Aug 1, 2013

5 Songs for Dark Mori Girls

CocoRosie - Beautiful Boyz

Cocorosie's gossamer crooning is the perfect accompaniment for any dark mori girl. All of the sisters' oeuvre fits the strega aesthetic wonderfully, but this is one of my favorite Cocorosie songs. The video is stunning as well! The Bearded Lady is a favorite character of mine (I have been known to show up to Carnivale parties with a well-groomed fu-manchu), and I love her inclusion in this video!

O'Death - Down to Rest

O'Death is a Brooklyn-based folk band I would describe as falling into the Gothic Americana genre, with heavy bluegrass and folk punk influences. Most of their music is reminiscent of fiddle ditties to be played at a wake in the old west, which I for one adore. "Down to Rest" is probably their most popular single, and for good reason. I can't get enough of this song! It's upbeat (for O'Death, that is), and even danceable, but still flavored with a strong dose of the macabre. The video is awesome too, although not very dark mori. Skeletons, astronauts, gambling?! Do yourself a favor and watch it.

16 Horsepower - Sinnerman

16 Horsepower could also fall into the Gothic Americana genre, but what makes them unique is that this band, and their still-active side project Woven Hand, identify as a christian band. What makes them unique as a religious band is their preoccupation with the darker side of christianity, writing lyrics about death, guilt, perdition, redemption, how man is sinful... ect, ect. Frontman David Eugene Edwards has likened himself and his vision of Christianity to that of Northern Renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch. Religion aside, 16 Horsepower's sounds are completely enjoyable and relevant to the dark mori aesthetic. No video for this one, sorry!

Siouxie and the Banshees - Strange Fruit

Okay, it's probably predictable but I LOVE Siouxie Sioux. In addition to just good old gothy admiration, I think she's an incredibly versatile musician and can creatively touch just about any genre. This cover of the classic song "Strange Fruit" captures the tragic nature of the original as well as incorporating delicious jazz notes that hint to the song's origins. I think its absolutely perfect for a dark mori girl!

Rasputina - Why Don't You Do Right?

Rasputina is another musical match made in heaven for dark mori kei. This trio sings deliciously gothic folk songs accompanied by the velvety sounds of the cello. I had trouble picking a single song for this list, but their first album "Thanks for the Ether", off which this song is taken, is my favorite.


Jul 12, 2013

Building your Dark Mori Wardrobe

So you've decided you identify with the dark mori aesthetic, and you're ready to take the plunge and start building your wardrobe. As with starting out in any style, building your wardrobe from scratch can seem quite daunting. This post is intended as a guide to help you in your journey to create magical strega style coordinates.

First: Identify your influences

From Left: 1. Source unknown 2. Ovate f/w12 3. Les Chiffons de Pucerones 4. Rowan City Knits by Amy Butler
What styles of dark mori kei inspire you most? Are you more drawn to historically influenced coordinates, or are you smitten with the Nazgul-esque silhouettes of gothic minimalism? Choose if you want your look to be more boho, more modern, more retro, more dolly-kei influenced, more ghost like, more witchy, more hipster.... whatever you fancy. Of course its okay to be in love with more than one of these styles, but narrowing down which looks you are more interested in will help you build your wardrobe. Personally, I am drawn to things that represent the witch archetype, and focus on purchasing a mixture of long flowy things, and more modern, minimal things I can wear casually that still fit within the aesthetic. For my personal style, I generally feel that things that are too bohemian, or too "fairyish", dont really fit in with the rest of my wardrobe, so I try to avoid pieces with that feel.

Second: Hit the thrift stores

A smattering of things from my Polyvore account. Similar things can be easily thrifted.
One of the great things about mori kei in general is that it is very easily achieved just through finding workable pieces at thrift stores, garage sales, charity shops, ect. When you are shopping, pay close attention to the silhouette, details and quality of garments. Make sure to consider how well they will layer, and coordinate with other pieces in your wardrobe. Be on the lookout for things with asymmetrical hems, made of materials like linen or silk, and have interesting details that will play well off of other things in your collection. I will go into more detail about thrifting for dark mori clothes in another post!

Third: Accessorize

From Left: 1. Satchel bag by Henry Baguelin 2. A covetable Ebay cameo lot 3. Antler hair pick by JCMCairn 4. Squirrel Paw earrings available locally at Necromance, LA
Accessories really make a dark mori outfit. In many cases, your accessories will be the only thing denoting you as a witchy mori girl rather than your lighter-hearted brethren.  Printed tights and leggings, available on Etsy, Ebay, and many other online retailers, are great for casual outfits with a baggy t-shirt, or to add texture to your legs underneath a dress or skirt. For baubles, consider bone jewelry, antiques, rosaries, occult symbols, runes..... Making your own accessories is definitely encouraged! Scarves, mittens, and chunky socks will help keep you warm in winter and add texture to your coordinate. Great shoes and a great bag will help ground your outfit and complete the look. For shoes, retro heels and victorian boots are great for more feminine looks, but a great pair of leather lace-up boots or Doc Martins are perfect with any outfit.

Wardrobe Essentials for the Dark Mori Girl (or Boy)

:: A long, full, black maxi skirt (or two or three) ::
 ::A few great chunky sweaters::
 ::An asymmetrical hem cardigan or vest or both ::
 :: A drapey black tshirt ::
:: Printed leggings ::
:: Long sleeved black shirts (jersey or thermal) :: 
:: Fancy blouses ::
:: Doc Martin style boots ::
:: A leather satchel ::

I hope this guide is helpful for those interested in getting into the style! What wardrobe essentials could you not live without? What tips would you give those just starting out in the style? For more information on wardrobe building, please check out this post: Refining Your Style: Wardrobe Wrangling for the Alternative-style Schizophrenic

Jul 11, 2013

30 Questions for Mori Girls: How did you get into ::Dark:: Mori fashion?

Most of my recent posts have gravitated towards coverage of lolita fashion, and while I do participate in Gothic Lolita fashion, and am a member of several lolita blogging groups, this blog is intended to cover the scope of dark romantic fashions and lifestyles. This next series of posts will focus on dark mori kei, adapted from the 30 Day Mori Girl Challenge created by my friend Lauren of Shady Oaks.

As much as I love lolita, I have been active in the style for many, many years now and these days I feel myself drifting more towards dark mori both in my lifestyle and fashion. This brings us to the first prompt in the Mori Girl Challenge.... How did you become interested in ::dark:: mori fashion and lifestyle?

Well, the easy answer is that I stumbled upon your garden variety mori kei when it was first emerging back in about 2009/2010 through tumblr and livejournal, and other internet resources. As a young girl, I generally preferred the company of my garden and the woods behind my house to the company of other children. My mother told me stories about fairies and read me verse by pre-raphaelite and transcendentalist poets. I was utterly in love with nature and enamored with tales of girls who lived in the woods, completely self-sufficient, and I was convinced that I would grow up to be a naturalist of some sort (I really wanted to be a marine biologist). As I grew older, I found myself bound to the city, but my love for nature never died.

When I discovered mori girl fashion, I was immediately reminded of the girl my childhood self aspired to be when she grew up. A mori girl is independent, self-sufficient, a dreamer, a creative, and at one with animals and nature. Her chunky sweaters and warm scarves allow for comfort, while her delicate skirts and antique laces embrace the femininity of lolita. The many styles that can be considered mori let the wearer bounce between casual and almost hip, to very formal and historic. Although I try to let specific aesthetic principles unify my style, I get bored sticking to one "genre" of dress. Mori kei is very flexible, and much of what I find myself wearing on a day-to-day basis can fall into mori-inspired looks.

So why dark mori? Dark mori, for me, is an answer to the lightness of most conventional mori fashion. Dark mori adds an element of the obscure and the occult to the idea of the forest girl. Although I enjoy fairy tales and drinking tea, I also love the dreariness of a fog-soaked pacific morning, or looking for dead things on the beach, or collecting bones and touring cemeteries. Nature is most importantly cyclical, and death and the other side is a large part of that cycle. The witch archetype is something I identify with strongly, and dark mori helps me embrace that visually. Another prompt asks if mori kei has changed your outlook on life or your lifestyle, and I would say it has, but that's a tale for another day! Stay tuned....

Are you interested in mori kei at all, dark or not? How did you get into your fashion genre of choice? Or are you a fashion chameleon? Thanks for reading!! If you are participating in the 30 Day Mori Challenge, please let me know! I would love to read your posts.

Jul 10, 2013

Lolita Blog Carnival: If Brands Made Home Decor.....

Hello from a little hiatus! The last few months have been incredibly packed for me with travel and work, and I have had little time for blogging. Fortunately for Carnivale Salt, I've hit what is commonly known as "the summer slump" in terms of finding freelance work, so I should have more time to be more active on my blog.

This past week's Lolita Blog Carnival topic was "What if brands made home decor?". Hands down, the brand who's homegoods I would certainly break the bank to have adorning my walls would be Alice Auaa. For those of you not familiar with Alice Auaa, the brand is a prominent Japanese goth company fronted by designer Yasutaka Funakoshi. Although popular with gothic lolitas, Alice Auaa is mostly known for its more avant-garde looks and haute couture approach to the goth aesthetic. Highly coveted among Japanese goths, Alice Auaa's signature plain external tags stitched onto the backs of their garments are as much a badge of honor at Tokyo Decadance and similar Japanese goth events as Angelic Pretty plastic jewelry is at lolita meetups. If you haven't already, please google them and look at their runway collections, or even check them out on!!!).

But enough background, why I really bring them up is for their interiors. Feast your eyes at this den of desires.

Unfortunately, most shops in Japan disallow photography, so these photos are borrowed from La Carmina (I know, I know). I had the pleasure of visiting Alice Auaa's Marui One boutique and know just how cool their decor is from personal experience. White plaster hands function as hooks on the walls, displaying accessories and bags. Heads with baroque-looking devices in their mouths, doors that hang to nowhere, and framed prints of artwork by friends of the designer. All this serves to feature the garments of course, but man do I wish they sold some of those awesome hand wall hooks, or that S&M bust modeling the corset or their amazing torture-device chandelier. I loved the shop so much when I went there that I ended up buying an extremely expensive shirt that I have never worn... (ooops).

Thanks for looking! Please check out other participants' posts from this week!

Read what the other girls wrote about that topic:
Snow Rose * A sweet Lolita's Disney Life * Lolita-Glamour

 Lolita Glamour: Lolita Blog Carnival: If brands made home decor..

Mar 9, 2013

Meetup Report: Dolly House Runway

This past sunday was a a very, very exciting event for me and for all of the SoCal Lolita community! After much anticipation, we managed to pull off the first annual Dolly House Runway event hosted at University of California Irvine! For an independently organized event, it was quite grand. I participated as a designer, so the week leading up to the event was nothing but craziness, and I'm afraid I looked rather shabby, but it was worth it because my models looked awesome!!!

Everyone swarms the BTSSB booth.... Those striped blouses were so lovely!
After opening to the public, the event began with an exclusive documentary about the design and manufacturing process at Baby The Stars Shine Bright in preparation for their Japan Expo Paris show. It was a really heartfelt, relatable, and inspiring film, but unfortunately where my boyfriend and I were sitting, we couldn't really see the subtitles. I could understand some of the dialogue, but I mostly had to rely on video by itself.

After the video, there were fashion shows by BABY and Liz Lisa. I enjoyed them, but I had seen most of the things BABY presented before. I lent some shoes to Liz Lisa for the show but they ended up not using my very gothic items ;P.

Our adorable hostesses! 
 After the designer showcase, the floor was opened up for a brief shopping intermission, and then on to the main event, the independent designer showcase and competition! I was so nervous about my pieces, but when my models came out on the runway, I was so proud I nearly cried.

 I'll be showing these looks again and a few others later this spring at a fashion show in Chicago, so this was kind of a trial run! I have a lot of improvements to make, but I am so happy with the results in spite of not being 100% finished.  All together, there were seven independent designers, and each was very unique and talented! I really enjoyed seeing the wide range of interpretations of dolly fashion. My line, and a kodona-pirate collection by Other Type, were the only gothic designs on the runway, so a lot of people really received my collection well. Many people told me my looks were their favorite!

Cyril of Doll Delight was the judge for the independent designer competition, and in the end she chose the pirate-kodona collection, not mine :(. Congratulations Other Type!

I hope you enjoy these photos! All credit goes to Peter Huynh, the event photographer. Thanks for looking!

Feb 14, 2013

Things I Love Thursdays: Dolls, Shoes, and Cats!

Hello readers! I've been insanely busy with work this week but I don't want to neglect my blog too much... I think its high time to revive the Things I Love Thursdays feature!

Switchblade Sister Dolls

A special thanks to the amazing blog Drop Dead Kawaii for introducing me to these dolls! This talented Japanese doll artist makes both soft-body and ball-jointed dolls, but these "face-type" dolls just steal my heart. Stitched into bears, bunnies, kittens, and nonspecific animal-like fluff balls, each creature features a hand painted and uniquely sculpted face that rests somewhere between adorable, creepy, and slightly deranged. I prefir small dolls, so I was delighted to find that these cuties mostly fit in the palm of your hand! Find more at

Jeffery Campbell Abbey Tabby Pumps

I am obsessed with these shoes. First of all, I am a sucker for shoes in this shape, with bows on the toes. I also love brown, faded, ghostly colors that match with black. I also crazy for cats. Be mine shoes!!!!! I've actually really wanted a pair of shoes in this fabric since JC released the cat tapestry Lita's, but this style is much more to my taste. I won't give you the link because they're almost sold out, and I'm holding out for a pair before they're sold out ;-P.

The Art of Yuko Higuchi

I've been in love with these whimsical, semi-realist etchings for ages on Tumblr, but I only recently discovered the mastermind behind these characters, Japanese artist Yuko Higuchi. Her personal Tumblr  is chalk full of amazing art, and great photography of her studio, home, her cat (the model for many of her drawings), and her incredible antiques collection! You can also follow her on Facebook and get updates about her collaborations and merchandise. I believe she also displays her drawings and installations in art shows fairly frequently if you are in the Tokyo area. I'm planning on making a dress inspired by her work soon! 

Easy Vegan Cupcakes by Veggieful

I'm not all-the-way vegan, but my boyfriend and I try to avoid using eggs and dairy in our cooking at home. I've tried several different vegan cupcake and cake recipes, but always have been disappointed by the results. Most vegan cake recipes call for all kinds of weird egg replacers and ingredients I don't always have around, but this recipe was super simple with only about five ingredients that everyone owns, no weird egg replacers, just sugar, oil, and flour! The resulting cakes are everything cupcakes should be: moist, fluffy, and golden brown, without any weird lingering flavors vegan baked goods sometimes have. This recipe makes vanilla cupcakes, but its such a simple base that its easy to experiment with your own flavors. I made lemon-lavender and I plan to try matcha next! I made mine without frosting, so I can't vouch for her frosting recipe, but It looks just as delicious and simple as the cake. I encourage you to try it out, even if you aren't vegan! Find the recipe here at

Jan 23, 2013

Event Announcement: Dolly House Runway

I'm excited to announce that I will be debuting my gothic lolita fashion collection "Lynnesse" very soon at SoCal Lolita's event Dolly House Runway: A Kawaii Fashion Show. If you are located in Southern California, I encourage you to attend!

Today the organizers announced that Baby the Stars Shine Bright will be sponsoring the event, have a booth in the vendors area, and even be showing us exclusive looks and a design process video! I'm really happy that my designs will be shown next to looks from BTSSB <3 .="" nbsp="" p="">
Be sure to check out their website, Dolly House Runway, and get previews of my collection at my shop blog Atelier Excentrique Handmade!

Hope to see you there!

Jan 19, 2013

Lolita Blog Carnival: If I had my own Lolita Café

I nearly missed out on this weeks theme, but once I saw the topic, I knew I had to participate! This weeks prompt: your own lolita theme café. Opening my own café and lounge is something I think about often because my mister is actually in the process of opening a gourmet mobile food truck! Right now my house is filled with test menus and all sorts of business start up books and thinking about the restaurant business is always on our minds.

"Les Lounge des Sel"

Screencap from Japanese thriller "Goth" (2010). I absolutely adore the set design in this film. This cafe caters to people of dark persuasions, and is central to the plot of the movie!

Ambiance and Decor: 

My café would definitely have an old-fashioned, gothic feel, alá the aesthetic of Carnivale Salt! For the interiors, I would choose a dark hardwood with dramatic moulding, Victorian or Art Deco inspired wallpaper, perhaps with a treatment to fake the appearance of age, and salvaged antique furniture. Patrons could eat at vintage sewing machine tables, adorned with lace doilies and dripping candles, and have tea on pretty vintage china. Collections of oddities would line the walls, and I would have a collection of used books for patrons to relax with and read. My dream space would include an open area that could be used for art shows, live music and entertainment, and doubling as a seating area for private parties (maybe lolita tea parties). Ideally, the cafe would be set up as a quiet coffee-shop / tea house during the day, and then open up as a classy cocktail lounge in the evening. Entertainment could range from burlesque shows, to tarot readings, to fashion shows and fortune tellers!

My cafe would definately have a library / bookshop element, where you could come and be among old books and study or read. Lace curtains are always a nostalgic touch. The ambiance of the space would definitely give a nod to the decor of Grimoire, with lots of antiques and creepy touches. A functional spice wall would separate the kitchen from the dining space, giving a apothecary-like feel. Patrons could dine or enjoy their beverages at antique sewing machine tables.....

Aren't these sugar skulls for your tea to die for?! (Excuse my terrible pun).
Available for a very reasonable price at DEMBONES Sugar Skulls Etsy Shop
What would we serve at Le Lounge Des Sel? Tea of course! I would pride myself on having the widest variety of artisan teas and coffees to sample, as well as offering hand-crafted tea and coffee drinks like lattes and espresso. Served of course in pretty antique tea cups! has a million pictures of tea pouring into teacups...
As far as food items, my cafe would be a melding of English tea house and rustic French bistro. I would love to offer a traditional cream tea, and formal tea service, in addition to an alá carte small plates menu, specializing in savory charcuterie, artisan cheeses, savory pies, and French traditional inspired cooking. I think it would be interesting of offering a savory cocktail-munchies service, served on a three-tier tea service tray, to accompany cocktails in the evening. 

We'd have a stunning charcuterie of ethically-raised artisan meats, and delectable cheeses. 
In the evening, the cafe would open up into a relaxed but vibrant cocktail salon. Not too crazy, but a perfect haven for like-minded individuals to see and be seen. Naturally, we would want to showcase a menu of (tea-inspired?) craft cocktails and fine spirits. And of course, absinthe with all the ritual! 
I would love to have fancy absinthe fountains and filters for the proper absinthe experience. This photo is from the Albright Restaurant and Absinthe House in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. 
  I don't usually talk about food on my blog, but I am a huge foodie and love to cook and bake. My boyfriend and I are vegan-leaning vegetarians (even though I appreciate some fine cheeses and charcuterie), so my cafe would definitely have plenty of vegan and gluten-free options, and everything would be ethically sourced.

I struggled with whether or not I wanted to create a coordinate for what the waitstaff would wear, and played around with different lolita coordinates, and even toyed with the idea of having the waitresses wear full Victorian maid uniform ala Downton Abbey, but really nothing seemed right. I would prefer for the venue to speak for itself and let the guests do the dressing up! I'd also want the cafe to appeal to a larger audience.... book worms, mori girls, hipsters, goths, eclectic professionals, foodies, club kids, fashionistas. I don't want it to be limited to only lolitas! I feel that the dark romantic aesthetic really goes beyond gothic lolita, and I would definitely want this cafe to reflect that.

All in all, I really want people of all kinds who
appreciate the old and the spooky to enjoy themselves at my cafe!
This was such a fun prompt! I can't wait to read all the posts from the blogs who participated! 

Jan 14, 2013

Lolita 52: Weekly blog prompt challenge! - Five pieces every lolita should own, regardless of style!

Okay, I know I already participate in the Lolita Blog Carnival, but this challenge the Lolita 52, popularized by Caro on her blog FYeahLolita, is more conducive to fighting random writer's block. Whereas the Lolita Blog Carnival has weekly group deadlines (that some of us, cough cough, abide by with varying strictness ;P), one can participate in whenever she feels so moved.

If you'd like to participate, or want to learn more about the prompts, please refer to Caro's post on the Lolita 52 prompt challenge. Without further ado, I bring to you:

Five pieces every lolita (or dark romantic) should own..... Regardless of style

1. Bloomers
Pic from tumblr.... Sorry, I couldn't find the source!
I often hear beginning lolitas asking around the communities if bloomers are actually necessary for a full lolita coordinate, and my answer is always YES! Not only do bloomers provide modesty (because yes, ladies, we can see under those skirts when you lean over) and protection from itchy petticoats, they are also incredibly adorable and add a touch of luxury to each outfit. They are also incredibly comfy if you find a pair that fits right, and come in so many different styles, that they can add anything from touches of antiquity, to just the right amount of sexy to any coordinate. I wear my bloomers all the time: around the house, as pajamas, by themselves and under tunics for a casual kind of dolly-look, with a corset, harlequin tights and a ruff for a marionette costume, I even wore bloomers to a rave party once. I recommend owning several pairs in varying styles and lengths to add to your coordinates, whether it be extra-fancy antique ones that peep out beneath your skirts, or a pair of Star Wars printed short ones for secret nerdiness. 

2. Basic mid-height pumps in your colors

Obviously, my colors are black, but I've owned pink pumps for sweet outfits, red for more retro looks, and others. Whereas tea-party shoes and other popular lolita footwear can make some of us look a little dumpy, a nice heel always flatters the leg and turns a woman into a lady! Honestly, you can't go wrong with these babies. Pay attention to heel height and toe shape when selecting your pump: Higher heels will elongate your legs, so a mid-height or vintage heel is best for lolita to get that elegant but demure look. Stilettos in general look too modern for a basic lolita shoe, I recommend a more substantial heel both for balance and comfort.   Round toes are more suited to sweet lolita, whereas more pointed toes are better for gothic. A nice, almond-shaped toe is a good compromise that can work for all kinds of looks. A plain pair like this can be spritzed up easily with different kinds of shoe clips to dramatically change your shoe! 

*Tip from Lady Salt: Vintage pumps (1940s-1960's) are often more comfortable than their modern-made counterparts. Not only was craftsmanship better then, wearing flats wasn't as much of an option for the fashionable woman in those days. Shoes were made with the intention of being worn and walked in, and have the structure to support those activities.

3. Vintage blouses

1960's Butter-yellow tie-neck silk blouse found on Etsy
The best way to build a unique but frugal lolita wardrobe is to stock up on vintage blouses! When I first began wearing lolita in around 2005, I was a highschool student in a rural area. Japanese lolita clothing was almost impossible to purchase without a shopping service, and even more impossible with my part-time job's paychecks, so I made do by finding loliable skirts and blouses at my local thrift shops and vintage stores. 

This model is great at showing how lovely these blouses can be!
From Vintrigued Vintage on Etsy
As my wardrobe evolved, I eventually let go of most of my finds, but I still keep a healthy stash of vintage blouses around, both for use in lolita coordinates, and for daily ware. Romantic, lolita-appropriate styles have been fashionable in the West with reliable frequency, so lacey, Victorian-inspired, feminine blouses are pretty easy to find. 

1980's new-romantic "poet" style blouse found on Etsy
White and offwhite are the easiest colors to find, and most suited to classic coordinates, but with enough diligence you can find loliable blouses in any color you wish. Make sure to keep in mind the shape of the blouse when you are planning your coordinate: many of these kinds of blouses aren't very tailored and may bulk up under a jumperskirt. Smock-style shirts are best worn tucked into skirts with some sort of belt. One trick to minimize bulk is to tuck your shirt into your bloomers, or tie a ribbon around your waist, over the blouse to keep it from riding up.

Seafoam green / mint blouse found on Etsy.
Vintage blouses can work with sweet too!
Once you start spotting these blouses in stores, you'll notice them all over the place! My favorite vintage blouses include a beautiful wine-red silk mandarin-collar piece with Chinese embroidery, a delicious lace-trimmed off-white beauty with a flowing shawl collar and balloon sleeves, and a high-necked chiffon number with black and cobalt blue stripes! Really unusual but I love it under black jumperskirts and with AP blue items. 

*Tip from Lady Salt: Make sure to always keep quality in mind when shopping for vintage blouses. While there are many beautiful pieces available, there are just as many of terrible quality to be found in the same styles. As with typical lolita clothes, avoid low-quality synthetics, shiny satins, cheap rachel lace, and bad construction. No one will appreciate your vintage gem if it looks like Milanoo! 

4. A Basic Blazer Jacket

I love this blazer by Mary Magdalene, but a basic black suit
jacket can work just as well in lolita coordinates.
When most people think of lolita outerwear, blazers aren't usually the first thing that comes to mind. I include them in this list simply because they are incredibly versatile! A black blazer, cut short enough to accomodate lolita dresses, is an easy find at any high-street store. (I got mine at Crossroads Used Fashion for $10.00), and they are incredibly easy to throw over a coordinate if its a bit chilly, but not cold enough for your Angelic Pretty coat complete with plush animal ears. They suit any style, gothic and classic with minimal embellishment, and sweet if you dress them up with your favorite bows, brooches, and pins. Many brands have released printed blazers that match jumperskirts, but a basic blazer (or three) is a staple every lolita should own. They are also a great thing to own if you want to wear your frills to work!

5. A large variety of interesting tights & hosiery

Verum tights by Grimoire
These days, tights are catching on in the lolita community, thanks to the the popularity of Grimoire's Verum line but it feels like not so long ago when I had to convince most of my lolita friends that expensive printed socks are not always the answer. As a taller lolita with thicker legs, printed socks tend to look awkward on me, and I much prefir the more elegant lines of tights. Tights can change your look dramatically, and now one can find them in almost any print, style, or color you can imagine. There are even places that will let you design your own and get custom prints! But tights aren't all.... to add a bit of sex appeal to you hosiery, why not try thigh-high stockings with garders? 
A generic editorial mori-kei photo of socks, but seriously,
who can hate socks that cozy!!!
But don't think that socks are off limits! Think beyond the box of lolita socks. Maybe give sock garders a try if you're feeling adventurous for an antiquated look. Ankle socks are gaining popularity, and I always love thick, hand-knit, chunky socks for a more rustic, mori-style look. Scrunch down your OTKs for an old-school kogal vibe, or even try layering socks over tights. 

5. One really, really over-the-top dress or coordinate
Not lolita I know, but somehow the perfect dream dress illustration.
Illustrator Howard Chandler Christy

The one. Your dream dress. Every lolita needs that one dress in her closet that she maybe never has an occasion to wear out, but just owning it makes her feel happy. Wearing lolita is all about dressing as elegantly and as dreamily as possible, so why not own a completely impractical dress? This goes for my readers who wear other styles as well: everyone deserves a little piece of luxury they can prance around the house in once in a while. For me, I've always wanted to own one of Baby's really sumptuous Rococo-style one pieces, preferably in black shantung, or chiffon, or velvet.  I still haven't tracked down the perfect piece yet, but when I finally find it, my closet will be ready!

A Very Spooky Birthday

Hello dear readers! Its been a packed few weeks for me. On the first of the month, I celebrated my birthday! My boyfriend and I had a special day planned, but it seems that New Years Day in Los Angeles is not the best of date days - almost everything we tried to do was closed! In spite of all the cancellations, we had a great day anyhow!

Our first stop of the day was a visit to the Hollywood Museum of Death. I was quite excited to visit this location because it seems like the perfect gothy tourist destination, but to be honest, it was a little intense for me. I don't consider myself a squeemish person, but room after room of autopsy photos, and the smell of embalming chemicals was a little too much for me. I did really enjoy their collections of death-row art and poetry, their amazing skull collection (they have a giraffe skull!!!!!), and their really interesting Heaven's Gate and Manson Family exhibits. The owners were really nice, loved our outfits, and even gave me some free buttons for my birthday! They had a really adorable (live, and 20-year-old) siamese twin painted turtle in the lobby. I'm glad I went, but I don't know if I'll be going back any time soon.... 

The infamous Hollywood Museum of Death... visit if you dare!

DEATH parking, teehee

You aren't supposed to take photos inside, but I snapped this
photo of a "family" quilt made by the Manson girls. Nothing pairs like crafts and murder!
After the museum, I wanted to go shopping at LA's oddities emporium, Necromance on Melrose in West Hollywood. Unfortunately, Necromance was closed, but we were able to browse some of the nearby shops that were open. I *almost* bought a pair of skeleton leggings, but I decided against it at the last minute. I should have bought them! There were so many cool stores on Melrose, including a branch of the Asian street-fashion brand JOYRICH, but most of the ones I really wanted to visit were closed :(.  

A shot of the inside of Necromance from Google. I'm so bummed it was closed.... 
After we'd had our fill of Melrose, we headed over to Little Tokyo to indulge in vegetarian Japanese food at Shojin, LA's only all-vegan Japanese restaurant! We ordered stuffed shitake mushrooms, yuzu-cured seitan, eggplant and burdok maki, and a vegetarian dragon roll! The Shojin staff were so sweet! They brought me a fruit dessert with a candle, and gave us our polaroid in a nice, personalized card. They also gave me a CD with the jazz music they played in the restaurant! 
I took my own pictures at the restaurant, but they didn't really turn out. I snagged this from Google. 
After dinner, we had planned on going to do purikura, but it was also closed :(. Luckily, many of the Little Tokyo shops were open, so we got to browse a little after all. My boyfriend bought me some delicious macarons from Lette and a really adorable spoon ring from an Osaka-style vintage shop, and I treated myself to a cute pair of lashes. 

My birthday haul!
Here is what I wore! In celebration of my birthday, I wore my most sumptuous gothic coordinate. Blouse: Victorian Maiden / OP: F+F / Hairpieces: AATP, F21, H&M / Rosary, stole, gloves: Vintage / Shoes: Bordello

Simple makeup.... I put a lot of roses in my hair.... 

Eeeeh, demon face! It was dark by the time we got home, so my pictures are a little blurry! I love this dress so much!