Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Street fashion for newbies, tips and tricks to get you going!

You can scroll down a bit to get to the guide, but here's a little intro.
I've gotten quite colorful lately, haven't I? 

To avoid "where did you get" questions, let me get that indo for you straight away! Pretty much e v e r y t h i n g is from eBay or Taobao. Exceptions are the spooky t-shirt, which is from HELLCATPUNKS, the black skirt, which I bought second hand, padlock necklace from Sex Pot ReVeNGe, and the black hat that I got somewhere three billion years ago. I don't save links, so I'm afraid I can't help you more than that. Sorry...

Well, to be fair, having dressed all in black and white and grey, jeans, boyish clothes and having had grey or white hair for years, 'colorful' for me is pretty much a piece of clothing with some sort of color mixed in somewhere, wearing a pastel-ish wig, or even a blonde wig or even just transparent tights (?!), is an explosion of colors. 

Yes, I'm weird and damaged that way. It doesn't really matter though, what's important is that I feel quite good about it ♪ Colors and more playful patterns make happy, whereas before I only stuck to Sex Pot's more dark prints and lovely chain details. I still love that, of course, but right now this is more me!

According to me, fashion is only fun when you don't try so hard to fit into a category.

That means it may change appearance and spirit a lot in a short period of time, and that's the beauty of it. It's not a bad thing to bounce around between different styles, and it's certainly not bad to mix things however you want and create your own thing. If you want to wear cult party kei and visual kei, and fairy kei, in the same week, do it. Or if you want to go hardcore on being a fantastic visual kei-kid, do it. Or just throw something on. Whatever makes you happy. I think that's the beauty of the street fashion inspired by the beautiful and creative Harajuku-people! It's so free and playful. No rules or boundaries whatsoever.

Not to be both mean and off-topic, but I think that's what makes street fashion different from gyaru. Sure, gyarus look completely different from each other, it's a very broad type of style, and they're gorgeous as well. But from my point of view it seems more strict. Not to mention all the hate spread on gyaru-secrets. It makes me furious just to think about it. Sigh.

But enough about that. Back to happiness. 

Since I know it can feel quite confusing and "what the hell am I doing?" when you first dive into the deep end of Harajuku street fashion, I thought I'd make this post into a sort of street fashion for dummies-post. Or maybe street fashion for newbies. Yes, that sounds better.

So here we go; 
Street fashion for newbies, tips and tricks to get you going! 

☆ Inspiration and where to find it

Not only is it fun to explore street fashion through pictures, it's also very, very helpful when you feel a bit lost and don't know what you like. If you can, get your hands on some japanese fashion-magazines, like KERA or Zipper.

KERA features more colorful and rock/punk-y fashion, often modelled by Akira and Re:No.
Zipper features AMOYAMO-style fashion.
There's also Gothic Lolita bible, if you're into lolita more than the street fashions I'm talking about here.

Now for some reason I can't change the color for links, but click the names and you'll get some pictures. If you're more interested in visual- and oshare kei, I suggest magazines like Cure, SHOXX, Neo Genesis and Fool's Mate, where there are tons of fashionable bands featured.

If you can't find, afford, or simply don't want to get any magazines, I have some great tumblr blogs you can take a peek at;

Tokyo Fashion
J-fashion magazines
Fuck yeah Monomania

☆ Use your inspiration and get some clothes

Now, first of all, there is not a magical shop where are nice clothes are available. I get "where do you buy your clothes?" a lot, and it's not a question that has just one answer. You have to look around, properly.

Local stores are not to be underestimated. People often make the mistake of staring themselves blind at brands that need to be ordered and waited for, when in fact you can find a lot of great stuff in your nearest mall. It's all about finding those good pieces amongst all the more "usual" clothes.

How do you do that, you ask? Simple; use your inspiration.

Look at pictures, take out the elements you like, and try to find clothes that has the same spirit as those elements. When you but clothes, try to think "this shirt would look good with those tights, and that skirt. And maybe some accessories, what would look good with this? Can I find other things that'll look good with what I have already?" when you go hunting for prey.

Some stores I love, that may or may not exist in your country, are; 
H&M, Cubus, BIK BOK, Gina Tricot, Monki and Top Shop.

Since H&M opened in Japan, there's been an obvious change in the clothes they sell. They have so, so many good pieces right now. So paying a visit to an H&M store is indeed a good idea! Plus, it's Swedish. Yay us vikings.

You will, however, probably want to grab some brands. I don't blame you. Brands are awesome.

Here are some brands, and some shops;
Sex Pot ReVeNGe, SUPER LOVERS, LISTEN FLAVOR, Candy Stripper, h.Naoto, HELLCATPUNKS, Peace Now and Black Peace Now, Monomania, Nadia, Algonquins.

Two other popular ones are; Everything Jeremy scott and Adidas, Vivienne Westwood. 

You can always buy some brands from CDJapan, but if you want to buy things straight from the shops, you will have to go through a shopping service. Unfortunately, I have never used one. But if you google "shopping service", it's fairly easy to find one.

☆ eBay and Taobao

Giving these babies their own star, because they really are golden. I buy almost all my clothes and accessories from eBay and Taobao. Now, searching for these sites can be a "what" experience before you get the hang of it. I wrote a little about it under Shopping Links here on my page, and since Taobao is hell the first time, you can also find a Taobao guide up there. There's also a little bit about searching for things there.

Hot tip: try to search for a piece of clothing you've seen somewhere. It's easier to learn how to search for things if you look for something you've seen. Why? Because then you learn how to hunt by using shitloads of keywords and adjectives to describe an item. 

☆ Wigs and accessories

First of all, click the name and take a look at Iro's Garden, because that's my shop and this is my blog, so taking this opportunity to advertise myself when there are still plenty of things in stock ( ; ´ ω ` )  ~ ♥

Second of all, eBay and Taobao. Heaven for wigs, false lashes, and all kinds of accessories. Hats and bags and such as well. Again, can't stress this enough, keywords. Local shops are also good for these things.

☆ Circle lenses, hair and makeup

These are quite basic things that will finish your look like nothing else. I have a makeup-tutorial, a hair-tutorial, and a twin-bun wig-tutorial, if you look under Tutorials in my links under the header here on this blog. They're all also available on my youtube. So those might be helpful!

Circle lenses and false lashes are also quite important, I'd say.

PinkyParadise is one of the biggest site for both circle lenses and makeup, and makeup tools. And if you do go there to get some nice lenses, you can always apply my username as a coupon code to get some things with your order. Just saying. You can click the banner somewhere on the right side of this blog!

Otherwise, you can find nice lashes on ebay as well. But if you want lashes from popular and lovely japanese brands, such as Dolly Wink, you can find them on PinkyParadise.

And also, don't be worried about circle lenses. They're really comfortable. It might be hard to put them in the first time, but you'll get used to it quickly. I promise.

Enough about that, no more shopping. 
Let's get down to business. 

☆ The wondrous art of outfitting 

I've said "play around, go with your feelings" what feels like a million times by now, but it really is important. Try on your clothes and try out outfits. Try out which shoes, accessories, and what hairstyle or wig you'd think look good with it. Again, it's about what you like. And to figure that out, well, you'll have to figure it out.

It's a good idea to combine outfits by putting them together on your floor, so you can look at how the things go together before you put them on, and avoid freaking out and throwing the entire closet on the floor because the outfit you had in mind didn't look as good as it did in your head once you put it on - this happens to me way too often. So lay things out on your floor and throw some accessories in there, put it all on a hanger once you're happy with what you've created.

I'm going to make a separate post about this I think, since I want to show you different ways to play with outfits, and easy ways to create playful outfits, with lots of pictures as well.

As for now, let's just leave it at "try do create something that makes you feel like a strong, independent black woman who don't need no man."

That is, literally, what a nice outfit should feel like.

☆ It's okay to fail, even if you fail so hard you want to cry

Now, first of all, keep in mind that you are the only one that can decide whether or not you feel like you've failed creating a look you like one day. No one else can decide that for you. Your fashion, your rules. But it's impossible to hit the jackpot with every single outfit. Hell, I have days when I feel like crawling under a rock because of a failed outfit that I have to parade around in.

Just pick yourself up and wear something completely fabulous the next day instead.
With every failed outfit you learn more about what you actually like, and that way you'll develop your style.

☆ Pep talk, i.e. get over yourself, damn it

I know how "wrong" I felt when I started with street fashion, since it confused me to not fit into a stern category. Could I really wear whatever the hell I wanted? Was it really okay? Wouldn't people judge me and think I'm a terrible person and want to shoot me in the head just for trying to be as awesome as those gorgeous street fashionistas you see everywhere oh my god scary world!

And what would strangers think! What would they think! And my parents, they certainly wouldn't love me! Oh my god, someone I have never met before and will never meet again in my life yelled after me that I looked weird, I must cry and punish myself, the end is coming!

Take my advice; tell your brain to shut up.

Firstly. The only rule in street fashion is that there are no rules. If you want to look like a Zipper-girl, look like a Zipper-girl. If KERA is more your thing, well, you get it. Mix and match and think outside all the stupid boxes that makes you feel like you're just weird, or that you're trying to hard, or whatever they make you feel. Stop it, stop it! It's okay, I promise.

Secondly. Yes, people will look. Yes, your parents may shake their heads and wonder why you spend so much money on wigs. But do you really want to spend your youth living their lives instead of your own?

No, you don't.

People sometimes ask me how I feel about people staring at me or saying mean things about the way I look, and my answer is always that I don't feel anything about it. Do you know how many people you meet everyday, that you have absolutely no obligation to talk to, if you don't want to? How many of those people you meet in your life?

I'm not going to give you a number here, because math is my worst enemy, but my point is that strangers will always be strangers. And most of the time, those strangers are just frustrated because seeing you walk by them reminds them that they don't have the guts, and the only way they can trick themselves into thinking they have some sort of balls, is to call you something nasty. I don't think I need to say how pathetic that is. Going to do it anyway. It's very pathetic. Very.

So many nice people will tell you nice things, and those are the people you should listen to. They're honest, and they have balls, unlike the other cowards. Laugh at the idiots and smile at the... niceiots.

Take some pride in it and laugh. Nowadays I literally go "bitch please, I'm fabulous" or scream "NO I'M NOT A CAT I'M SATAN, YOU BAFOON" when I'm wearing my devil horns and boys meow after me.

I've learned to feel like it's even kind of fun when someone say something nasty to me.
The faces you get to see when you make a snappy comeback are just priceless.

As for friends and family;
You're still the same person under your funny clothes and since they loved that person before the funny clothes, they'll still love that person with the funny clothes. So stand up for yourself, damn it, and stop feeling like you need to please them. Hopefully you have friends with similar interests, and then it really shouldn't even be a problem. It'll just be something fun for you to enjoy together.

To sum this all up, all I can say is that the art of street fashion, is an art of becoming a strong independent black woman who don't need no man. You don't need other people's opinions, you're awesome. Okay?

Go for it, counting on you.
If you ever feel like you're not good enough, I will hunt you down and kick your ass. I am not kidding.

Watching you. 
Lots of love until next time, dear readers, I hope I wrote something useful here!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spring cleaning

For once I'm not blogging in the middle of the night.

That's not what I wanted to say with this post, of course! That would be a highly unnecessary post, wouldn't it? No, I may be the queen of wordpooping, but I'm not that bad. Anyway.

The thing is, boys and girls, spring has finally reached Sweden.

Yes, it's true. I couldn't believe it myself at first. You see, winter in Sweden, is way worse than you think. The fact that Sweden is cold, is something everyone knows, but you don't understand just how cold it is and what happens because of that cold, unless you live here.

Exhibit A, you'd think SL (Stockholms public transport enterprise) would be prepared for the snow when it comes, since it's the same thing every year, but no. When the first fluffy flakes of snow sail down peacefully from the sky... okay, now I lied. This is a more accurate way to describe it; When the whole country is suddenly swallowed by darkness and the sky opens up with a roar, sending bombs of cold ice and pain down on the poor people, it's like SL has never seen snow before.

"What the hell is that?! Our trains aren't prepared for this! We live in Sweden, we didn't expect this! It has never happened before!"

Yes, except for last year. And the year before. And the year before.
Oh, and the three hundred years before that as well.

Good job, SL, good job.

So the point is, you can't get anywhere. Trains and busses are 20 minutes - 2 hours late, if they come at all. Meeting up with friends is no picknick between October/November and April. Which leads me to;

Exhibit B, it never ends. I remember 2011, it was October 22, two days before my birthday. That's when the first snow fell. I literally stopped in the middle of the street and started to scream that I hated everything and it was not okay that it would be snow on my birthday. Winter on my birthday. Completely ridiculous. Oh, and I was with two friends by the way, so me screaming in the middle of the street was not very embarrassing, just a little. That winter lasted until the end of April. I was not a happy camper.

Which again brings me to Exhibit C, everyone is miserable for at least six months. Everyone. Imagine living in a country where everyone looks like they're about to die, or throw rocks at you. Welcome to Sweden, winter version.

Exhibit D, want to wear makeup? No. You don't. Trust me. Wind, ice, hello mascara-tears.

Exhibit E, put your ugliest boots on. I wore platforms this winter. I still have bruises. Seriously, you need boots. Grandmas and grandpas don't break their hips every two seconds because of nothing. You go outside, you will fall down.

Exhibit F, the snow goes up to your waist in some places. Yummy.

I don't think I need to say more, you're probably both bored and convinced by now.
I will torture you no more!

Have a lovely picture of me in one of my charming inside winter outfits instead, to end this rant; 

Oh, I slept in that outfit too at the family's vacationhouse. Needless to say, I'm always overjoyed to the point of crying rivers of happiness when spring finally comes, this year no exception. That's another strange thing with Swedish seasons, they just jump on you when you least expect it. One day you're walking down the street and you realize that you don't need your jacket, when the day before you've worn seven layers of clothing. Just like that everything is forgiven and forgotten. Maybe that's why SL is never prepared for the next round, now that I think of it. Oh well.

I always go a little crazy when spring comes. Winter is my I-have-no-motivation-time, and spring is my all-the-choices-o-m-g-time. Step one is spring cleaning, bring in the freshness!

Some of you may have already noticed I changed the design of my blog a little, and yes, you guessed it; it's because it's spring. Not a major change, but I'm quite happy with it ♪

I took the time to design a new header, add buttons so it's easier to navigate in this hole which I fill with my thoughts, and designed a new banner for my sponsor PinkyParadise, as well as a banner for my store, Iro's Garden

Like I said, not a major change, but I'm glad it's easier to navigate! And the banners I made look much better with my theme than the pink PinkyParadise banner I had before. 

My tumblr blog got a bigger makeover! 

It looks so nice and clean now! Ignore my face there, let's focus on the fact that I html-ed the crap out of this sucker. Exactly the way I want it! Simple and clean. 

Me not having a life in middle school and spending my time html-ing pages for people on this community called BC Manga finally pays of. Instert embarrassed laughter. 


So that's why this post is titled spring cleaning! Starting new after a long winter. 

That bun you see there, the bun I have been panicking about because I've craved one since forever, is also a result of me killing off the last bits of winter. I'll get to that later though, since I fear a tutorial is on it's way. Maybe.

Yes. Tutorial or not, I will save it for later. Be afraid, be very afraid.
I really love that damn bun. I blame Aoi.

I don't have much else to say now, since I can't think of anything besides how stupid it was of me to print screen the blog I'm posting the picture on. Didn't think that through. I could remove it but I think it's safe to say damage has already been done.

Okay, now I shall torture you no more.
Lots of love to you all (if you're there?) ♥ !

P.S. Need to give a shoutout to the girl adorable Frilly met in Scotland. Anonymous girl, if you're reading this, I LOVE YOU. Goodbye. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday, work! Lots of pictures of hands in this post.

Today's been all about work, in different ways.
I cut my fingertip off for example.

Now that may sound very random and not very work-y, but let me just say I work in the cold-buffet kitchen at a confectioner's bakery/café-type place in Stockholm called Vetekatten ("the wheat cat", directly translated. It sounds cuter in Swedish). So I make buckets of sandwiches and cut vegetables, prepare toppings and peel potatoes, and so on. Bam, there you have it.

Knives. Knives, everywhere.

Being a klutz I shouldn't even be allowed in there, not kidding. I don't know why they let me. Apparently they think I'm good at it as well? Weird.

It wasn't really a knife though, it was one of those cutting boards with a knife in the middle, made to quickly make thin slices of onions, for example. Or my fingertip! There I was, innocently slicing some red onions for the salami brié sandwiches I was almost done with, only 15 minutes left of my shift, and the universe decided to punish me for no reason whatsoever. It barely hurt at all, but suddenly I was bleeding all over the place, and I don't want to go into detail but I could feel something "missing", which was not very pleasant. Luckily it was mostly the top of my nail that got ripped off, so I guess it won't show once it's healed. But it bled through 3 band-aids and surgery tape in 10 minutes, and it's actually still bleeding. It hurts a little now as well, which it didn't at first. Sigh. Oh well.

My finger will have to look fabulous like this for a while.

I'm only a little sad because it's on my right hand, which means I'm a little disabled at the moment, which in turn means I certainly won't be able to work again tomorrow morning, and it's really hard for me to craft away all over the apartment until my parents come home after the Easter break.

No, no complaining. I shall power through!

Maybe it'll feel better tomorrow, then I could change the... well, it's not really a band-aid anymore, is it? It's more of a big finger-wrap. Okay, once more; I could change the wrap and use something smaller, so I can keep working on headbands and print tanktops and all the fun stuff I want to put up in the store ♪

Here's a little sneak peek of what I've been playing around with so far;

That's my other hand in case that's not clear. Which it probably is. Okay, goodbye.

I made it for myself, but I think it turned out really cute, so I might make more for the shop!
What do you guys think? Should I?

I love the combination of long spikes and roses, can't help it. Sadly I haven't gotten my black roses yet, so I can't finish the headbands right away. But I figured I'll make them available for preorder while I wait for the roses to get here (it'll be 4 weeks, at most), because I don't want to wait with putting everything else up for display!

Since eyelashes were appreciated I bought in some of those, and I also have some transparent skeleton tights and a pair of those cute cat-ear knitted hats that have been very Harajuku-popular lately, if you know what I mean. Probably something else I'm forgetting. Oh! New inverted cross tanktops!

That's about it!
It's a lot of fun making things, and finding things. I'm kind of glad I started doing it. Or, well, very glad, actually. Being on leave from school and all, it's been a great way to keep myself active without getting all stressed and worked up - the exact opposite of what I'm supposed to get. Now that I'm feeling better, I'm enjoying it even more!

Speaking of which, lately I've finally felt like I'm ready to work a bit more, and I've actually been out applying for different jobs. Mostly summer jobs, since I could still use a few weeks just working weekends. I've been so down I don't think it's wise to just jump back up again without some hesitation.

Anyway. I already said today was all about work, didn't I?
I got called up and offered a job over the summer!

So I'll be working for the home association union - SKB - I live in myself. I'll even be working in my own area, mostly in my own damn neighborhood if I got it right. It's perfect and next time I go outside I'll kiss the ground, or something less yucky, because that's how thankful I am. Just. Yes.

I'm just going to enjoy this and try not to fear the next slap life will send straight to my butt. Maybe there won't even be a slap if I'm lucky! I sure hope so. I said it before and I'll say it again; no complaining.

It's almost spring, I got a job, have movies to watch and my favorite tea in the kitchen.

...Baby. Dance. Oooh-ooh. No seriously, Saga, stop it.

Enjoy your Friday as much as I will force myself to enjoy mine, whoever you are.
Hugs and kisses(人´∀`*)


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Crafting times & piles of ribbons

Moving on from that rather embarrassing mental breakdown I last blogged about, here's a more positive post! Hello again, dear blog and dear readers. For weeks now, I've been trying to just blog about my everyday life. Thing is though, whenever I sit down to write something, I realize...

My life is so far from interesting it makes me want to punch my own face.

It's not like I don't do anything, I do get quite a lot done, but I haven't had any routines whatsoever and all days have just sort of merged together, so even though I know I do a lot of stuff, I don't really remember what I've been up to, unless I sit down and go "think, think" Winnie the Pooh style. So I figured, maybe it's a good idea to actually write more, so I don't end up in bed with midnight angst and questions about what I'm doing with my life. Things like that.

Now do you promise you'll do this Saga? Yes? Okay good. Let's start right away!

Recently I've been busy sending out my resumé to various different places, spent time with friends and so on. Apart from the friends-part this is really boring so not going to write about that. What I will be doing is more fun though~!

I see a lot of crafting coming in the future weeks, which feels really good ♪ I'm always in a good mood when I craft and spend time doing creative things (and sleeping a lot)! I have tanktops to print and headbands to make, also I'm going to start working on my very first cosplay. Now that's not really crafting, but it's creative work that will lead to crafting so it's worth mentioning. Maybe I'll do some knitting too now that I think of it? Hm.

I'll hopefully be crafting a lot with Emilia (at least she'll have to help me with my cosplay, I do know how to sew but I have a feeling I will end up bleeding and screaming if I don't get some guidelines from someone who really knows how to do it) which I did yesterday!

I helped her sew these awesome "Bubblegum bitch" and "Mahou shoujo"  pin badges for the Japanese flea market in May. She posted a picture of them on picture here → seriously look at them they're like heaven in a pin badge. 

Oh, and we randomly walked by this crazy store when out shopping for ribbons;

It was like this from floor to ceiling! A ribbon store that looks like it's located in Diagon Alley! 

There was only a square meter in the middle of the store that you could move around on, even the cash register was hidden under piles and piles of boxes with ribbons, so you had to walk behind it to pay for your things!

We had already bought a ton of ribbons at another store, but when we walked by and got a glimpse of the store through the window - which was also as packed with crap and tazzles as the rest of the wonderful store - we just had to go inside. We found some nice cross- and angel-print satin ribbons too, so it was all win win.

The rest of the day and evening we spent on Emilia's floor, sewing, drinking around 5 pots of tea, and being really bitter talking about bitter things. Not so very kawaii but oh my god, it's so nice to be bitter with people that wants to be bitter with you.

Bitter-chans for life.

Now I said this would be a positive post, so I'll suppress my bitter side and end this just in case. Not that I'm very bitter today, but still. Sitting in my sunny livingroom right now, feels like this will be a good day!

Oh that's right; Spring has finally come to Sweden. I can't even. The years of suffering is over.
Not kidding, when you live here "Winter is coming" is actually a real threat, every year.

Anyway, now I'll have my breakfast tea like the old lady I am.
Hope everyone will have a nice day, wherever you are!

Goodbye and hugs and kisses and you know the deal ♥ over and out!