Parlor Nevermore

 Good afternoon darlings,

Some of you may know that I started working as a DJ about three years ago. I started working as a resident DJ at the local goth club, Club Orpheus in Baltimore and went from there.

In about October, I learned that our goth club was sold right under our noses. I'd rather not get into the politics, but all you need to know is that none of the current staff, not even the current General Manager knew that the club was sold. By the time we knew it was already gutted and delivered. 

You could chalk it up to the 2020 pandemic, but the truth is that the owners sold the club with no regard for the people keeping it alive.

Since then, I've taken to live streaming DJ sets for both charity and practice. Earlier this year I organized a live stream for "Goths Supporting Black Lives Matter", with all proceeds donated to BLM related movements. This past Saturday 12/26, I raised money for my childhood friend's cancer treatment costs. 

All this to say, I have a large part of my life circling around gothic culture, including music, literature and film, and it is not accurately encompassed here in a Lolita sphere. 

For almost 2 years now I've considered starting a separate blog strictly for set lists and music recommendations. The domain has been reserved but remained unused. 

I think starting in 2021, I will move towards posting there on Parlor Nevermore. It seems more fitting that I separate these interests, since some events, music, films and subject material are 18+, and the Jfashion community often attracts a younger audience.

I will be happy to report the first post here when I decide on the theme. For now feel free to bookmark the page or subscribe for blog post notifications.

You can also find my DJing information below:

I am moving to the Norfolk area in the next few months and am looking for local goth clubs and goth nights I can join. 

Currently I am streaming "The Caterpillar" online through my public library system. It is an eroguro story based on the work of the same name from Edogawa Ranpo. I read a collection of his short stories this year, and greatly enjoyed it. This is the sort of media I would like to talk about on Parlor Nevermore.

Screen cap from the film

Until then, let's keep enjoying gothic culture through Gothic Lolita here.

Sincerely,

Erica

How to do Boy Style: Three Visual Kei Looks

In honor of this blog's 10th anniversary, I'd like to publish a post that's been sitting in my drafts since 2016. I never published it because I felt "Boy Style", or dressing to look more masculine on purpose, would be frowned upon. 

In the past few years it's become a part of me, and a regular style. I think it reflects my current self more than ever. So I present to you, largely unedited, how it looked to me four years ago.

...

 

 
To me, Fashion is about wearing who you are on the outside, or expressing an abstract part of your personality in a concrete way. 

Of course, there are as many different examples of this as their are different kinds of people; but today I am choosing to focus on one in particular. 

Today, I am going to talk about... Boy Style!



In the above images, you can see four different people at first glance- but if you look closely, you might notice subtle similarities or facial features.

They are, in fact, all me- just different "versions" of me.

The top two images are my Lolita self, and the bottom two have a more androgynous feel, leaning towards a more male aesthetic. (Or at least, I hope so.)

Just like I dress in Lolita, or apply girly makeup to feel a certain way, I dress in Boy Style to feel a certain way. 

I don't consider it as cross-dressing or cross-playing, but just another different kind of clothing I like to wear to express a part of my personality.

However, this style does incorporate some elements of cross-dressing to achieve my aesthetic... and it is a lot of work, taking much trial, error, and experimentation! 

For example, sometimes, my face is too feminine to do the clothes justice, so I will contour my nose, cheek bones, and jaw lineto achieve the full effect. 

Also, being a rather busty individual, I use a safe, medical-grade binder to get the perfect fit for button downs, blazers and vests. 

Since I don't want to cut my hair short, I use different short wigs depending on the look I am going for- but I also try to learn about different boy and visual kei hair styles, to make the wigs look more realistic.

There are several kinds of Boy Style, including:

  • Ouji/Prince or Dandy Style
  • Elegant Gothic Aristocrat
  • Casual Visual Kei
  • Stage Visual Kei/Kotei Kei

Today, in the interest of helping someone find a comfortable, every-day style, I will be focusing on "Casual Visual Kei". 

I find that this is what I wear the most often, when I do Boy Style. The clothing pieces are also relatively easy to find, whether you are in Japan or not; and unlike Ouji and EGA, it doesn't require strict guidelines or branding to achieve the complete look.

There are even publications out for this more casual form of Boy Style, drawing inspiration from Punk, Grunge, Rock, Glam and Visual Kei. This publication, called "Boku" (a masculine pronoun for "me") features female Boy Style icons such as Oni, vocalist of Ganglion; Akira, vocalist of Disacode; and Root, who has recently risen to fame as a model in Kera magazine.

A cover of "Boku" magazine  

I remember writing a report on this magazine a couple of years ago, examining the social phenomena of females using masculine pronouns to refer to themselves while dressing in Boy Style. That might be a bit too dry a topic for now, but what you should know is that years later, this publication and style are still going strong. 

If anything, the amount of girls dressing as boy models in publications or in bands, and "everyday" people following suit has risen.

Without further ado, let's take a look at my style inspirations, and how you can come up with a couple of looks, probably using things in your own closet!

For my first example, I'd like to start with one of my favorite boy style inspirations, Mitsu, vocalist from the band Dolly (named after the cloned sheep, not the toy). I've written about Mitsu before here, in "10 Style icons". Five years later, he still remains an icon for me. 

Since I first saw him in Cure magazine years ago, something about his unique layering of clothing, and the flavour of his style appealed to me.

Mitsu, Vocalist of Dolly
 
Finally in 2012, I got to see Dolly perform live in Nagoya (read about that here!).  Upon seeing them live, I really came to appreciate the band's distinct style and atmosphere they set with their clothing. 

It seems loosely Dandy, Ouji, or even Dolly Kei inspired, but with Visual Kei flair such as layers of eclectic accessories, tapered leg pants, mix-matched patterns and of course the iconic blacked-out eye makeup. 

To get the look:

My Polyvore

  • For tops, select slim-fit blazers and collared shirts, with longer hemlines if possible. 
  • Avoid blouses and jackets cut for a woman's body, which may emphasize curves. 
  • Dress up tops with broaches, scarves, ties, or jabots. 
  • For pants, select a skinny colored or patterned denim; or if you have more full hips and thighs, try a straight-cut pant that doesn't hug your curves. 
  • For shoes, select an oxford with a pointed or slightly pointed toe. This will elongate your foot and your leg, giving you height and adding a slight slimming effect. Rounded toe shoes will make your feet look smaller, more feminine, and potentially emphasize any curves you have in your legs or thighs. Heels should be one inch or less, and never pointed. 
  • For Mitsu's look, feel free to mix different patterns and colors. But to avoid looking like a hot mess, stick to a certain color palette- warmer tones like tan brown, bronze, red, and warm grey can pair together with black and gold. Cooler tones like blue, burgundy, cool grey and crisp white pair better with black and silver. 

For the next look, I opted for a more gothic-casual inspiration- San, guitarist of Nega, who have unfortunately disbanded. Though the band may have gone their separate ways, their older songs remain popular to this day, along with their gritty sound, lyrical imagery and fashion sense.

San, guitarist of Nega (disbanded)

I opted for San for two reasons: first, I remembered how tall he was when I saw Nega live in Nagoya. I thought, if he can find nice, stylish clothes that fit him, then I should have no problem! Another reason I chose him was for his unique taste. At lives he often wore unique things not usually seen in Visual Kei, such as hip scarves and sandals with black saurel/harem pants and gothic tops. 

For a disheveled-goth chic that is comfortable and easy to wear on the daily, I present you with San's style. 

To get the look:
My Polyvore
  • Opt for thin, flowing, and comfortable layers, and don't be afraid to mix genres. Try a long, flowing vest over a comfortable tank top, under a structured jacket or blazer.
  • Stack on the Rock and Roll accessories- studded belts, scarves and thick, chunky rings are iconic. 
  • For bottoms, opt for slim-fit pants that lengthen and slim your leg. Or, try a pair of full, flowy saurel/harem pants. These fit a wide range of sizes and disguise fuller hips.
  • For shoes, boots are always acceptable; either mid-calf or ankle cut for a more masculine look. As with Mitsu's look, I would recommend a pointed toe over a rounded toe, for an extra masculine kick. 
  • San certainly wears a lot of black. Add dimension with different textures, patterns, and even subtle prints in tones of grey. 
  • For hair, San often keeps his natural dark tone, with bold color block of blue or violet. A layered or shaggy short style can emphasize this. If you're not into bleaching your hair, pick up some color wefts at your favorite beauty supply store, and trim them to blend in with your hair length. 


Last but not least, I wanted to select a look that was minimalist, yet unique- something someone with hardly any Visual Kei aesthetic might be attracted to or able to pull off. 

Lately I have been feeling very inspired by Kyo, vocalist of Dir en grey and Sukekiyo. Since forming Sukekiyo, and releasing Dir en grey's Unraveling and Arche, Kyo has been sporting a very crisp style of clothing that has come to grow on me. It is easy to deconstruct and steal for yourself, if you are searching for a stylish and classic Boy Style look. 


It's worth noting that these looks aren't strictly "Visual Kei". Kyo has departed slightly from that camp, but continues to dabble in abstract, thematic and dramatic clothing and makeup. At least to get this look, minimal makeup and hair styling is required; unless you would like to add some contouring the shape your face a little. (Kyo does have cheek bones, brows and a jawline to die for!)

To get the look:

My Polyvore

  • Kyo's recent style is about abstract, artsy things, a monochromatic palette, and clean lines. Though layers are used for contrast, he goes very scant on accessories and unnecessary layers. 
  • Play with the different volumes of clothing. Try a long, slim-fit collared shirt with a fitted blazer, and baggy pant. 
  • Play with hemlines and forms. Try a strict, slim-fit pant with an asymmetrical jacket and boxy-cut top underneath.
  • For accessories, keep it simple- a statement necklace, or an on-trend hat will do. 
  • For footwear, Kyo tends to go with comfortable sneakers, or an edgy-looking style of boots
  • This look is best suited to very simple aesthetic. If you normally sport a clean pixie cut in your natural color, or maybe you bleach it blonde; if you don't normally sport a lot of makeup, but may occasionally rock a smokey eye; this look will definitely work for you. 

Want even MORE Visual Kei inspired style? Check out my old post here, Steal the Style- Reita from the GazettE. 
 
 
What did you think of this little spin-off article? Was it helpful? Would you like to see posts about different alternative styles or Visual Kei in the future? Please feel free to leave feedback or concrit in the comments. 


...


It's interesting that four years ago, I was reluctant to post this, fearing clap-back for straying from Lolita and wanting to dress more androgynously. Now, this has largely become my style.

And yes, I even cut my hair short. No more wigs!

So my question to you remains: would you like to see more of this? 

Keep staying true to yourself; there's no need to question what you like. Even if you hide it, or keep it for your own enjoyment, it never goes away.

Sincerely,
Erica

Darkly Darling 10th Anniversary

 My Dearest Darlings,

I never thought I would be writing on this blog for ten years. To be honest it's been a patchy account of things, touch-and-go as life went on.

I started this blog as a college student, as a way to share my interest in Lolita and other Japanese fashions. It's interesting to look back at past trends, the way my outfits evolved, and little ways I incorporated by passions into my lifestyle.

From learning to sew, to attending cons, and even studying abroad in Japan, Lolita fashion and its related hobbies has shaped my life. 

 I'd say it was all for the better. 

The Lolita community has given me lifelong friends, and valuable connections. I've also found a sense of self-accomplishment that can never be replaced.

That being said, I think it is time to take a step back and focus on other things.

2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. I don't need to rehash our shared struggles, or elaborate on my personal ones. One thing this year has taught me, good or bad, is that Lolita is no longer the cornerstone of my life. 

Perhaps it was the lack of in-person meet-ups this year, or the lack of fluid income. Maybe the designs are a little too static nowadays, or maybe it's just me. Whatever the cause, I've pared back my wardrobe significantly- if I complete an annual wardrobe post, as in past years, you'll see how my style has become more simple; "back to black". 

Instead, I've been really interested in kimono. I'd like to hear from you, if you'd like to learn more about the different types and formalities of dress, how to tie obi, and sewing lessons. 

I've also stepped up my participation in the Dir en grey and Visual Kei community. I've been a longtime fan, but also a wallflower. I finally overcame some social anxieties, and started networking with other fans online.

Lastly, I signed up for Dir en grey's fan club, -a knot-. I wanted to do this for years, but there were many hurdles causing me to procrastinate. If there is interest, I could write about how to enroll in the fanclub even if you live overseas. 

Though my focus is shifting away from the Lolita community, it is not entirely gone. I like to think of it as more of a kaleidoscope, the glass pieces changing colors and forms as they blend together into new designs. 

It is inseparable from my love of Japan and it's youth street cultures. It was the door that led me here. 

So 10 years since my first entry on this blog, I'm stepping back to say I'm sorry for my absence; and I hope you stick around a little longer. 

If there is more you would like to know about, in the fields of:

  • Visual Kei
  • Street Fashion History
  • Kimono and traditional fashion
  • Being a long-term Lolita

I'd love to hear from you. I may be the Captain of this ship, but I take itinerary suggestions.

Sincerely, and with gratitude,

Erica

Coord Roundup: February

Happy First of March!

As I begin this new month, I have a lot to look forward to: Rufflecon ticket sales starting, outings with friends, my birthday, and a visit from family.

February was a busy month for me, but productive. I started reaching out to vendors to get some of my handmade accessories selling at cons. Rufflecon also announced their theme for 2017, which got me brainstorming, and contemplating whether or not I can create a line for the Label contest.

For coords, I tried to break my record of 4 from last month, but was unsuccessful. None the less, it was a month of trying new things for me, and I'm happy with how my experiments came out!


February 5th: Metamorphose meets Pinup

This was a very simple coord to meet some lolis at the mall. I wanted something somewhat casual, and closer to every day wear. I thought this Metamorphose Gingham Cherry Jsk would be perfect. 

I like everything about this coord from the shoulders down; but if I could re-do this coord, I'd have put more effort into my hair, and chosen a different hair accessory. 

Bolero: BTSSB
Jsk: Metamorphose
Shoes: Vivienne Westwood x Melissa
Headbow: Innocent World
Everything else: Offbrand 



February 11th: Pastel Lolita

I almost never wear pastels, as I've adamantly said many times. But for whatever reason, on this day, I decided to give pastels a try. 

It was also the first day I've ever ruined a jsk beyond repair. It was a disaster. 

I met up with a friend to get boba tea- that much was wonderful! But we also stopped at a Korean cosmetics store, which had some sort of devil-spawn liquid lipstick smeared on the counter. The lipstick got on my purse, and when I put my purse on my lap in the car, it got all over my lightly coloured dress. (T__T) I've tried so hard to remove the stains, but they're impossible to get out.

So while this was a pretty look, and I feel like I balanced the pink and lavender well, I am extremely hesitant to wear light colours, or shop for cosmetics in Lolita ever again.

Jsk: Angelic Pretty
Bolero, Purse and Headbow: BTSSB
Everything else: Offbrand 



February 12th: Boz and Boystyle

I adore boystyle, and have taken a stab at it in the past, but I feel like this was my first serious, successful coord. I'm very proud of how this one turned out; and with a better wig and a few more staple pieces, I hope to wear boy style more this year.

Coat: Atelier Boz Roland
Pants: MAM
Socks: Chantilly
Brooches: Voltaire, Chocomint
Everything else: Offbrand



February 27th: OTT 

I think this was my favourite coord of the month! I got this Elizabeth I jsk a couple of months ago, and really wanted to coord it. I don't usually go so over the top with my coords, but I like the colour balance and all of the details in this outfit! Probably one of my favourite coords of the year so far. 

Jsk: Taobao (I think the brand was called "Makiro"?)
Blouse: The Floral Notebook
Headdress: Sweet Mildred
Shoes: Bordello
Accessories: Voodoodolly, Offbrand
Socks: Metamorphose

And thus wraps up another month in Lolita! I'm excited to see what March has in store; I hope it includes more chances to dress up and improve my coords! I think my latest on the 27th was much more put-together than some of my others so far. I'm also a fan of my Boystyle outfit and can hardly wait to collect more pieces! 

Here's to yet another month of frills!

Xoxo,
Cherie

Coord Roundup: January


Hello Darlings,

One of my goals for 2017 is to better document my coords, and share them when I can.

One main reason for this is that I constantly forget to take photos of my outfits, even if I put a lot of time and effort into perfecting them.

Or, after I spend all that time dressing up, I am too scared to post photos outside of my personal circle. And it's not necessarily about my clothing, but my face or body type. I worry about retribution for my physical aspects I can't change, so I rarely post.

However, criticism is not always a bad thing. It is, after all, meant as a constructive thing to help you improve. As long as I receive criticism on how to make my outfits better, then I don't mind.

And after all-- this is a fashion blog. In spite of that, I have a handful of entries at best showing my outfits. That's awfully pathetic, and tarnishes my credibility, don't you think?

This month, I got to wear Lolita 4 times in total. In the past, 4 times in a month would be a lot, but in my current state, I think that's just where I want to be. I am moving towards wearing Lolita, or some aspect as often as possible. But as a new mom of a two-month old infant, who also works full-time, I'd say four times in a month is quite a lot.

January 12th


This was my outfit for my comm's monthly swap meet. This was my first time wearing Lolita since giving birth. 

I was itching to wear some of the pieces I accumulated while I was pregnant, but couldn't wear. On the top of my list was this "Three Archangels" long OP by Innocent World. I find the silhouette very flattering, and I love the long skirt. This OP is also half-shirred in the back, which made it very comfortable. It was a good outfit to get back into the swing of things. 

OP: Innocent World
Blouse: Bodyline
Headdress: Sweet Mildred
Socks: Enchantlic Enchantilly
Shoes: Offbrand (Dolce by Mojo Moxie)


January 15th


This is what I wore for my new comm's 10th Anniversary Tea Party. (I've been here a year, but it still feels like a new comm to me!) The theme was "Winter", so I wore my new jsk, "The Gift" by L'esprit de la Noblesse.

L'esprit de la Noblesse is a Russian Indie Brand, headed by fashion power couple Elizabeth and Nicolas. Together, they create many whimsical and unique Lolita designs, drawing from traditional garb of Russian royalty, and creatures of fantasy alike. "The Gift" was a limited Christmas release. Part of the profits were donated to a Russian charity.

With the long hemline and metallic champagne chiffon, this dress is easily one of my favourites.

My concept for this event was "Clara from The Nutcracker".

Dress: L'esprit de la Noblesse
Blouse: Bodyline
Socks: American Apparel
Headbow: Innocent World
Purse: Baby, the Stars Shine Bright
Shoes: Offbrand (Dolce by Mojo Moxie)


January 22nd


This is what I wore when visiting the San Antonio, Texas Lolitas, for their "Cheers to 2017!" Meetup.

My husband and I were visiting his family in Texas, when I attended this meet-up. My brother and sister in law both happen to be members of the comm, and were kind enough to take me along to the local meet-up. The theme just happened to be old school, which is one of my current obsessions!

My sister-in-law is to the left of me, in the photo above. I'm sorry, this photo caught me mid-blink!

Bonnet, Blouse, Jsk, Purse: Baby, the Stars Shine Bright
Socks: Metamorphose
Shoes: Montreal


January 27th


This is my favourite outfit of the month. 

A lolita girlfriend and I decided to go out for macarons on a random Friday afternoon. I took her to my favourite Patisserie, "Sweethearts Patisserie" in Annapolis. I knew the shop often decorates for Valentine's Day about this time, so I decided to dress to match the decor.

Beret: Innocent World
Blouse, Bolero, Jsk, Purse: Baby, the Stars Shine Bright
Socks: Metamorphose
Shoes (Not pictured): Bodyline 

And I think that's all I'll fit in this month! 

Since I'm gearing up to go back to work, and transition by daughter into Daycare soon, I am sure that the next month will be hectic. But I hope that I still find time to dress up! With a promised monthly swap meet, and a special Valentine's Day Tea, I at least have two events to look forward to!

Here's hoping I keep up with the outfit photos, and that the quality of the outfits (and outfit shots) improves throughout the year!

Xoxo,
Cherie