Mad as a March Hare
Photos by Elpis Megale Photography
OK, I had to do this next. I’ve done two Lolita outfits but no proper Kodona (one of the male versions of Lolita), and I wear it more than I wear Lolita. I think it’s just more noteworthy in my own mind when I wear a dress. Still processing on that point.
I love wearing Kodona, I’m one of the only people in my comm who wears it frequently, and it’s wonderful to express this perfect person of myself. It’s eccentric, beautifully tailored, dramatic in every sense and just good fun.
This outfit was for my communities Alice in Wonderland meet – if you hadn’t guessed that – and it was literally the most fun. I haven’t had an outfit that I have loved wearing as much as this one in a while. It was revelation to feel such a love for my appearance. Sounds a bit mad, but for me, this princely type of look makes me feel so comfortable in myself.
I love swooshing around in long line waistcoats and wearing ridiculous hats. Kodona isn’t armour for me in the same way that other styles, like Strega, can be, because it’s expressing who I am, who I want to be. I am that kid from the fairy tales, or at least that’s how I see myself, so why shouldn’t I dress to express that? I honestly wish I could wear kodona and ouji – and variations there on – every day, but right now I just don’t have enough and it wouldn’t be a very good idea with my day job.
I think that a lot of us, nonbinary and trans people, feel like we need to hide behind stereotypes and plain clothes to “pass”, hiding our true personalities in order to get by. That makes me so sad that so many wonderful, expressive, beautiful people feel like they can’t be themselves because the world has made them afraid to be seen. I’m very lucky to be supported in my eccentricities, and to have the hard headedness to keep myself going through all the crap and still dress like this, but it has taken me a long time to get there. It’s something I am going to talk more about in a multi-part article over the next few weeks/months, my journey to this place.
However, let’s stick with this article and outfit right now!
A lot of people see Lolita as costume, and yes, it has elements that are over the top, but it’s meant to be worn on a day to day basis. You should be able to wear it the same as any fashion, just with more frills and elegance.
There’s two predominant “boy styles” in Lolita; Kodona the more “grown up” look, gentlemanly and aristocratic, and Ouji which is more cutesy and school boy-esque. I wear both, though tend to wear Ouji more casually and Kodona when I’m making more of an effort. Don’t know why, guess I want to be more bishi some days haha.
Ouji extraordinaire kira-ouji
The main part of this look is that waistcoat. It’s a handmade piece and one of my favourite pieces. It was a joy make and to wear. Burgundy cotton, with a gold silk lining, William Blake print facings and collar with a touch of the military with the double breasted gold buttons; it sits so well, it’s elegant and balanced, this waistcoat makes you feel like you’re going to swept Miss Alice off her feet. Yes, I am blowing my own tailoring trumpet, but I don’t care.
I was inspired by a mix of Georgian/Regency frock coats and military uniforms. I think it’s period that needs to be used more in Lolita, their losing out on a lot of wonderful fashion, but I think they’ll get there.
I used a Simplicity pattern 2333 – pirate coat – and modified it with lacing down the back and shorter skirting to get a more dandyish feel to the whole look.
Next big item is the plus twos/breeches. I wear these a lot, I have a couple of different pairs, coz they are comfy damnit. So they aren’t strictly Kodona, but they worked really well with this look. Again, handmade, because I just cannot get a good pair in my size, made of brown wool. They are super simple to make, you can modify any trouser pattern into them – I actually can’t remember which pattern I used, sorry!
The blouse is a bit of favourite of mine, though I can barely ever wear it! It’s a silk blouse from the turn of the century and it’s on it’s last legs, despite me doing my best to rescue it, hence why I don’t wear it often. However it is completely perfect for this look and I had to grin and bare it, hoping that I didn’t do more damage. (I did not, the blouse is fine). If you’re putting a look like this together for yourself, you do not have to hunt down a blouse that’s disintegrating in your hands – I mean, it’s stupid and I should have found a less precious one – you can go to pretty much all lolita brands and find a blouse like this. I’d actually recommend ebay though. Vintage/vintage style blouses are just as good as brand ones and normally easier to find in a good size and for not too much money. Charity/thrift shops are good as well.
The diamond pattern socks are a bit of an Ouji wardrobe staple, and I need to get a few more pairs, because they really finish off an outfit and go “this is Ouji. This is what I am wearing”. It’s really weird but when I put the socks on with this look it felt so wonderfully complete, something that I am style struggling with another kodona outfit I’m working on. Annoyingly I am yet to find anywhere in the UK that sells these types of socks, so normally shove another pair onto any of my lolita orders.
Ok, so let’s look at the accessories.
There’s a lot more going on than I would normally do, and yet somehow I still think there could be more. And, being me, they are all handmade ridiculousness.
The shoulder piece is an epaulette, made following Cohaku Magazine‘s epaulette tutorial. I simplified my version down a bit but it’s a great tutorial to start with for a basic epaulette. To the epaulette I have attached several braids, mimicking military style braiding to go with the military feel of the waistcoat front. The string of pearls is also meant to reminiscence of that, but I wanted to be fancier, and also to invoke the idea of a watch chain – being Alice in Wonderland and all – so there is a little gold watch hanging off of it.
I wanted to be as Alice in Wonderland-y as possible so decided to add roses as well to the look. The fabric on the waistcoat facings has roses and flowers on it, so I match up a broach and a necklace to that, as well as using it for the inside of my hare ears. Lastly – before I move onto the gloves/hat/shoes combo – a big floppy bowtie, styled like a georgian dandy, very fitting for this March Hare.
Right, the hat. The hat and the ears. I couldn’t not have ears, I was being the March Hare! The thing is, this isn’t costume, so I didn’t want to go too far into that area, so I kept them simple, matched them up with the waistcoat and put them on a hat band, making it very clear that they are an accessory to the outfit rather than a costume piece. Or at least that was the plan. I think it worked.
The hat itself is a black bowler, vaguely period, vaguely Kodona, vaguely cool, it worked. Matched black boots – I love big boots with ouji and lolita, less so with Kodona but sometimes it works perfectly – and black gloves for a finished, polished look.
Best places to buy Kodona and Ouji, if you aren’t mad and decide to make all your own clothes, are Fanplusfriend, Atelier Boz, Alice and the Pirates, and there are loads of great taobao sellers that you can find here. You can also look on the second hand sales on Lace Market. I also find that things like waistcoats and blouses can be picked up on ebay as well, you just need to be savvy.
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Hope you liked this ramble,