I began wearing the fashion in 2012. I’d decided I was getting tired of cosplay and I really wanted to continue dressing up at conventions. It was some escapism that I loved. Though I didn’t have the time and energy to keep making cosplays. I found my way into j-fashion, primarilly fairy kei. I quickly ventured over to Angelic Pretty. OTT sweet was still at its’ peak at that time. Split twintail wigs, chocomint accessories, plush bags, circle lenses, falsies, and pastel rainbow vomit were all the rage. I loved it, and I wanted to wear it.
I started out with Angelic Pretty print replicas. At that time, AP and most brands were not listing the max measurements on their items. I just assumed that nothing would fit. I started buying Bodyline as well. Then, I discovered after getting one of my first AP pieces, Toy Parade, that I could wear it! After the first six months, I was done with replicas and sold them off.
I afforded lolita by doing artist alley. I did have a full-time job as an assistant manager in retail. Though I was using the income from that to pay off my student loan. Artist Alley profits went into hobbies usually.
My blouses and tops were exclusively loliables and Bodyline. I managed to find a few brand tops, including a Meta T-size blouse (that I still own). But most of it was thrift store finds and altered normie pieces.
At the time, my accessories came from convention artist allies, handmade, and the occasional nab from egl_comm_sales. I was very bad at making jewelry back then.
I had a collection of socks from sock dreams, specifically their plain colored OTK socks. I still own a few of these, but I honestly rarely wear them in lolita.
I tried my hardest to be a daily lolita, but my spouse is someone who doesn’t like attention drawn to him. So I wore the fashion out with friends, running errands, meets and anime conventions. I wore my natural hair a good deal. My wigs were primarilly pastel, twin tail, or split wigs. So they didn’t suit everything.
I remember stalking egl_comm_sales, closet child, and usagiyouhinten religiously. My wardrobe really didn’t have a direction or theme. I was just buying what I liked and then tried to hodge-podge things together. In retrospect, I would’ve done better had I stuck to a specific color pallete and substyle for a few years before branching out like I had.
Themes: My wardrobe is still all over the place when it comes to colors. However, I dropped classic and gothic and stuck to sweet. I feel like at this point, I could begin to work in more classic pieces, at least ones on the sweeter side. My wardrobe leans more toward the cool side, with mint, sax, navy and lavender being the primary colors. Though lately, I’m working in yellow main pieces. I all but abandoned OTT sweet a few years ago, except for my few iconic prints that I’m not parting with. Though, I’ll admit, I was missing it hardcore and caved on getting Happy Garland. That said, I have my chocolate prints, berry prints, stars and mermaid prints. I still have a few ponies and cats around too.
The Collection: I decided it was high time to part with all of my remaining loliables and random items that were gathering dust. I replaced the cardigans and remaining Forever 21 blouses circa 2012-2013 when bibs and peter pan collars were briefly in style. I’ve been leaning more into Indie Chinese brands for blouses and cardigans. For awhile there, 2014-2017ish, I was commissioning my blouses from Glitter Tale and Bunny House. I still have and enjoy those pieces. I love coordinating with cardigans. I’m glad that there’s so many options out there now that just didn’t exist back then.
When you have a colorful wardrobe, you need a lot of shoes to make decent coordinates. I think shoes are the only realm where I still have design replicas. Though as shoes are wearing out, I’m leaning more toward original designs whenever possible. I do own a few brand tea parties, but I don’t buy them often due to the price and how they can peel/crack over time.
I’m pretty proud of my collection of peeling Angelic Pretty bags. I’m going to be moving over to indie designs. I’m sick of doing the work to restore a $110+ bag that shouldn’t deteroirate after a few wears and sitting in my wardrobe.
Purchasing habits: I don’t use Lacemarket as much, quite honestly. Prices are too damn high and it feels like everyone is scalping. I do buy fairly often directly from brand. For second-hand, I tend to purchase from Closet Child, Wunderwelt, Mercari and Fril.
These days, I work from home as a graphic designer and web developer. I’m able to do artist alley a lot more. I have more money to spend on hobbies and more time to fully enjoy them!
I feel like the biggest difference between 2012 and 2022 is simply how accessible items are. When I began, the fashion was a lot more niche and there weren’t as many options availble. Everyone in the Western community seemed to be picking over the few items around. While it wasn’t nearly as inaccessible as in the 2000’s, we still did lean a good deal into loliables to put together acceptable coordinates. These days, you don’t see a lot of “offbrand” listed in coordinate shots. I know that’s the truth for my own!