Mew Haven Cat Cafe 2023
Just outside of the entrance to Mew Haven Cat Cafe with friends.
Alright, I know we visited Mew Haven Cat Cafe as a group last year in June 2022, but this June was markedly different. First off, except for me, everyone who attended was different! Secondly, the meetup organizer was able to get us as a group private time with the kitties during the annual "Cat Prom" fundraising event. It costs approximately $18 per person to spend one hour with the kitties. I think our tickets were a little bit more because it also included our drinks. Any additional items such as a baked good or cat themed merchandise are extra.
Now it was nice to see Margot and Jax again as I hadn't seen them since our epic zoo trip. They know a lot about animals and are especially good with kitties! It was also nice seeing Caroline and Weslee again. And of course my people Barbara and Pahl who tend to accompany me on many adventures including the steampunk variety. It was also nice to meet some new people as well!
The fashion theme was to wear something with animals or cats or something classic. So I wore the exact same Bodyline dress I wore last year with its very subtle brown cat silhouettes in the vertical lines of the design. Now I've been able to invest in my wardrobe quite a bit over the last year. Back in 2022, I didn't even own a petticoat yet. You seriously would never have known that this dress has skirt pickups back in 2022.
Improvements abound in 2023 with my new favorite Tiny Garden blouse in Apricot (I wear this one A LOT), the bonnet I purchased for my lavender themed outfit for the lavender pond meeting last year, a stuffed bear bag I bought in lieu of something else I wanted that was out of stock, sweet lolita ankle socks, my favorite MODO wing tipped birdcage heels, and a pair of wristcuffs I bought on Shein (that I already accidentally stained with coffee and didn't realize I was wearing backwards).
As a group we have some nice blues going on! Margot went for a Cinnamonroll (from Sanrio) themed casual look (complete with Pikachu socks!), another girl went full on old-school elegant lolita with the shirred sax blue top and skirt, and Jax is wearing a clever milk-themed jsk that has different kinds of milks (like chocolate, strawberry, ube, etc) showcased in the design. (It's clever because purportedly cats enjoy drinking milk). Caroline went above and beyond by MAKING HER SKIRT (apparently she just had the fabric and the lace on hand), and Weslee went along with all of us in his cat themed waist-coat. Barbara has a beautiful classic skirt and shirt combination with cats on it as well as wearing black cat ears on her head and carrying a black Luna bag. Pahl went completely Victorian/Steampunk here with 2 pieces of a 3 piece suit, a waist-coat, a bow tie, a bowler hat...luckily Weslee incorporated some of the same brown into his outfit so that balances out the colorful choices in the group photo.
Caroline reaches for Rohan
The Cat cafe doesn't normally have silver and gold stars on the wall, but it was the middle of Cat Prom weekend, which made our private time more festive.
Phillip eyes my baked good item while Margot tries to distract him with the aerial toy.
Besties doing their bestie pose.
Pahl getting down to the kitty's level. See how he matches this cat's fur!
Clearly we had a great time at the cat cafe! I enjoyed my experience much more the second time. I don't know if it's because I've been there before, or if it is because I felt more confident in my outfit. But if there's another meet here next June, I'll be sure to style the exact same dress differently again!
A Fine Day at Elizabeth Park
Do you need a free place for a romantic and gorgeous photoshoot location? Look no further than Elizabeth Park, located in Hartford, CT. This park is on the National Register of Historic Places and has just over 100 acres of formal gardens. We spent our time in two of the 5-6 gardens on-site, but there are parts of the park that continue to bloom from May-October. There are multiple entrances and plenty of parking.
It was the first weekend of June, and we had planned a picnic with our friends/family inside the rose gardens. Of course Pahl and I had to get dressed up for the occasion. The dress I'm wearing is another fantastic dress set from Chinese indie brand Miss Point. [You'll notice I have a thing for this brand]. The official name of this piece is Elegant Flower Wall Lolita JSK Dress. I fell in love with this dress right away, as it reminded me of things I found from my grandmother (she loved light blue/light turquoise) and the print evoked a vintage romantic feeling. The set came with the JSK, a flower brooch, and the waist belt. I additionally purchased the matching shirt (in ivory), cardigan (ivory long sleeve), and a bonnet (large straw hat) all from Miss Point. Other things I'm wearing include a pair of leather oxfords I bought on the clearance rack at DSW over 8 years ago and a pair of ivory below the knee lace socks. My classic ivory lace parasol is used in almost every picture to protect me from the sun (and look extra romantic). One interesting thing is that I'm not wearing any makeup whatsoever on this day! I guess it goes with that country romantic feeling!
Pahl is also wearing oxfords, a bright red and black smoking jacket, an earthy colored paisley waistcoat with matching striped pants, an Alice in Wonderland themed bow tie, and a straw boaters hat. Again it's kind of like that time we went to Tea With Tracy--he's got the saturated warm color vibe while I have the neutral cool color vibe of the same general whimsical romantic feeling. As a side note, this dress from Miss Point I had purchased the evening before our first date. I showed it to him and he very much liked it. I thought he was just being nice...but it turns out he's just as much into dressing up in costumes as I am!
Elizabeth Park is probably most well-known for their rose arches. These are in the Helen S. Kaman Rose Garden. The rose archways, only bloom mid to late June. As you can see, in early June the arches were not really blooming...yet. But it certainly added an otherworldly feeling between my vintage looking outfit and the tall archways. If not for my mini backpack, it would seem as if this photo was taken 100 years ago.
My friend Sarah is in the same garden that I am in above (with the arches). There are rows and rows of different types of roses planted all over this garden. You can get an idea of the scale a little bit more from Sarah's picture. The rows of roses continue to bloom into October.
In the very middle of this garden is a Ghibli-esque "Rustic Summer House", which is made of cedar and is covered with Virginia Creeper. You can kind of see how the archways meet on the four sides of this structure and go outwards from that point. This is one of the largest gardens on the property and you will find a lot of people posing in this garden for various photo shoots. I don't believe this girl was posing, but it was hard to get a shot without anyone in it at all. While I was there, I witnessed many varieties of photoshoots including an engagement as well as a maternity shoot. People visiting the park were respectful of one another and didn't linger too long in choice photo areas.
Here I am in the Heritage Rose Garden. This garden carries some exceptionally old varieties of roses, some going all the way back to 1240 (crusader times)! The roses in this garden only bloom once in early to mid June and are exceptionally fragrant. Sarah had been to Elizabeth Park many times, but it was her first time being able to witness the Heritage Garden in bloom. I absolutely loved the stone walls in this garden as well as the romantic petals strewn about. If anything, this garden I felt truly went the best with my dress!
Overall, it was an incredible experience! This was also the second time I dressed in elegant lolita this year just for fun! I really enjoy wearing the fashion. I find it fun and appropriate for a variety of activities, especially for visiting historical places, museums, and going out to tea or picnics.
A Curious Exhibit at the Old State House (Hartford)
I felt it was my solemn duty to plan the World Goth Day Meetup for 2023, as I have identified as a goth for the last 20 years or so and I can't disappoint my community with all this first hand knowledge. There's so many options for gothic themed activities in New England, much less Connecticut. Where would we go this year?!
Turns out, we were going back to Hartford, Connecticut, (which by the way is one of America's oldest cities as it was founded in 1635) this time for a historical tour of Connecticut's Old State House. The Old State House was one of Connecticut's state capitals from 1796-1878 (the other one being in New Haven). It housed all 3 branches of government and all of the historical chambers have been beautifully and authentically restored to what they would have looked like in 1818. It is truly a fun place to explore and be inside, but the best part is on the third floor. Across from a beautiful golden statue of Lady Justice lies the Joseph Steward Collection of Curiosities. This room was once a painting studio to the artist Joseph Steward (1797-1808), who identified as a portrait painter. His collection included wax works, portraits, and natural curiosities such as heron, a hummingbird, crystals, sea shells, a dwarf cow, a two-headed calf as well as some made-made curiosities like an organ. The room has lovingly been recreated with fossils and taxidermy birds, reptile skins and shells, antlers, and of course a two-headed calf.
I'm very thankful that I had the foresight to make an indoor meetup, because it was raining pretty hard THE ENTIRE DAY. It did give me a chance though to use my matching Tim Burton-esque umbrella.
So let's talk about my coordinate. The dress is an OP (one piece) and it includes the waist belt with removable chain. This a Chinese Indie Brand called Xiong Dou Jiang, which totes itself as an affordable lolita brand. I bought it on Devil Inspired because I was blown away by all the product photos (I ordered the Red & Black Long Version), but you can also get it on 42 lolita for less. I am also wearing a large full black bonnet, a black choker (which I yet again discovered is virtually unnoticeable with a bonnet on), a gothic bracelet/ring combo, black tights, and Strangecvlt coven boots with a coffin ita backpack. The look that I went for with my makeup was super dramatic with red/pink around my eyes and a super dark red lipstick that was almost black.
I think the petticoat that I selected really shows the volume of this dress. I am wearing the Aurora Ariel Ultimate Violence Super Puffy 45 cm petticoat. This petticoat practically needs its own zip code. When you take it out of the bag, it's like a large size dog with a 28 cm radius. I love how it looks under these large dresses, but it actually hurts my hips to wear it for several hours. I really feel the burn the next day, like I worked out using muscles I didn't know I had.
Well, here I am with the two-headed calf. I wanted to especially share this photo as you can see a detailed closeup of my eye-makeup. I created it using a palette I received in Gothic Beauty Box #53, which is a special box of gothic lifestyle and beauty items that also include a printed edition of Gothic Beauty Magazine. I reached out to Gothic Beauty Magazine's Instagram page to thank them for including the palette as it helped me achieve my look, and they went ahead and asked to share photos from the meetup on their social media pages (with permission of course).
Now we are all officially GOTHIC BEAUTIES!!!!
Two Fashion Meetups in One Weekend
The day after our epic trip to Roseland Cottage up in Woodstock, Connecticut (the northeast corner of the state), Pahl and I were at another fashion related meeting, this time for my elegant lolita fashion club. The meeting was set up by my lovely friend Almira at Tea With Tracy in Oxford, CT. Tea With Tracy in Oxford is located in the "valley", south west part of New Haven County. It is both a breakfast/lunch/dinner restaurant and tea place where you can order an "afternoon tea" which includes a scone of the day, a choice of tea sandwiches, a dessert, and a 2 cup pot of tea of your choice. Two or more food orders on the same ticket will be served on a tiered platter with different colored tea pots. If you are going there for the first time ever, you should order the afternoon tea, especially if you haven't had an afternoon tea experience before. (As I understand it, it doesn't compare to actual afternoon teas served in England, but it's a good introductory experience for the uninitiated).
This was a great meeting because I got to catch up a little with Colleen, Almira, and Marisa, and I also got to meet a handful of new people who are interesting and fun. Almira did not give a coordinate suggestion for this meetup, so there was a nice mixture of sweet, elegant, and gothic lolita styles representing. I chose to wear a gothic style that matched Pahl's outfit. It was only fair after he had done all the work to match my navy and silver dress from Roseland Cottage (purchasing a matching waist coat and cravat) that I should select an outfit that matched what he wanted to wear that day. (He's apparently had those red and gray striped pants in his wardrobe for years and it was the first time he got to wear them!). I'm pretty sure he built his outfit around those pants.
So here's the coordinate I put together to match Pahl's red/white/gray and black theme. The dress is a jsk from Chinese Indie brand Nya Nya/Cha Cha Lolita and the name of the print is Love and Death High Waist JSK in Wine. It is the first second hand dress I purchased off of LaceMarket, which is medium level difficult to shop from. First you have to make an account and have it verified from the moderators through FB messenger and then you go about and bid on items (like on Ebay). You have to make sure you check the country of origin because there are a lot more sellers outside of the USA than in it selling pre-owned dresses and accessories. Then (like Ebay), seller and buyer feedback is very important for continued use of the site. If you get more than one bad review, it might be over for you. Also, if you don't really have a buying or selling history, some sellers may not want to sell to you at all, especially for more expensive japanese brand pieces. The previous owner of this dress said they wore it twice and that there was some nearly completely unnoticeable snag in the back somewhere and was selling it discounted as a result. I was the third person to bid on this dress and won the auction. What a relief!
The print itself has white and red roses with crow skulls and skeletons and bandaged skulls that are dripping blood on a wine red background. There are also little banners that say "love and death" along the bottom of the print. The bodice is a high waist but it is not TOO HIGH for me. (Luckily having a narrow waist and a short torso works for me in these instances if there is enough room in the bust). The shirt I am wearing is a gray long sleeve shirt with something like princess sleeves. It comes from a company that sells the same shirt in many different colors. It works perfectly with the cool gray on this print (but trust me I didn't plan that when I bought it. I only noticed it after I had both items in my house at the same time after 6 months went by). I'm wearing the exact same black half bonnet that I wore the day before at Roseland Cottage, this time with some white roses stuffed in the top, to match the roses on the print. Black (under the knee?) socks with a silver chandelier print mirror the black and silver ribbon in the bodice. Sweet patent black shoes with modest heels and little black bows complete my look.
So how did I do? I already know that Pahl's grays are warm toned, while mine are cool toned. It's not perfect, but it works pretty well. You can tell we're together.
EGL at a STEAMPUNK EVENT!
Danielle and Pahl in matching outfits. Photo Credit to Ben Jordan.
We look like we have just gone out for our afternoon walk around the property.
That's right. I have so many pieces in my elegant lolita wardrobe now, I will not confine myself to wearing it only at my local community meetings. In fact, I will wear it anywhere I please, so you'll be seeing more adventures that may be for other groups or purely just for fun! I really wanted to wear the Infanta Mermaid dress (the one that came in the Lucky Pack) for the first time.
I had heard about the steampunk tea crawl events back in February (after the steampunk convention). The first tea crawl event was at a Gothic Revival homestead known as Roseland Cottage in Woodstock, CT. Just one look at the house on the website and I absolutely HAD to go there. It's actually on the National Registry of Historic places and was the SUMMER home of Henry Chandler Bowen. This was a really nice place for a summer home in 1846! On this adventure we not only got to fully tour the interior and grounds of the homestead, but also afterwards we got to have tea and light snacks together AND a photoshoot. TOTALLY WORTH the drive (90 minutes each way for me).
The Infanta Deep Sea Mermaid Lolita Dress version from the lucky pack did not include the rose decorations at the waist nor did it have crossover straps at the back. It seems to be an earlier design with partial shirring in the back. Its pull over design doesn't allow for greater cinching at the waist. Be that as it may, it still included the "mermaid tail hem" and the pearl decoration that are both removable. It's quite stunning in real life though. The dress is a dark navy blue with silver streaks running throughout the skirt and the bodice. The front upper part of the bodice has a shell on the chest which is embroidered with black lace as well. The pearl chain hangs over this part. When you stand in the sunlight, the whole bottom of the skirt shines like glass/water and you can see the "petals" of fabric carefully sewn together to appear like scales. It's a clever design.
As far as coordinating this jsk, I took ideas from the listing on 42lolita.com which included a black shirt with black leg wear. Not owning the matching KC, I decided to also pair it with a half black bonnet, (that actually matched the bonnet style of one of the portraits in the dining room of the cottage!) I chose off white shoes because I was wearing an off white lace-like steampunk choker and bracelet (which sadly you can't even see with the bonnet tie around my neck). Also cue the debut of the black lace parasol. This has been very helpful for gothic themed photoshoots. I recommend everyone to have both a black and an ivory parasol at their disposal at all times. I can't accompany you to every opportunity you may have to use it.
The belle and beau of the day with their lovely attendants.
Photo credit to Ben Jordan.
These lovely folks stuck around for the photoshoot portion of the event and they are all killing it! Pahl is actually dressed in Victorian fashion with all of the details like his white cravat, waist coat (which cleverly matches my dress down to navy blue and black brocade design with silver buttons), his pants, riding boots, tail coat and top hat. I mean even his cravat matches my shoes. We look REALLY put together.
But as you can see, steampunk fashion has less "rules" in the way outfits are put together than elegant lolita fashion. And there was no particular theme for this event. The couple on the left similarly heard "gothic revival cottage" and said yes we will be steampunk goths. Barbara next to them looks like an airship pilot in traditional steampunk browns and off whites. The ladies to our right seem to evoke three entirely different motifs. Amaryllis has an almost asian style dress with a chartreuse green corset, giving off major springtime floral vibes. Jessica looks like a gothic Alice in Wonderland themed pirate. Lisa looks like she just was on the set of filming a production of King Arthur. One thing for sure with steampunk is that TIME TRAVELING is always in, so if it looks like an assembly of people from different time periods, then you're doing it right.
Sweet Lolitas at the Zoo
Some people in my community ONLY wear sweet style lolita on their EGL fashion journey, so some meetups just do not work for them. However, everyone was on board with dressing as a sweet style lolita when we went to the Beardsley Zoo, the only zoo in Connecticut. It is not a large zoo, but it has a variety of animals in the best cages they could manage for such a small zoo. They have a neat rainforest area with animals and plants of the rainforest, a long meandering path around the park to walk through and gaze at the animals, a fabulous green house exhibit with koi in the center, as well as a central area with a small, but whimsical looking carousel. We spent maybe 2.5 hours here. It's definitely catered more to young children, but adults can still learn interesting things and see animals not native to our local habitat. All ticketing is done online as an advance purchase OR you can get a pass from your local library (and show the pass to the entrance kiosk) to get 50% off your tickets for up to 4 people. But if you're a Bridgeport resident, select Saturdays are free entry.
FYI when you wear sweet lolita and look like a living Victorian Doll, regular people at places tend to go gaga over you. They lose their minds. They ask you to take pictures with their kids. They ask if you work at whatever establishment you are visiting that day, as if someone PAID you to dress up like that on your day off from work. Well here's news to you, YES we do dress up like this, FOR FUN, on the weekends. No we are not getting paid, in fact we pay a lot of money to dress up like this. So yeah we probably got asked by 6 or 7 parents to take photos with their kids (as a group).
I mean really, we do look stunning as a group. Barbara and Ave both paired a more simple shirt with sweet fun patterned skirts, and Margot, Jax and I are going for more traditional sweet lolita jsk's. Margot chose pink and lavender while Jax chose yellow pastels to work with as their primary colors, while I chose navy with a hint of pink and blue. The colors and the themes of our prints all register as sweet style.
[Wait a second, who's that guy in the middle? Oh, that's Pahl. He's a new addition to my life. He likes to dress up too. He's been collecting costume pieces from different time periods for awhile now (and he's lucky his body hasn't changed size to boot!). You'll be seeing him periodically in the blog too now. Here he is dressed as an early American gentleman, supposedly inspired by the Planters Peanut man. This match to sweet style was particularly challenging, as he has much better costumes for gothic and classic styles already in his wardrobe].
Enough about Pahl, let's talk about my coordinate. The coordinate suggestion of the day was "j-fashion with an animal theme". This was the very first dress I had ever ordered from a Chinese Indie brand. I bought this dress back at the end of May with my first purchase from Devil Inspired. This is the Star Paradise jsk dress from the brand Dreaming and Burning the World. It actually came in 4 different colorways, but the navy seemed the best option with seeing the details on the print. This is definitely one of the less expensive Chinese indie brands. You can tell by the somewhat cheaper lace and the grade of the printed polyester if you get up close. However, from photos it just looks pretty awesome! I paired it with a polyester shirt I had bought a little later that has wonderfully sewn poof sleeves that always stay in shape (even after going in the washing machine!). The head piece I had to purchase separately from the coordinate, but it does match it in the printed polyester design and lace. I am also wearing wrist cuffs for the first time. [Boy do these things take forever to be made]. But they do really bring an outfit (with short sleeves especially) together! The completely matching tights and shoes were a bit odd. I honestly didn't know that they matched perfectly until I was wearing them in broad daylight. I would have swapped the tights for white over the knee socks (but I did not due to considerations in the outdoor temperature that day). Light rain was predicted and I know I will still get cold despite all the polyester layers. It did in fact rain a bit that day, and I was glad to be wearing tights even though it wasn't my #1 choice. I really liked wearing this dress and look forward to wearing it again!!
Friends of Long Hill Tea
Back in November of 2022, I was looking for local "high tea" events to attend with my community. A high tea would consist of a picturesque venue with at least 3 courses; one of scones with lemon curd, fresh whipped cream and jam, light sandwiches, desserts, and of course a tea pairing with all of the food items. A Google search brought up the "Friends of Long Hill Tea", which is an annual fundraiser at the end of March for the mostly volunteer organization that runs Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown, CT. It's an extremely popular event and sells out VERY QUICKLY. In fact, you have to buy tickets sometime in January or early February. A few members of my community were also able to get tickets. The organizer of the event was very gracious and put us together in "open seating". I spent a lot of time emailing the organizer back and forth, but apparently the way it's supposed to work is that there's a host who gets 10-12 of their friends to buy tickets to fill out at table. The host brings all the tea serving wear (cups and saucers and little plates) and decorates the table for their guests. I mean that's cool and all, but if I'm gonna go out of my way to dress in lolita and wear my nice clothes, I also don't want to be responsible for doing the dishes afterwards.
Once I knew I had gotten tickets, I pre-ordered the Alice Girl Camellia Blooms Elegant Lolita JSK/Dress in Purple, size L from 42 Lolita.com. The dress includes the white overskirt (which is beautiful in its own right and could probably be used with other dresses). 42 Lolita emailed me right away reminding me that this was a pre-order that would take 1-2 months to make. I told them about the tea event I would be attending and asked if they thought it would arrive to my house in time to wear it to the event. They said yes and the dress came in the beginning of March, giving me a few weeks to try it on and figure out which petticoat to wear with it.
The sizing on this dress is very accommodating because there's shirring in the back as well as a lace up in the back so it will stretch and conform. It was a little challenging for me to close the opening under the armpit, but that's because the fabric is a little flimsy and there isn't a hook to hold it shut while you zip. (These types of things can be added later for more mobility if necessary). I didn't buy the matching high neck translucent shirt or matching bow with this dress because I just felt it was too...distracting for an already gorgeous piece. Instead I got a different translucent ivory shirt that was more of a low off the shoulder neck (which allowed me to wear a lace choker with as an accessory). My other accessories like my KC (headband) socks, and purse are accessories you buy that are meant to go with a lot of different outfits. The shoes are MODO brand and are very comfortable. I wore a very large petticoat (60cm length, 25 cm poof) with this dress. That level of poof probably isn't necessary, but it made for some fun photos, especially channeling Alice from Alice in Wonderland (I'm assuming who the brand is named after).
Everyone in the group absolutely nailed the assignment "elegant classic lolita". I mentioned that I was wearing a purple dress in our community forum, and I guess Jenna and Crystal saw that and incorporated some lavender into their outfits as well. Barbara's skirt (which you can't see), actually incorporates both purple and green, complementing the blue-green in Crystal's dress and the purple in mine. Clover stuck mainly to white and gold, which is very classic. Sarah's dress in different shades of pink just kind of helps us round out the whole color spectrum in an early spring kind of way. I always love to see how everyone puts together their coordinates from head to toe. After a meet, I always feel like I could use one more necklace, or maybe some rings or something to make my outfit more complete.
We got a lot of attention from some of the other guests. A lot of people took our photos, especially when we were leaving as a group. I had a lot of fun, but I don't think I'm going to take on the role of host for their event in following years. I already know it would be too much for me to dress up like this AND set a table for 12 AND pay $45.00 a ticket. Boundaries man, they're important.
A Story of Alter-caution
One day in February 2023, one of the people in my community put up a couple of Angelic Pretty dresses in the community marketplace channel on our Discord. I looked through the options. I fell in love with an ivory and brown with gold accents chocolate themed dress. It looked like classic colors with a (literally) sweet design of chocolate cakes and frosting. I didn't know much about the brand Angelic Pretty, except for that it was very famous in the lolita fashion community, and that all of the dresses pretty much resell at original value (no matter what the year).
Now I am accustomed to purchasing dresses, blouses and accessories from the Chinese Indie market where they have size charts and different sizes to choose from. I asked the person in the community for the sizing and they sent me this link from Lolilibrary. In the original listing it says that this dress was designed in 2013, it was originally sold for approximately $180, that the bust is somewhere between 92-110cm, the waist is between 72-92cm, and the length is 84cm. Now I know my bust is about 98cm, but according to the measurements in this listing I thought I was in the clear. It turns out that I wasn't.
As soon as the dress arrived, I was distraught. I could not zip it up around my chest area for the life of me. A friend of mine who is a seamstress said to let out some of the shirring in the back. At this point I did not know what exactly shirring was, but for those who don't know or realize it's the puckered up section of fabric that is SUPPOSED to stretch enough to give room for the bust. I messaged the seller of the garment back and said, hey this measurement wasn't accurate. And they said, that's Lolilibrary for you.
So the first thing I learned was that Lolilibrary sizing isn't to be trusted. And that Angelic Pretty dresses only come in ONE SIZE and if you're not that size, then you probably shouldn't be buying them. I was in a bit of a predicament. Should I just try to resell the dress myself or have alterations done? Would the alterations decrease the resale price if I were to resell it later?
I asked the seller about alterations and reselling the item and they seemed to imply that alterations would actually improve the sale as Angelic Pretty is known for that whole one size non-inclusivity thing, so ACTUALLY making it bigger would improve the chances of reselling it at full price.
Okay, so now I was invested. I found a local tailor and I was able to zip it up when she let out some of the shirring. But then she went ahead and took my measurements and removed all of the original shirring, while making the garment just a tad wider on both sides. She had to carefully sew back the lining and the main fabric. I don't know what the going rate for a job of this degree is, but it wasn't inexpensive. She didn't seem to believe me that the dress was actually worth $180.00. When I went to put it on after the alteration, it fit A LOT better though. However, the back part that you lace up by hand didn't work. She said that the brown cord that was provided with the dress was too short for me, and that I needed to buy some 20 yards of 3/4" brown ribbon at a fabric store to use instead. OKAY. Luckily milk chocolate brown is a common color available.
Coordinating Musee du Chocolat
It turns out that Angelic Pretty releases some kind of chocolate print at least once a year, sometimes twice per year. My friend Clover actually made a video about the history of their chocolate prints. It's a good watch and I learned a lot. In the photo above, I did a google image search of ivory print musee du chocolat and yes, it's not the same dress, but it is a similar cut and colorway to the one that I purchased. The one that I purchased is a low waist so it looks more like a salopette (overalls) than a traditional jumper skirt. It also has a relatively high yoke (again like a salopette not a jsk) so labeling a jsk IS ALSO MISLEADING. I honestly didn't realize this about the cut until I had talked with Clover more in person about this particular dress.
It all seemed simple enough to coordinate it until it wasn't. The person who sold it to me said that they never wore it because they didn't know how to coordinate it. The obvious answer is to stick with brown, white, cream and gold accents. However it got more complicated.
I ordered the shirt on the left in brown, thinking it would work. It didn't work for two reasons. Firstly, the shade of brown that actually came in the mail was a cool brown--DRAT color matching fail. YOU HAD ONE JOB (this was a lot easier with the lacing ribbon). Secondly though there was another problem with the collar of this shirt versus the collar of the dress. The dress collar is very high and actually needs a stand-collar (like the girl in the similar dress) is utilizing. All the things I could not fathom being a problem when I had first laid eyes on this dress were a valuable learning opportunity for me. It helped me learn not to chase down labels you don't know anything about, and to look very carefully at the collar of the dress compared to the shirt you might use. At this point I have a few options with coordinating this dress as I have two different colored stand collar shirts as well as different socks/tights and shoes to match.
[Yet I still can't find anything in my wardrobe to match the cool brown shirt so if you're looking for one, let me know].
Valentine's Day Sweet Lolita at my Local Library
I actually love Valentines Day. I think it's the romantic in me, or the chocoholic, but I love the carefree expression of love between friends, little kids, strangers and lovers alike. February 2023 I was as single as they come. I was on a self-love journey like no other. I woke up everyday with a spring in my step while listening to Darren Hayes new single, "Let's Try Being in Love".
My social calendar was packed. The first weekend I went to the Stupid Cupid Steampunk Convention with a few friends [see my last post]. Then the following weekend I went to a free program about aphrodisiac foods that my local library put on with my bestie. We had to register in advance, but we got to try apricots dipped in dark chocolate, a pomegranate raspberry spritzer, and other delicious chocolate treats while learning about the origins of Valentines Day and famous romantic duos. A week before the event, I had this feeling that I really wanted to dress in a pink love themed sweet lolita outfit.
I had purchased the skirt in the spring of 2022 (if you remember seeing this as part of my first meetup outfit-YOU'RE CORRECT!), but everything else was acquired later. The perfectly matching white shirt with the strawberry buttons was not even something you could purchase until summer 2022. By then it was way too hot to wear a long sleeve polyester shirt. I had bought the pink platform shoes with the metal hearts and bat wings from Amazon in the spring of 2022, but when I went to wear them in the summer my feet were swollen and they were too small. I purchased the cardigan sweater in July 2022 through Devil Inspired and I could not believe how incredibly warm this thing was...way too warm in fact for May-October in my climate. The beret I purchased from Amazon in the first week of January of 2023 and it took...a long time...maybe like 3-4 weeks to arrive, but it arrived just in time for the library program! The tights are from SNAG tights. You can get almost any fun or boring color you can think of. They have a pretty size inclusive platform and white tights are always available. [But if you do order from SNAG, order 3-6 pairs at once because not only will you get a discount, but also it takes 2-3 weeks to ship to you because they're coming directly from Scotland.] The Meowichi was originally a stuffed toy that I thought was a miniature size that could fit in an ita bag...but when it arrived it was obviously bigger than my hand. [This friendly and perfectly matching stuffed cat stayed home, but was used as a prop for these photos].
I actually only wore this outfit (without a coat) out to the program. Believe me, I was just as shocked as you are that it was the middle of February and warm enough (unless you stood still in the wind) to wear just this, without any snow or ice on the ground to slip on in pink platform shoes. My feet fit these shoes quite fine--there was no humidity to make them swell up. The polyester shirt was great insulation next to that super soft warm cardigan and the beret did keep my head warm. Casual and comfortable Valentines Coordinate achieved!
Point Manor Pre-Order & Steampunk Convention
Miss Point is an indie label Chinese lolita fashion brand that makes elegant lolita jsk, OP's, skirts, etc. Their range is Sweet to Classic to Gothic, but most designs primarily fall in the Classic category. According to the listing on 42lolita.com, they are "inspired by French elegance and pastoral style with unique prints". They are about a mid-range price when it comes to Chinese lolita brands ($65-200 USD), and all of their designs are made to order (which can take roughly 1-4 months to make).
I absolutely fell in love with this dress back in September 2022 when I saw it advertised as a pre-order on Devil Inspired. I was inspired to get this dress because it reminded me of the type of clothes that I saw my great aunts wearing in old family photos [and I've been wanting to connect with my ancestors]. The name of this design is Point Manor and it is very much inspired by Victorian fashion, in the Gothic lolita subcategory. I took a chance and did my very first pre-order. When I bought the dress, it said that it would take 4 months to make and that it would arrive sometime in December 2022. The dress also comes with the tie around the neck, additional ribbon waist ties in brown, skirt hooks, and an embroidered pin. The original pre-order listing had many more colorways; of course each of the 4 pin stripe colors as well as several different solid color options. The price is the same now as it was before, even though the solid colors are no longer available. I also purchased the matching veil/head accessory for this dress as well as the velvet cape. I figured that the cape could be utilized in many other gothic lolita looks so I splurged for the whole outfit. All in all I probably spent $180.00 but it wasn't actually a bad price through Devil Inspired, because of their free shipping promotion.
I was thinking about wearing this dress to the holiday tea meetup, but an even better opportunity showed up just a few months later. The annual Stupid Cupid Steampunk Convention was happening and I thought to myself, wow this dress is totally steampunk in style. I could EASILY wear lolita at a steampunk event and be a unique attendee. I asked my fashion group if anyone else wanted to wear lolita at the steampunk convention with me, and a few others also came along so I didn't have to be the only lolita.
I actually had a ton of fun at the event! I made some new friends, got to see a live musical performance and (speak to the performer afterwards about gear), shop around at the many vendors, and attend a couple of panels (I think my favorite being the one about DIY steampunk fashion). Wearing this dress to a non-lolita event actually opened up some doors for me, and now I'm very lightly involved with the local steampunk community as well.
Oh and as for the quality of Miss Point designs, let me just say I was impressed for the price point. If you're willing to wait (for it to be made), you are going to be pleasantly surprised by this Chinese indie brand.