23 August 2011

The elusive 'happy balance'

(photo via Tumblr; unknown source)

(I'm writing this from the Lolita vs everyday clothing angle, but I believe that it could easily be applied to many other aspects of fashion. For example, when your clubbing clothes outweigh your work clothes, do you have something to worry about?)

I'm a firm believer in NOT dressing for the occasion and dressing for yourself instead but I'm also the first to admit that sometimes, it's totally impractical and uncomfortable to wear all-out Lolita.

Look at what you have in your closet. Does a normal, functional wardrobe NEED 20 dresses in it? If you wear a dress everyday, then possibly. But how many of them could be worn on a daily basis without being ruined or just being entirely inappropriate?

It's probably fair to say that about 20% of your clothes are worn 80% of the time. There's the jeans the fit perfectly, the handful of teeshirts that are cute yet work-appropriate, the all-rounder cardigan that takes you from travel to lounging; things that you wouldn't list as your 'favourite' items but that you would miss a whole lot if they were gone. Maybe you're guilty of ignoring this 20% and instead, you put effort into what you wear only 20% of your time? I know I probably am.

I'm also going to go out on a limb and say that your 'dress-up' clothes make you the happiest when you wear them. I don't mean to say that your sweatpants don't give you warm feelings inside when you're snuggled on the sofa but, especially with Lolita and similar fashions, when you spend time choosing your outfit and dressing up in hard-earned clothes, at the end of it you look and feel like the best version of yourself.

So... happy balance.
AKA Getting the magic of dress-up into your daily clothes.

Looking through Tumblr and fashion blogs, there are hundreds of street snaps and outfit photos to digest every day so it clearly CAN be done practically but first thing in the morning when you have 5 minutes to get dressed it can seem like an impossibility.

The key, I think, is working on the groundwork you already have done before you even wake up.

(photo via Tumblr; unknown source)

Fix and renew your casual items and try to prioritise this over Lolita for a month.  It's hard choosing to buy new casual items over the most recent Angelic Pretty print but sometimes it has to be done.

Recycle things that you don't wear that are in the 'middle ground'; not everyday wear, not your chosen 'dress-up' style.  It will help you focus on what you DO have and how to get the most out of it all.

Take those frills down from their pedestal.  Don't ruin their magic by just wearing them casually all the time but it won't hurt to mix a few beloved items in with your everyday clothes.

Pick up some coordinating accessories for Lolita that can blend into your casual style.  Pick up some that don't, too.  Accessories can totally change outfits and can make the simplest clothes look amazing.

I love the idea of 'Lolifying' (customising) clothes and everyday items to bring a few more frills into life but it's impractical and if done badly, it can look awful and ruin good items.  If you're creating an everyday style, you don't want to look like your craft drawers exploded on you.

Perfect a hairstyle and make-up look that's simple, quick and speaks the language of the look you're trying to put across.  Vintage looks are nearly always accented by 1960s Biba wing make-up, Gothic by its black eyeliner and pale skin, what do you want your style to be?  Wear it with your smile and on your head.

Overall, try to embrace the happiness you get from your chosen fashion and echo it's sentiment in your everyday clothing choices.  You don't have to wear Lolita to feel Lolita and you certainly don't have to wear a watered down version of it in order to get the most out of your clothes.  It's all a question of balance.


Michelle <3

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