Friday, November 26, 2010

Dolly Kei = dressing with joy

Imported from

Hey boys and girls, let's play dress-up! (Grimoire party June 2010)

Thus begins the first post in my new series. You could say it's cheating, because what I intend to do is take pictures of Indianapolis street-style examples. This first post, though, is something I desperately want to import.

I was looking around a little bit ago, and I found this Japanese fashion subgenre called Dolly Kei. It's only been around for a couple of years. So, being NOT a total Japanophile, I am a little late to the party. But it is one SERIOUSLY fun party!!

Dolly Kei might just be the coolest thing, the best example of dressing with joy, that I have ever seen. It's a little bit antique babydoll, a little bit Japanese lolita, a little bit boho-vintage. It's whimsy plus refinement. It reminds me of every pre-Raphaelite painting I've ever fallen in love with, mixed with my old (HUGE, naturally) collection of dress-up clothes from my childhood. And I had a really hard time narrowing down my favorite pictures, so I chose quite a few.
What I really love is the diversity even within this small niche. So many subcultural styles I've fallen in love with over the years were co-opted and Hot Topic-ized before I even had a chance to really appreciate them. But this is fresh. This is something that, for all appearances, you have no choice but to make your own if you're going to do it right. Know what, I'm gonna shut up and post pictures now. All pics were found on and Click on any of the pics to embiggen.





You see what I mean?! I love the color. I love the goofy little touches, a stuffed animal here, a costume-mask accessory there. The mixing of sumptuous fabrics. The amount of variety. The fact that it's SO hard to incorporate so many little complex details without cluttering up the whole thing. I love the purses. They're all perfectly adorable. I LOVE the one girl who managed to incorporate a KISS tee-shirt into the mix. It's enough to make me want to run to the thrift store, overhaul everything in my wardrobe, and just dress like this all the time.

What the hey, I'll throw in one gothic lolita girl since I love them so much!
 This is what I'm talking about! Doesn't it get your noggin going in a million creative directions, all at once, just being inspired by a few of these pictures? Don't you want to take in every nuance, every texture and thread, and feel the joy that went into putting it all together?

I had to pick out just a few more, from Grimoire's second-anniversary party that took place just a few months ago. Grimoire is the where-it's-at shop for everyone in Tokyo who's into dolly kei, so that's your info on that front. It is to dolly kei as Baby, the Stars Shine Bright is to Lolita fashion. And you've got to look at every single snapshot in this photoset, right here, or you are missing out. SO badly. Here's a preview:

My hat is a boat. Your argument is invalid.

So, who wants to hit the nearest thrift store and play dress-up? Get crafty, get creative, get this fashion crackin' around here because it is amazing!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A little pre-Black Friday link love.

The ever-gracious Maggie at The Haute Hoosier has put together a list of local stores running Black Friday specials. Check it out, take copious notes, and avoid the ridiculous crush of crowds at the mall and the big-box stores. Better, you're supporting the LOCAL economy. Employment issues are on everyone's mind these days. Try giving one of the best gifts you could: an effort to keep money circulating locally, protecting and creating Indianapolis jobs.

Another multitude of opportunities awaits at Indy's many local winter gift bazaars. Check out Jenny Elig's writeup. She knows what it's about. Nothing adds a special touch to your holiday gift like being able to meet its creator.

Of course, I'd be remiss without adding a few of my own local gift-shopping ideas. Check out Eye Candy and Arts A-Poppin on Massachusetts Avenue. IndySwank is a fab shop in Fountain Square. The foodie in your life would appreciate a gift card from a local eatery like Yats, Scotty's Brewhouse, Machu Picchu, Aesop's Tables, Bosphorous Istanbul Cafe, or maybe Sawasdee.

And finally, for your loved ones' skincare and fragrance needs, nobody's got more grassroots-local good scents than Jessie Walton's Body Eclectic Skin Care line. Mall-brand shower and lotion sets are a staple gift, but they're loaded with bad chemicals, and your hard-earned dollars end up who-knows-where. Jessie truly geeks out on quality natural ingredients, and all her products smell divine.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fearless patterns on Monument Circle

My friend Jared snapped this awesome dude over his lunch break a couple weeks ago. I know, it's a bit late in season for a straw hat, but in spite of the fact it's November, it was about 72 degrees out. So why not milk it?

Just look at that sweater, doesn't it make you yearn for your old Nintendo? Alone, it'd probably look ridiculous, but paired with a khaki blazer, it's downright dapper. Harmonious colors within the contrasting patterns of his pants, striped hatband, and TWO floral scarves keep an air of whimsy within sophistication. (And I LOVE a man who's not afraid of a good floral!)

I tip my own hat to you, sir.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The catalyst - the calm before a spark

Well, here it is. You probably knew this would happen.

I said here that I was finally starting to embrace my inner fashionista that's been there for years, and I was starting a new segment on street style in Indianapolis, and, to some degree, the Midwest in general. This moment of introspection turned out to be a spark for so many more things. I've thought about starting a style-blog before, but I wasn't sure how would be best to go about it. Those ones where people just post pics of their own selves and clothes every day just seem kind of narcissistic and weird. I look at runway shows, but more for inspiration -- let's face it, I'm probably never going to afford that stuff. Neither are you. We've got to keep it more real.

I finally decided though, why not. I'm running with it. Fashion is in my blood, I've decided to chase a dream, to learn design, construction, and tailoring. I'm starting in January by taking some classes at a nearby university. I'm doing further soul-searching as to which direction I'd like to take this into -- fashion writer, shopkeeper, fashion marketing, costume designer, patternmaker? -- Not sure yet. But that's part of the adventure.

And, I did a little more research into the Indy fashion-scene and its online manifestations.

Behold what I have discovered. Indianapolis DOES NOT HAVE a street-style blog! For heaven's sake, even Champaign, Illinois has a street-style blog! (Conveniently, I happen to have blogrolled said fun place, which you can peruse for your delight.)

I had to fix this oversight. So, welcome to Circle City Style, a blog dedicated to fashion in the Indy area with a heavy emphasis on what the cool folks 'round here are wearing.

We'll also be discussing inspiration and sharing our own sources of it, be they music, political current events, other forms of visual art, runway designers -- whatever! Inspiration can come from just anywhere. I gotta say, it's exciting to be here and now. Indy's art scene is definitely on an uptick. And the fashion community... well, we *have* one now. I really am looking forward to exploring this area of the arts deeper, and getting in on the scene while it's still in its infancy. I hope to get some guest-posts from local style luminaries, and I look forward to their insight.

Whether you're a designer-fanatic or a simple, common-sensical type, fashion as an art form has a hold on all our lives, if you think about it. Tell me that you don't feel a hundred times better when you've taken a moment to put pride into your appearance. Fashion's not something we'll die if we don't have, but it is an extension of, and enhancement to, our daily lives. So go ahead. Wear your heart on the outside. Love it. And then take pics and send 'em to me!

Thanks for dropping by. Stick around - let's style the Circle City together.

Much love,


And now, pictures. You might as well make sure right now whether or not you think my sense of style is worth keeping up on:
Work outfit. Red brocade dress worn as a blouse, tucked into black chiffon skirt, with houndstooth jacket.

Detail of herringbone scarf added to the above outfit. I love me some brooches.
'Nother work outfit. Props to my friend Tomoko, who made the cross necklace!
La Fee Verte, Halloween 2010.