smelly Yeti Perfumery † Queen of the Damned
"Drusilla, Spike’s sometimes-paramour, wanderer of graveyards, makes for an enchanting and unconventional floral scent. Among the more traditional bouquet of roses is a mélange of darker, cooler notes of cabbage, cedarwood, tuberose moss, dewy grass, and damp earth. The overall effect is one of flowers in a graveyard. Feminine."

The first perfume on this list is from Smelly Yeti Perfumery, a tiny perfume oil shop that appears to be on temporary hiatus. They've released many collections based on pop culture, from TV shows to comic books to anime series. I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so I bought a bunch of scents from the Buffy collection. Queen of the Damned is based on Drusilla, a deranged clairvoyant vampire with a ridiculous accent. I love her.

One of my favourite Drusilla costumes. This looks like an I Do Declare dress!
This perfume is truly unique. It gives me the impression of a funeral in a rainy rose garden. You can actually smell the wet earth and grass underlying the rose scent on top. It's not just a plain rose, either - it's smokey and incense-y. It's a gorgeous scent, perfect for an elegant witch or vampire aristocrat. It's only available in an oil form, so be mindful of this if you don't want to get any on your sleeves. It would be a good candidate for a perfume oil locket.

Chanel  Gabrielle
"It is a pure floral composed around four flowers: exotic and intense jasmine, radiant and fruity ylang-ylang, fresh and sparkling orange blossom, and creamy, highly feminine Grasse tuberose."

I'm not a fan of most Chanel fragrances. I recognize that they're objectively nice fragrances (they're enduring classics for a reason, after all) but they just don't really suit me or my style. That being said, I love flowers, and you can't go wrong with a pure floral like this one. It's soft, delicate, and girly without being sugary-sweet or overpowering. I feel like the slight citrus and wood notes help tone it down a bit. It's also not overly powdery - some people find powdery floral scents a bit too "mature" (I hate when people call perfumes old-ladyish!) but this one is fresh and sweet enough to give off more of a cute vibe. it's the perfect springtime scent, perfect for a walk in the park or a picnic on a sunny afternoon.

Smelly Yeti Perfumery † Ouran
"Roses. Bulgarian roses. English roses. Rosehip jasmine, pikake flower, and yuzu. Basically, FLOWERS. Plus, a hint of the tropical flavor that signifies the mark of a true silly anime - the token beach episode. The perfect way to be noticed by senpai- or rather, for senpai to be noticed. Feminine!"

I cracked up as soon as I saw the name of this perfume. A running gag in the anime series Ouran Highschool Host Club was a character saying something ridiculously dramatic while surrounded by rose petals, poking fun at that old shoujo anime cliche. It's a very fitting name because it's just over-the-top roses and flowers with the sliiiightest hint of yuzu and fruit. It's also slightly fresh and powdery, which prevents it from smelling too sweet. Don't let the goofy description fool you - it's actually a rather sophisticated and elegant scent. It's definitely one of the prettiest and girliest scents in my collection so I like to wear it when I'm wearing something extravagant, like my Atelier Pierrot bustle dress. I feel like someone like Arika Takarano would enjoy this perfume!

Arika Takarano of ALI PROJECT.
Yves St. Laurent † Nuit de l'Homme
"Bright, masculine freshness combines with sophistication and nonchalance to create a fresh, yet deep and mysterious scent with notes of cardamom, cedar, and coumarin—a structure of contrasting forces."

Even though this is marketed as a masculine scent, I feel that it works well as a unisex scent as it is quite a bit sweeter than most men's fragances. I bought a bottle for my boyfriend on a whim, and it smells great on him, but I ended up liking it for myself as well. This is a go-to perfume for me when I'm wearing EGA since it's very much like how I imagine a beautiful vampire would smell. It's a little bit like the scent of Djarum Black clove cigarettes, but less tobacco-y and more warm and spicy. Overall, it's a mature and elegant scent with just a little bit of sweetness, and it's perfect if you want a scent that's lightly sweet without being overly girly.

Bath and Body Works † Dark Kiss Eau de Parfum

"Dark Kiss is a daring and seductive scent of berries, flowers and tempting night musk. It is a modern tale of forbidden love that will loose your hidden fantasies and primal passions.
Top notes: bergamot, incense, Mirabelle plum and blackberry. Heart: amber, Burgundy rose, geranium and peony. Base: dark vanilla, labdanum, vetiver, balsams and musks."

This is one of my favourite everyday scents, and it's super affordable! It's a "retired" scent, meaning that it's available for purchase online but is only available in physical stores at certain times of year. It starts off as a very dark berry scent with a bit of incense that tapers off to a softer floral scent with a hint of vanilla. Even though it's fruity, it's not too "young" or candy-like like many fruit scents can be. Despite the edgy name and marketing, I don't find it particularly sexy or primal at's just dark, sweet, and feminine. In other words, perfect for a gothic lolita!

I miss Bath and Body Works' old packaging style...the label was way cuter.
Yves Saint Laurent † Black Opium Floral Shock
"The iconic coffee and vanilla accord is now combined with new floral notes of gardenia and orange blossom that add the instant cool feeling of a sea breeze—it’s Black Opium on ice."

Black Opium Floral Shock is my favourite everyday perfume. I like gourmand perfumes (who wouldn't want to smell like a yummy bakery?) but I find that a lot of them can be overwhelmingly sweet and cloying, and it just brings back memories of the cheap cinnamon bun body spray I used in high school.  For me, this perfume has just the right amount of sweetness without being overpowering. The scent is a mixture of sweet coffee and white flowers, with a slight citrus fruity note...actually, it smells kind of like a Tim Horton's Iced Capp, but better. I don't really get any of the "sea breeze" notes from the description, though. When I hear sea breeze I think of bright and fresh beachy scents, not floral vanilla coffee - and I wouldn't recommend a sea breeze scent for a gothic girl anyway!


Tom Ford † Noir de Noir
"Rich feminine florals and the masculine earthiness of black truffle, vanilla, patchouli, oud wood, and tree moss add a warm sensuality to this dark chypre oriental."

The last scent I wanted to discuss is a bit of an odd one in my collection. It's another unisex scent marketed towards men, but with a slightly feminine feel. It's an earthy, smoky, woody rose scent with a hint of vanilla and dark chocolate. Those things don't sound like they'd go together at all, right? But somehow it all works. I would describe it as a dark and romantic scent, perfect for a gothic aristocrat or a vampire princess!

I hope you guys enjoyed my recommendations! Please let me know what if you think if you decide to go out and try them. Do you have a favourite perfume to wear when wearing lolita?

[Current Music: The Mission - Severina]

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Quarantine Coordinates

Ok, so I'm not actually in quarantine, but that title sounds better. I'm in self-isolation right now and it's been a pretty strange experience. Toronto is pretty much in shutdown mode right now for the forseeable future. It's been very surreal seeing so many closed storefronts, empty streets, and quiet highways. I enjoyed commuting on the the empty subway - up until I got laid off, anyway.

I don't really get too deep into my personal stuff on this blog (which is odd, since it's a lifestyle blog), but it reminds me a lot of the summer 2003 SARS outbreak - my dad was in the ICU at the time for unrelated reasons and I wasn't allowed to visit the hospital due to the infection risk, so I spent almost 2 weeks mostly alone in our family apartment. Even when I ventured outside, it was much quieter than normal. I remember being creeped out by the emptiness in certain places...but I had also been playing a lot of Silent Hill at the time, which didn't help!

Not a great game to play alone while your dad is in the hospital.
But, to keep it brief, I have an anxiety/panic disorder and a lot of my issues revolve around health. I also have some chronic health issues that make me frequently congested or short of to say I've been feeling anxious is the understatement of the century.

I was planning to either go back to school or enroll in a tech bootcamp next year so I'm really hoping that I won't have to dig too far into my savings. I'd set aside a bit of money because me and a big group of friends were also planning to meet up and rent a house together in April for Tekko (in Pittsburgh, PA) - there was going to be a Moitié fashion show and tea party. Obviously, we had to postpone our plans. Being upset about that seems really shallow compared to the other heavy stuff going on right now, but it's just one more disappointment.

Still, I'm an optimistic person, so I'm trying to find the positives in this situation. I've had time to relax at home and do a few things I've been meaning to do, like clean out my closet and practice coding. I have a lot of games and books that I've never had a chance to finish, too. I can also film and edit videos. I've been video chatting with friends all over the world. I'm also extremely solitary, so I like spending time alone and unbothered. And...I can wear lolita whenever I want while I'm at home! I wear very toned-down and casual lolita to work sometimes, which means some of my fancier dresses and blouses don't see much use.

Day 1: I almost never feel inclined to wear this dress, which I talked about in this blog post. I'm trying to use some of my lesser-worn pieces more often so that I can feel a bit more justified about purchasing them...I'll probably end up selling this dress, though. Anyway, I didn't do much that day aside from household chores and cooking, so I didn't bother with doing my hair or makeup.

I love layering blouses under short-sleeved OPs. OPs can feel a little bit stylistically limited, so adding a blouse underneath can help to spice them up a little bit. I distinctly remember when people used to go on and on about how wearing a blouse under an OP, or an OP under a JSK was automatically ita, but I prefer the layered look. Besides, it's still too cold out to wear a chiffon OP on its own.

OP:  Moi-même-Moitié
Blouse: Dark Box
OTKs: Moi-même-Moitié
Headbow: Moi-même-Moitié
Purse: Moi-même-Moitié
Shoes: Offbrand
Accessories: Néant Glass, Restyle, Moi-même-Moitié

Day 2:  I filmed a video earlier in the day, so I actually put on makeup and attempted to do my hair. In the evening one of my comm members was kind enough to organize an online Kamikaze Girls watch party and tea party! Of course, by the time evening rolled around, I'd switched to a cozy cutsew so that I could get comfy with my tea and snacks. I love to wear a cutsew and skirt when I'm just hanging out at home. It just makes me feel a little cuter and more put-together.

This skirt is my first piece from Enchantlic Enchantilly. I've admired their pieces for a long time, but I'd never bought anything for myself up until recently. I really like the fairytale inspiration they use in their prints - even their gothic prints are still dreamy and cute. I'm extremely pleased with the quality of this skirt. It's fully shirred and soft, so it's perfect for lounging around in.

Skirt: Enchantlic Enchantilly
Blouse: Sentaro
Corset Vest: Sheglit
OTKs: Enchantlic Enchantilly
Headdress: Antique Beast
Purse: Moi-même-Moitié
Shoes: Yosuke
Accessories: Necrosarium, Luna Borgia

Day 3: I actually didn't feel like wearing lolita on the actual Day 3, so this is technically Day 4. Anyway, me and my Tekko trip friends had a virtual Moitié meetup on video chat! I tried to recreate a hilarious classic Mana photo. Maybe wanting to look like a clone of someone else is derivative and boring, but I love cloning/twinning because it makes me feel like I'm in a cult or something. We used to joke that we were dressed to worship at the Church of Mana, and the name stuck around. We're only half-kidding at this point.

I'm really loving these Prisila clip-on ponytails. They're very voluminous, so they actually completely hide my hair underneath, unlike most clip-ons. Most importantly, they're not at all heavy! I have a pretty tender scalp so any weight or tension from wigs or extensions is migraine city for me, but I can wear these comfortably all day. I have no idea how I survived wearing box braids.
Same cryptid energy.

JSK: Moi-même-Moitié
Blouse: Atelier Pierrot
OTKs: Moi-même-Moitié
Headdress: Moi-même-Moitié
Shoes: Metamorphose Temps de Fille
Accessories: Moi-même-Moitié, Atelier Pierrot

Day 4: Today I filmed a video about goth music, so I went for a comfortable layered look in mostly black.  I like wearing contrasting socks in my all-black coordinates, even if the colours aren't balanced out elsewhere. I had a virtual tea party with a small group of friends in the evening, but again I wanted to be comfy so I ditched the blouse and lounged around in the OP. This is probably the most comfortable OP I own! It feels like a fancy nightgown.

OP: Moi-même-Moitié
Blouse: Angelic Pretty
OTKs: Atelier 17
Headdress: Moi-même-Moitié
Shoes: Offbrand
Accessories: Néant Glass, Antique Beast, offbrand

Day 5:  I've always liked the combination of a white JSK with black blouse and socks - it's so striking! For some reason, a black JSK with white blouse and socks just isn't as visually punchy. And I will defend wearing white shoes with black socks until the day I die.

I bought this JSK from a friend a few weeks ago, but hadn't worn it until now. She removed the plastic boning and replaced it with steel boning, so it fits very snugly, but I don't think it suits my body shape. She's much taller than me, whereas I'm pretty short with a short torso. I have to hike it up a bit for it to sit in the right spot on my waist, but then the shape just isn't quiiiiite right...still, I like the print a lot, so I'll keep the dress. I might have to try coordinating it with a jacket or something on top.

JSK: Moi-même-Moitié
Blouse: Moi-même-Moitié
OTKs: Moi-même-Moitié
Headdress: Moi-même-Moitié
Shoes: Metamorphose Temps de Fille
Accessories: Offbrand

And that's it for my first round of quarantine coords! Stay safe and healthy out there, everyone. Check on your friends and loved ones and do your best to help the people around you while minimizing contact - we're all stuck here together, after all!

[Current Music: No Problem - Talking to Myself]