Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Baroque English Sales Page

Hello dollies!

There's good news for all the English-speaking Lolitas who love Korean indie brand Baroque. With their sumptuously beautiful prints and affordable high quality, Baroque has quickly become a big name in the indie Lolita brand scene. And now they have opened an English sales page on Facebook to make it easier for English-speaking customers to order from them!

Find their Facebook page here:

I'm quite excited about this development! I've bought and modelled their clothes before and I've always found them to be wearable, well-made, and absolutely lovely. It's a sign not just that it's getting easier all the time to obtain Lolita pieces in western countries, but that Baroque's own business is expanding, and that has to be something to celebrate.

With love,

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Style Inspiration: Coco from Die Milch

After her two recent visits to England— one last summer, and at Milk Tea Day in December in which she introduced her new (adorable!) violinist Yui— Die Milch’s Coco has gained a lot of fans here in the UK. It’s really no wonder! Between Die Milch’s fabulous Gothic Lolita-worthy music, her sunshine personality, and her flawless, doll-like style, Coco has captured people’s hearts. For style ideas for the upcoming year, here are some elements of Coco’s style by which to be inspired!

Left to right: Coco and Jasmine

Doll-like, understated makeup. Exchange glossy pastel pink lips for a more natural peach or rose flush; Illamasqua’s matte lipstick in Liable is a beautiful peachy red that will make any skin tone glow. Keep eyeshadow colours neutral and liner to a minimum, and instead achieve those huge sparkling eyes with big, spiky false eyelashes like Dolly Wink’s eyelashes in Dolly Mix. Finally, put emphasis on a clear complexion by minimising added colour: a light sweep of pale pink blusher or highlighter along the cheekbones is all you need.

Short, nude nails. Leave your deco nails at home and wear them short and neat, with just a clear or sheer pink varnish for an elegant look. After all, you never know when you’re going to be called upon to play the piano for an adoring crowd!

Bold, unusual details. Don’t be afraid to play with the fashion: Coco’s stage outfits include off-the-shoulder sleeves, lustrous fabrics, unusual colour combinations like black and pastel pink, and oversized details such as wide corset lacing for a dollyish look.

Think a little old-school! Chunky platform shoes feature heavily in Coco’s outfits; either high-heeled platform mary-janes, rocking-horse shoes, or simple flat platforms. Wristcuffs, bell sleeves, and ruffly headdresses also get some time in the spotlight, along with black-and-white colour combinations. Coco's Sweeter outfits as well as her stage outfits keep this slightly old-school feel with demure skirt lengths, high necklines, and details like corset laces and simple colour schemes. Her look is much more Baby than AP.

Simple, wearable hair. Coco’s signature hairstyle is her cute blonde bob; give your hair a break from wigs, extensions, and heat tools and leave it down and natural, with perhaps just a spritz of spray-in conditioner for shine. Instead, put the focus on a really eye-catching headpiece or even a fabulous mini-hat.

Give Atelier Pierrot some love. Atelier Pierrot has always been a bit underloved outside of Japan compared to brands like Angelic Pretty and Baby the Stars Shine Bright. However, their pieces are always beautifully ornate and add an air of  decadence to any coordinate. If you don’t want to go completely Gothic Lolita in their fanciful bustle skirts and corset bodices, look for some of their accessories to wear with other brands: try wearing some of their pretty lace gloves to add a Classic touch to a Sweet outfit, or a ruffled choker to make a Classic outfit a little more ghostly.

I’m really in love with Coco’s mixture of playful china-doll simplicity and lavish Gothic decadence, and I'm looking forward to incorporating some of her style into my 2014 look. Don’t forget to check out some of Die Milch’s music on their new Youtube channel!

And if you're in the UK, you can buy Die Milch's album Metronom via Teatime Treasures!

With love,

Images from Die Milch Official; cropped image from Dynamick on Deviantart under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Parasols and the Modern Lolita

Hello dollies! 

Winter is nearly past us now! In the northern hemisphere we can maybe even say once again that winter is coming with a hint of truth. Here in England, amidst our many rainy days (well, I do live in England) we’ve also had a surprising amount of sunny days. And yesterday, for the first time in months, the sunshine was actually warm on my face!

It got me thinking about spring, and the warmer weather to come. There are so many things I look forward to in spring: flowers, budding leaves, lower necklines, calves and lambs leaping about in the nearby fields… and, of course, parasols.

According to a few opinion pieces I’ve read recently— such as this one at Poppy Noir— the parasol is going out of style, even no longer relevant to the modern Lolita. It’s bulky, impractical, and it's ridiculous to be carrying an “umbrella” in the sunshine. It’s true that I have seen very few English Lolitas carrying them lately— even at Austen and the Abbey last year, on the hottest days of summer, I don’t remember a single Lolita with a parasol (fans, on the other hand, were very much in fashion that weekend!).

I'm sure I'm exaggerating: brand parasols still sell out every summer, and every moderately veteran Lolita I know at least owns one, if not several. But personally, I find this opinion immensely sad. When I first entered Lolita fashion parasols were to me one of the quintessential elements of a wardrobe; you didn’t have everything you needed without one.

Sunglasses just don’t compete: there's something so delightfully baroque about carrying such an impractical, indulgent accessory. One might as well complain about a print running as a parasol being stained in the rain, or an extra-fluffy petticoat knocking people's valuables off low tables as a parasol poking someone on the street, but we still take pleasure in wearing (and being terribly careful with!) non-colourfast prints and voluminous skirts, because it's considered the norm for Lolitas to sacrifice ease for beauty. To me, a parasol tops off an outfit, adding the last elegant little touch to a lighter outfit or a mysterious daystar-shielding shadow to a darker one. 

Of course, it’s silly to object to something going out of style purely on the basis of nostalgia, or sentimentalism. Perhaps it’s true that parasols are going the way of the giant rectangle headdress and the frilly knee sock, and maybe it will turn out to be for the better. I do hope, however, that they won’t become just another footnote in the history of our fashion’s development. 

So here's to parasols, in all their bulky, difficult, and thoroughly extravagant glory. Will you be carrying one this spring?

With love,

Images from the Gothic and Lolita Bible; public domain Victorian greeting card, artist unknown.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Natural Beauties: Series Start!

Hello dollies! How are you today?

One of my favourite pastimes lately has been reading historical books on beauty. I’m absolutely fascinated by what ladies of the past and all around the world did for the sake of being beautiful. Some historical beauty secrets seem very strange to us now, or outside the culture in which they were born! I’m sure we’ve all heard about lead face powder and belladonna eyedrops, but did you know that Heian Japanese ladies would paint their teeth black to protect them from decay, or that Renaissance European ladies plucked their hairlines to achieve the high forehead popular at the time?

However, many historical beauty tips are wonderful examples of using natural, easily-obtainable ingredients to bring out the best in your looks. I think this appeals to a lot of Lolitas— we do so much to get that flawless look of doll-like perfection, and all the bleach, dye, foundation, eyelash glue, and heat styling can really take its toll on both our skin and hair, and our purses. On top of that, it’s great fun to use historical beauty recipes to pamper yourself on your days off.

This mini-series is about the natural methods your grandmothers and their grandmothers might have used to enhance their beauty, using just the things you can find in your kitchen cupboards. So without further ado, I present Natural Beauties!

We may not bleach our hair with lye or dye it with oak-apples any more, but there are still some wonderful historical home recipes for changing your hair colour.

Everyone knows about henna, but there are dozens of other ways to colour your hair all-naturally. While you won’t get a vivid colour (they’re very much tints), you do have the upside that most of them will wash out within a couple of weeks and many of them will improve your hair’s condition, so if you don’t like it you can easily get rid of it and have healthier hair for your trouble. Here are some of my favourites!

  • Tea and coffee—  did you ever “age” paper by soaking it in black tea or coffee? I was surprised to learn that the same principle applies to your hair! Boil a strong pot of coffee or black tea, let it cool until it’s no longer burning hot, and rinse it through your hair several times.

    When your hair is thoroughly soaked, wrap it in a shower cap or an old towel, leave it for a few hours or even overnight, and rinse it out with clean cold water. It will darken hair, and coffee in particular will add some lovely golden tones, with the added bonus that caffeine is supposed to make your hair grow faster and stronger. This works best on light to medium brown hair.

    (Honourable mention: rooibos tea! I’ve tried this one myself on some old hair extensions and it works very well, giving hair a golden-red tint. It would definitely look nicest on dark blonde or light brown hair, giving it a lovely caramel tone, so if you’re a natural mousy brown like me it’s worth a try. However, some people report that it can dry your hair if left in too long, or if the tea is too strong, so have your deep conditioner at the ready.)

  • Onion skins— save your onion skins when you cook, and boil them in a saucepan with enough water to cover them for about an hour. Rinse it through your hair and leave, again, for a few hours or overnight. Wash your hair in clean water when you’re done— apparently your hair will not smell of onions, but if it does, try rinsing your hair with a teaspoon of vinegar in a pint of water to neutralise the smell!

    Yellow onions will give your hair a golden tint, and red onions a more burgundy one. The first is most suitable for blonde to medium brown hair, and the second for brown to black hair.

  • Cinnamon— cinnamon contains low levels of naturally-occurring hydrogen peroxide, and while it will only lighten hair a few shades, you won’t have to contend with ammonia and the other nasty chemicals in conventional bleach. To get the most out of it, mix a tablespoonful of it with set honey (which also contains natural peroxide) and olive oil, rub it through your hair, and leave it overnight. Be careful not to use too much cinnamon— it could potentially sting! When you wake up, wash your hair as you normally would. There’s a video here showing how it’s done and the results you can expect with very dark hair; lighter hair will probably show even more of a difference.

  • Carrots and beetroots— for red tones or to make naturally red hair brighter, boil carrot and beetroot skins in water for a few hours and rinse the decoction through your hair as with the onion skins. According to people who have tried this, it will wash out quickly: within a few washes, so if you like it be prepared to do it several times a week (and eat a lot of carrots— how healthy!).

  • Lemon juice— this is a tried-and-tested method, but still a good one! To get sunny highlights in blonde to light brown hair, squeeze the juice of one lemon into half a pint to one pint of water, rinse through, and sit outside in the sunshine for a while (remember your sunblock!). Wash your hair out with clean water and condition it well. This can be repeated over a number of days for the result you want.

These are some of my favourites! Next Sunday: skincare!

Do you know any more recipes that have been handed down through the generations?

With love,

"Lady Lilith" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti; "Mariana in the South" by John William Waterhouse

Saturday, 1 February 2014

An Introduction

Hello, and welcome! My name is Amelia, and I live in the ancient and folklore-laden peninsula of Cornwall in England.

I have been wearing Lolita fashion for seven years, and my favourite brands are Baby the Stars Shine Bright and Victorian Maiden. I am a brand model for Fairy Wish and have also modelled for Juliette et Justine.

This blog is about being a lifestyle Lolita. It's also about enchanted woods and making life more magical. I hope not just to write about my day-to-day life, but also Lolita fashion and its trends, folklore and fairytales, sewing and crafts, and living beautifully on a day-to-day basis.

With love,