25 June 2016

How To Pack Lolita For a Trip

If you've ever traveled with Lolita, you know how much space it can take up. To help you pack more efficiently, I've created this handy guide for you.

This isn't a "How To Pack 101", but more of an add-on to all the other general packing tips out there.

I have two categories of tips for you: planning & packing.

Step One: Planning

Planning is important because you are limited by what you can fit into your suitcase and how much weight your airline allows you to bring. Planning how to consolidate accessories and clothing pieces to maximize coordination ability with limited space/weight is tricky.

The first step for planning out what you'll bring is why you are bringing Lolita. Figuring this out will help you decide what you can leave at home and buy there, how many unique coordinates you can bring, and how you will pack everything.

For example, if you were going on a three week trip to Japan and plan on shopping, I would suggest bringing only a few outfits with little accessories. You'll probably want to buy a lot there, so you can add to your potential wardrobe choices throughout the trip. You will also want to think of coordinates that use the same main pieces with different socks/accessories and the same one or two pairs of shoes. This minimizes how much you'll need to lug around.

Now think of another example: a Lolita convention for a weekend. Because you'll only need 2-4 Lolita outfits, you can pack more unique coordinates. I would still recommend bringing only one or two pairs of shoes (sans what you'll wear to the airport/in the hotel), but you have more freedom with accessories.
1. Research what the weather will be at your destination. This will help you decide if you should pack chiffon blouses and ankle socks or wool tights and a coat. When I was packing for a four week trip to Berlin, I planned on wearing Lolita only on the weekends to museums and castles. I had conflicting reports and advice for rainy, hot, chilly, humid, etc. This made planning very difficult. In the photo below you'll see thin dresses lined with cotton; chiffon long-sleeved and cotton short sleeved blouses for either hot or cold; a velvet blazer for chilly days; both short socks and over-the-knees; and both short shoes and tall boots for either sunny or rainy.

2. Choose one or two colors that will match everything. If you try to use too many colors, you will double up on things you could have reduced to one or two pairs. It is difficult for me to explain, but take a look at the photo again. You can see that I made sure everything could be matched to black shoes and ivory blouses. The burgundy velvet jacket can also match most dresses. Because I limited my color palette, I easily found just a few socks and headpieces in those colors.

3. Decide which pieces you are willing to lose. This seems strange, but trust me. If you are bringing plain socks or tights that you can easily replace, put those in your checked-in bag. If you are bringing an Angelic Pretty dress you just bought, put it in your carry-on. Even if you have insurance, some things are too expensive to risk losing.

Step Two: Packing

Here are two different packing methods that I find to be good for packing Lolita. Which one you use depends on personal preference and the type of trip you are going on.

1. The first method is to stack everything together and roll it up. This is a method that has gotten popular on the internet for any kind of packing because it is supposed to save space and keep your clothes from wrinkling or getting fold lines.

There isn't a general rule for what order to stack the clothes in, but I recommend placing a sturdy piece down first and last. Like a sturdy-delicate-sturdy sandwich! This helps protect your more delicate chiffon and thin cotton pieces.

Before you roll everything up, make sure all sleeves are folded in neatly so you have a nice, tight roll of clothes to place in your suitcase.

This method is helpful when you have a lengthy trip with many different potential coordinates. It is also useful if you want to store brand items in a carry-on dufflebag, because you can place valuables in the middle of the roll and the roll keeps the shape of the dufflebag.
2. The second method is to fold together complete outfits.

There are also two different ways you can pack your petticoats.

The photo below shows the first method of using your petticoat as a liner, which fills up unused space. You can either lay it under your clothes or over (it won't really matter since your suitcase will be upright most of the time). The downside to this method is that you might flatten your petti.

The other method is to stuff your petticoat into a plastic bag and squeeze out the air. Once you open up the bag, POOF.

If you have any other little tricks and tips, leave them in a comment below!

07 June 2016

Pardee House Tour & Tea Party

Several months ago, one amazing comm member posted to our Facebook page about the possibility of having a meet at a historical house in Oakland. 40 people bought tickets to see the Pardee Home Museum and have tea in the gardens.

I ended up being late, so I missed the first few minutes of the house tour. What was truly amazing about the tour was that our docent was actually a family member of the Pardee family. He had great stories to tell us about Thanksgiving dinners here and could describe the backgrounds of and how the family used each piece of furniture and decoration. 

Photo credit Chen Jay

The house had been renovated a few times since it's first construction. There was added electric + gas chandeliers added when electricity was put into the house, the main fireplace was moved when it got damaged in the 1906 earthquake, and the traditional Victorian rooms were opened up when radiators were put in. There had been a lot of renovations during the Edwardian period, so we didn't see much of the original Victorian detailing, but everything was still gorgeous.

I think one thing that did bug me was that everything in the house had been left exactly as it was when the family lived there. This was a blessing because you can see authentic placement of furniture and ornaments, but I didn't like how much 1950s wallpaper and "electronics" there were.

 Photo credit Julia Yu

Photo credit Alegra Vasquez

What I love about the next photo is the historical significance. This is part of Mrs. Pardee's "crazy quilt". The white patch that says "Lincoln" is a scrap of Lincoln's widow's clothing that she sold after he was assassinated. I never knew that his family was left destitute after his death...

Photo credit Julia Yu

The tea service was quite good. The army of old ladies were a bit slow to bring around tea after the first round, and two friends at my table actually snuck over to the tea dispenser and refilled our cups themselves!

We had more than enough tasty tea sandwiches, pastries, and desserts. My only regret is not snatching up the last mushroom quiche!

Photo credit Julia Yu

Here's my coordinate rundown:

  • One piece dress, socks, shoes, and headdress are from BTSSB.
  • Purse is from Angelic Pretty
  • Wig is from Lockshop
  • Necklace is from Marmora Handmade
I just got this Icing Princess OP in the mail, and half an hour into wearing it, one of the waist-tie buttons popped off ;-; Never again will I reach into the backseat of a car in a dress with no shirring... 

You can't tell from the photos, but the lace has some silver glittery threads. I think it added a nice dimension, just like the silver lace on my Innocent Rose JSK.

I was originally going to wear rose printed OTKs with this outfit, but at the last minute decided to wear ankle socks for the heat. I was also originally going to wear Juno's Bouquet straw hat, but it didn't fit with the wig on so I went for Juno's Bouquet headdress instead.

Overall, today was a pretty good day. Taking my wig off as soon as I got back to my car was of course, the highlight xD