Friday, August 12, 2011

Lolita Part 1- What is Lolita?

Disclaimer- I do not own any of these pictures! 

Lolita fashion has been a major aspect of my life for the past year so I feel like I need to write SOMETHING about it. Just FYI, this is not going to be a blog that is will only focus on Lolita! I don’t want to go into too much detail at this point in time about Lolita but I want to outline the basics. I don’t claim to be an expert on this subject, just someone who has some experience. I often get a lot of questions about Lolita from friends and strangers, especially when I’m out in public and I try to explain it in as simple terms as possible.

For those of you who are not familiar with Japanese fashions, Lolita (also known as Elegant Gothic Lolita or EGL) is a street style that is influenced by the Rococo and Victorian eras. Lolita has managed to spread outside of Japan and is now relatively popular among Japanese fashion enthusiasts. It has NOTHING to do with the novel by Vladimir Nabokov of the same name and is not a sexual fetish (for us at least). Lolita is composed of several major substyles: Sweet, Classic, and Gothic. There are even more styles that can be found in the fashion such as Pirate, Sailor, Kodona (or boystyle) and Country Lolita.

Now on to the real stuff...
Sweet Lolita

Gothic Lolita
Classic Lolita

               Sweet Lolita is characterized by pastel colors and knee length skirts and dresses that are held up with large knee length petticoats. The petticoats are mainly used to give the dress or skirt a shape that is similar to a cupcake. “Prints” that are found on the items of clothing often feature objects such as toys, animals, and candies. Over the Top Sweet or OTT Sweet is a very popular version at this time. It literally means what it is called. Wigs with different colors and many accessories help make OTT sweet. Classic Lolita is a more refined and mature style characterized by muted colors such as brown, ivory, and dusty pink. Knee length or longer skirts and dresses are worn with a petticoat that gives less volume than sweet. Prints are often floral or feature fruits, books, and animals. Classic is often seen as the “go to” style when Lolitas feel that they are too old to wear Sweet Lolita. Gothic Lolita is similar but uses darker colors such as black, wine red, and dark blue. Prints are usually of castles, bats, vampires, and other things that are considered to be dark or “gothic.”

What makes a Lolita outfit?

A Lolita coordinate is comprised of several items.
Melty Chocolate OP
Melty Chocolate JSK
·        A dress or skirt- Dresses are put into two categories. Jumper Skirts (commonly known as a JSK) are dresses without sleeves while One Piece (OP) dresses have sleeves. 

·        A petticoat- There are many different types of petticoats that are used under dresses and skirts. Different types give dresses and skirts different shapes. Sweet Lolita usually uses bigger, bell shaped petticoats, while Classic often uses A-line petticoats
bell petticoat
A-line petticoat


A Blouse- Blouses are worn with JSKs and skirts. Many Lolitas say that blouses are absolutely essential, even in the blazing hot summer. I don’t necessarily agree with them!

Socks or Tights- Knee socks, over the knee socks (OTK), and tights are almost always worn in a coordinate.

·        Bloomers- Bloomers are not essential but sure come in handy!
·        Shoes- All different types of shoes can be worn with Lolita. It’s really just a matter of what goes best with the outfit.
·        Accessories- These can sometimes make or break a coordinate. Accessories range from bonnets and headbows, to rings, bracelets, and purses. 

 (I love Melty Chocolate!)

Where can I buy Lolita clothing?

Lolita is a very expensive hobby. Many Lolitas prefer to buy from particular brands which are known for their clothing. Brand clothing tends to be much higher priced (often in the $100-400 range) and is often better quality than most other places. Lolita brands are similar to stores like Louis Vuitton, Coach, and Guess and are highly sought after. Other shops that sell Lolita clothing are not considered to be brands. Brands are responsible for many of the sought after prints that are found on their clothing. Popular brands are:
  • Other (legitimate) stores to buy Lolita clothing 
Taobao- (I’ll explain how to use this later. For now, use google chrome and translate) (a very useful list of links)
Bodyline- Sweet, Classic, Gothic (very hit or miss but great for beginners)

Handmade items are also a great place to look! Etsy ( is my best recommendation. Several awesome seamstresses that I know well can be found there.
o   Miscy (

A message about a little place called Milanoo.

There is a website known as Milanoo ( that claims to sell Lolita clothing. This is FAR from the truth. It has become a trap that many beginner Lolitas fall into. Milanoo advertises everywhere, including on Youtube and other blogs. It is a major scam and will give you terrible quality dresses that don’t look anything like what you paid for. Milanoo has even gone as far as stealing stock pictures from many of the websites above. That pretty dress that you saw on their website is definitely not an original of theirs. The best way to find out where a dress is from is to look through Lolibrary ( There is a nifty search feature that can help you narrow down certain aspects of the dress and find out where it originally came from. Don’t buy from Milanoo!

Thank you for reading! I’ll continue to add to this list and change it over time. If you are still interested and want to learn more about Lolita fashion, please check out The Elegant Gothic Lolita livejournal at ( and the Lolita Handbook at (
If you think that I need to add or correct anything please let me know!

Next Post: My personal take on Lolita/30 Day Lolita Challenge

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