Ann (haruhiism) wrote in dolly_kei,

So, Cult Party Kei

Edit - July 20, 2013: AGAIN, this post is extremely old! I am keeping it up for archival purposes and for fun, but its really not the best guide currently. Please refer to the following guides:

- Viva-shiba's cult party kei PDF guide
- POPkakumei's cult party kei guide

If you have another guide to add, please let me know in the comments below! I don't use lj much anymore but I do still get comment emails so I'll get the link up asap. Thank you!

NOTE: This entry is very old! Some of the information included here may be inaccurate or changed since the posting of this article. Fashion styles are constantly evolving so please do not look to this as a list of rules. It is merely a list of the common characteristics I observed in the outfits of the girls of the Virgin Mary and girls on Tokyo street fashion sites at the time of writing. Thank you. - August 2012

The word pops up in this community sometimes, but I wonder how many of you are familiar with the style? It does differ from the dolly kei we've come to love, but it shares some basic characteristics such as the use of vintage clothing, layering, and over the top accessories. Where dolly kei grew out of Grimoire, cult party kei grew out of the original Cult Party (now moved to The Virgin Mary). Cult party kei is often a lighter style than dolly kei, relying less on ethnic prints and patterns and more on solid, often sheer fabrics. It mixes pastel colors with bold gingham prints, crazy ruffles and patchwork dresses.

Dolly kei is often compared to lolita for its silhouette, but its use of prints and layering sets it much apart. If I had to compare cult party kei to another existing j-fashion style I would probably compare it to a more subdued popkei/Spank!. Cult party kei will often use pastels, but usually there is one item that is the focal point of the outfit, rather than the entire outfit being pastel.

Cult party kei seems to me like a harder style to define than dolly kei, so I'll start by listing some common elements I've seen from looking at street snaps and The Virgin Mary:

- The best way to describe the style is "girly," or perhaps a sophisticated girly. Outfits are generally light and playful, and will often be accented by ribbons or lace to give it a softer feel.
- Exceptions: Dark style cult party

Light colors/whites:
- Where dolly kei uses dark, rich colors, cult party kei uses lighter and brighter colors. There is often an abundance of white, although it's not a rule.
- Examples: All white outfit, White outfit with some color accents,

- Going along with lighter colors, cult party kei often incorporates pastels.
- Pastels should not overpower an outfit and should be mixed with whites or stronger colors.
- Examples: Lavender skirt, very light pastels,

- Patchwork can look like a patchwork quilt, or simply be a garment that is sewn togethe rin an interesting, almost haphazard way.
- Examples: The different elements of this dress seem almost tacked on without thought, patchwork skirt, another patchwork skirt

- Gingham prints are another common element. These are generally in solid colors of blue or red.
- Examples: gingham + polkadots, gingham skirt,

- Cult party kei often adds volume by using chunky knit pieces or fluffy accessories. Many outfits include fluffy pom-pom like accessories.
- Examples: Chunky accessories, more pom-poms, pom-poms everywhere!

- Transparent items work really well for cult party kei in that they allow for layering without adding bulk.
- Peignoirs with a long train of sheer chiffon or nylon are often worn under a shirt, so the bodice is hidden but the long train of chiffon flaps around their legs.
- Examples: Some sheer layers on the bottom, Long peignoir with a lace up bodice worn over it,

Bed Jackets/Robes/Peignoirs:
- Bed jackets are really a type of lingerie, but they can look quite pretty worn as simple cardigans.
- Vintage bed jackets commonly come in two types: quilted and sheer. Both can look really pretty, although quilted bed jackets run the risk of looking too heavy.
- Peignoirs, as stated above, are usually the ones with a long train of fabric that is worn so that the train of fabric can stick out from beneath other clothing.
- examples: Pretty sure she's wearing a quilted bed jacket,

Anime/Cute characters:
- Similar to Spank! you can often find cute characters incorporated into cult party kei outfits in the form of bags, shirts, or other accessories. These are often anime characters (like characters from magical girl anime).
- Unlike Spank!, clothing, such as t-shirts or skirts, is usually a character printed onto a white fabric rather than pastel.
- Examples: Bag, Another bag (Sailor Moon) with cuter accents, Pretty Cure bracelet and ring accessories, Sailor Moon skirt

Cute Accents:
- Cult party kei will often include "cute" (for lack of a better term) accents in the form of accessories: pins, a hello kitty hair tie, a tie of ribbon or chiffon in a random place, pull together an outfit.
- A popular brand sold at The Virgin Mary is mxe. This brand is made up of handmade items that include chunky knit pieces, ribbons, lace, tulle, and all manner of other things seemingly thrown in haphazardly (I've even seen one mxe piece made with a plastic fork!).
- Examples: Some cute accessories, more, mxe accessory with plastic fork

The red cross:
- A symbol commonly associated with the American red cross, it often appears in cult party kei outfits as an accent. Sometimes the symbol is inverted, with the cross being white against a red background.
- Examples: Inverted, Red cross on her skirt, cross accessory

Substyle: Military:
- An interesting style I've seen a few times is a military-inspired style. I would still classify it as cult party kei because it uses most of the other elements of cult party kei, but it is interesting. See examples.
- Examples: Military style hat with darker colors, A green jacket paired with gingham print and teddy bears, Marching band style,

Substyle: Eastern:
- Cult party kei, due to its lighter style by nature, can include more Eastern/Asian style clothing like yukatas or oriental prints
- Examples: Eastern print jacket, Japan apron, going to the shrine, ornate jacket

I'll add more as I think of them, but my fingers are getting a little tired! What do you all think? Anything you think is important that I've missed? The Virgin Mary also recently posted a bunch of stock from their store in their blog, so use that for inspiration as well.

As of right now I have no plans to have a split and make a separate community for cult party kei, and frankly I don't think there should be. Both are fashions based on taking vintage clothing and styling it over the top--if other vintage fashions were to emerge, whether in Japan or the West, that played with heavy layering and lots of accessories I would probably welcome them as well. Grimoire, The Virgin Mary, Tarock, KINJI, ect, also all cater to similar audiences, and it seems like it's that aesthetic we're also searching for in this community.

Ebay + etsy guide is still coming, I promise. I just got back to school so things are a little hectic.
Tags: cult party kei, discussion

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