Hello Spring – もしもし春

I'm Back & Inspired

Took the month of March to regroup and to chill. I took a vacation both figuratively and literally. Its been on my mind for awhile about how to better focus my ramblings here. What is this little blog all about? Well, I have some fresh new ideas about that. But before I spill the beans I am going to put my concept through the paces on paper and see if it sticks.

If budget permits, this refresh hopefully will also include a redesign. There is a new WordPress template that has caught my eye but would need a designer’s finishing touches to really make it shine and bring my vision to life. So in the meantime, while those gears continue to turn behind the scenes, makes sense to keep on keeping on.

Inspired in Shibuya

Two glorious weeks in Japan will inspire anyone. However, it only takes one afternoon in Shibuya to get up to speed on what is hot in Tokyo right now. Even just riding the escalator up and down Shibuya 109 will fill you up with more ideas than you can imagine. Saw some perennial spring trends and a few new twists, as well as fresh updates to a few styles popular in recent years.

Zipper’s May edition hit all the highlights I encountered, but to really sink in what piqued my interest sketching seemed the best way to cement things in my memory. I haven’t sketched in years! And to be frank, was never great at it back in Art School {he he he.} Putting pencil to paper takes energy, far more than flipping the pages of a magazine, and so its a great way to capture a moment as well as allow for personal interpretation to sneak in. Regardless, here is what I saw popping on the streets of Tokyo today.

puffy tote bags, petit usagi hairbands, and candy necklaces

Puffy Tote Bags | Cropped Sweatshirts | Sheer Details | Fabric Candy Necklaces

full circle skirts, cherries and floral headbands

Floral Alice Bands | Short Full Circle Skirts | Cherries, Cherries, Cherries

varsity jackets, sailor collars, and gingham everything

Varsity Jackets | Chenille Patches | Sailor Collars | Winged Backpacks |Gingham Everything

floral neko mimi, cardigans with lace, ribbons and cutouts

Cardigans with Lace, Ribbons & Cutouts | Cat Ears Stuffed with Fake Flowers & Lace | Sheer Details

wide suspenders on salopettes and ribbon badges as accessories

Pleated Skirts with Wide Suspenders | Badges Trimmed in Ribbon and Lace

This year’s big surprise was SHORTS! And it is Shibuya, so when I say shorts I mean shorts. Short shorts. The more leg you can show the better. For my own personal taste there was another option.  Shorts that were fuller, that could almost be mistaken for a skirt, and with peak-a-boo lace showing at the hem. OH, and there was lots of denim and overalls too.  Overalls are so much fun. Not the most flattering if you are not a twig, but still so comfy and cute!! Then there are the ski caps. Everywhere and everyone has them. Making them spring worthy the fabric and colors are adapted to give them a lighter feel.

OK, so I didn’t actually see anyone wearing the neko mimi. But there was no way for me to take a picture and I just wish you could have seen it. There was this one shop where the girls deco anything and everything. Hot glue heaven. The mimi were amazing with tulle covering tightly packed roses trimmed out with more flowers and lace. Hu hu. So cute.

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)

Mood Board: Yoke Style Dresses

Yoke style dresses are an all time fave of mine.  There are an infinite number of variations that can be designed using a yoke.  I lean towards the pleated flowing style especially.  It is not by today’s standards the most fashionable.  Mostly because this style doesn’t emphasize a girl’s curves.  But I think fashion is more than showing off an itty bitty waistline.  And you can make a very high style statement that also allows for comfort in my opinion.

emily temple cute cutsew one piece

Its no secret that I have an obsession with the brand Emily Temple cute.  But their sizes are not compatible with my figure sadly.  Now that I feel my sewing skills have improved enough that I am not embarrassed to wear my own work in public, ETC has become my main muse.  I was pleased when I came across this blue cutsew one piece on Tumblr.  It shares a similar profile to my recent dress.

nile perch cutsew miss angela illustration

Nile Perch is a recent addiction of mine.  Being able to see their pieces up-close when I was in Tokyo started a whole new love affair.  I adore the star pockets on the dress above.  So you might see that show up on something I make in the near future.  A trip to the garment district is on my list in order to find solid pastel color jersey in 100% cotton.  Might be a tall order but I am optimistic.

This illustration by Miss Angela, a fellow sewer and pastel lover,  has been saved on my computer for sometime.  When browsing for inspiration I came across it again and was pleased to see a couple yoke styles included.

yuko higuchi art cats in dresses

Illustrations are such a great source of inspiration.  The work of Yuko Higuchi is cute and magical but also has a certain edge to it.  The technique she uses for the black and white drawings matched with solid backgrounds are so impactful.  I admit I have a little something for anthropomorphism – animals given human qualities, but specifically I like seeing animal heads on people bodies {I know, weird right?}.

angelic pretty pink one piece red valentino fall 2013

And I can’t leave out Angelic Pretty from the yoke scene.  Fantastic Dot, Wrapping Ribbon, Sugar Doll, and Petit Patisserie to name a few come to mind.  My first love is the cute-style Japanese brands but the luxury brand Red Valentino also always comes through with the sweets.  While Japanese brands are a size issue, Red is a price issue.  But it is free to browse, so I regularly visit their site for inspiration. In just the past couple of days they too released a yoke style dress!  Such timing.

Next Time

It was raining all Labor Day weekend, so I tucked myself away again and sewed to my heart’s content.  Will post a T-shirt next time that is a sister piece to the yoke style dress.  Stay tuned.

Saturday Style: Mori Girl

Taking a minor detour from my vacation photo log.  But not really.  Here we are back home and our first weekend “to do” is a trip to Mitsuwa the Japanese market in NJ.  It isn’t the same, but is the closest you can get to Japan here on the East Coast.  I figured it was also a good day to try out a new Japanese fashion style.

japanese fashion mori girl

Its a pretty big departure from my first love, Lolita.  Have to say I don’t miss the petticoat. This is the outfit I picked out at Wonder Rocket in Harajuku.  I was very nervous wearing it out for the first time.  In Mars (my favorite shop for cute Japanese goods) the shop girl told me she really liked my style.  That totally put me at ease.  So a big Arigato goes out to Stephanie for boosting my confidence.

I went for what I hope is a mix mostly of mori girl with touches of natural and otome kei.  How did I do?

wonder rocket mori girl style

Outfit Breakdown:  Skirt, sweater, cardigan, collar and socks are all from Wonder Rocket.  Purse is from Ahcahcum Muchacha.  Bracelet is from Baby the Star Shine Bright.  Watch fob necklace and butterfly pin are vintage pieces from my Grandmother (and 2 of only a handful of items I still have from my childhood.) Pretty sure I found the shoes at Nordstrom Rack of all places.

DIY July

I love summer.  The days are longer and with all that extra sunlight my artistic gene kicks in to high gear.

DIY July BannerAnd it looks like So-En, Japan’s first fashion magazine (started in 1936,) also has the bug.  The July Edition is aptly named, “DIY GIRL.” It is jam packed with tons of do it yourself inspiration and how-to examples.

The July 2012 Edition of So-En MagazineOne spread is dedicated to a bib-front, tuxedo style shirt. Looks a bit complicated, but love the sassy style.  The model is wearing the blouse with a simple pair of shorts and a chunky pair of shoes which keep the look from being too serious.

DIY How To Examples

If the blouse is too ambitious, check out the article, “Tokyo Reworkers.” I have been clipping articles like this from Japanese Magazines for years.  One day I will have to pull the Lacoste remake from my archives – still my most favorite remake ever. But anyway, if you have intermediate crafting skills than this is the article for you.  I am noodling over the jeweled collar.  They are even showing up in U.S. magazines now, so I am long overdue to try one myself.

So En make your own ribbon necklaceOr if you are looking for a quick project, check out the “everyday ribbon” article. Very simple and very sweet ribbon necklaces that can be whipped up out of pretty much anything.

Sweet Dreams, Sheri




P.S. I have been saving up some of my own DIY projects.  So look for the following to make an appearance here on L.S.E. in the coming days (*^^*)

Do It Yourself Sneak Preview