Hey folks! I hope you’re all hanging in there. Here in the Pacific Northwest, the long, dark winter feels like it’s going to be over soon. And we’re hearing that some of you may even be vaccinated already! Is it too soon to dream of our shared vacation in the desert? We’re still cautiously optimistic.
This week in our validating content for newcomers series, I’m here to talk about, well, coords I made and didn’t like! Real clunkers, honestly!
One cool thing about COVID, if we can really look for an upside in a tragedy that continues to claim countless lives, is virtual meets. I will admit that at first, I wasn’t really about them. It is difficult to socialize in a huge group over Zoom. However, as comms moved to Discord (good choice! Much better software!) and refined the format of virtual tea parties, I’ve started to see what’s so great about them.
For starters, going to a virtual meet gives you a bit of extra time to get ready. When you’re going to an in-person meet, you have to factor in travel time. And if you’re like me, and you don’t always plan ahead, you might turn up looking a little…sweaty. Or scruffy. Or harried. Which doesn’t make you or me any less of a Lolita, but feeling like I look scruffy isn’t fun to me.
Better yet, if you’re going to meet with people via video chat, you only actually need to be dressed from the waist up. While I love putting together a whole coordinate, the proliferation of the “mullet coord” (business on top, party on the bottom) is a good thing. Newcomers without a complete wardrobe can participate just as fully as anyone else, even if they’re still waiting for their petticoat to arrive in the mail. Even if you’re wearing a full coord in the snap you take for Instagram, you can do like several of us did at Royal Vegas Online and wear a nice fuzzy pair of slippers with your coord.
Given all of this, plus the ability to meet up with comms outside of our immediate geographic location, virtual meets are a win for the greater community! I also argue that they provide a low-stakes environment for experimenting with your wardrobe.
I love having an eclectic wardrobe that encompasses many substyles and allows me to jump on the bandwagon of the latest trends. Seeing others’ coordinates and saying, “I want to wear that, too!” is one of my favorite experiences in participating in the Lolita fashion community. I love feeling personally inspired by what others’ are wearing. When leopard print trended tuff a couple of years ago, you can bet I hopped on that train. I don’t have any actual nostalgia for old school, having started wearing the fashion seriously around 2015, but the old school revival of late has captured my heart.
So I love to experiment with my wardrobe! And that sometimes means putting together a coordinate that I ultimately don’t love when I look at it in retrospect.
“Progress” or growth in Lolita fashion, whatever that means to you, isn’t necessarily a straight line. It’s normal and even great to take two steps forward and one step back, or one step forward and two steps back. By leaving room for experimentation and coords that I don’t love, I leave room for me in my fashion. “Leaving room for me” means leaving room for me to have had a crummy mood episode that day, to have been annoyed with work, to not pay attention to my makeup look, or to wear what I want because I feel like it, without caring about what others think. It also goes hand in hand with loving others’ coords as they are, and unwiring the learned impulse to nitpick and scrutinize - because we don’t need to do that to participate in Lolita fashion!
Our fashion is rebellion, and to me, that means the rules are just guidelines. A starting point for personal expression. And if that is true, who says coords have to look a certain way all the time? What is stopping any of us from experimenting? Slapping disparate substyles together, pulling in colors outside of the main piece, or even infusing a coord with another alternative fashion style?
I’d even argue that experimentation is necessary to keep growing Lolita fashion. And with experimentation comes hypotheses that you’ll ultimately prove wrong, like “Sugar Hearts will look great with all-black supporting pieces,” or “this gothy peignoir and underskirt together will go with any sweet piece.” And others may look at these supposedly failed hypotheses and say “actually, this works for me,” because our experience of the fashion and what makes a “good” coord is subjective (and subject to implicit bias).
So go forth and make some coords you don’t love! It’s part of the process. And maybe in the future, you’ll see past the stuff that didn’t seem to work and take another stab at the concept. Your fashion and your aesthetic are for you, and that means you get to define your own success, too.
As before, please hold tight until May 2021 for updates on Royal Vegas Retreat 2021. With the latest bulletins from the federal government about widespread vaccine availability starting in May, we’re feeling cautiously optimistic - with “cautious” being the operative word, as vaccine supply is only one part of this complex scenario. If you recently signed up to volunteer with us - THANK YOU! And thank you especially for your patience as we get organized.
Stay safe, keep wearing a mask, and stay home when possible. As always, you can check https://prettyprincess.club for information on Royal Vegas Retreat 2021.