Ask Miss Caro-chan: How to Make Aprons Work with Lolita

Art by Imai Kira

I've been neglecting my formspring, and my blog, lately! But to get things, hopefully, back to normal, I'd like to start out with an Ask Miss Caro-chan that has to do with one of my favorite old-school styles

I love aprons in Lolita, but is there anyway it could look cute or mature and not look like a maid or Alice get-up? Iv seen VM's tablier and it looks gorgeous, but that is the only good apron i've seen that doesn't look like a a costume!

Personally, I'm a big fan of aprons with Lolita, however, I'm very well aware of how tricky they can be to wear and not look like you're a very fancy maid. While I do love the look of maid or Alice aprons, I do know that it's not everyone's cup of tea. If you want to wear an apron that isn't so apron-y, the best way to do it is to simply make your apron color math the rest of your coordinate. Despite what most people think when they think of aprons in Lolita, not all aprons are stark white maid accessories. You can actually pick up a Lolita apron in almost any color that you normally can find in Lolita. If you match the color of your apron to the color of your dress, the apron adds detail and texture to the coordinate, without making it so obvious you're wearing an apron.

Sort of like this!
 There are also a few releases that are, instead of being aprons, styled after the pinafore, which is a bit more of an apron, and a bit less than a dress. Basically, a pinafore is a lot like a JSK that buttons or ties up the back, a dress that you wear over your dress. Victorian Maiden's Tablier is more of a pinafore than an apron. Despite the fact that many dresses use the word "pinafore" in their name, there are very few pinafores released by brands. Metamorphose has released a few pinafores that are very Victorian or even Natural-Kei looking in design. There are a lot of possibilities with a pinafore looking more like a dress than an apron, but because so few are made by brands, they tend to still be made in the basic apron-like style.

 Victorian Maiden's Tablier

If you're more of a print person, but still like the look of aprons, brands often release skirts with apron-like looks. From half aprons, to detachable apron tops that can make the piece go from skirt to JSK/apron hybrid. The best part about these is their versatility, some of them really do just look like JSKs, while the aprons on others are much more subtle because it's color coordinated to match the rest of the outfit.

Some times brands also release pieces with small aprons which, in my opinion, tend to not look very maid or Alice-like. Combined with a print, and the fact that the apron is usually smaller than a regular apron and often has some sort of cute detailing on it that ties it to the rest of the dress, these pieces feature an apron as a cute detail, rather than a maid-like aspect to the dress.

If, like me, you do happen to like the normal look of an apron with Lolita, but just don't want to look like a maid, the best you can do is to coordinate it in a way that does not make people instantly think of maids. Try wearing one with anything other than a non-black design, avoid old-school headdresses, and try to avoid any sort of "sexy" additions like shorter skirts or heels and thigh-high socks.

In addition to subtle aprons, maid-like aprons, apron-like skirts, and pinafores, some brands also release aprons that are costumey to the extreme! Baby is probably most famous for doing this, they always seem to have some sort of over the top apron in their shop from their infamous Gloomy Bear apron, to aprons with, instead of the standard heart, use all sorts of ridiculous shapes like cookies and bunnies.

I think at least one apron is a vital addition to any sizable Lolita wardrobe, not just because it's a cute way to keep your dress clean if you're doing anything that might put it in danger of getting a bit dirty, but also because I think they can be an easy way to make something a bit different out of almost any outfit, from adding an over the top costumey touch to an outfit (when you're looking for that of course!), to adding a classic old-school touch, to even making a Classic Lolita piece look more Natural-kei.

I have an older Baby the Stars Shine bright heart-shaped apron in my wardrobe, as well as a vintage crochet half-apron, but I'm always looking for more aprons to add to my wardrobe. Especially because you can often pick them up for a pretty good deal! My BtSSB one cost $40, and my vintage crochet one cost me about $13.

Lolita Brand Inspired Decorating

I've spent the last few days working on a new Tumblr, Lolita Decor, which is dedicated to, you guessed it, decorating with Lolita sensibilities. So now I'm sort of all in a dizzy about looking at cute rooms and thinking about decorating, but Tumblr isn't really the kind of place for more in-depth blog posts so I would like to make a few posts more posts about decor here. One of the things I love about Lolita inspired decorating is that there are so many possibilities! From light and airy Victorian rooms for the Classic Lolita, to the adorable stuff-animal-filled rooms of the Sweet Lolita, to a Gothic Lolita's dark and spooky abode. There are as many ways to decorate with the Lolita in mind as there are to put together a Lolita coordinate!

I'd like to try something a little different this time and instead of focusing on one particular style's aesthetic, I'd like to put together something like an inspiration board based on individual brands. These are all relatively simple and affordable ideas, sure I could post some photos of drop dead gorgeous Victorian mansions, but that's completely out of the picture for so many people! So instead, I'm focusing on a few simple things that can easily change the look of a room, curtains, throws, wall art, and various other knick-knacks and trinkets, smaller things that can help change the look of a room and can be accumulated over time if need-be.

For a MmM inspired room, I focused on some of the iconic elements of Moitie, simplicity, black with blue accents, and wrought iron.
  1. A candelabra is both a classic Gothic piece and a frequent MmM design. Luckily, candelabras are still a trendy piece of decor so they are relatively easy to pick up for a good price, and pretty cheap as well. A black candelabra is ideal, but silver is just as good.
  2. What goes perfectly with a candelabra in a Moitie inspired room? Blue candles, of course You can often find blue taper candles just about anywhere that sells taper candles.
  3. Hunt down some fancy filigree picture frames and fill them with your favorite Moitie-esque image. If finding black frames in a fancy design is a difficult task, pick them up in just about any color and spray paint them black.
  4. Moitie is well known for using crosses and other religious imagery in their prints, pay homage to this with a gothic wrought iron styled cross or two on your wall. These are usually pretty easy to pick up in home decorating places for a very reasonable price. If you're bold enough to go all out and paint your walls black, consider painting the crosses (and any other delicate wrought iron pieces you hang up on your wall!) Moitie blue.
  5. I'm a sucker for throws! They are a very easy way to make it look like you have an awesome bed covering without buying an all new comforter, or for disguising a not-so-fancy couch. In keeping with the simplicity of Moitie, I've picked a plain black throw, but to keep it interesting, it's a black faux fur throw. I have one of these of my own and I seriously love it. It adds instant luxury to just about anything you can throw it on without making it look busy. It's also incredibly warm and cozy. Faux fur throws range in price from about $20 to $70 and beyond.
  6. In keeping with the theme of adding a bit of blue to a black feature, I would consider scattering around some blue throw pillows. Finding just the right blue might be a bit tricky, but you can usually hunt down someone on Etsy who makes pillow covers to make something in the perfect shade of Moitie blue, or with very minimal sewing skills and a bag of fiberfill, you can make your own.
  7. If you're looking to add a little bit of blue to a bed, especially with a black throw thrown over it, pick up some blue sheets. Sheets can be found in just about any color on Amazon or Ebay, and they are something to add a relatively cheap bit of blue to a bed. With a black throw tossed over a bed, and some blue sheets turned down, you can hide pretty much any un-gothic bedspread you might have on your bed.
  8. Wrought iron styled wall hangings can often be a more expensive piece of decor, but you can pick up smaller ones for a smaller price if you still want the look, but don't have a huge budget. If you choose to have a larger one, you can use it as a focal point on a wall, or you can hang it (securely, please!) above the head of a bead as a mock headboard, without having to pay the price of a wrought iron bed frame.
  9. Another pricier, but not prohibitively pricey,  piece to add might be a black vanity table. Recover a not particularly interesting stool, using this tutorial, in a scrap of luxurious blue fabric. You can even pick up vanity tables in a wrought iron style, but if you're on a budget, cheaper wrought iron furniture might get a bit wobble after a while. If you are looking for something to display some pieces, but have no interest in sitting down at it and staring at yourself, look into a baker's rack. You might need to get some pieces of wood (don't forget to paint them black, or blue even!) to go over the metal shelves in order to display small items, but they're a cute way to add shelving for light weight decor.
  10. Moitie inspired blue bottles can be picked up easily online, or even in home goods stores. Fancy them up further by using them to display your favorite pieces of jewelry, drape earrings out of the openings, or wrap a necklace around the necks. If you prefer to keep your jewelery in a jewelery box, you can always wrap a pretty piece of black lace or tulle around the bottles.

Innocent World is a brand known for several different styles, from dramatic Classic pieces, to cute Sweet-Classic fusions. For this inspiration board, I'd like to try to settle somewhere in between these two things. Lots of dusty pastels, combined with elegant Victorian details.
  1. A fancy Victorian inspired rug with a cute pastel floral pattern is the perfect addition to a Innocent World inspired room, either laid down on a hard wood floor, or on a neutral colored wall-to-wall carpet. Similar rugs to this can usually be purchased at most any home shop. If your budget is small, a smaller rug is just as good to add a cute splash of color and design.
  2. A garland of roses, or other faux flowers, can be picked up at most any craft store for a reasonable price. These are perfect for the Classically inclined to drape around just about anything. Attach it to a door frame to create a Secret Garden inspired entrance to any room, drape it across a bookshelf, or wrap it around a standing mirror.
  3. Chenille pillows look cute and cosy scattered on a bed, or on a sofa. Chenille is a fabric featuring soft little tufts of fiber, set in pretty patterns, that dates back for a couple hundred years, but was very popular in the early 20th century. There are several sellers on Etsy who specialize in remaking vintage chenille bedspreads into more affordable pillows. If you still find the price a bit high, check around the supply section of Etsy for portions of chenille bedspreads that you can buy for a relatively cheap price (usually between $10 and $20) to make your own pillows.
  4. Same as the Moitie inspired room, consider tossing a throw blanket over a bed or not-so-cute couch. Instead of a black furry one, opt for a cute Victorian inspired tapestry one. You can find throws like this in a multitude of different colors and designs for between $30 and $60.
  5. Lace table clothes are a cheap, and easy to find bit of decor that has a ton of different uses. You can use it like a throw to cover up a bed or sofa, drape it over a bookshelf and tie it back to create drapes for your bookshelfs, or you can cover just about any flat surface from desks, to dressers, to plain old tables.
  6. You can find decorative curtain rods just about anywhere for a good price, and they can instantly transform even boring curtains into something a little bit fancier.
  7. But why stop at boring curtains when you can find some fancy ones? If you're crafty, curtains are super easy to make out of a couple yards of pretty cotton, if you're not so crafty, they can often be picked up at discount home stores for a reasonable price.
  8. Innocent World is a brand that hearkens back to a more innocent and romantic time, and what is a better way to channel this time than with a collection of books from times gone by. A pretty row of vintage books can add easy decoration to just about anywhere. Stack a couple up on a bedside table, or keep a row of them on top of a small shelf with pretty book ends on either end.
  9. I can't get enough hatboxes, they should be a Lolita's best friend. You can hide clutter in them, store your accessories in them, and even stack them up to create an instant end table. They're also incredibly affordable! You can find hatboxes for between $5 and $15 at just about any home goods store.
  10. A perfect addition to any Lolita's space is a full length mirror, a standing mirror is a homey addition to an Innocent World inspired room that is a bit pricier than a wall-mounted mirror, but it can really make the decor of a room.

I hope to get a few more brand inspired inspiration boards done in the near future, since they were really fun to make and, well, inspiring! If you're looking for some more Lolita inspired decorating, check out my little side-project Tumblr, Lolita Decor.

Looking at all these rooms has really got me in the decorating mood! Those of you out there who do add a bit of Lolita to their decor, where do you get inspiration from? Specific brands, your favorite style, your favorite Lolita print theme? Personally, I can never pick just one so my own brand of decorating is a bit eccentric. Sheer black draperies, gilt frames, and cute stuffed animals are all things on display in my own Lolita space.
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