Sunday, January 30, 2011

Boxing Yourself Into One Style

I have noticed, and gotten a number of questions about it, that a lot of Lolitas, especially beginner ones, try to box themselves in to one specific style. I'm sure you've heard it before "Oh! I love that dress so much! I wish I could get it, but I'm a Sweet Lolita :(" Some Lolita's just love to limit themselves to one particular style, sub-style, or even color! While there are some good reasons to limit yourself to such things (ease of coordination, to stick to a budget, because you don't have the space) there's really no reason why such limitations are required. There's really no law that says that Gothic Lolitas have to wear black and blue for all eternity, that Sweet Lolitas can never own anything with raw asymmetrical hems, or that Classic Lolitas can never own a skirt with any print other than flowers on it.

I feel like this "You must be X-Lolita forever, and if you want to be Y-Lolita you have to sell your X wardrobe off completely to fund your new Y wardrobe" attitude is just another misconception some Lolitas have about their own fashion, maybe brought on by taking some advice about wardrobe coordination a little too far, or because they feel like they need to present themselves as more dedicated than anyone else. While I can understand the appeal of utter dedication to one specific style, I think that it sucks some of the fun out of the fashion. Even if you fall in love with OTT Sweet, it's okay to have a few black pieces in your wardrobe if you absolutely love the pieces.

My own wardrobe is all over the place when it comes to style! I have a lot of Gothic, a bunch of Sweet, a growing amount of Classic, and a little bit of Punk, Country, and Aristocrat. While I have had years to nurture my closet, I have found it to be relatively easy and cheap to add small, workable, sections of various different Lolita styles to my wardrobe. It just takes some creativity and a little bit of patience.

Tips for making the most (styles!) out of your wardrobe:
  • Stick to simple pieces. Especially if you're just starting out! Avoid prints that are obviously meant to work with one specific style (gothic castles, sparkly unicorns, that kind of thing) and try to build a base wardrobe of solid colors, neutral tartans, stripes, dots, or even florals. I really believe in the versatility of floral prints!
  • Don't be afraid to snag a good deal every now and then. Try not to go crazy, but if you do happen to see a dress or skirt that's not your normal style, but you really like it and it's got a great price, grab it! Worry about coordinating it when you get it. Try making coordinates with it with what you already have on hand. Don't think that a Punk Lolita skirt is only going to match a Punk Lolita top, pair it with some Sweet Lolita if you have to! This leads me to the next tip:
  • Experiment with your current wardrobe. Don't be afraid to Experiment! Try to make different styles with what you already have, with a little bit of creativity, you'll be surprised at the different looks you can create with basic pieces.
  • Accessorize. Accessories are a great way to add some different styles to your wardrobe for much cheaper than buying all new pieces, and are usually just the thing to turn that one lone black skirt in your closet into an unquestionably Gothic Lolita outfit.
  • Don't worry so much about specific styles. If you want to wear a tartan Putumayo, safety pin covered skirt with a pink Angelic Pretty bow-splosion blouse, try it out! Don't worry about your outfits not fitting perfectly into one style. It's perfectly OK to have an outfit that is a little bit of several different styles. So long as the outfit looks balanced and the colors don't clash horribly, it shouldn't matter what styles you mash together.
If you want some more ideas for stretching your style choices with a minimal wardrobe, check out these older posts of mine. One Dress- Five Different Looks is about how versatile a simple print dress can be and Gothic Lolita Starter Coordinates is about all the different styles you can play with in a relatively small Gothic Lolita wardrobe.

What are your opinions on the various Lolita styles? Do you find yourself going down the list of them each time you dress up, pastel explosion Sweet one day, stark black and white Aristocrat the next, and refined muted mossy green Classic sometime next week? Or do you prefer a closet comprised completely of one style? Has your opinion on styles changed over your life as a Lolita? I've always pretty much felt the way I do about it, when I first started I wanted to try all of the styles I possibly could. I felt it wasn't right saying "I'm a Gothic Lolita!" until I had also spent a little bit of time in Sweet Lolita. While I didn't exactly go about this in the most efficient way (I would buy one outfit in one style, save up for a long time, and then buy another outfit in another style), sampling as many styles as I could really helped me find my own style.

25 comments:

  1. I have mostly sweet lolita, but a little bit of classic and pop-kei. Right now I'm trying to get into natural-kei and hime-kei too! I think I'd feel out of place if I only wore one style - I like my dress to fit the occasion, and I'm not wearing pop-kei at my uncle's southern estate for instance... I'm much more likely to wear a refined, period-inspired outfit. Often I buy things with a style in mind, and then when I get it home I play dress-up for a few hours XD and decide it goes with several styles! Getting a new item for my closet is as good as getting a new toy XD

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hmmm, when I first started out, I was set on sweet (pre OtT), but because of some poor purchasing decisions, I ended up starting to build a classic wardrobe. After repeatedly wearing my classic pieces, I went from not minding them to being sort of "classic-ed out". When I eventually started gaining some sweeter pieces, it took some of the tiredness out of my classic wardrobe. :D

    I made the recent discovery that a black cravat is rather flattering on me, so I may tinker a bit with a gothic/aristocrat wardrobe, and I'd really like to continue growing a sweet/casual wardrobe.

    (I love seeing these advice posts from you! Thank you so much~! <3 )

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think it's silly to try and box yourself into only one style- it's like having only one favorite color or only wearing one band's T-shirt. There are plenty of people who do it, but it doesn't make sense to me. That being said, I tend to wear strictly classic lolita, simply because I don't feel comfortable in childish sweet looks and I don't own any gothic. Besides that, I experiment with substyles like sailor and country a good amount. It's also a question of money for me- sure, I could buy that sweet print, but it would probably be a waste of money since I don't have anything to wear with it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. My wardrobe is pretty varied! Sweet is still the style I wear most often I would say, but I have plenty of casual, classic, and very nerdy pieces too. I like the opportunity for variation it gives me, I don't think I've ever worn the same style for a week straight haha!

    ReplyDelete
  5. My closet is definitely mixed, I understand wanting to keep it in one genre, simply because coordinating is much easier. Also, I find myself thinking "I need more of x-lolita!" as I also like to keep it balanced.
    There's also that new lolita struggle to make their first coordinate. I mean, if I were about to have my first sweet lolita outfit I wouldn't spend a penny on another genre until I had that. But that's just me.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Heh, I had to give up Sweet Lolita in favor of Gothic. I had, like... three pieces of Sweet (not even a complete outfit), and I would rather spend my money diversifying my Gothic Lolita wardrobe than trying to put together one complete Sweet coord. ^^;;; I have few enough chances to wear Lolita as it is, and I would've spent so much money on a coord I was almost never going to wear.

    Though I still would like to get into a mori-ish style. The cream/antique white blouses I pair with my black skirts could fit into that, right?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm still building up my wardrobe, and I have only one restriction as to what I put in it: it must be black, white, or both. Other than that, the piece can be any style as long as I can afford it. It's very easy to coordinate that way, and I don't have to worry about whether or not I can make an outfit with it that much. I know I'll get bored of black and white eventually, but right now I'm sticking to those two colors.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well, I have to say I have a mainly gothic wardrobe. It's just because I can't find myself in cute pastel dresses and bows. I do have to point out that I wear Aristocrat and punk lolita sometimes either, and it's the same with some classic, as long as it's black and elegant, I would definately wear it. And because most goth loli is very elegant, my wardrobe is mostly gothic lolita. It's not that I do it to box myself, I don't want to be very limited or something, but I just want to feel pretty and comfortable in my clothes, and gothic lolita is therefore the best for me. But you can keep growing in one style, I think. When I buy somethings new (like socks) I can make a lot of coordinates with black, all very different and I can experiment with hair and make-up. I love to wear bonnets and hats, so I can get creative anytime, even if everything is mainly black. I have the feeling that I'm still growing to be a better lolita!^^

    ReplyDelete
  9. I find it impossible to stick to just one style! I love both classic and sweet, I own pieces from both subsets and prefer not to label myself. I mix the two creating various looks, some inspired by non-Lolita looks. Fashion is the most fun when you don't try to cage yourself in.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "I felt it wasn't right saying "I'm a Gothic Lolita!" until I had also spent a little bit of time in Sweet Lolita." I know exactly what you mean! I wanted to say I was a classic lolita, but thought it would be nice to try out sweet for a little, because I thought it was cute and might suit me. When I got the outfit on I really didn't feel at all myself, and it helped me realize that I'd love to stick to a pirate/classic wardrobe. Nothing else makes me feel as comfortable!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm mainly Classic but recently began to lust after a lot of Angelic Pretty. With the basic-colour bouses, pettis etc. I don't see why couldn't I own a lot of different style skirts and JSKs.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have the same feelings as you as far as sub styles. I have a little bit of everything~

    ReplyDelete
  13. When I first discovered the fashion, I thought I'd end up a gothic lolita... but then I realized that I needed some actual color in my life XDDD When it came time to buy my first items, I ended up aiming for classic lolita because classic pieces can always be accessorized to make them seem more gothic or more sweet. I think my ideal style is a sort of "dark classic" with a touch of dolly kei or mori girl.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I take what I like and make te best out of it XP It works best that way. Even if I do classify myself as gothic (mostly because I am a goth at heart even outside lolita) I still take what I like and I do have several sweet and classic pieces on my wishlist. <3

    ReplyDelete
  15. My boyfriend actually asked me which "style" I would be recently (I don't force him to talk about fashion much, so we just now got around to talking about different brands and styles XD) and I said "well, um...all of them!" and he seemed kind of confused.
    I haven't bought stuff yet, but the pieces I was planning on buying actually seem to be 1 sweet, 1 classic, and 1 gothic, lol. It may not be the most efficient way of going about it, but that's kind of the way I dress myself anyway~ I like crazy variety.

    ReplyDelete
  16. when i first discovered it i only ever pictured me in classical, but this year there are things in other style is love just as much! i'd get too bored with just one style, i love to change it up and have different things. keeps my love of loli going!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh my goodness, the new layout :D I love it!

    I think I do overwhelmingly stick to Classic, but even within a substyle
    there is room for experimentation as you say. Some days I might veer towards a more Sweet look, other times I'll wear a very mature-looking outfit. It's definitely all in the coordination!

    ReplyDelete
  18. As I am have few clothes yet I am trying to stick to gothic, but I do not believe one's preference for one lolita style should act as chains. Given the oportunity I would get a classic outfit.
    I guess many girls feel really insecure about they want to wear and fear being rejected because they aren't harcore fans or one style only. Liking sweet when you have more clothes for gothic does not make one a poser.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Since I've got into lolita, my wardrobe has been way more flexible, and I've tried dressing up in different styles - even outside lolita!
    The idea of having a few coordinates with the same dress/skirt is one of the most appealing ideas to me~

    PS nice new layout!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. First: New layout is awesome!

    Second: Since the label craziness broke into "bittersweet" and "sweet classic" I just gave up and said; WHO CARES. We are all lolitas. Our tastes, favourite colours and favourite garment cuts vary. That's all that really differs.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love this post. I was recently talking to a local lolita about this.
    I'm way too eclectic in general to stick to one style so my wardrobe is all over the place too. OTT sweet, gothic, classic, etc. Ironically, I grew up as a punk/goth kid and have those influences in my lolita closet the least of all. Maybe all my newer pink stuff is me rebelling from my old all black closet (sorta joking... but there's some truth in it, I guess).

    ReplyDelete
  22. I like the idea of freedom to experiment with new styles. To me, fashion is so personal that subscribing to just one style would be too restircting. ^^

    ReplyDelete
  23. I started with mainly gothic, because it was easiest to co-ordinate with clothes and accessories I already owned, but my favourite style and all my lust pieces seem to be classic, so I'm going to try to expand my wardrobe in that direction. I never really felt that comfortable in sweet lolita dresses, especially with the current trend towards OTT sweet, as I'm just not that girly or cute a person. I always felt like elegant styles suited me, but I look out-of-place in a pastel-sweet outfit.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...