The Anti-Wardrobe Post

What even is a Wardrobe Post?

First off, for those who don’t go here, the Western EGL community has a thing about making a big annual post on social media that serves as a sort of catalog of their personal lolita fashion wardrobe. Originally, the venue for such posts was the EGL community on Livejournal (and apparently still is??), but nowadays people continue to post them on various other sites as well.

I was probably around for the origins of the Annual January Wardrobe post. Why ‘probably’? Well, because I largely ignored a lot of posts on the main EGL Livejournal community back in the day. Just like nowadays, the larger EGL communities tend to suffer from what one might term SLSS: Sweet Lolita Saturation Syndrome. Common symptoms include:

and so on. I’m not trying to throw all sweet lolitas under the bus here; why, some of my friends count themselves among them, and share similar complaints. (There’s even a bit of meme saying “Are the sweets okay?”) But I’ve found over the years that the sweet substyle, moreso than goth or classic, is especially susceptible to this kind of groupthink(?) that, regardless of intention, ends up with me quietly clicking “Mute all notifications”. 

Kelp I thought this was about why you don’t do wardrobe postsyes! I promise it’s relevant!

Fellow lolitas will give many reasons for not doing wardrobe posts – lack of time/energy, no good photo set-up, things in storage, et cetera. All of these apply to me in some fashion. But…

The Big Reason: What IS my wardrobe?

See, if you are someone who adheres to very narrow parameters in the realm of lolita fashion, it’s possible to go through your closet, dresser drawers, jewelry box, and pull out your “Lolita Wardrobe Items”. If you stick mainly to Angelic Pretty full set-type coordinates, assigning [+lolita] and [-lolita] attributes to every item you own is a Thing You Can Probably Do.

Examples of Angelic Pretty full set coordinates, and also a dog

By now you’ve probably caught on that I’m Not Like the Other Lolitas. But really, I am! There’s plenty of sweets with a diverse and varied wardrobe, and I know they share the same struggle. As for us goths and classics, I think it’s especially rare to have a hyper-focused collection of “Strictly EGL items”. For example, most of the blouses I wear with lolita coordinates aren’t from Japanese brands – they’re from Central Valley thrift stores. And back when I used to go to work, they were just as much part of my “work wardrobe” as anything else.

A small selection of my thrifted blouses

On the flip side, I also have plenty of J-fashion items that aren’t from The Usual Brands. I’m a big fan of more casual pieces from punk brands, like Algonquins and Peace Now, as well as offerings from more experimental gothic brands, such as Ozz On and Krad Lanrete. (Did you know Krad Lanrete is just ‘Eternal Dark’ backwards? Now you know.) And that’s to say nothing of my many pieces from MILK, Emily Temple Cute, and Jane Marple – generally regarded as “lolita-adjacent” brands by many in the West. 

Left: Emily Temple Cute, Right: MILK

So even in the best case scenario, where I have infinite monkeys and infinite typewriters- wait. Not sure that reference works here. My point is, no amount of time and energy will solve my hemming and hawing over what makes the cut and what doesn’t. I simply don’t have a “lolita wardrobe” – I just have a lot of clothes.

Possible Solutions (and Why They Don’t Solve My Problem Either)

I’ve been paying attention to this latest round of wardrobe posts to get a feel for how people do ‘em nowadays, and I noticed two interesting trends that make putting them together less work. Unfortunately, neither really provide any meaningful solution for me, for the same reason as above.

Trend #1: Relying on Stock Photos

I recently saw a number of wardrobe posts that consist primarily of stock photos, as opposed to the owner’s own shots. I imagine that these lolitas are relying on either their own saved collection of stock photos from online webstores, and/or existing online archives to put together these collages. However, many of my items were bought used off auction sites or at in-person swap meets up to over a decade prior, meaning I didn’t have any handy source to right-click and save. And while Lolibrary is a wondrous place, to be sure, and I’ve certainly saved a number of my wardrobe items to their Closet function, my list of “Things I Own That I Should Prolly Add to Lolibrary” is equal to, if not greater, than existing entries. 

One of the few items that was just missing some photos.

But wait, it gets worse. Much of my wardrobe that may or may not be presently cataloged online is from around 2005~2012. Elder members of the lolita community know what that means.

Stock photo of an item I own from Alice and the Pirates

Yes, back in my day, brand websites had tiny little jpegs of their offerings, and you dealt with it! (Actually, the secret for evaluating brand offerings was to have a copy of a magazine like Gothic & Lolita Bible, where the latest releases were likely being advertised, and look at much better photos…maybe even an editorial? But anyways.)

The point is, that, once again, this option is only convenient for contemporary collections of well-documented brands. Couldn’t be my wardrobe.

Trend #2: Finding a Focus

For those of us with an overwhelming amount of Stuff, some have chosen to focus on favorite pieces, recent acquisitions, or some other specific category. Again, a good idea! But one that just replicates my Larger Problem on a smaller scale. 

So does that mean I give up? Well yes. Sometimes, giving up is the best course of action. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t be photographing my wardrobe. On the contrary…

Why “Make A Wardrobe Post” when you can “Do Archival Work”

I guess in a way, you can say I did find a focus – taking nice photos of items I currently own which have existing entries on Lolibrary with subpar or incomplete pictures. This has no January deadline, no required social media aspect. And there’s a neat and tidy delineated list of what needs a photo and what doesn’t. Problem solved! Maybe next year us fellow old-litas can proudly post a collage of all our added entries.

This was my entry for Bay Area Kei’s Bibliotheca Blog Circle theme of “Challenges”, by the way! If you enjoy J-fashion blogs, please head on over and subscribe to our monthly newsletter. It’s now put together by yours truly, so send any complaints directly to me.

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