Thursday, March 26, 2015

Don't Wear Prints in the Rain! Or, Wearing Lolita in Spring

Ahhh, yes. Spring. Spring has only just begun to encroach upon the ever-oppressive winter in my area of the United States, but it's been present for a few weeks in others. We just had our first day with temperatures over fifty degrees. I felt like walking around in sandals and getting ice cream! It was gorgeous out, as spring days usually are.

But spring also brings its own set of problems to the table, as well. I wanted to talk a little bit about the practicalities of wearing Lolita in spring, rather than spring trends--because, let's face it, not only will the spring fashions likely be covered by someone more thoroughly than myself, but I think we can all guess what it will consist of...

So, trends aside, what are the problems that come with dressing for spring, and how should we equip ourselves against them, while still having something that--while perhaps not strictly Lolita, at least goes well enough with our girly fashion in order to not look terribly out of place?

Rain Gear -- Boots & Raincoats

Capelli New York lace print rain boots

The biggest problem with spring is the moisture and the rain. In my college town, it rains for almost a month or so, making enormous puddles that are a chore to navigate, and which last for a week or so. In my hometown, we manage to get rid of our rainfall relatively quickly--but when it rains, it pours. Lightening and thunder, the whole shebang. And when navigating puddles, you definitely need a pair of boots of some sort--preferably rain boots.

Rain boots are usually known to be black rubber monstrosities that are purely utilitarian, rather than "cute" by any stretch of the word. Unless, of course, we're talking little-kid-wearing-too-big-boots cute, in which case, yes. They can, indeed, be cute. But cute rain boots have become a bit easier to find as of late. I found a few lace-printed rain boots on Amazon, such as the ones from Capelli New York above, and most of them for rather reasonable prices, to boot. (Get it? Boot? I slay myself.)

You don't have to wear your rain boots the entire day. If you'll be staying in one building for a majority of your day (such as in a school or work building), you could always take your coordinate's true shoes with you and put them on when you won't be going outside. If you have a locker at school, you can always stash your frilly-friendly boots at the bottom until the day lets out.

Shield Yourself -- Umbrellas & Waterproof Parasols

Black Pagoda Umbrella from Bella Umbrella

Of course, you're going to want to keep the rain off of you entirely, ideally. This is where a pretty umbrella comes in. Lots of these high-quality umbrellas, such as the one pictured above and quite a few ones from Japanese Lolita brands, also double as parasols, so you can get more bang for your buck! (Note: You should check the labels and descriptions of your umbrella in order to see if it is UV-protective before using it as a parasol.)

Take care of your umbrellas to keep them looking nicer for longer. This goes doubly for expensive brand parasols and umbrellas from nicer companies (like the aforementioned Bella Umbrella). Before storing them, always make sure that they are fully dry to prevent mildew and mold from growing on the fabric, and the metal from rusting (which can later stain the fabric, as well!). If your umbrella becomes dirty, you can clean it with warm water and gentle soap. Make sure that you avoid harsh chemicals, because they can affect the waterproof treatment on the fabric.

When it's Still Slightly Chilly -- Light Jackets, Boleros, & Cardigans

Cardigan (left) from Bodyline; jacket (middle) from Fanplusfriend; bolero (right) from Bodyline.

Spring is one of those unpredictable times of the year where it can be frigid in the mornings, but sunny and beautiful in the afternoons. So the best way to combat this particular issue is to opt for wearing easily-removable layers. You can wear a light jacket for chillier days, and a long-sleeved bolero or cardigan over your coordinate on milder days when you need just a little bit more protection.

When choosing your first Lolita jacket, opt for a color that matches the "main" color in your wardrobe. Black might be a great choice for a Gothic Lolita, but not as good a choice for someone who wears primarily pastel pink Sweet Lolita. Use your best judgment. You can find spring-weight jackets from just about every one of the main Japanese brands this time of year, as well as from offbrand sources like Taobao or Fanplusfriend.

Because they tend to be a little less expensive, boleros and cardigans are easier to match color-for-color to your coordinate. I would opt for something with long sleeves to start out with. If you get hot, you can always remove your shrug and stash it in your bag or another safe place. As with your jacket, for the first item you buy, choosing one in your primary color is likely for the best.

A Special Consideration -- Spring Weather Hates Your Brand

Photo from maroonsparrow on Livejournal's amazing post on print bleeding, mentioned below

One of the biggest things to take into consideration is this: Lolita prints are notorious for bleeding. While this can often be controlled in a situation where you are laundering your clothes (through the use of special detergents, color-catchers, or dry-cleaning), when you are rained on, you really don't have much of a say in the matter.

Make sure you check your local weather forcasts. If heavy rain is predicted for the day, plan accordingly. It might be best to rethink wearing that brand-new print skirt you got from Alice and the Pirates to a day where there isn't the chance that it might get ruined! If you must wear Lolita, consider wearing a solid-color piece, or one that you are certain won't bleed, instead. (If you get caught in the rain accidentally, or take all precautions and still end up with a print-bleeding disaster, this post from EGL could be your Godsend!)

Any other tips for surviving the spring months in Lolita? Share them down below in the comments!

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