Growing up I never really thought of our town as ‘small’. In fact, for the vast majority of my life I’ve thought I was from a ‘city’, but that was because I knew I could drive 20-30 minutes in any direction and come across a smaller, quieter town. In retrospect, I was likely young and naive but even now that I’m older I still get caught up in thinking I’m from a larger city. That’s likely because comparatively, the area I live in is much more populated than the area that surrounds it. After all, I only have to shoo deer off my lawn 2-3 times a week. For most people, it’s a daily occurrence.
As trivial as it may sound, one of the eye opening moments was when talking with my friends, they mentioned that they could walk and get bubble tea. To me, that was mind blowing. For the last six years there has been only one bubble tea shop in my neck of the woods, and I was grateful we had one. The fact other people had multiple bubble tea shops near them was mind blowing. Then again, I’m sure to them chasing deer off of your lawn each evening was just as wild.
Naturally, when an official bubble tea chain moved in to our town it made the front page of the paper. When I saw it I was absolutely thrilled, and it jumped to the top of my list of places to (safely) visit!
Naturally, once I had a destination in mind it was time to plan my coordinate to visit! It seemed like great timing for me to wear my new Liz Lisa blouse. I had been so excited to finally be able purchase a blouse that would actually fit my bust! However, I was a bit too nervous to wear it in to work, so now was the perfect test run to see how it would look in a coord!
The ribbon is a very cool pink, and almost looks purple when compared to other pinks. So, with that in mind, I decided to wear my Liz Lisa Cat’s Salon skirt in purple with it as well. I really enjoyed how the color of the blouse’s ribbon tied in so well with the print! The white trim on the skirt also helped to balance out the chemical whiteness of the top. To balance out the whites I paired the outfit with some white Liz Lisa ankle socks and pink Lodispotto platforms. To finish off the look I went with these adorable, over the top Liz Lisa bijoux earrings and a matching set of Liz Lisa hair bows.
I loved how the outfit turned out, and I was in for a wonderful surprise as when we arrived at the bubble tea shop there was a flower wall there. It was perfect for a few good photos. While unfortunately it was difficult to get a full body shot, I ended up getting this beautiful headshot which was just what I was looking for as a professional picture for my social media.
After we had a look around the small shop, we went up to take a look at the menu and I was so surprised with how many options they had! At my usual bubble tea place you had five options, Milk Tea, Taro Tea, Mango, Red Bean Paste, and Honeydew. This place had all different kinds of wonderful teas to try. In all honesty, I was a bit overwhelmed at first!
After taking a bit of time to look it over, I settled on a simple Brown Sugar Milk Tea and sat down. The wait wasn’t too long, and Devon and I got to people watch. It was interesting to see it looked like everyone else had dressed in their streetwear best to go out and get bubble tea. I spent a few minutes musing about the state of modern fashion and then my tea was ready!
I couldn’t resist taking a few sips, and it was excellent! I was so happy to have something both yummy and cute to snack on. They did have actual snack options there that looked super cute, but I just wasn’t hungry at that time. Plus, I figured it would give me something to look forward to on my next visit.
And visit again I did!
Over the weekend we were in the area for an antique show, but this time when we stopped by I was in a pretty causal classic/country Lolita coord. When I stepped up to the counter this time though, they asked me if I’d been there before I said yes a bit awkwardly and they said they recognized me from last time because of my style. I was a bit embarrassed and awkwardly nodded. I felt a bit odd at being “recognized”, so I kind of blanked when they asked for my order.
I ended up ordering their featured drink this time, a “Super Lemon Kumquat Green Tea”, it was delicious and exactly the kind of refreshing cold drink I needed on a hot summer day. But as I sipped my drink and walked along the streets, I couldn’t help but think.
Did people know me around town as the “cutesy girl”?
And if they did, what does that mean for both my professional and personal life?
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. On one hand the whole encounter seemed so surreal I wonder if it even happened, but on the other hand do I really want professional colleagues to see me as “that cutesy girl”?
The summer sun was hot and we ended up heading home and listening to some old 1940’s music. I thought back to when I let go of some of my Lolita dresses right after I graduated college because I was so fearful I couldn’t be cute and professional. Now though, in my mid 20’s, I don’t think I particularly care. When I step out in full himekaji every day of the week, I know it’s a small town and I know they’ll talk. But at this point, I don’t really care to listen to what they have to say.
After all, am I really about to take fashion advice from a 40 year old man who’s ever only worn the same pair of uninspired khakis everyday?
That’s pretty unlikely.
While I get mostly positive comments like this one, this outing did make me really painfully aware that himekaji may be my local identity. At the end of the day, unlike many years ago, I’m perfectly ok with that. I love this fashion, I love how I feel in it, I love how I look in it, and I love the community built around it. If there should ever come a day where someone tries to twist such a positive form of self expression into something negative, well, then I have some news for them. I have spent the last 20 or so years of my life chasing away herds of deer at night, so chasing off a self righteous man should be no problem.