Literary Lolita: Drawing Outfit InspirationsNovember 1, 2009 at 8:36 pm | Posted in fashion, Life, Lumpy | 3 Comments
Tags: edgar allan poe, fashion, lifestyle, literary lolita, lolita, poetry
So some of you may know or have caught on that I’m currently attending (real!) college. An even smaller number of people will know that I am an English major (insert ubiquitous English major joke here), &thus have to read lots &lots &lots of essays, short stories, and novels; I’m currently required to read about 300 pages a week, &it’s just going to get worse – whew! Even the things you love get tedious after too long, &while I adore reading, I find myself slumping through my homework, leaving hundreds of pages unread until mere hours before class. What do I do to keep my interest? Well, as many before me have, I relate it back to something I love: lolita.
A while back, Victoria Suzanne wrote this excellent post about viewing your lolita coordinates as an art form. It talks about making up a story to inspire your outfit. Well, I’m going to expand on this – taking someone else’s writing as inspiration for your outfits.
I’ll provide three examples, all by (fittingly) Poe:
If you aren’t familiar with these poems, I suggest you read them from the links provided – it’s not really necessary to understand the post, but they’re amazing, so you should do it anyway. No, I changed my mind – it is necessary; not as a lolita or a reader of my blog/this post, just as a person. Do it. Trust me.
(Poetry will change your life!!! Can you tell I’m an English major? >.> )
So, when you’re taking inspiration from anything – books, poems, music – there are three things to take note of: mood, symbolism, and themes. I figured Poe would be a good example to illustrate these, because he uses all three heavily. For the mood, take note of the type of language the creator (which I will henceforth refer to as “he,” because my example is a male writer) uses, and for poetry, note the cadence: choppiness can denote anger, while flowing, beautiful words can denote romance, etc. Symbolism is easy – what hidden undercurrents does he use? What symbolism does he use to make his point? Poe compares Annabel Lee’s eyes to stars, so I played off of that a little. Symbolism is something that is alluded to or mentioned only once; anything repeated often throughout the piece is a theme. A specific animal (as obvious in The Raven but also noticeable through talk of birds in Romance), a location (the seaside in Annabel Lee), or any other number of things would count as a theme. A mood can also be a theme – the heavy, mourning air of The Raven is a good example.
Now that you’ve narrowed down the mood, symbolism, and themes in the piece you want to emulate, look for other things, such as allusions to color or specific clothing items. If you can find that, you’re straight – otherwise &more likely you’ll have to do a bit more detective work. Use your symbolism or themes for this one – I added shells &seafoam green to the outfit I used for Annabel Lee because of the repeated theme of the ocean.
Even though there is speculation as to whether the raven is or is not the narrator’s dead wife Lenore, I approached this outfit as if it was her spirit coming to him that stormy night. She is more mature, older than the other two girls – she wears a more mature dress and a hat, as opposed to Romance’s straw bonnet. Her clothing is meant to be reminiscent of Victorian mourning garb, the black roses being a funerary bouquet. The feathered mask &fan allude to Lenore hiding in the Raven’s body.
We all get into our slumps- no one can avoid it, no matter how much you love x, y, or z. And whether it’s your homework, your wardrobe, or your literary choices, I will always believe that beauty can help pull you out of it- whether that beauty is finding sartorial inspiration from a poem, imagining what the characters in that Nella Larsen novel are wearing, or doing your make-up as described in your Ancient Egyptian history homework a la Cleopatra. But don’t think of inspiration as only something to rescue you when you’re not your best – taking inspiration from the things you read, hear, or see is a great way to keep you connected to your environment &can be a great way to mesh your love of __________ with your love of lolita.
(Also, I might be starting a series called the Literary Lolita, relating the things I’m learning from my English classes back to lolita. It won’t be a scheduled thing – just whenever I encounter something post-worthy. What do you guys think?)