Taking Inspiration From... Yourself!?

Lately, I've been going through old coordinate photos and wondering how some of my earlier coordinates look so good to me now. Sometimes, taking a step back (or in my case, letting about 4 years pass) allows you to look at yourself a bit more objectively, plus hindsight allows you a much better understanding of past situations and experiences. Focusing on your personal style as a way to come up with new ideas also prevents you from getting the urge to compare yourself to others, and simply allows you to build on your own successes.

While I have no burning issues with my current style, I sometimes can't help thinking it's not where I had planned on going. I've ended up putting together the perfect wardrobe for daily wear-- which is good, as I wear lolita wherever I go: work, errands, hanging out with friends, etc. But I rarely look at recent coordinates and feel there's anything special about them. I mainly stick to black dresses, small hair accessories, and little to no jewellery. 

I can't help feeling a bit of nostalgia for my older photos, so I'm taking things back to 2011 in hopes of figuring out what it is I want to change.

May 2011

This was my first full on lolita coordinate where nothing was half-arsed, I had a real petticoat, and I made an effort with my hair and makeup. A lot of hard work went into putting that outfit together, and I was especially careful with it seeing as it was my outfit for London Expo. There's a lot of red going on but I think it remains balanced. I think I like this outfit so much because it's precise, carefully coordinated, and unapologetically bright. It's certainly matchy-matchy, but I like it for that reason. And as an aside, I wish Bodyline would re-release those shoes so I could get the next size up as sadly, those amazing shoes never fit me properly!

June 2011
This... this was a good outfit. I love the otome kei vibe and very simple use of colour. Again, very matchy with all the red, but who cares? I think the simplicity of this look really suits me, and it makes me want to get into otome kei properly. I think wearing lolita super casually can make you look a bit frumpy, so it would be nice to own more dresses which aren't made specifically for use with a petticoat like this one.

June 2011
Still summer 2011! What was happening that season that made me put together such great outfits?! This was the day I took the photo that was to become my blog banner. I think I liked this outfit due to its unusual shades of pink and brown. The headbow is the waistbow from the skirt, with a plastic headband threaded through it. Once again, effort went into the hair and makeup, and everything in the outfit has its place, from the cute bag bringing out the pink in the skirt print, to the cupcake necklace. I must say, I really love this outfit. Great job, 17-year-old me! I can't help but wonder why I don't still wear large headbows sometimes. I think I'll rectify that!

So, my conclusion? I think I used to put a lot more care and attention into my outfits. They were never heavily accessorised or OTT, but I definitely think I've become a bit lazy when it comes to lolita-- hence why the vast majority of my outfit pictures never make it online! I know it's because I wear it all the time now, and back then it was just a special occasion thing. Still, I prefer how I looked in lolita then, to how I look now. Perhaps the fact I've gone from teenager to adult-in-their-twenties has allowed some of the whimsy and softness to leave my coordinates at times, plus the general lolita climate has changed a lot since then, stylistically speaking. Sweet was still very much the dominant force in 2011, but now it's all about OTT classic, and I think I've subconsciously felt the need to wear my clothing in a more mature, refined way.  Even how I do my hair has completely changed, and I find myself trying out up-dos and wearing extensions to look more mature. Looking back at these pictures, though, I don't think my sweet lolita style was ever garish or tacky, and I simply began to second-guess myself by spending so much time agonizing over what the current trends are. One solution for my overly casual outfits would be to try out otome kei, as I mentioned before. It's still a cutesy fashion (with retro sensibilities I love), but it's more suitable for day to day life, and would mean I could "save up" lolita for days when I want to go all out again, Failing that, I think I should at least try to make more effort when going to meetups, instead of dressing exactly how I would any other day!

Going forward, I still want to continue on with my old school lolita quest, but I also think I'll go back a few years and look over the sweet lolita trends I used to love, which almost seem old school to me now! The ever popular classic lolita doesn't suit me sadly, so it's time I focused more attention on what does, and what made me feel so excited to wear lolita in the first place. I used to obsess over Angelic Pretty, and although it's probably not apparent in these photos, my aim was to one day graduate to being an all pastel-wearing sweet lolita.

It's like I'm regressing! Surely the natural order is to graduate from sweet to classic as you get older? I don't know... somehow, sweet lolita always pulls me back in again. Even if I only wore super pastel sweet dresses on special occasions, it would be great to finally have the confidence to look as unashamedly cutesy as I've always wanted to. It feels almost like a final hurdle in terms of self confidence. If I can wear an all pastel outfit comfortably, from a large headbow to pastel OTK socks, I'd feel like I'd come full circle.

Do you ever look over older photos of yourself? I'd love to know if you've ever tried to return to your roots in a certain style, or revisit past aims you forgot about! Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your comments!  

8 Comments

  1. I have the exact same feelings recently! When I started with Lolita, I always put a lot of effort into my outfits, like yours they weren't OTT but I planned them very carefully and I even started to plan them weeks before, even if it was just a small meet-up! But I got more and more lazy, currently I just look into my closet and decide within 5 minutes what I want to wear, especially when it is a small meet-up, because I think "why should I spend 2 hours for hair and make-up if I will only sit in a café and eat a cupcake" xD. But I guess it also has to do with the fact that I currently wear Lolita waaay more often then I did 5 years ago, it maybe isn't that spectacular for me anymore to wear Lolita.
    Also, 1-2 years ago I was into more OTT outfits but I got very tired of them, because I always had the feeling that I HAVE to wear an OTT outfit and I can't go to a meet-up when I don't look "special enough". But then I started not to care about anymore and just wear what I feel most comfortable for me, and it ended up in wearing super casual lazy outfits xD. But I have fun at meet-ups and this is what counts ^_^

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  2. P.S. I also want to ask, will you be in Paris this summer? :)

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    1. I'm glad you can relate to what I'm saying! It's hard not to be lazy when you wear lolita fairly regularly, because not every day is going to feel like a special event you need to go all out for! I definitely don't plan outfits weeks in advance anymore, or even the night before a small meetup XD
      I guess you just have to find a kind of balance. OTT outfits are a lot of effort to do regularly, but perhaps every once in a while we need to motivate ourselves to have a special outfit that day. I'm comfortable with my lolita style these days but I think I occasionally have the urge to shake things up and have a day where I feel really special :)
      And yes, I totally agree-- I meet up with people to have a good time, not to look perfect while eating food somewhere! I've definitely experienced people at meets who are literally there for the photos to put online afterwards than actually being there to enjoy themselves!

      As for Paris, hell yeah! Your comment actually reminded me about it! I need to be more organised with my planning! I have lots of things to book and sort out but I am determined to be in Paris during the first week of July, hopefully 2nd-5th. Even if I can't be at any tea parties or expo due to a lower budget than I had hoped, I can still at least visit the Baby shop and have a good time seeing the sights! We must meet up while we're both there <3

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    2. Awesome, we will definitly meet <333
      I will be in Paris from 30th June - 4th July! And Angelic Pretty + Putumayo also just announced that they will have their Pop-up shop again.
      Do you have Facebook? Since I think it is easier to communicate there ^-^ If yes this is my profile: https://www.facebook.com/miriam.mcqueens

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  3. Your outfits are o cute and stylish! I actually don't like black tights in lolita but you wear them the way they look nice in outfits! (*-*)

    Wonderholic♡姫

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm actually trying to stop wearing black tights in lolita so often as they do clash with my dresses a lot of the time, but I'm really glad you like how they look here! :)

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  4. Great post! Even though I started in Lolita a year and a half ago I still feel like I'm just getting started. My wardrobe is still very small (three dresses, one skirt, two blouses and a couple of headbows) and my purpose this year is to buy more complements to improve the coords I already have and THEN start buying new dresses and skirts again. Since my wardrobe is small, I still wear my first coord from time to time. It is strange, even though I own a brand piece now and everybody tells me my second dress is prettier, my Infanta dress, the first proper Lolita dress I ever had, remains my favorite. I don't now if it is the infatuation of the first love or what, but I really love that piece. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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    1. I think that no matter how long you stay in the fashion, your personal style will always be evolving, and you will always find yourself reevaluating and rediscovering different aspects of your style, and making changes to your wardrobe! It's just another one of those things that makes lolita so much fun to be a part of. I really love that aspect of it-- it's hard to get bored when there's always a new goal to work towards, and an opportunity to revisit past outfits with fresh eyes.

      I can so identify with that feeling! The first picture is my first proper coordinate, and somehow, I still find that red Bodyline skirt so magical. It has such an impressive, crisp, and colourful print with unexpectedly luxurious lace that it remains one of my most special pieces to this day :)

      Thank you for your great comment, and I'm glad you enjoyed the post! <3

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