Too Cool for School in Japanese Seifuku

japanese seifuku school uniform trend

I am way late to this trend and honestly never expected to be swayed by it. But Japanese School Girl style and seifuku (uniforms) are seeping into my consciousness. More and more schools in Japan are moving away from uniforms and that seems to be helping boost their popularity more than ever. There are so many different ways to personalize this style – from gal to fairy kei. I might be boring but I like just the traditional look. What I call the “after class transformation” style. Imagine the bell rings and it’s time to hit Harajuku for a crepe with your mates. What can you change to mix it up without spending hours preening? Put your belt to good use and hike up your skirt, from your bag you pull out a few badges to pin to your cardigan or blazer, instead of loafers maybe mix in playful shoes, and for the cherry on top plop something cute into a simple twin tail hair style.

too cool for school in japanese uniforms

I will warn you. It isn’t a great idea during lunch, at work, to type in seifuku in Google. I love anime but dang a lotta panty shots came back in my query and didn’t want to look like a perv. Actually that is the hardest part of this fashion style for me to feel comfortable trying it myself. I am not modest, ok, well maybe a little. But I really don’t like super short skirts. Yeah, in my 20’s the shorter I could find them the better. But at this stage in my life I am so over it. Not to mention I don’t want to be plopping down on the subway or in a movie theater and having my bum touching the gross seat. Anyway, I digress.

seifuku uniform styles

My favorite part of seifuku fashion is how easy it is to pull together with a range of budgets and using offbrand pieces. I am convinced a low budget top notch coordinate is achievable. If you want the real deal than the #1 place for uniforms is CONOMi. You name it, they have it. And its good quality. You might need a shopping service to use their site directly but I have seen their items pop up on other shops with international shipping. Lawrara Shop is another popular choice but their prices are steep. Bodyline is another option but not my favorite as their quality is questionable.

Lands’ End School Uniforms

lands end school uniform

Tie  |  Blouse  |  Cardigan  |  Skirt

If you have a good eye then you can use everyday items to pull together a plausible seifuku look. If you are not ready to invest in international shipping and want to try something closer to home, believe it or not, Lands’ End has good base pieces you can start with. I recently fell in love with their cotton peter pan collar blouses. What I didn’t expect was finding something cute on their site in the first place, nor that I would spend so much time in their school uniform category. I didn’t even know it existed. But the best thing about it is they have most of their school uniform items in adult sizes!! So no matter what shape or size you are – you have choices. While they have ties that match their skirts, you won’t find the uber cute Japanese-style ribbons. So I do recommend using a Japanese or Korean source for ribbons to get that authentic look.

Credits:  (1)  |  (2)  |  (3)  |  (4)  |  (5)  |  (6)  |  (7)

Feeling Retro

addicted to vintage these days

Thoroughly frustrated with finding good brand lolita blouses that will fit me I have since resorted to vintage. Vintage was my lifeline in college. There were some amazing, with an upper-case A, thrift stores in the greater Detroit area. At 50 cents to a few dollars it was all I could afford. God, I remember panicking over buying a pack of Gap socks one winter knowing it meant going without food in order to afford them.  Frozen feet won out in the end.

When I first moved to NY some of my first freelance jobs were working for Emanuel by Emanuel Ungaro and Tommy Hilfiger. I was emboldened by the NY fashion scene and was always after something new and fresh. And slowly but surely I also got my financial sea legs. So it is funny that now at my current fork in the fashion road the journey has me returning to my fashion roots.

It took just one Etsy purchase to pull me back in hook, line and sinker. The peach number selected for the recent lecture and fashion show at Japan Society lead me to coveting many more items on Etsy and eBay. Most wound up in my wish list and too many in my cart. And it wasn’t just blouses that lured me in. I have amassed a staggering collection of 1950s and 60s bed jackets (chiffon robe / peignoir) on the want list. The cult party kei girls are tugging at my fashion heart strings right now. Uhh, and then there was the have-to-have-it brass ribbon and Japanese vase … no clue where I am going to fit those into what is turning out to be a very stuffed studio in the new house.

blouses on my watch list

I am hoping to get the sailor style blouse above this week. All the rest are in the mail! But this one blouse is still tempting me, calling to me, whispering in my ear. “Sheri, you need me.”  And I expect I will cave to temptation.  Hello vintage, bye bye Bodyline.

Long Bed Coat  |  Short Bed Coat  |  Brass Ribbon  |  Lolita Girl Vase  |  Ruffle Blouse  |  Sailor Blouse (my secret for now)

Saturday Style: Iced Valentine

be my valentine

{skirt, necklace, bracelet – Angelic Pretty | sweater – JCrew | collar – handmade by me | boots -Ugg | leggings – Locomo}

OK, technically this is cheating. This was yesterday’s coordinate – he he he. I don’t usually get to dress up during the work week and so “being myself” is a weekend thing. But thanks to the snow storm(s) I got to work from home on Valentine’s day. This meant a perfect opportunity to get all decked out for the holiday. The snow plow finally arrived mid-day and liberated us from the house so it was off to school in my my frosted pink valentine coord. Talk about sticking out. On the walk from Grand Central to Japan Society you couldn’t miss all the pink in the sea of black New York uniforms.

alice in wonderland inspired leggings on amazon.com

The main point of my outfit is the leggings.  So cute all covered in card suits – hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs. I stumbled upon these in a late night Google search for Alice in Wonderland inspired tights.  Was worried about the size but for 15 bucks + shipping was well worth the gamble.  I am 5’8.5″ which means they do ride up above my ankles when worn.  But with boots in the winter they work great!  I am thinking of ordering the white on black colorway now too ☆ミ(o*・ω・)ノ

Lolita Fashion: Costume or Culture?

misako aoki lolita panel nyc japan society

On Wednesday, the Japan Society provided the NY Lolita Community with a precious gift. They showered us with a panel, fashion show, and meet and greet with the one and only Misako Aoki. Not even an ice storm could keep our EGL gals and guys away. The topic of the panel was Lolita Fashion: Costume or Culture? I prefer the later, thank you. Here is a quick breakdown of the details:

  • Gwynn Galitzer of Dirty Bird Production, moderator
  • Former Kawaii Ambassador Misako Aoki, panelist
  • Carolyn Dee author of FYeah Lolita, panelist
  • Christina Gleason author of Ramble Rori, panelist
  • Baby, the Stars Shine Bright, fashion show
 

The Panel Discussion

lolita lecture panelist christina and carolyn of rufflecon

Most panels on Lolita fashion stick to the “101” facts. This panel didn’t deviate much from that script. But what I enjoyed most was to hear Misako, Christina and Caro talk about what is currently on trend. In particular a return to more classic-style coordinates instead of sweet-style dominating the scene. The longer style of dresses in particular being the new and very popular option. Misako also mentioned that she is very fond of the long and flowy trumpet sleeves right now. For example, Baby’s Labyrinth in the Reminiscent Mirror Flower Lace Blouse or on their Doll Coronet Aria Onepiece.

misako aoki discussion trumpet sleeves in lolita trends

misako aoki discussing lolita fashion in new york

And if you can believe it, Misako flew to NY from Tokyo in her coordinate. Bonnet, petticoat, uh huh. Yep she is the real deal.

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Fashion Show

After the Q&A panel there was a mini fashion show featuring eight looks from Baby, the Stars Shine Bright and Alice and the Pirates. While the wedding coordinate is always greeted with oohhs and aahhs. This time it was the pirate boots and hat that accompanied the look Kitsy modeled which attracted the most attention.

grace

tia

tanya - tаня

yanise

tara

stephanie

kitsy

lexie

misako's fashion show

misako aoki

Sweet Dreams,
Sheri

P.S. If you haven’t already, be sure to get your tickets for RuffleCon, the first Northeastern USA convention dedicated entirely to Japanese alternative fashion.

12 Feb Update:  Japan Society posted a video of the lecture to their website.  Be sure to check it out.

Antique Frame Credits:  (1)  (2)  (3)  (4)

Choco Bear – Too Sweet or Too Much?

Misako-chan is coming to New York!!!!  It’s less than a month away and I am already fretting over what to wear.  I think a lot of us are since we learned that the fashion show will be run by Baby, the Stars Shine Bright to boot.  This is huge.  In addition, the local community was able to arrange a formal tea party.  Which means needing two complete coordinates pulled together.

sweet lolita chocolate bear coordinate

Later today, the post should deliver Melty Royal Chocolate cardigan in Pink from Angelic Pretty.  When the US site added the pink and mint back online I pounced on it.  My idea was to wear it with Baby’s My Sweet Mate Kumya’s Honey Hunt skirt.  It sounded really great in my head and then I got nervous.  Will the browns match?  Are the two prints too clashy? What do you think???  Will I look like a hot chocolate or a hot mess?

Originally I planned to wear AP’s Promenade de Paris.  But had a change of heart when I learned of the fashion show update.  So this Choco Bear combo I was hoping would be a good way to mix and match both of my favorite brands.  I guess I won’t know until it arrives.  Made this collage over the weekend to test it out but its so hard to know the real color from online photos.  Worst case I abandon the chocolate and go with a plain pink cardigan.  Not as much fun – but safe.

When it comes to the tea party, that is much easier.  I have been dying to wear Baby’s Alice’s Dollhouse.  After my tartan dress it is quickly becoming my next favorite.  It has 50% shirring and adjustable straps so is really comfortable.  It is also a much more refined look than some of my sweet prints.  Cute and sophisticated and Alice in Wonderland themed – oh and pink – its perfect.

baby alices dollhouse diy clock hat

And no coordinate comes without its challenges.  I waffled when Dollhouse was on reserve and only picked it up once the San Fran shop had it available.  Which means I missed out on the socks.  And I adore the socks.  Maybe they will pop up on Tokyo Rebel, who knows.  If they do I will grab them.

And then I need to shove something into my hair.  I have officially given up on wigs and head-eating hair bows.  Neither works for me.  They never look right.  So I scoured Etsy and found several miniature dollhouse clocks and a small table.  Specifically items that look like they match the clock room in the print.  I have a couple of mini top hats I have been meaning to deco so here’s my chance.  Add a little lace, paint the table pink, throw in a ribbon then hot glue to my heart’s content.  Should be fun.

baby the stars shine bright alices dollhouse

Pretty Maids all in a Row

the ultimate organized lolita wardrobe

A place for everything and everything in its place.  In our last home we didn’t have proper closets.  So it is really refreshing to have 3 in the new house.  There is another one upstairs but it needs some drywall before we can confidently increase the count to 4.  We were patient and thankfully the Elfa Sale started right after Christmas.  It was so worth it.

The shelving is 30% off which is the best part.  But on top of that, because Container Store doesn’t have a Connecticut store we had them deliver the materials to our house which meant it was an online transaction and no sales tax!  So that saved us enough money to also splurge on having it professionally installed, which was also 30% off.

We will also invest in a few standalone wardrobes from Ikea.  And when that is all said in done it meant that I am able to have one closet completely dedicated to my “play” clothes.  Yes, I officially have a J-Fashion / Lolita closet!

a look inside my wardrobe

This closet is in the sewing room and I hope serves as inspiration to get back into my Candy Shoppe Girl collection challenge.  Originally the closet had an ancient wooden rod that was at risk of snapping in two at any moment.  That and a rickety shelf made by two warped boards precariously floating above the rod.

With the Elfa system, we were able to design it to be split into two halves – one side for long hang and the other for short hang.  Dresses, blouses and skirts each have their own rod.  We also squeezed in 4 shelves.  The one below the blouses will be for boxes of jewelry, above the dresses will be boxes of bloomers, cardigans and other bits and bobs.  The final two shelves are for purses.  Mind you, still really don’t have a clue how to store petticoats – hum.  For now, we have also temporarily put a tie rack on the door to hang necklaces and pochettes from.  The posts are too close together so all the necklaces are jammed in.  Its fine as an interim solution since I need to pace out the spend on our home improvements and we already had the rack making it free so to speak.

More work to do but having a well organized closet is giving me peace of mind.  Hopefully we can hit Ikea this weekend and by the end of the month should be able to completely finish unpacking all our boxes!! Yay!!

Mood Board: Toasty Tootsies

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Hope everyone had a spectacular holiday!!  Today Mother Nature is giving us a blizzard here in Connecticut.  And honestly, it is so much fun.  The new house is starting to feel like home so I don’t mind being all curled up inside with a nice cup of hot tea, a fluffy blanket, and the interwebs.

hime room wear rilakkuma kigurumi

1. Hime Kotatsu  |  2.  Liz Lisa Room Wear  |  3.  Character Slippers  |  4. Korilakkuma Kigurumi

But it got me thinking about keeping warm in kawaii.  Not so much inside but when outside.  Anyone who has been into lolita fashion for a while knows that the materials used for coats and boots are not exactly made for the elements.  And if there is one thing that I can’t deal with it is cold feet in the winter.  Sure there is a fair selection of sweet boots available to choose from.  But they are all form and no function IMHO.

typical winter sweet lolita shoes

5. Angelic Pretty  |  6. Queen Bee  |  7. Winter Lolita Perfection  |  8. Angelic Pretty  |  9. Baby, the Stars Shine Bright

So I am inspired to try my hand at a DIY option in the coming days.  I still want that sweet look but also want warmth.  I hope I can pull it off without it looking too far fetched.  The obvious go-to is Ugg.  Some will argue that Ugg is all function and no form.  I’m pretty smitten with them for sure so will argue otherwise.

ugg style sweet lolita winter-boots

10. Sweet Ugg  |  11. Fluffy Ugg  |  12. Pearly Ugg

Found a few really cute options to get the creativity flowing.  But my real muse will be Baby, the Stars Shine Bright’s Little Princess Coat.  Ideally I would like something that coordinates well with that overall esthetic.

Tokyo Day 6: [In Memory of] Marui One

Looking back on our trip to Tokyo, there were so many amazing adventures and wonderful moments.  I never expected that I would look back so fondly on a department store however.  But that is the case.  Marui One was dedicated entirely to alternative fashion and an epicenter of Lolita. But all good things come to pass and One closed its doors on 25 September 2013.  So, it is with joy that I got to visit there and sadness that it is no more, that I present you with this photo journey.

tokyo day 6 shinjuku marui one department store

The department store featured 7 floors.  Not uncommon, the shops really frown upon photos and so almost all of them post a “No Photos” sign prominently.  But what I loved about Marui One was the escalator ride.  On each floor, perfectly placed at the landing of the escalator, were displays from a popular brand residing on that level.  After I had my fill of actual shopping I rode back to the top.  Unabashedly with my camera in hand I started the ride down, snapping each display as I snaked through the ride.  It was like a kawaii theme park of sorts.  I attracted some stares, but most shoppers went about their business leaving me to my fun.

Angelic Pretty

angelic pretty whip show case

shinjuku marui one angelic pretty-spring-2013

Metamorphose Temps de Fille

metamorphose temps de fille shinjuku

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright

baby the stars shine bright shinjuku tokyo

Mamechiyo

shinjuku mamechiyo modern kimono styles

mamechiyo spring kimono yellow greenJane Marple

jane marple stripe socks silver shoes

La Pafait

la pafait pink ribbon cardigan shinjuku
la parfait pink gingham jskSayonara Marui One.  Thanks for the fun.

Sunday Style: Tartan & Fur Sweet Lolita

Well, we cancelled our Cloisters mini meet today.  It is raining, it is Sunday, everyone is spent after Christmas… That didn’t mean that I wasn’t going to dress up.  Especially not after finishing my first creative project at the new house.

BTSSB Fawn Lolita Coordinate

I absolutely adore my Baby, the Stars Shine Bright pink tartan JSK.  It was the second dress I bought when I was first braving the Lolita waters.  I have had more use out of it than any of my others.  The fact that it has 3/4 shirring is certainly a contributing factor since it makes this dress the most comfortable brand piece I own.  Major bonus points.

velvet lolita hair bows for pigtails

Super pleased with how my new deer antler twin tail bows turned out.  While the cream color is slightly darker than the BTSSB fawn cape, it isn’t as noticeable once worn.

I am very fortunate to have a landscaper for a neighbor.  The hedge along side the house looks very pretty and that is in the middle of winter.  I look forward to seeing how this little corner of our new home-sweet-home evolves with the seasons.  Its my new favorite photo shoot spot.

stone bunny in the yard

And of all the random garden oddities that could happen to be found in the back yard – our new place came with a rabbit!  Looking forward to following him down the rabbit hole.

Mood Board: Fawn Fur & Deer Antlers in Fashion

mori girl deer lolita coordinate ideas

1. Winter Glamor  |  2. Vintage Deer Vase  |  3. Mori Antlers  |  4. Forest Girl Room

Animal ears and antlers have been showing up more and more in J-fashion the past couple of years.  The lolita scene has not been immune. Cat, bear and bunny varieties have all been released by the major brands.  When Baby, the Stars Shine Bright released a fluffy set based on their cuddly mascot Kumya-chan I had to make my own.

fawn fur collars and capes

5. BTSSB Fawn Collection  |  6. Antler Alice Band  |  7. Doe Forest Girl  |  8. Fur + Flowers

Fawn fur, or Bambi fur, has also been all the rage for several seasons.  So it makes sense that antlers are now becoming easier to Google.  The two go hand-in-hand.  What I love about this idea is that it can span so many different styles.  From classic to sweet it is possible to pull off the look in a lolita coordinate.  The more obvious is in mori girl combinations as well.  The best antler inspired creations also include some flowers which softens the look to make them more feminine.

antlers in lolita fashion

9. Bathina’s Bonnet  |  10. Bucks & Berries  |  11. Dark Beauty

What do you think.  Is it too much of a leap from cuddly kitties to a head of horns?

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