Thursday, 28 June 2012

Lolita Lifestyles: Lolita and Dress Codes at Work


Hello everyone ! Sorry for being a bit M.I.A, I've got a lot of really big exciting plans in the pipeline at the minute so I've been super busy. Hopefully I'll have lots of news for you in the coming months though and all this hard work will be paying off ! As you guys know, I'll be attending an art & design course in college come Spetmeber. I'm super excited to be doing this, and also dressing up every day ! Dressing up is one of my favourite activities. On the other hand, at weekends I work in a local cafe and what I am allowed to wear to work is very strict (honestly, I've tried convincing my manager he wants to turn it into a maid cafe, but he's having none of it !) and this is no fun at all. Being somewhere I can't fully express myself visually is incredibly draining to me; it's a big part of who I am. So, for myself and others who feel the same way, I've developed "The Guide to Lolita and Dress Codes" !
Of course, while my job is quite strict (I wear a uniform, I must have my hair tied back, etc) this will obviously vary from job to job. Some places you may be allowed to dress in full OTT-Sweet Lolita any day that you please (aka dream jobs !), whereas in other areas of employment even the sight of a lacy hairbow would raise eyebrows. Obviously you don't have to incorporate all of these pointers into one work outfit; just adding one or two elements is sometimes enough to make you feel like you've gotten your personality back ! I'll leave it upto yourselves to work out how far you can go with things like uniform customisations, accessories, the makeup you wear, etc. Here are some tips ! 

1. Add Small Pieces Slowly.
If you are starting a new job, don't turn up on your first day wearing your favourite AP headbow and a thousand two-way clips. Take it slowly ! This doesn't mean you have to dress all boring on your first day (or on days where you might be extra busy and so don't want to have to look after several different accessories). One of my favourite ways of sneaking some loli-accessories into a work outfit is to wear my hair in two buns - messy or otherwise - and just wear simple, smallish bows clipped into each. You don't have to wear bows; you could also use small flowers, or your favourite plastic hairclips. You can get really creative with hair ! Overtime I like to add a few more accessories and become more and more adventurous with what I wear to work (believe me, it will come as less of a shock).


2. Be Adventurous With Your Makeup
I understand that not everyone has time in the morning to put on a full face of makeup before work (I'm guilty of getting up stupidly early to do this, but I know that is not everyone's cup of tea). However, if you're starting your shift later on in the day, or if there's one day of the week you feel like getting up and having a go, wearing some fun makeup is a great way to brighten up an otherwise monotonous work outfit. Fun eyeshadows and glitter liners, natural fake lashes, pink lipsticks and if you can get away with it, small stick on jewels are great. A great company to buy inexpensive, colourful makeup from is Barry M ! Their Dazzle Dust is fantastic for adding an extra touch to your makeup. I personally love fake freckles (especially in pink !), drawing on small fake lashes on your lower lids and Cult Party Kei-inspired blusher ! 

How could anyone not adore Cult Party Kei ?!

I think a lot of what bothers me the most with work uniforms and strict dress codes is losing so much of your personality and blending in with everyone else - exciting makeup is a great way to combat this, especially when paired with a cute hairstyle/hair accessories like in the point above. Another tip I like to use is before I go to bed at night, set out the makeup I plan to use the next morning on my dressing table. Deciding the look and colours you're going for the night before saves so much time in the morning ! Investing in a good primer is also a good idea to prevent your makeup wearing off throughout the day. 

3. Ask Whether Skirts are Acceptable
In my current job, it was default for everyone to turn up to work wearing black pants. For a while I adhered to this before it occured to me that maybe we didn't HAVE to wear them, it was just that everyone DID. So, I asked my manager - and, to my intense relief ! - I wouldn't be breaking any rules by wearing a skirt instead (of course, it had to be knee-length but generally in lolita this is standard). It's ALWAYS worth asking if you aren't sure about this. If it's possible for you to wear a skirt to work, perhaps consider a kuro-lolita inspired skirt ? Something high-waisted ? Maybe even a subtle print if you think you could get away with it. This also opens up the possibilities of cute tights - you can almost always get away with wearing patterned tights, even if printed skirts aren't an option - frilly ankle socks or even OTK socks, altho the latter is a bit risque if you do a lot of bending over in work ! Sometimes this is all it takes to make you feel more like yourself in a work environment. With the possibility of skirts comes the even more fun option of shoes ! 

images from

4. Shoes !
Even if wearing a skirt to work isn't an option, some cute shoes can still really brighten up your work outfit. Tea Party Shoes are an obvious choice; they're flat, practical and adorable ! Shoes are something I would be careful with; if, like me, you work in an environment where you are on your feet for a 5 hour long shift, something like RHS (as much as I love love love them) would just simply not be practical. Also, if you're running in and out of a kitchen in a more restaurant-based job, you need to consider that the floor may be slippery and safety will become a problem, so remember to keep this in mind when deciding which shoes to wear. Many high street retailers sell some very lolita-esque flat shoes which would be acceptable for you to work in if you didn't want to put your favourite tea parties through hours of hard labour. 

5. Accessories
Probably the easiest way to incorporate your personality into your work outfits ! Its fairly easy to get away with wearing whatever you like accessory-wise to work and its also easy to pick up inexpensive pieces which could be used in a lolita work outfit from places like Claires and Primark. Having lots of inexpensive pieces means you can mix and match them more ! The first obvious choices are rings, necklaces and hairbows but also maybe consider things such as wrist cuffs, cardigans, brooches, belts and also headdresses. Headdresses are a favourite lolita accessory of mine, but I know that they can go downhill quickly when paired with a black x white coord, so maybe try to stick to a kuro coord instead to avoid looking a bit too maid-like. Another fun way of REALLY shaking up an otherwise boring work outfit is to include a wig. Obviously, not all employers will be best pleased if you turn up in a full split wig in pink and lilac with pigtails but maybe something toned-down and cute. In the next few weeks I plan to wear a wig from GLW's Dollight collection, in blonde (my hair is currently a dark teal, so this will be a big change !). Maybe something to consider if you want to switch your look around a lot !

I'm going to be incorporating this blonde wig from GLW's Dollight collection
into my work outfits soon. It's not too OTT but enough
to make me feel dressed up still ! 

6. Customisation !
This is really only for jobs where you feel you can REALLY push some boundaries. My current work uniform consists of a branded black button-down shirt, a black skirt and whatever accessories I feel like wearing in the morning. While I couldn't get away with wearing a shirt without the name of the cafe somewhere on it, there is no reason you couldn't wear a lolita blouse to work. One of the things that makes lolita so easy to get away with in work is that it's very modest, and things like blouses usually adhere to work dress codes, no matter how strict. If, like me, wearing a lolita blouse isn't an option you can always customise the uniform provided for you (however, DO be careful when doing this and make sure you OK it with whoever is in charge - some businesses view uniforms as company property even when it's handed over to you as an employee !). I took my work shirt in so that it fitted me much better, and also changed the sleeves so that they were puffier and more loli-esque ! I'm also thinking of adding some very small and simple lace around the sleeve edges and along the front ! It's really easy to frill up a shirt in this way, you don't even need to be a pro with a sewing machine. 

Even if you can't customise a work uniform, or are allowed to wear
your own blouses, plenty of lolita brands (and, of course, non-brands !)
have lots of work-suitable pieces !

Hopefully this has been helpful to some of you ! I plan to resume blogging fairly often this week. I recently finished playing Gravity Rush (the first full game I've played on the PS Vita !) So I have a review to write for that ! 


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  2. This is a usefull guide. I work at a preschool though, so I'm too afraid to wear any of my nice clothes/acessories to work XD

  3. Haha oh gosh, I think that would maybe be the one exception to this guide ! Bet that's a super fun job tho ! ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ