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A Little background…
I was first exposed to the Lolita community at least a decade ago, but due to shyness and other distractions, I never quite took the first step into being an active member of the community.  Instead I sat on the sidelines and watched friends join in, all the while telling myself I would get around to acquiring some Lolita clothing pieces and attending an event one day.

I am a costumer of all sorts.  I started costuming back in 1999 when I started attending and working at a local renaissance faire.  In 2002, I made my first Star Wars costume for the release Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and since then have made over half a dozen Star Wars costumes.  I have also since made costumes from anime, movies, video games, television, and original designs.  My current count is over 50 costumes.  Last year, I finally made a costume I had been wanting to make since 1992: Harley Quinn.  I received a lot of positive feedback for my Harley Quinn, and I realized I had found a costuming niche.  I proceeded, therefore, to create several variations of Harley Quinn.

During Anime Central 2013, I debuted a Lolita-style Harley Quinn costume (Harley Quinn being the main costume I wear now-a-days).  My good friend Emma, who I am pretty sure first introduced me to Lolita fashion all those years ago, is not only active in the community, but runs a clothing line of her own (Ick by IndustrialKitty).  I went to visit her booth to show her my outfit, and after seeing my diamond tights and bloomers, she brought me over to the Chantilly booth to see the diamond patterned socks they sold.  There were so many colors, and I wanted them all!  Of course I was drawn to the red and black ones, but a pair in blue and silver also caught my eye.  I mentioned that to my friend, and she told me of a special the company was running, skirt and matching socks for a reduced rate.  She sweetened the deal by telling me if I bought the set, she would buy me a ticket for the brands tea party the following day, as well as lend me a blouse to complete the outfit.  All at once, I did not just take the first step, I fell in.

My first outfit…
I purchased the Chantilly Phantom Merry-Go-Round Skirt in blue with silver, the matching blue and silver diamonds socks, and a pair of red and black diamond socks.  Emma purchased my tea party ticket.  From there, I went on a hunt to find accessories for my new skirt, because I knew dressing Lolita has as much to do with your accessories as the outfit itself (as does most fashion).  What was super frustrating, was that I KNEW I had accessories at home, but nothing with me at the convention.  After walking the exhibit floor twice and finding absolutely nothing I loved, I decided to take a trip over to the fabric store after I changed out of Harley and took off my make-up.  At the fabric store, I picked up some thick blue ribbon, thinner silver ribbon, and a blue tinted cameo pendant.  I sewed the silver ribbon in the middle of the blue ribbon to make a headband, and strung the cameo on another piece of blue ribbon to make a necklace.  The next morning, I went down to Emma’s booth to borrow her black blouse, and the outfit was complete.

My first event, the Chantilly/Atelier Pierrot Tea Party…
Emma, popular as she always was, had a table full of girls she was sitting with, and unfortunately, there was no room for me.  I ended up sitting with a table full of girls I did not know, all of whom were oddly from Wisconsin, aside from one girl who was from Michigan.  Three of the girls were good friends, and all part of the Milwaukee Lolita Society, two girls were completely new to Lolita and some of the few not dressed very Lolita for the event, and the other girl was on her own, like me.  The three friends were great and breaking the ice, asking the table to take turns answering questions, and giving advice as it was needed.  I will admit, I have heard from several friends that there is a lot of cattiness and drama in the Lolita community, and I am sure there is, but these three actually made me feel welcome.  They complimented my necklace, and encouraged me to join not only the Chicago Lolita facebook group, but the Milwaukee one as well.  They also told me about an event happening in June, and encouraged me to attend.

I walked away from the event encouraged.  The next day, I requested membership to both facebook groups, and I am currently in the design process of a new dress to wear to the event in June.  The event is a picnic in Millennium Park, and as my one outfit is dark blue and black, I would rather have something else to wear outside in the middle of summer.  I ordered the inspiration fabric today, and I have most of the design planned out.  Once it arrives, I will take the fabric to match colors for the rest of the materials and hopefully it will be done on time.