Ask Miss Caro-Chan: Wearing Lolita in Public

Today's Ask Miss Caro-chan features a question I got on my formspring regarding wearing Lolita in public for those who might be a bit shy about standing out.

Any tips for going out in public dressed in lolita? Especially if you are by yourself? How should I react if I get mean comments? What is the best way to try and to help ignore some odd stares?

This is something nearly all Lolitas have to deal with, even the ones who don't mind the odd stares and sometimes mean comments. It takes a lot of courage to go out in public wearing anything out of the ordinary, and even the most toned down Lolita is considered strange by many. There's no real sure fire way to make sure you have the courage to prance around outside with a cake on your head, but there are a few things you can do that can help you work up the nerve to do so.


Personally, I've been dressing, well, let's just say "abnormally" or "with questionable taste" since I was in middle school, so wearing Lolita was really not that big of a step outside of my comfort zone. But that doesn't mean I am always prepared for the attention that outlandish fashions tend to attract! There are a number of things I've learned in my years of wearing weird clothes and I'd like to share them with you all in this post.
  • Pretend a little bit. If you're really stressed out about being out in public dressed strangely, play a little imagination game. Pretend that you're completely alone wherever you are, you're a fancy princess in a time travel mishap, or whatever you think can help you overcome how uncomfortable other people's opinions might make you feel. It sounds completely silly, but sometimes focusing on the silliness can really take your mind off of sticking out, and that's all that really matters.
  • Ignore people, or just don't react. If you do notice people staring, pointing, or worse yet, yelling or making rude comments, just ignore them. If you can't actually ignore them, and are noticing every comment, don't feel you need to react to any of it. Usually people make comments expecting you to react in some way, and if you just ignore them, it's all about them making a fool of themselves, not them pointing out how silly they think you look to everyone around you. Just think about it, if you're at some people filled place and someone yells something stupid at you, everyone is going to look at the person yelling, not at whatever it is they're yelling about. Just go on your way and most likely no one will even notice you, just the jackass yelling "LITTLE BO PEEEEEEP" for apparently no reason.
  • Wear earbuds or headphones. Having some music on can help you block out a lot of things and be a bit in your own little world. Even just having them in your ears, with the sound off, or very low, is a good excuse for ignoring people who make rude comments.
  • If ignoring doesn't work, try to brush them off. Sometimes people are just bent on being annoying and you end up in a situation where you simply can't pretend they don't exist. An example of this might be someone who started talking to you and you respond but the situation quickly turned into them belittling you, extremely rude cashiers or shop clerks, or people who you are somehow interacting with. In this case, if you don't feel like you can muster up the courage to simply tell them to mind their own business, the best you can sometimes do is just act like what they said was a somewhat lame joke. Give them a half-assed "Heh heh, yeah" and usually they're satisfied. I'm not going to lie, it is passive aggressive and I do this sometimes to people who are rude to me in public, I act a bit confused when they say something rude or stupid to me, like I have no idea what they could possibly be talking about, "Sheep? What sheep? I don't understand what you mean, I'm not a farmer, and this is a mall, why would sheep be allowed in here?" and the person making the comment often gets a bit embarrassed for even saying anything at all.
  • Be polite to people who are kind. Not everyone is going to be rude to you! Wearing Lolita will often get you a fair number of compliments. Now, to the extremely shy person, this can often be just as worrisome as rude comments, but in this case, you should really just give a polite "Thank you!" to anyone who goes out of their way to let you know they like what you're wearing. Sometimes the curious and genuinely interested will ask questions about what you're wearing, you don't have to go into in depth answers and explain the history of the Lolita fashion to them if you don't feel like it, most people are usually just satisfied with "Oh, it's just a girly/fancy/cute fashion that I like to wear". You usually don't have to even say "Lolita" or name-drop Japan if you don't feel like it.
  • Work your way up to more outlandish outfits. If you can, you might want to wear some "practice run" Lolita outfits, whatever you might feel is less extreme than your normal style of Lolita. Maybe this means wearing a modest petticoat, skipping the over-sized headwear, or wearing a simple cutsew instead of a blouse. Whatever makes you feel a bit more comfortable!
  • Be safe. Lolita is an attention grabbing fashion and it's going to make you stand out so you should know when standing out is a bad idea, whatever your idea of a "bad idea" might be, even if it's something as simple as going somewhere where you just know you'll be getting dirty looks about the way you're dressed. If you can, avoid going to risky places alone while wearing Lolita, try to grab a friend to go with you, or consider bringing a change of clothes to spare yourself the unneeded stress.
There really is no "right" way to react to mean comments, because mean comments aren't right to begin with. But generally, it's best to not make a huge commotion about them. Most people who say nasty things to other people are just trying to feel superior in some way or to start something, and the best you can do in that situation is to refuse to even acknowledge their "superiority" and to deny them the satisfaction of a reaction. With that in mind, I've found that I actually get many more positive comments and compliments than negative ones while out and about in Lolita!

How do you deal with the stares and comments of wearing Lolitas in public? Do you find that ignoring it is the best option? Or are you much more vocal about letting people know you don't care for comments!? Or, perhaps, are you lucky enough that no one really bats an eye when you go out decked in your frills and ruffles?

21 comments:

  1. I wish I could get away with wearing lolita in public.  It was something I did as a tour guide because it was, as odd as it is to say this, "acceptable" to be "dressed oddly."  Most of the tour guides in my city wear goth or pseudo-goth attire while doing tours because most tours are ghost/murder/vampire based so all the tourists think it's "part of the show."  

    The fact that I tend to wear more goth/ega inspired loli worked well, and nobody asked me why I was dressed that way.  (Especially since some of the male tour guides were even fancier than me.)  

    My current job has a "uniform." (Eww.)  And I just have to deal with it.  When I'm not at work, I'm wearing frilly, but not necessarily loli, casual clothes.  I think I would wear loli in public more if it wasn't for the type of city I live in.  

    I live in a major metropolitan city where there's just enough people to notice things, but not enough for you to blend into the background, like NYC.  And the people hear tend to be less educated and accepting, ESPECIALLY the younger men.  I swear, I feel like yelling, "Pedo!" every time I get one that starts making not just "rude," but in some cases, "disgusting" comments to me.  

    I'd say it was just the lolita, but if I don't watch how I dress in CASUAL clothes, I'll have to deal with 10 horn honks and a few "Hey Baby!'s" in a 1 block radius because I'm wearing shorts.  (No joke!)

    If I'm out with other lolita's we normally just ignore everything cause even the stupidest of guys normally won't start something with an entire GROUP of girls. But as an individual, I'd personally fear for my safety if there was more than one guy, and just one of me, and they didn't like that I was ignoring their, oh so charming advances. -_-"

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  2. Having a different fashion style has made me a lot more likely to compliment people I see in public who also dress differently.

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  3. > If you can, avoid going to risky places alone while wearing Lolita, try to grab a friend to go with you, or consider bringing a change of clothes.

    I usually love this blog, but seriously, Caro-chan? Victim blaming?

    Even if you didn't intend it, that's what this comment came off as, and that is seriously not cool.

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    Replies
    1. That's not victim blaming. Victim blaming would be if something bad were to happen to people who go to risky places and saying, "You shouldn't have gone there!" She is just trying to help Lolitas avoid a situation like that all together.

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    2. Advising people to avoid making irresponsible decisions is not victim blaming. While there is really no such thing as "asking for it", it is still foolish to put yourself in potentially dangerous situations when precautions could (and should) have been taken. Do you really think walking around by yourself in a bad part of town while wearing a very attention grabbing outfit is a smart decision?

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    3. Even in Japan, the safest country in the world, there are tons of Lolita who don't put on their outfit until they get to Harajuku or wherever they're going in Tokyo, because they don't want to deal with the reactions or because the keep their Lolita lifestyle separate.

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    4. Some people always have to find "injustice" in every possible situation. Isn't it tiresome to feel like you always have to fight? Or does it make you feel special?

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  4. ThemonsterloligonJuly 1, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    I love when people ask "why are you wearing that" because I just ask them the dame question and they get angry/flustered. It's really funny to watch!
    The best though, was when I was walking downtown in full lolita splendor, and a little kid was staring at me while walking holding his dad's hand. He just kept staring and failed to look where he was going, and he walked right into a post! That would have been funny enough, but the post was hollow and metal so it made a really loud clang! (he was fine. don't worry) It totally made my day! xD

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  5. ThemonsterloligonJuly 1, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    I love this! I'm going to try this on the next person that isn't likely to kill me for it.

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  6. at one point i was wearing lolita in gas station and was going in with a friend to get a snack. Then there was a creepy old man who thought we were prostitutes. We ran outside and drove away reeeeaally fast.

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  7. I wore lolita to school...and a bunch of old men were checking me out...I felt afraid...but like you said, "ignore them" which seemed to help!

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  8. D: yes! Freaking scary!!! Ignoring always seems to help..and if not...call the police :D

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  9. I have to admit, I "play dumb" a lot too when faced with an idiot I can't ignore. I get all "embarrassed and confused" about what they're asking me; and then when they try to explain, they realise how stupid they sound and usually quick give up trying to insult you via insinuation.
    This also works for "get back in the kitchen" jokes, too... just say "I don't get it"! :)

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  10. I had a good laugh at the "LITTLE BO PEEEEEEP" part because that happened to me just today! I when I asked my boyfriend why it was such a common insult he said anyone who'd shout something rude at someone on the street just because of what they're wearing clearly ended their education at nursery school and can't think of anything better to say!

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    1. Hahah omg that is like the perfect comeback to that!! I'm seriously giggling about it!

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  11. The sad irony is that we have to get hassled for wearing a ton of clothes, yet we also get hassled if we wear less. I'm honestly disgusted at how people feel they have the right to dictate what we can wear as though we owe them something. I'm used to being stared at and people making rude comments or laughing in ignorance, but it's bothered me less and less over the years because I know it's because they can't get their head around someone being "brave" enough to be themselves and express themselves. Those poor, unfortunate souls. That they can sometimes actually react with anger is disturbing, as though you've offended them by not being conformist, and by wearing what you actually like. But the thing is, if you wore exactly what they wanted you to, they would still treat you like crap, and you wouldn't feel good about it because you'd know you weren't being true to yourself.

    I've actually gotten my mom interested in Lolita (just the shirts for herself, and interest on my behalf), and since she respects me as an adult and trusts my choices, she supports my interest. And really, at the end of the day, the people who care about you will still love and support you anyway. It's one of the saddest things that I can think of when we have to not be ourselves in order to satisfy others who don't care about us or know us.

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  13. If you can keep your cool and pull it off I feel like the best reply to give to anyone who stares or points is to just give them a wink and a slightly smug smile.
    It isn't as desperate or defensive as trying to insult them back or trying to think of a witty reply, but you're not ignoring them either.
    Truly the most alpha way of telling someone to go fuck themselves.

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  14. It's very weird but I have more rude comments when I dress like a normie ><
    I think rude dudes are scared of my frills :D

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