Holiday Tea Meetup and First Encounter with 42 Lolita
The next meetup was a Holiday Tea Tasting at Savvy Tea Gourmet in Madison, CT. [I also planned this one]. I had seen an advertisement for it in my local townie newspaper, and thought, man, I'd love to go to one of those...but who could I convince to go with me? OH! I know. Fashion club! It was about $25 to try 6 flavored teas and attend a workshop about how tea is produced and how to brew it by color, temperature, and aroma. It was easy to get tickets as it wasn't a super popular event. In fact, the only people that signed up were members of my group; so it felt we had our own private back room tea tasting.
The coordinate suggestion was winter holiday or jewel tones. Now, at the time I was going to wear a different OP dress (one that I had pre-ordered through Devil Inspired back in September that was due to arrive sometime in December). However, I won a contest on 42 Lolita.com in the middle of November, upon which I was notified that I won THIS dress. 42 Lolita shipped it like lightening and I received it within ample time before this meeting happened in the middle of December.
Now if you look at the size chart on this one, it's a little strange. Why is the largest bust measurement only 96cm while the waist is kind of large at 88cm? It's the cut of this particular piece. It's very high waisted and there just isn't a lot of room in the bust. (My bust and waist are 98cm and 80cm, respectively). So I ordered the XL, but the waist was obviously swimming on me. I had to do something to make it look more put together. I had a light pink waist belt in my closet that matched the pink in this print and just went for it. I also attached the bow a little lower than it shows on the model to break up the distinction between the two different fabrics [and the fact that my bust is actually way bigger than the part where the red fabric ends].
The print on this dress is very sweet as is the sailor collar, and the cut, but the colors lend themselves to a more classic look with the deep red and the off-white tones. [It certainly doesn't look as off-white as it is in the original photo on 42 Lolita.com.] Other parts of my outfit include a light pink pair of diamond tights I purchased from Hot Topic, gold costume shoes I purchased from Amazon (I wouldn't recommend purchasing Lolita shoes on Amazon..they don't have the same level of cushion as other known brands, even though they look good), a beige colored ribbon bow in my hair I got from Shein, and the peach colored beaded purse I used for my junior prom.
Even though I had started building my lolita wardrobe in May 2022, I still felt like I was grasping at straws trying to accessorize my coordinates. Part of it was that everything that I had bought seemed to be for the season that preceded it by the time it came in the mail. So I went from spring pieces that were too hot for summer, to summer pieces that were too cold for winter. I strategized my efforts in December and January and started placing larger orders that included more accessories (socks, head pieces, shoes, and a few cardigans) that worked with the coordinates I already had, along with some "coming attractions" for the rest of the winter and upcoming Spring meetups. I also noticed that 42 Lolita had better pricing and follow-through than Devil Inspired so I started ordering from them more frequently as well.
I was looking at cool things to do in October in Connecticut, and I stumbled across the Noah Webster Society's Historical Haunted Graveyard Tour. For approximately $15 (pre-paid ticket), you can get attend a 45 minute night time tour through a historical cemetery where actors dress and perform the lives and stories of those buried in the grounds. Living (dead) history. I like it. I was able to get all of my fashion friends in the same time slot and we agreed to attend as Gothic style in our outfits. Now this photo here is the one that the Noah Webster Society took for their social media accounts (with our permission). I absolutely adore the creativity that Eleanor and Sarah put into their outfits, combining their wigs and hairpieces to match their coordinates. Almira and Barbara stuck to basic black, but Almira looks more military lolita, while Barbara looks much more elegant gothic lolita. Colleen and I are representing some purple/lavender in our coordinates with prints that also are all graveyard or danse macabre themes.
Let's take a closer look at my coordinate. I actually got the jsk, shirt, translucent overskirt and waist belt as a set, that I ordered in JULY, and received in September. Yes, I'm just as shocked as you that I fit into the Large on this piece as the Chinese Indie Brand Ying Luo Fu can be hit or miss with sizing (they have some really fantastic designs though)! As my headpiece I bought a black veil with a purple and black rose/beaded section that happened to match this coordinate pretty well (even though the original item photos show either a woman in a witch hat or a black horned headband). My crossbody purse, the Book of Spells and Charms, is a piece I ordered from Hot Topic on my Birthday (also in JULY). It appeared to be back ordered and eventually arrived at my doorstep a week before our meetup. I'm wearing stargazer tights in navy from Snag Tights. (You honestly can't tell they are navy or see the stars). For shoes I'm wearing my trusty black textured heeled oxfords. If I was to redo this coordinate, I would have a poofier petticoat (which I have since acquired); but back then the only one I had was the one that fits well under my very first lolita dress, the Rose Stripe Bustle JSK...a much shorter "daily wear" a-line petticoat. If it had been poofier, you could have seen the design on the skirt much better. Other changes I might enact next time I wear this are to wear knee high socks that are black with silver accents. I would also wear a different pair of shoes. These oxfords are cute, but they're old and my feet were hurting from walking around in them (not fun if the meeting is all about walking around in the dark at night).
I absolutely loved the historical tour! One actor led you along the path while you witnessed the gruesome deaths or gossip of the time around the gravestones of different inhabitants of the graveyard. The actors circled around us, spoke to us as individuals, and wove in and out of our tour group. I would recommend this as an activity to anyone over the age of 10. Please don't bring anyone younger--it will definitely cause them distress. I would attend this event again!!
And whatever you do, start planning for your holiday coordinate at least 3 months in advance to ensure proper time to have the item ordered, made, and shipped (eventually) to your door.