How to Dress Lolita
"Lolita" fashion is a sub-cultural fashion originating in Japan's Harajuku district and is based upon Victorian and Rococo fashion. Lolita aims to reflect a modest, youthful and innocent look, yet also attempts to be mature (like in the "Classic Lolita" and "Elegant Gothic Aristocrat" styles), though some styles - such as OTT (Over The Top) "Sweet Lolita" and Bittersweet Lolita - aim for a more playful and kawaii (cute) look that sometimes strays into the realm of Decora Fashion. This article will hopefully help you dress in Lolita and be cute, modest and best of all - super-unique.
Gather a reasonably sized wardrobe of lolita garments.
- These should basically consist of JSKs (jumper skirts), OP's (one pieces), cut sews, skirts, panniers and petticoats (these will give your dresses and skirts a "poof" look, and depending on the style, may be used in quantity), bloomers (many bell-shaped dresses tend to ride up and the skirts may be shorter at the back than the front, as lolita is for modesty, the bloomers help to maintain a modesty and also to protect you from people seeing your underwear), stockings (commonly knee high), Mary Janes, (they are very versatile and cute shoes), various shoes, accessories (incl. head dresses, bows, rings, necklaces etc...) and a reasonably large bag.
- If this is your first outfit or if you just started to build your wardrobe, it may be better to get some basic pieces that match each other, so that you can easily make new outfits without having to buy too much new clothes.
- First of all, make sure you have a good petticoat. You will need it in almost all your outfits to give your skirt the typical poofy, wide shape. Tulle petticoats may seem a good choice, as these often give a nice amount of poof for a low price, however they tend to deflate very quickly.Those petticoats might work for you if you plan on wearing Lolita occasionally, but they just won't last long enough if you wear Lolita regularly. A better solution is to get a chiffon petticoat. This type of petti will almost never deflate, and is usually the best choice. Those pettis are sold by known Lolita brands as well as some off-brand stores. You should also make sure your petticoat fits a Lolita dress or skirt. Check that it has the right length : it should never peek out from your skirt, or be much shorter than your dress. Your petticoat must have a proper shape, too : Lolita skirts are usually bell-shaped, with a very round, cupcake-like shape, or A-Line, with less volume at the top of the skirt.
- It is useful to have several plain, solid-colored high socks or tights in a "base" color such as white, black or cream. They are easy to get and much more versatile than patterned socks.
- A versatile blouse in your base color will go with nearly all your skirts and JSKs. (You can skip it if you first choose an OP, but you will likely need it soon).
- Find a pair of shoes that match your wardrobe. You can use shoes you already own (avoid sneakers and other obviously un-Lolita shoes though !) if they match your outfit, or purchase Lolita-specific ones. It is often a good idea to get them in your base color or in a color that easily matches it.
- Do not forget to get a headpiece : you might make a Lolita outfit without it, however it often looks better with at least a small hairbow. If you don't feel like wearing huge headdresses or head-eating bows right away (it is indeed a better idea for a first outfit), you can easily find cute smaller bows, flowers or hairclips in regular fashion stores. (Make sure it doesn't look like a costume accessory though !)
- You can find your clothes in Lolita-specific stores, but you may already own some Loli-able accessories or clothing. However, do not try to build a whole outfit with "regular" clothing as it won't result in a Lolita outfit. Off-brand cardigans are fine, but garments such as skirts or dresses should be specifically made for Lolita.
Lay out your outfit before dressing. Is it neatly pressed and ironed? Are there any fraying edges, loose threads or missing beads? Are there any spots or stains? If there are any, fix them. However, if it all needs to go in the wash, make do with another outfit depending on the situation. If at all possible, you should try to find something similar. Remember, a lolita should always look his or her best, no matter what!
Make sure all the colors in the outfit are complementary. Does that accessory honestly go with the outfit? Or is there a cuter one in your drawer somewhere? Do you honestly need to wear your hot pink bloomers with your green and cream JSK? Try to ensure everything works well and the colours work for that specific sub-style, after all, we can't have a Goshikku Rorita wearing bright pink and lilac.
Do your make up. There's a wikiHow on Lolita makeup that you should look at. It is probably the most informative one you will ever find.
Get dressed. The dressing order:
- Underwear (Avoid exposed bras and panty lines). Also make sure that, if you wear one, the corset looks OK and is laced or buttoned properly.
- Skirt or one-piece (lift them over the head carefully, so as not to get make up on them)
- (if you're wearing a blouse and a JSK instead, or just a single JSK, put them on carefully. No, BLOUSE FIRST silly!)
- Cut Sew or Shirt (if any)
- Carefully roll your stockings on
- Hairnet and Wig (if any) (or if using natural hair, style it.)
- Dress in your comfort zone and elegantly.
- You look FABULOUS! Remember that and you'll go a long, long way.
- If someone asks what you are wearing, smile and graciously tell them. If you think they would confuse the fashion with the book by Nabokov, deem the style Neo-Victorian.
- Even though manners were not mentioned, they are useful.
- Pastels are always a GOOD option
- Look up everything Lolita at the actual wiki ( http://www.lolitafashion.wikia.com )
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: Keep in mind that while dressed in Lolita clothing, you are also representing your fellow Lolitas... Don't make us look bad by being obnoxious or rude! Just remember to be sweet and polite; and you should be happy because you're wearing such adorable clothes!
- You will get a few funny looks etc but ignore that
- Don't change yourself! You're still you, even as a lolita!
- Don't wear colours that clash
- Know about ita. Ita lolita is the shame of the community and often laughed at by people who don't care. If you see an ita, generously point out their flaws and help them correct it but do not be harsh.