Thursday, September 16, 2010

Where and How to Buy Dolly Kei Online

The biggest piece of news in the dolly kei world lately is that Grimoire, the pioneer dolly style kei in Japan, has opened a web shop. This online shop sells vintage dresses, tops, skirts, and even accessories like shoes and bags. Here are a few examples of the vintage clothes Grimoire offers:
The web shop also sells pieces from Dolly, Hitomi Nomura's line of accessories that started it all in 2007.
Yes, that is a fork necklace on the left. For those interested, the store blog has updates and photos of new pieces as they are added to the store.

All this excitement aside, I think now is a good time to remind everyone that dolly kei is almost entirely built around vintage clothes from western countries. The vintage brands that wearers of dolly style treasure most-- Gunne Sax, for example-- are not Japanese. According to the blog, Grimoire buys almost all of its stock online or in shopping trips to western thrift stores, flea markets, and antique sales.

If you're already familiar with the gauntlet of shopping services, custom fees, and rising shipping costs that come with buying clothes from Japan, the idea that dolly kei comes directly from the West can be very appealing. It could mean that all the tools you need to complete an outfit are in your own backyard. Re-importing clothes that were originally bought here is a little much even for me-- not that I don't support Grimoire and hope the store does well. I just think that, though it does take international orders through email, the web shop is mainly intended for the convenience of Japanese buyers who must find it troublesome to buy clothes from western countries.

So while I'm naturally excited about the opening of the Grimoire web shop and I see this as a big step forward in dolly kei, I don't plan to purchase many items from it. All the shopping resources I need are local thrift stores and websites like eBay and Etsy. Some of my favorite Etsy shops do stock 50-70's vintage fashion at reasonable prices, so here are a six of my favorites. I've picked out some examples of their clothes that would work with dolly fashion-- all priced less than $50.

Bohemian Bisoux
This skirt definitely embodies the elements of dolly kei: it's antique-looking, a bit ethnic, and it has a mysterious folklore feel to it. Can you imagine the skirt with a peasant top, vest, and fur stole? Best of all, the price is only $45.

Astral Boutique
This dress is a genuine Gunne Sax, which is easily the most popular brand in dolly kei. You can see how perfect this dress would be in an autumn dolly fashion coordinate-- just add a fringed shawl and a tooled leather shoulder bag and you're ready to go. The price is $44.

Hellcat Vintage
Though the vintage brand Young Edwardian is less famous than Gunne Sax, it's my favorite. This Young Edwardian dress features exquisite design details like a velveteen bodice and embroidered appliques. Priced at only $42, this dress is a vintage treasure.

Calico Vintage
The Gunne Sax series of "Black Label" dresses is particularly coveted because, as seen here, the design evokes the idea of the medieval princess gown. Medieval romance is a large part of the dolly kei aesthetic, so this dress would be the ideal foundation for a coordinate. Add jewelry, a 70's tapestry shoulder bag, and some high-heeled clogs for the complete look. This dress is on sale for $40.

Moonchild Vintage
This quilted 70's vest has that striking ethnic look that so many dolly kei wearers treasure. Add it to a black calico dress with boots and a vintage fedora and your dolly outfit is perfect. This vest is selling for $28.

Madgirl Vintage
This vintage paisley print dress is the perfect length for showing off a unique pair of tights and vintage shoes. Finish off the coordinate with a crocheted scarf and leather belt for the complete dolly kei look. This dress is priced at $32.

These are only a few of the amazing examples of vintage fashion I found on Etsy. Many more can be found there by the intrepid online shopper, not to mention on other sites for online thrift like eBay.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Brands: Journal Standard

I recently discovered a Japanese brand called Journal Standard and found it so inspirational that I had to post about it. There are several collections within the Journal Standard label-- some for men and some for women-- but they all focus on easygoing looks, the kind of outfits that allow you to relax in style. The store's staff members describe the clothes as "casual" or "just right" and I have to agree with them. Here are some examples of the Journal Standard style:

These outfits have a tomboy flair, but still retain a certain elegance and femininity with little details like messily-rolled cuffs, ballet flats or heeled clogs, and fringed scarves. Seen individually, the casual tops, dresses, pants, and skirts can be used in styles like morigirl and natural kei.
The Journal Standard catalog also seems to have been influenced by patterns and styles from the American Southwest and Mexico.
This website not only sells items from its own brand, but also imports items such as genuine Minnetonka Moccasin fringe boots:
Here are some coordinates from the Journal Standard blog that I found inspiring! A lot of them have a lovely end of summer or early autumn feeling to them, so they're perfect for this time of year.