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June 06, 2009


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Does anyone know the proper term for a group of Lolitas?


Somehow Flock seems appropriate for Lolitas... but I guess maybe we could come up with something more dramatic, a la "Murder of Crows."

A Ruffle of Lolitas?

A Giggle of Lolitas?

A Lacing of Lolitas?

A Lolling of Lolitas?

A Frouf* of Lolitas?

*Apparently not a real word, but I will continue to call my 10-yard skirt a froufy skirt, and Lolly skirts are often short and Froufy

Flock was my first thought, but it seems so...sheeplike. Hmm.

A crinoline of Lolitas?

Apropos of nothing, since I spotted the [word] of Lolitas right after leaving my kimono class, I have become enchanted with the idea of "Waloli," in which kimono and Lolita styles are combined. It usually seems to involve a kimono top -- crossed over in front, with long furisode-style sleeves -- with a typical froufy skirt and a sash which is wide and vaguely obi-like. Some elements I can live without would include edging the kimono collar with ruffles (ewww) and putting rows of corset-like lacing on the pseudo-obi. But the basic idea of kimono top + obi + froufy skirt is weirdly interesting to me. And since I'm judging the masquerade at worldcon, I need a spiffy outfit, preferably one that isn't super-hard to make.

I love Kimono-style tops (and kimonos, I scored one for about $8 at a resale boutique), but I'm not sure if I'd pair one with a froufy skirt... I'm going to go do a search and see if I can find pictures of the style.

Wait... kimono class? How awesome is that! Did they teach you how to wear one?

I propose the term a "Loligaggle."

Just because it's me, and I do the stinky pun thing with predictable regularity.

Depending on ones predilections, they could be a clutch of Lolitas. (Sorry.)

A murmuration of Lolitas? A clowder of Lolitas? A lolligagging of Lolitas? (Oh dear, there we go again...)

A murder... no, that's getting a bit dark even for me.

Amy, you need to meet Serge!

Yes, I'm taking classes from a Japanese woman living in NYC. I have a used kimono and obi and some of the accessories that I bought in Kyoto a couple of years ago, and I finally decided I should know how to wear them properly. The kimono is a very fine quality antique which unfortunately is overall too short/small for me (I'm tall and have ridiculously long arms). Such are the hazards of shopping across a language barrier in hole-in-the-wall shops on back streets in foreign countries. Eventually I will have to get one that fits properly and turn this one into a display object. But I'm doing pretty well at learning to assemble the outfit. My teacher has loaned me the accessories I am missing (though I'll get my own soon). Tying the obi in the way she is teaching me is the hardest part, but after four hours of lessons I am making progress. She let me try on a very fancy furisode of hers last weekend; absolutely beautiful even if the style is a bit young for me.

The two varieties of waloli seem to be a kimono with ruffles and a silly ruffly hat (ick) or a kimono-top over the cupcake skirt, which is what I prefer. Pictures of the latter version: here, here, and here.

Me being obsessive me, I'm planning to make and wear the top half in proper kimono style. I've found two bolts of kimono silk on ebay that are wide enough for me to make sleeves where my wrists don't stick out four inches past the end. Any opinions (from anyone) on which one is nicer?

Purple with flowers
Navy with leaves and flowers

One of the auctions ends tomorrow so I need to decide soon. I'll have easily enough fabric for lots of accessorizing, since these are bolts long enough for a full kimono. I plan to make a ruffled crinoline using pastel shades that pick up the flower-colors in each.

(My own comment just got spam-filtered, probably for too many links. Hah!)

I prefer the purple. I think the navy is too busy for my taste.

Amy... What Susan says about me and puns, it's nothing but a tissue of lies. Right. Welcome to Susan's Rixo, by the way.

Does anyone know the proper term for a group of Lolitas?

A Lolitassembly?

I also prefer the purple.

Serge, FYI:
While she doesn't hang out here very often, Amy has been a real-life friend of mine since childhood.

Susan... You've known each other that long? Wow. The oldest-friendship I have will be 30 years old on July 13. Here is a photo I took 5 years ago.

A letch of Lolitas? (from the Humbert point of view, of course)

Susan, I like that first Waloli picture because of the butterflies on the sleeves. Very pretty. I think the look does work better than I imagined.

I like the colors on the navy bolt better, but I think the purple has a more traditional Japanese look.

My kimono collection consists of the cheap resale boutique kimono (brocade, feels like polyester or nylon or some sort of synthetic), a vintage silk obi with a dragon pattern, and a haori jacket from... hmm... the 70s I think. It has an abstract bamboo-like pattern in cream, mint and brown. The latter two were both purchased at bead shows where vintage kimono vendors had set up. The haori is the only one I've actually worn. When we were playing a Japanese-themed game, I wore it to a couple of cool-weather sessions. And I wore it to work at the bead show, too.

Keep in mind that the Lolita-in-the-sense-of-the-pop-culture/fashion is not intended as a sexual object, or at least not any more than the general Japanese 'thing' for schoolgirl looks. As many of the outfits are done in pink gingham and other "sweet" colors/fabrics as the more gothic ones that attract me. It's more Sailor Moon than Nabokov-nymphet.

I made the same mistake when I first heard about it.

(paging Raven to explain this better than I can...)

Susan, I think the kimono top with cupcake skirt is kind of cute! And you know I'd like the purple fabric.

A Lolitaggregate?

Susan... these are bolts long enough for a full kimono

I find myself thinking of a movie titled The Bride of Frankenstein's Shogun.

Susan, did you get either of those bolts? If so, have you started on your waloli outfit?

Another blog that I read featured some Lolly fashions today:
TotusMel's Wunderkammer.

They're on their leisurely way from Japan -- Japan post had them leaving Osaka a couple of days ago. ETA...???

I hope they arrive quickly :D

Woo hoo! This afternoon's update says they have arrived at JFK! I'm betting I'll have them by the weekend!

Wow! That's faster than some things I've had mailed to me from elsewhere in the US (like the cookies, come to think of it). Hopefully they won't hold it up in customs or anything annoying like that.

On the topic of clothes... We've been looking for a few backup pairs of black pants for my steampunk outfit. Unfortunately, even Big & Tall places don't seem to think there are humans with a 32-inch waist and a 34-inch inside leg.

Can't help you there. I've never had any occasion to buy normal clothes for a man.

Oh, I was just commenting on my clothes woes, Susan. As for my using 'normal' vestments, there IS a reason why I prefer short-sleeved shirts: with supposedly long sleeves, so much of my wrists and forearms is exposed that I feel like an extra in "Planet of the Apes".

I have the same problem, so I wear "tall" sizes in long-sleeved shirts.

Before I got sick and gained all this weight, I had to buy a lot of pants at mens stores because I had a small waist and long legs. Did you try googling on the measurements?

My wife did, Marilee, but she was in a hurry. I'll remind her tonight. Heck, she gets to shop without feeling guilty about it. Me, I hate shopping for clothes.

I always make sure I google for "11" when I google or ebay-search for shoes, since it's frustrating to find neat shoes that don't come in my boat-like (for a woman) size.

Whenever a lady makes some comments about her feet that makes them sound like the twin hulls of a catamaran, I find myself thinking back to 1994 movie Dark Angel: The Ascent, in which a young she-devil climbs her way to the surface. For some reason, people kept commenting on the size of her feet.

Susan, at least they make women's shoes in size 11. My mother wears 10.5, and many brands don't come in that size.

I wore a 10.5 for years. I was thrilled to finally grow into an 11. It got much easier to find shoes.

While I have failed to acquire further pairs of pants for my steampunk attire, I have been faring much better where shirts are concerned. I now own two shirts, one with a cardboard collar held in place with metal studs, and one with the collar actually part of the shirt. The latter is half of the order that arrived today from a historical society. The rest won't make it in time for FiestaCon, but I have enough to work with, especially with the fancy vests someone made for me in 2006.

Serge: Have you tried Lands' End? My husband has ordered from them, although they might be custom. He's 31/34.

In other news, Stratford's The Importance of Being Earnest was excellent, although we thought that the young ladies weren't quite as good as the other actors. We ended up skipping Bartholomew Fair due to a family medical issue.

The same blog that had Lolly finds earlier this week now has some steampunk goodies for the discerning gentleman:
And I even made it into a link.

The link fairy will waste away from having nothing to do. :)

I thought she might need a vacation :)

Did the kimono bolts arrive yet?

The kimono bolts are waiting at my PO for me! I was too tired to go after work, but I will go tomorrow morning to get them. Woo hoo!

(That's pretty amazing. They left Japan on 6/22 and arrived here on 6/25!)

Woohoo for quick shipping! :D

Got it all! I ordered not just the bolts but assorted obi-makrua, date-jime, etc. - I now have almost all the little belts and bits I need to wear the kimono.

The navy fabric is nice, but the purple one is GORGEOUS. This is going to be a tough choice. I may have to make two outfits.

Well, if you have the fabric, you might as well use it, right? ;)

I have a few small bits of kimono fabric that I'm going to use to make bead-embroidered wall-hangings. Someday.

Susan... I may have to make two outfits

What a horrible situation!

A couple of days ago, I got that black turtleneck I had ordered for the worldcon masquerade's entry I'll be part of. I had to send it back for an exchange. Its size is such that, while it's right for the length of my arms, the rest of it makes me feel like Bruce Banner before he turns into the Jolly Green Giant.

Huzzah! We found a site that sells black pants that'd fit me. They won't arrive until after the weekend's FiestaCon/WesterCon, but I already have one pair I can use. Good thing too because it just wouldn't do to go around a con as a pantless steampunk scientist.

I am willing to bet that con security would have something to say about your pantslessness.

Serge, I need to talk to you about FiestaCon -- can you drop me a line at aere at erthefae dot net please?

AJ... The line has been dropped by serge underscore lj at comcast dot net, aka the seampunk.

Seampunk, huh? You've started sewing grommets and gears to your outer or inner pants seams?

Marilee... To tell the truth, my seamy skills are limited to the darning of socks, and thr dewing of buttons back in place, but that's about it.

Being able to sew buttons on is a good skill for a seamy steampunk. Cheap modern vests look much steamier when you replace their cheap plastic buttons with metal or vintage glass buttons. I'm probably going to sew brass buttons onto one of Chris's vests this week, if he wants to be a steampunk, too.

AJ... I think you'll like the clock buttons of my steampunk scientists's jacket. (As for my earlier comment about 'dewing' buttons... Oops.)

...a pantless steampunk scientist.

Every week Professor Lovebody and his companion Miss Prudence McVenture discover wonders and fight evil in a 19th century that never was, but should have been, during the course of which the Professor inevitably loses his pants.

The Sci-Fi (or is it Syfy yet?) Channel should leap at the idea!

Neil, that sounds like a much better concept for some light steampunk erotica than the SteamyPunk anthology that was discussed here some months back.

Serge, I'm looking forward to seeing your steampunk scientist garb, dewed buttons and all ;)

AJ... If you can't wait, here is my scientific garb. Don't worry, pants are being worn.

Serge, awesome! I don't have any pics of my steampunk-y goodness, but I think my knee-length bronze bustle skirt will be hard to miss, as will the peacock feather in my hair.

AJ... I shall be listening for bronze bustles and looking for the plumage of Hera's bird.

Neil... Professor Lovebody's problem with pants reminds me that the French word 'pantalonnade' translates in English as 'slapstick'.

I'm guessing that's because Pantalon was a character in commedia dell'arte.

Susan... Indeed.

Pantalone (French: Pantalon) is a stock character that is classified as one of the vecchi (old men) in Commedia dell'arte. He is a miserly and often libidinous character who is portrayed as a Venetian and often speaks in the Venetian dialect.

That might apply to Professor Lovebody except for the Venice part. Also, Neil didn't indicate how old the Prof was.

Professor Lovebody turned to his audience. "Ladies of the Croydon, Sutton and Cheam Gentlewomens' Society For Science and Technology, I have a demonstration that, although modest, I feel will be of great interest to you. I present my Steam Powered Differential Pressure Cleaner For Carpets, Floors And Other Indoor Surfaces."

To a smattering of applause, the professor pulled several levers. An unearthly howl built around the room, as the professor lifted a tube of ridged canvas resembling nothing so much as an elephant's trunk. Suddenly a strange breeze began to move across the room, causing the ladies to grasp at their hats and skirts.

"There is nothing to be concerned about" shouted the professor, as he struggled with the unruly hose. The device is perfectly safe, while sucking up any loose dust, dirt or other household debris. In fact..." At this moment the tubing twisted in his grasp forcing him to wrestle with the tube, which now seemed more akin to a boa constrictor. An unexpected movement caused the end of the tube to point directly at the professor's ankle, catching hold of his trouser leg. In moments, the device had swallowed the garment, and was making a highly distressed choking noise until a loud metallic clang could be heard outside. The noise swiftly died away. Mrs Dingle, the chairwoman, stood.

"Well Professor" she said in tones of deep disapproval, "as promised, your demonstration was indeed of interest. However, I can say that while you may consider it modest, I certainly do not!"

A voice from the back spoke. "He's certainly got nothing to be modest about!"

At this moment Miss McVenture entered, a lock of hair escaped from her usual severe bun, an oil stain on her cheek, soot on her pinafore and an oversized monkey wrench in her left hand. "Oh, Professor, I had to hit the emergency stop... PROFESSOR! What on earth is going on here!"

"Miss McVenture! Mrs Dingle! Ladies! I can explain! Wait! Where are you going? This device, easily adapted to a houshold stove or steam engine will make household chores a thing of the past! Can't you forgive this minor problem for science? Miss McVenture! Can you at least bring me something to preserve my dignity?"

"Here Professor; your patented spring-loaded-ejecto-pants should prevent any further embarassment. But I thought that science was a respectable field of work; you may consider this my resignation."

I don't know for sure how old Professor Lovebody is, but he has had time to grow a fine set of mutton chop whiskers.


Not a very articulate response, I'll admit, Willcox old chap, but it is a quite accurate expression of my feelings towards the Misadventures of Professor Lovebody.

Spring-loaded-ejecto-pants... *dissolves into giggles*

That's a brilliant little story, Neil! I love it from start to finish!

Neil... Maybe you should write a few of these and try to sell them to Asimov's. They could fit them in the... ah... loose corners of the magazine.

Neil, I for one would definitely seek out any Professor Lovebody stories that made their way to print.

Today's meeting went by without any pants-related incidents, unless you count me changing from pants into a bustle skirt in the parking lot, without removing my boots, which greatly impressed my husband.

Here's a photo of Serge, Chris and I, from right to left. Serge's wife Sue was behind the camera. They're both wonderful people and fun times were had by all.

(and if anyone wants to see clearer shots of my costume, they're also in my Flickr stream)

"I love men in vests, don't you?"


I haven't looked at the photos that my wife took with our own camera. If they didn't turn out, I may ask if I can post your photo on my blog.

That being said, it was wonderful meeting the two of you. Hopefully we'll do so again soon.

Great picture!

Serge, you're welcome to use the photo if yours don't turn out.

I should do something with the scraps of fiction I randomly drop into the internet (other than post them in 3 week old comment threads). They probably have a negligible commercial value, but at least my prose has a low enough error rate that I don't wince when reading it.

Neil... They probably have a negligible commercial value

...but their laughter-inducing value would be anything but negligible.

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