Saturday, November 21, 2015

What is This "Minimalism" You Speak of?

Minimalism and J-Fashion? Hahahaha, no way. Or at least that's what you're probably all thinking. But minimalism is more than just having a grand total of 30 items of clothing, shoes, and accessories and having a sparsely decorated room or house. It's about avoiding unnecessary clutter in your life.

 So what exactly is minimalism? Many people define minimalism as having "less than 100 things" or "extreme sparseness and simplicity." So how is someone into J-fashion supposed to do this when we all know things like anime figure or poster collecting, tons of clothing and accessories, crafting, and cute decor are practically synonyms with J-fashion? Well, let's start by looking at a different definition of minimalism: Having only what you need or use on a regular basis or living an uncluttered lifestyle. What this means can vary depending on the person and what they need. Many people who aren't big on fashion or have a professional wardrobe can get away with having only a few items in their entire wardrobe since clothing isn't a big deal for them. This is why there are programs out there to help people reduce their wardrobe to only 33 items or reduce their number of possessions to 100 or less. So how can someone who, by nature, collect items and has a varied wardrobe become a minimalist without giving up the things they love?

#1: Declutter
 Get rid of the things in your life that you never use or look at. That sweater Grandma gave you five years ago that you haven't taken out of the back of your closet since? Donate or sell it. Got loads of craft items you never use? See if any of your friends want them. All those scarves you crocheted that you never use? Try selling them or give them to family members as Christmas or birthday gifts. Essentially, take what you aren't using and either sell, donate, give, or throw it away.

#2: Avoid impulse buys.
 This goes hand in hand with decluttering: Don't buy things you aren't going to use. Do you really need a third white blouse that looks identical to the ones you already own except it's got stars on the lace instead of flowers? Are you seriously going to make that dress if you already have a pile of sewing projects and patterns you've never even used? Do you REALLY need that Mr. Yan bodypillow, or is it just 3am and you have a bad case of the giggles? Always second guess your purchases. If you HAVE to have that dress because it's so cheap, bookmark it, take a walk or a nap, then decide if you still really want it the next day. I understand this can be hard when you're dealing with auctions or online sales, but it's better to wish you had bought something and wait until the next opportunity to get it comes up than to regret having bought a dress that doesn't even match your wardrobe. One time when I was younger, I really wanted to get a dog tag necklace with Gaara from Naruto on it at a con, but I wasn't sure if I'd actually wear it, so I waited until the next con six months later to find it again and buy it. And guess what? I may not wear it super often anymore, but I wore it all the time after I got it and still do occasionally. I don't regret buying it in the slightest. Those two purses I got a few months ago though? Putting them up for sale because they're the wrong size for my needs and don't match my wardrobe.

#3: Is there someone who would enjoy it more?
 Sometimes we have items we occasionally use that we don't entirely care for as much as we did when we got it. A lot of times, these items can be sold or given to someone who would appreciate it more. I have been selling and donating some items that I use on occasion simply because I would rather have something that suits my wardrobe better take its place.

#4: Is it really that sentimental anymore?
 Many of us hang on to items purely for sentimental value. 'I got this giant teddy bear at the fair with my BFF.' 'These fake rose petals were from the wedding of this one cousin I barely see.' The number one question to ask with items like these is, are they really important enough to be taking up space in your house or room and your life? If you keep them in storage, is it really worth the money you're spending each month to hang on to them, or would it be better spent elsewhere? If you aren't quite ready to get rid of something, take a picture of it and put it in a box or something where you won't see it often. If they're memorabilia from a wedding or party, do you have pictures from the event? Are the pictures of the item and/or event enough, or do you really like the item itself? Sometimes the memory is worth more than the item itself and a few pictures in a photo album takes up a whole lot less space than a giant teddy.

I hope you all enjoyed today's post! Let me know if there's anything you do to keep from being overwhelmed with items while still having the things you enjoy.

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

I Have Nothing To Wear!

Hello everyone! Today I'm going to be talking to something that happens to many of us all too frequently: Looking at all the clothing strewn about one's room after trying on a bunch of different items and going: "I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!" This is a bit of a follow-up to my wardrobe building series of posts (Part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4) since I've had plenty of time to build a new wardrobe. I recommend you read them first if you haven't already, since they're the foundation for this post. Otherwise, let's go!

 So I said I had plenty of time to build a wardrobe, right? So why am I saying I have nothing to wear now? Well ya see, there's this thing called changing seasons and not planning ahead because who wants to buy a sweater when it's so hot and humid you don't want to even think about leaving your nice, air conditioned room? So, thanks to my planning, I was able to build a very nice Spring and Summer wardrobe, but now the weather is turning and I have no idea what to wear anymore. So what's a fashionista to do?

#1: Re-evaluate your style preferences.
 Alright, so maybe you had the perfect, pastel Fairy Kei wardrobe for warmer weather. Do you want to keep wearing pastels in Fall and Winter though? Or do you want to indulge your inner Goth or rockstar and switch things up completely? It's time to go visit the mall or thrift store and try on everything you can again. I would suggest avoiding buying anything the first few times or keep purchases small and limited to things you already wanted for your wardrobe. If you want to try wearing a different style from what you already own, try to limit your purchases to main pieces that aren't too expensive so you aren't impacting your budget too heavily. *cough*totally did that*cough* Try wearing the new style you're trying for a few days in a row using what you have and any additions you got to see if it's really something you want to wear that'll make you happy.

Here's what happened for me: I have a very cute, pastel versatile wardrobe based around Fairy Kei for the Spring and Summer. When the weather started getting colder, I decided to start wearing Goth fashion more to go with the changing colors of fashion. However, I found myself still wanting to wear my Fairy Kei outfits more than Goth or jewel toned items. I've decided I want to start wearing Lolita more often due to its built in layers as well as ease of layering underneath as well as some warmer Fairy Kei based outfits with some off-white pieces mixed in.

#2: Decide what additions your wardrobe needs.
 Now's the time to go through your wardrobe and pull out all the out-of-season clothing you've been hiding away. Can you make your new style plans work with what you already have, or are you going to have to sell off all your sweaters or shorts and buy new ones? This is a good time to evaluate condition as well as if it fits your wardrobe, so if you have an item that's got a ton of holes and snags that aren't supposed to be there, now is the time to throw it away or fix it. (If you have a sweater that's just shrunk in the dryer, you can stretch it back out with some work. I found this tutorial extremely helpful when recovering a cashmere sweater.) Make a list of any items you feel you need to make your wardrobe more complete and wearable during the changing seasons.

 Since I'm keeping my wardrobe mainly pastel, but still need to stay warm, I decided to talk to some of my fashion friends in the area and see what they do to stay warm as well as re-watch Lovely Lor's Lolita Fashion in Extreme Weather video for ideas. I decided I needed some layering pieces as well as some patterned statement pieces (my wardrobe's mostly solid color), a long sleeved blouse, and some comfy, yet cute shoes that will survive snow.

#3: Go forth and buy.
 Now's the time to start buying the additions your wardrobe needs. Try and get more basic or generic pieces from places like Target, Walmart, or thrift stores (or your country's equivalent) in order to have more money to spend on the main pieces. Probably most of us don't have the money to go buying 1000 bucks worth of Angelic Pretty dresses new, so look into less expensive alternatives. There's a lot of US and international sales groups on Facebook, you just have to search for the type of fashion you're interested in along with sales. (In addition, if you're already in a few sales groups, Facebook will suggest some similar groups in the side bar while you're browsing that group.) Lace Market, eBay, and Storenvy are some good places to look for used or less expensive pieces and there's always Bodyline for inexpensive pieces.

 I want a couple statement pieces with prints, but I very much do NOT have $400 to drop on used Angelic Pretty or Baby the Stars Shine Bright dresses, so I'm considering a couple Bodyline JSKs as well as searching through Lace Market for some less expensive pieces. I also want a long sleeved blouse and colorful socks which can also be found on those sites. I've already got one short sleeved blouse on the way which, even though it's not great for Winter, is something I've been wanting to add to my wardrobe since my current short sleeved blouse is a bit big on me.

 I hope you all have fun with dressing for the changing seasons and that I've given you some ideas to help avoid over-spending!

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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Clean Your Space

Hey everyone! Today I want to talk about something some of us excel at while many of us dread: Cleaning our rooms. Whether you just have a bedroom, a dorm room, an apartment, or a house, cleaning can be a daunting task. So, today I'll be sharing some of my advice for cleaning a room and keeping it clean.

#1: Don't be lazy.
 First things first, don't be lazy when you're in your room. If you pull clothes out, put the ones that don't end up on your body away. Pick up any dishes or trash in your room and put them in the appropriate places (like the dishwasher or a trash can). Take time to put your clothing in a hamper or back in your closet or drawers at the end of the day instead of the floor or nearest exercise device (those things are clothing magnets, I swear). While I understand we all have nights where we're just exhausted and need to go straight to bed or just don't have time to wash dishes before leaving for school or work, it's easier in the long run if you put effort in sooner. If you come home after a long day at a Lolita meet or convention, don't just throw your clothes on the floor and leave them there for the next week. Try to at least throw items that need to be washed into a hamper while you're changing to your PJs and put the rest on a chair to be put away in the morning. I find it helps to keep a small trash basket in my room to avoid building up piles of wrappers, thread, and bits of glue. Just put one of those bajillion plastic bags your mom keeps in the basket for easy removal when you leave your room or need to take the regular trash out. (This also keeps the basket clean so you don't have to wash it all the time.)

#2: Put things in their proper place.
 Rather than just shoving all your stuff into a closet to get your parents off your back or so you don't look like a complete slob when your friends come over, try and put everything where it belongs. Decide on where to store your various items when you aren't using them and keep them there when you aren't using them instead of leaving them on your floor or hiding them someplace (also a good way to keep from losing things). If you keep your clothing in drawers or a closet, fold them and put them away or hang them up properly. If you have a bookshelf, put your notebooks, manga, magazines, and anything else made out of paper that you read or draw on on the shelves. If you have a lot of crafting materials that spill all over your room, find a way to organize and keep them off the floor and your work space. Rolling drawer sets are super helpful for this, and you can always recycle some old boxes into a series of shelves and drawers to keep things in if you can't afford to get something new.

#3: Set a time to organize.
 Having a set time to clean your room up really helps a lot. Whether you write it in on your calendar for every Wednesday, spend an hour on it every night, or do speed cleaning sessions throughout the day, everything helps. Try and spend some time each week cleaning your room in addition to my previous suggestions instead of waiting a month to start chasing out that badger family that moved in because you never picked up that mess from last year. Or, y'know, leaving that coord from a meetup last week lying around until you realize you need those tights for this week's meetup. If you're good at picking up on a day to day basis, take a few hours each week to do any dusting, mirror cleaning, or vacuuming you need to do as well as maybe change your sheets or wash your clothes. If you aren't good at picking up every day, schedule the better part of a day to spend picking up clothing, craft supplies, and plushies and putting them away then vacuuming and dusting as needed. Just make sure you don't get distracted by that awesome shirt or toy you found and spend the whole day putting together outfits and making more of a mess. ;)

 I hope you all enjoyed my suggestions and are able to get some use out of them in your daily life. I know I certainly have benefited from having a clean room as opposed to tripping over my backpack, falling into a box, and having my dress form fall on me...

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