Tea by the River (or stepping into fusion fashion)
I really like experimenting with fashion. You may have noticed this. I’ve never really been one for following the crowd or the rules of how to look “good” because, as in any creative medium, good is subjective. This “rebellious” streak in me has lead me to love alternative fashion, but it has also meant that I never quite do it right. Case in point: Lolita.
Lolita is a fashion that has some pretty strict rules about what is and isn’t lolita. Sure, ok, that’s fair, you want to define the look and build a space for it. I totally get that. Unfortunately, this way of thinking has lead to a certain stagnancy in the fashion. There’s a lot of the same thing going on, just in different colours. Nothing wrong with that really but, for me, I like to innovate, change things up, do stuff my way, and sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t.
This particular outfit is a mix of mori and lolita, I love both the styles, and wanted to create a fusion between them. I feel I was pretty successful and I wore it to have tea in my favourite tea house. But, of course, it got a lot of criticism for being neither one nor the other.
So what’s all this got to do with nonbinary, well, actually it has a hell of a lot to do with it. The idea of setting rules that a certain look should look as certain way reflects on the opinion that to be a certain type of person or a certain gender you must conform to the stereotyped look. That ain’t right. To allow for innovation and experimentation within fashion, any fashion, is to allow expression of personality and gender. It’s important to let people have room to breathe, to change what they want to fit who they are, and how they want to present themselves.
The fashion community as a whole can be incredibly innovative, and we must channel that into everything. Do it for you, not for anyone else. Fashion is about self expression, not about following rules. If you want to change it up, change it up.
The base of this outfit is my favourite lolita dress. It’s a plain, navy blue, with white trim. Super simple. It’s versatile, easy to wear, easy to wash (so important) and the colour suits me to a tee. I’ll posting more outfits with it in the future just to show you have it can change from outfit to outfit.
As much as I love dresses with prints, I think it’s important to have one or two plain dresses in your wardrobe – no matter what fashion you wear – if only so you have something that can go with everything. It’s like the little black dress. It’s a staple.
I’ve used an underskirt with the dress this time, because that’s more mori. More length, more layers, more lace. I wished I had another layer in there as well to give even more depth to the skirts, but we work with we have.
The underskirt is one of my favourite lolita pieces. It transforms a dress. You can go from a shorter, relatively cutesy dress to a more elegant grown up look simply by pulling on an underskirt. If you have one with more frills, you can even rock it out in a piratical style (one of the next items on my list to get, I wanna be a pirate guys). This particular skirt is from Haenuli, one of my favourite indie brands. Hopefully I’ll have more pieces from them to show you soon.
You can easily see the difference between the dress with the underskirt and without it. Same petticoat used in both pictures.
I’ve talked about layers in mori before – here, if you’re interested – it’s cute and comfy but the layers of cardigans do take away any clear shape, which as I said in my last lolita article – which is here – lolita has a very certain shape, the bell shaped skirt, and obviously the two looks rather clash. But that’s what I liked. To be honest, I wasn’t that bothered by keeping the shape of the lolita dress when I wore this, I was cold and wanted to look cute. Necessity is the mother of invention after all. Actually I don’t think that the lolita shape is all that lost, I think it’s a bit blurred possibly but the basic look is still there, and this wasn’t meant to be “standard” lolita, so blurring the lines is, in my humble opinion, fine. I do encourage experiments after all.
Quick bit on the cardigans themselves, nice and wooly, perfect for winter mori. Both the long sleeved blue cardigan, and the waterfall waistcoat cardy have textured weave. It’s more interesting and distorts the shape, a very good trick for mori. It’s all about depth and layers. More layers, more textures – possibly not too many patterns – building up the different shapes.
I haven’t got much to say about the blouse, other than you can’t really see it; just the cuffs. I chose it because of the cuffs, I wanted a little bit of lace poking through there, so I’m moving straight onto the scarves. This basically follows the same thing about layering. Textures, fabrics and different shapes. There’s not a huge amount of point layering things that have the same shape because you won’t see any of it. Layering is done for a reason – other than staying warm – and that’s to make the look denser and more visually interesting.
I’ve gone for two scarves, a light weight grey with a lace trim, which is purely for aesthetic and the chunky knit snood, which is for warm. And coz it looks yummy.
Last few things about this look, tights, shoes and the accessories – not that I have that many.
I feel like I’m going to ruin some sort of illusion but I’m not actually wearing tights. I’m wearing leggings with long socks over the top. I didn’t have any tights that suited this outfit and I was not going to go out in Late October just wearing socks, no matter how wooly and chunky they are.
Grey was the obvious colour to go for. I thought blue might disappear too much into the dress but dark grey isn’t too overwhelmingly different. Grey sits in that nice “base colour” area with black, white and cream. I like these colours. It’s good to have a colour like that, that you can link your accessories to; my hat and necklace are both grey/silver. I didn’t want them to be the key points of this outfit, so I stuck to my base colour, therefore toning them down, and keeping the blue of the dress, with it’s white highlights, the key focus.
Finally the boots. I like my stomping boots, they keep me feeling down to Earth. Didn’t want to look like a princess, I wanted to look like I could go running off into the wilderness, so brogues or heels of any kind, or sandals wouldn’t have worked. These boots link in with the natural feel of the look but also create a cutesy, cartoony element. And DMs are brilliant.
As always if you like what I’m doing here, please support me on Patreon for just $1 a month to get access to my posts, articles and all the info on The Cosplay Journal, and all my cosplay adventures!
If you just fancy being nice because you liked this piece you can buy me a cuppa by scrolling down to the donation link below or donating on Ko-fi!
Hope you liked my first “fusion” fashion article. See you next time,