Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dolly Kei Essentials: Accessories

This post is the start of what is going to be a "regular" occurance in my blog, "Dolly Kei Essentials". Each installment of "essentials" is going to cover a part of Dolly Kei, to kind of break it down and make it easier to understand and incorporate into your wardrobe. I hope you enjoy it, and more importantly, find it useful!

A major part of Dolly Kei (and probably my favorite part), of course, is the accessory.

The easiest way to sum up Dolly Kei accessories, is to say they are unusual, intricate, antique, whimsical, at times gothic, at times macabre, and like the style itself, layered and jewel-toned. You want to avoid things that look new or modern.

Commonly seen items are fur (be it shrugs, stoles, tails and the like), large and ornate tassels (like those seen on curtains), religious relics like crosses and other imagery, toys (broken/antique and fitted onto necklaces and brooches etc, dolls, teddy bears), bones, flowers (generally dried/fabric/old looking), cameos, lace, bottles, feathers, odd fellows collars, and items that perhaps you wouldn't think to have as accessories.


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Now, you may be looking at these pictures, and feeling a bit overwhelmed. Or not sure where to get these sort of accessories. It's not as hard as it seems, and you may even have things in your wardrobe already, laying about your house, or are just easy to find in stores. What makes a lot of the accessories dolly kei, isn't the items themselves, but how they have been put together, and how they are worn.

~Handmade/altered items. In my arsenal of craft and accessory making supplies, I always have ring bases, brooch backs and hair clips so if I find something interesting, I can simply glue it onto one. Instant and easy accessory! Most of my accessories are handmade, or altered purchased items. And be able to "look beyond" what a pre-made accessory looks like. Think about what you can add/do to it to make it more "dolly".

~Cameos. I know a lot of us into Dolly kei came here by way of lolita, so we own more than a few of these. And if not, cameos can be purchased easily at most clothing and accessory stores, in a variety of sizes and price points. They give an instant antique look.

~Tassels. While you may not have these laying around your home, they are easily purchased at home goods stores inexpensively. I've even seen them in "junk" and dollar stores. You can easily attach a cord, ribbon, or a connector and chain to them.

~Flowers/flower hairclips/flower brooches. Can easily be purchased anywhere. Just make sure your colour choice is appropriate. Also easy to make by attaching a brooch back or hairclip if you can't find one pre-made in a colour you like.

~Pocket watches. Adds an instant antique feel, and can be detached from their chains to make necklaces.

~Patterned scarves. Again, very easy to find, and an easy way to add layers.

~Save your broken jewelry! You never know what you an turn it into later.

~Add lace or embroidered trim to items like scarves, belts (you can also do this to your plain cardigans and skirts etc).

~Ebay! You never know what you'll find on there, and the prices can be quite low.

~Etsy/Used and Vintage stores. Again, you never know what you'll find, and can be very inexpensive.


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My biggest advice when accessorizing your dolly coordinates, is to not hesitate, and to not be afraid to experiment or to go "overboard". Dolly Kei is a fashion that thrives on things being a bit odd, so don't worry about your accessories looking strange, they should :) Don't worry about matching, and don't be afraid to layer many together. Worn single, many of these peices may not have a "dolly feel", but worn in a grouping can really complete your outfit.


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9 comments:

  1. Great article!! Yes, totally agree it's the layering of many disparate objects that gets closer to the dolly kei look :)

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  2. Thank-you! I need to do a little tidying of it though, and add some more examples.

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  3. I come from Lolita but I have always loved this exact kind of accessories, and to layer them. It's great sometimes to discover that you're not the only one (I'm sold to dolly kei now). Thank you for your blog (and your tumblr that I've been shamelessly pillaging! and I'll keep doing it as long as it'll be that good! muhahaha!), it's incredibly inspiring and informative.

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  4. I'm so glad you enjoy my blog and Tumblr! Thank you so much for the kind words :) I agree as well, it's wonderful to see that there's more of us!

    I still love Lolita, but Dolly Kei just gives me a sort of artistic freedom that I don't feel I have with Lolita. And even when I do wear lolita now, it's far into the reaches of Dolly. Slowly it's stealing me away!

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  5. This post was so inspiring!! I have a handmade jewelry company, and I've become so inspired by these- my mind is literally racing with ideas. Thanks so much for this!

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  6. I think I've seen your things on etsy and some other blogs! I'm glad you found this inspiring, I prefer hand-made or altered accessories, they just have so much more character :)

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  7. I'm sorry but are those real fur they're wearing?

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  8. It's definitely real fur in those pictures. A big part of the dolly Kei esthetic is vintage furs, animal bones/skulls, things of that nature. Generally vintage however. However, for those of us who don't want to wear fur etc. the look can still be achieved usings fakes. I won't lie, I love the look of an animal stole, it's just so WEIRD. But, I won't own one unless I can find a fake.

    That said, I have far fewer issues with the use of vintage and recycled furs than with new fur items. The use of vintage/recycled furs put a lot less demand for new fur products.

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  9. And I just wanted to add that: I do use reference pictures from the Grimoire Shop blog, and fashion street snap sites, and these people obviously wear real fur and animals (their choice, just as it's anyone's choice whether to or not). I accept that these items are a part of the look, which is why I feature them in my blog posts. I'm not saying wear fur or don't wear fur, I'm just saying: it's definitely a huge part of the look, it would be untruthful for me to say otherwise or avoid pictures of it, but there are alternatives if you like :)

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