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Japanese culture- and Lolita-inspired magical girl fashion

“If I don’t know how to do it, I want to learn.”

The power of crystal beads provide spiritual help in 2020.
The power of crystal beads provide spiritual help in 2020.

I’ve been fashion stalking the neighbors. It’s come to that. While working from home, I catch glimpses of outfits as people walk past my living room window. One morning before Halloween weekend, I noticed my Normal Heights neighbor was decked out in holiday-specific clothing. I lurched at the chance to learn more about 32-year-old Larissa.

“I love Halloween,” she told me. “I make my costumes every year. I think I started making costumes when I was 12.” She estimated her dress cost $15 in thrifted materials and took about four hours to make. “This one was particularly for trick-or-treating in Disneyland, and I thought it would be fun.” She flipped back her rose gold-dyed locks and popped a bat-shaped collar on her jack-o’-lantern patterned dress.

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Larissa's head-to-toe Halloween look is magical.

Larissa pointed out more details of her intricate ensemble. “These buttons are vintage, I’ve collected from thrift stores and antique stores. And it has pockets, it has to have pockets. And I like fun sleeves.”

Her accessories included a Halloween-themed headband, dangling moon earrings, and beaded bracelets. “I love headbands and hair accessories. I always wear crystals and jewelry, because I’m spiritual, too. And, you know, right now in 2020, we need some help!”

I looked down to find scallop-trimmed white leather sneakers (Amazon, about $20) and frilly ankle socks she bought for cheap during a trip to Japan. “I know some people might think it’s childish but... I did 30 years of my life dressing the way people wanted me to, and I was never happy looking in the mirror. You gotta love yourself, so I just realized it was time to change things up and do things that make me happy.”

Larissa ruminated over what to call her style, and finally settled on “Japanese culture- and Lolita-inspired magical girl fashion.” She explained, “I’m really inspired by Japanese fashion, particularly because it’s very expressive. I believe here in America, our clothes kind of work against us to form us in a very specific way...and I’m not down for that!”

She recalled, “Nothing I ever saw at a clothing store made me happy. It never fit right, never looked right. And at one point, I was like, ‘I want to do my own stuff,’” she recalled. “Now I own my own business. I make and sell clothing, costumes, illustrations, and my designs. I’m a multimedia artist; I love to learn and I love to implement my art in all ways I can possibly think of. And if I don’t know how to do it, I want to learn.”

She markets her business, Royally Divine, on Etsy but hopes to return to craft shows, conventions and pop up markets next year. Her biggest sellers are handmade hair accessories, bracelets, stickers and patches, but she also makes orgonite crystals, custom witch hats, and roller skate toe caps, among many other items. “There’s not really a whole lot I don’t do. I try to be versatile and listen to what’s in demand and what’s popular, but I also like experimenting.”

Larissa is not short of aspirations. “For a while, I did have custom fabrics, but it is very expensive to do. But one day I would like to be my own brand like that. That’s my dream.”

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The power of crystal beads provide spiritual help in 2020.
The power of crystal beads provide spiritual help in 2020.

I’ve been fashion stalking the neighbors. It’s come to that. While working from home, I catch glimpses of outfits as people walk past my living room window. One morning before Halloween weekend, I noticed my Normal Heights neighbor was decked out in holiday-specific clothing. I lurched at the chance to learn more about 32-year-old Larissa.

“I love Halloween,” she told me. “I make my costumes every year. I think I started making costumes when I was 12.” She estimated her dress cost $15 in thrifted materials and took about four hours to make. “This one was particularly for trick-or-treating in Disneyland, and I thought it would be fun.” She flipped back her rose gold-dyed locks and popped a bat-shaped collar on her jack-o’-lantern patterned dress.

Sponsored
Sponsored
Larissa's head-to-toe Halloween look is magical.

Larissa pointed out more details of her intricate ensemble. “These buttons are vintage, I’ve collected from thrift stores and antique stores. And it has pockets, it has to have pockets. And I like fun sleeves.”

Her accessories included a Halloween-themed headband, dangling moon earrings, and beaded bracelets. “I love headbands and hair accessories. I always wear crystals and jewelry, because I’m spiritual, too. And, you know, right now in 2020, we need some help!”

I looked down to find scallop-trimmed white leather sneakers (Amazon, about $20) and frilly ankle socks she bought for cheap during a trip to Japan. “I know some people might think it’s childish but... I did 30 years of my life dressing the way people wanted me to, and I was never happy looking in the mirror. You gotta love yourself, so I just realized it was time to change things up and do things that make me happy.”

Larissa ruminated over what to call her style, and finally settled on “Japanese culture- and Lolita-inspired magical girl fashion.” She explained, “I’m really inspired by Japanese fashion, particularly because it’s very expressive. I believe here in America, our clothes kind of work against us to form us in a very specific way...and I’m not down for that!”

She recalled, “Nothing I ever saw at a clothing store made me happy. It never fit right, never looked right. And at one point, I was like, ‘I want to do my own stuff,’” she recalled. “Now I own my own business. I make and sell clothing, costumes, illustrations, and my designs. I’m a multimedia artist; I love to learn and I love to implement my art in all ways I can possibly think of. And if I don’t know how to do it, I want to learn.”

She markets her business, Royally Divine, on Etsy but hopes to return to craft shows, conventions and pop up markets next year. Her biggest sellers are handmade hair accessories, bracelets, stickers and patches, but she also makes orgonite crystals, custom witch hats, and roller skate toe caps, among many other items. “There’s not really a whole lot I don’t do. I try to be versatile and listen to what’s in demand and what’s popular, but I also like experimenting.”

Larissa is not short of aspirations. “For a while, I did have custom fabrics, but it is very expensive to do. But one day I would like to be my own brand like that. That’s my dream.”

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Gaslamp ugly sweater pub crawl, Coronado ice skating, Nutcracker tea party, Del Mar Red Nose Run

2022 Reader Christmas events guide
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