Everyone admires the coords of the Grimoire staff, and it's very easy to want emulate them, wear what they wear, and style yourself accordingly. But when you look at Hitomi, Kaori and Heri, do you notice how differently they each wear the style? Hitomi with her elegance, Kaori looking like little prairie doll lately, and Heri with her layers and layers. All Dolly Kei, all very different. Not to say that one shouldn't look to them for inspiration, incorporate a bit of their style or follow any Dolly trends. I just think it's very important to find your own style, and to let your own personality shine through.
Some hopefully helpful suggestions:
~Other styles: I personally like to have a bit of Lolita in my outfits.
~Make your own accessories. No one else will have your pieces.
~Have style icons outside of Dolly. Mine are silent film starlets, 90s Courtney Love, Amanda Palmer, Helena Bonham Carter and Florence Welch.
~Don't be afraid to experiment. You might not always love the outcome, but you might create something amazing.
~Take concrit and suggestions to your coords with a grain of salt. Dolly Kei has very little in the way of rules, if you love it and it's you, it's not wrong.
~Don't feel like you need 100 layers for your outfit to be considered Dolly. Layers are a part of it certainly, but it's not the end all be all. Note that Hitomi's coord posts lately haven't had a whole lot of layering and instead have really been relying on one amazing dress or piece.
~Wear something unexpected.
~Don't worry about everything matching. Maybe your hair piece doesn't go with your skirt. So what?
~Your hair and make-up: again, there's no real rules for this. Some styles are definitely popular, but you can do what you like.
~I watch a lot of fashion shows. I find that a lot of the time couture lines will be doing some interesting things I can incorporate.
~Think of how you would want to describe your look/the way you want your coords to "feel".
~Wear what makes you happy and what you're comfortable in. Don't wear something you don't like just because it's "Dolly".
From a personal perspective, I think my coords are visibly recognizable as Dolly Kei. But I also like to think that I've put my own personal mark on it. I'm wearing Dolly Kei, but i'm not wearing it like everyone else. I've got a little lolita going on, I use a very dark colour palette, I make my own accessories, and I go for very doll-like from my make-up and hair to my silhouette.
Certainly parts of the style are intrinsic and going to be seen through-out anyone's coord. And there are definite themes that are going to be prevalent. It is a fashion after all, and there are always going to be similarities. I'm just saying: take the style, make it uniquely your own.
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