There are certain people you just keep coming back to

So this post has been in the works for a long, long time, but I wanted to post it in 2008. So I am finishing it now.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I introduce to you my fashion roots. This is not an extensive list, but it covers a large part of my beginnings in fashion.

Let us begin with the exception that is unique in its non-literary origin.

Do you remember... DOLLZ? Oh, yes. I would have been embarrassed to admit it then, but now I have (comparably) little shame in declaring my fondness for what are essentially paper dolls online (and they come in pregnant versions too). Of course, in the adolescent stages of my romance with these pixelated ladies, I veered toward the cruder, less artful dollz (with a Z) called "Uniques," which I furtively assembled with drag-and-drop applets, too embarrassed by the disconnect between my newfound girlishness and my typical tomboy self (actually I think I was prepubescent at the time).

Happily, luckily, fortunately, that awkward adolescence ended and gave way to a slightly more refined taste in (pre-assembled) dolls that were art in pixels, and a burgeoning interest in Gothic Lolita fashion. Here are the dolls that are iconic to me, both from Swiss Cheese Army:

As you can see, this little girl aesthetic, a (terribly Asian) desire for overwhelming cuteness, was planted early on.

This is exemplified most clearly by my next longtime muse, manga. I am referring, in particular, to Ai Yazawa's Paradise Kiss.

This is Miwako. She is terribly, devastatingly cute (in a much more sexualized way), isn't she?

(Note: All manga pictures in this post are from here, here, or here. I'm pretty sure.)

More devastating cuteness:

Miwako with Arashi:

(See! Traces of Elegant Gothic Lolita!)

And finally, a different Paradise Kiss couple, Yukari and George:

Their supernatural beauty is truly disgusting.

Moving on, we have Miho Obana's Kodomo No Omocha with main character Sana Kurata sporting a (prodigious) variety of outfits and hairstyles throughout the series. However, this cover always stood out to me in particular:

And it has left me lusting for fingerless leather gloves, a leather choker (belt-style), and a red and white diamond-patterned dress since. (Not to mention the bad boy love interest with a penchant for enigmatic declarations of affection.)

My last OG manga inspiration is Ai Yazawa's Nana. I never did finish the manga series (I barely started, actually, before the movie came out (not that I've seen it yet)), but I was hooked beyond hope from the first book, with Nana Osaki's sick Vivienne Westwood name-dropping and Nana Komatsu's sweet, polished getups.

Above, Nana Osaki in a Vivienne Westwood jacket given to her by a fan.

Above, Nana Komatsu, cute (and pretty) beyond reason.

Above, Nana and Nana.

And one more gratuitous picture:

We are now nearing the end of this list with Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass. (I never finished The Amber Spyglass, but I did love what I read...)

See, now this doesn't even have pictures, let alone pictures of clothes. But for some reason, I have always wanted some kind of accessory resembling an alethiometer (or a pocket watch, or Hermione's Time-Turner) and never found one. I think I just like little pictures. And shiny gold things.

Finally, we have two of my favorite pieces of childhood literature. First up is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

The colorful, holey foody-ness of it was what got me:

Above, picture taken from The Encyclolydia!

Last but not least is the amazing, amazing book by Marcus Pfister, The Rainbow Fish.

First off, it has a great moral message about sharing. Second, the octopus in the cave was scary! Third and most importantly, you cannot not love a book that has holographic fish scale stickers.

And that, my children, is why I love shiny things, bright yummy colors, old man and leather accessories, punk influences, and the frou-frou that is Elegant Gothic Lolita.

There may be more to come, if I can bring myself to assemble another massive post like this. Here are two mini-collages, because even though I don't like poorly-made collages, there are too many items to post individually.

[LOLI: Angelic Pretty, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, Sock Dreams. SHINY: bluefly (Alice + Olivia), JCrew, Nordstrom (Converse), delia's.]
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