Ask Miss Caro-chan: What Exactly is Casual Lolita?

Today we have an Ask Miss Caro-chan that I've been meaning to write about for a while! I've been putting this off for so long that I've actually gotten several questions about it, here are just a couple of them!

What do you think is considered casual loli? I'm still failing that balance between lolita aesthetics and casual/mainstream fashion (at least the skirt is loli; the coordination just fails miserably).

 We also have...

Hey! I'm 13 years old now,an i really love Lolita. But sweet is a little to much for me. Can you make a blog about casual lolita? And how to wear it at school? i have totally no guts. So please help me!! -XoXo- p.s. sorry for my bad english

That's right, today's topic is Casual Lolita! I've actually put off writing about this for so long because I feel that Casual Lolita is definitely a misnomer and and generally often misunderstood branch of Lolita. A lot of what people consider Casual Lolita is actually most likely either just part of, or inspired by, the Otome Kei fashion.The rest, is honestly just plain old Lolita!

There is also a lot of differences in opinion on what makes something Casual Lolita, are we talking about a regular Lolita coordinate that just so happens to include tee shirts, "toned down" Lolita, or Otome Kei coordinates? All of these things are often considered "Casual Lolita", but tend to be a bit different from each other!

The classic (With a little "c" here! Not the sort of Classic that involves Victorian Maiden & Inncent World!) idea of what constitutes a Casual Lolita coordinate looks a bit like this:


To me, these are one Gothic Lolita coordinates and 3 Sweet Lolita coordinates, the last of which sways more towards Otome. I don't really feel that the addition of a tee shirt, or slightly less amounts of poof (in some of the cases, not even all of them!) are really enough for a whole new sub-category of Lolita!

If you're looking to simply tone town your Lolita a bit, consider the following:
  • Don't go heavy on the poof! Wear a very minimal poof petticoat. Very few dresses are meant to be petticoat optional, so if your skirt is very gathered, you really shouldn't skip the petti completely. However, there are some cuts of Lolita dresses that can be OK without
  • Wear a cutsew or cardigan. They generally have a less stuffy, and more casual feel to them than button-up blouses or boleros.
  • Go light on the accessories. Wear a simple headbow and a piece or two of jewelry. Leave giant wigs and matching everything for another day.
These three simple tips tend to be enough to make your preferred Lolita style more casual, for when you still want to wear Lolita, but you don't want to constantly be knocking stuff over with your petticoat or feeling like you're overdressed! These are also things that I tend to do when wearing Lolita on an everyday basis. They're simple and easy, as they should be if you want to tone it down a bit!

I don't really feel that Casual Lolita has enough different style elements from other Lolita sub-styles that it really stands on it's own as a distinct sub-style. Instead I feel that almost any style of Lolita can be worn in a more casual manner just by toning down the outfits a bit.

Within the Lolita fashion outside of Japan, Otome Kei brands who happen to make Lolita appropriate pieces are very often considered Casual Lolita. Of course, these brands do make the perfect dresses for wearing Lolita on a more casual basis, but to me it always seems a bit wrong to take an already well developed fashion, such as Otome Kei (which has been around just as long, if not longer than Lolita!), and to sort of diminish it's importance as a fashion by referring to it as casual wear of a different fashion.

If you are interested about pairing up Otome with Lolita (and that is the post that I've been meaning to make forever! Hopefully one day...), consider some pieces by Milk, Jane Marple, or Emily Temple Cute, as they tend to be the classic examples of Otome brands that also make Lolita appropriate piece.


These are just some of the dresses that Emily Temple Cute makes that often get lumped in with Casual Lolita!

 What do you, personally, think about Casual Lolita? Do you feel that it's a subcategory all it's own? Or do you just tend to wear Lolita on a more casual basis and just consider it part of the regular Lolita style? How do you wear Lolita when you need to tone it down a bit?

19 comments:

  1. When I started wearing lolita I didn't understand what a casual loli really is, and never really considered it an option for me. However as I am wearing loli to school everyday (or trying anyway) it is a bit toned down compared to meetings and special occassions. I didn't really think it was casual, because most casual images I'd seen before all included a tee and I have yet to match a tee with a loli skirt. But maybe I am wearing casual loli, since it is my daily wear.

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    1. I still don't really "get" Casual Lolita xD As I mention! I think it's more of just a describing word, like "red" or "lacy" or "bunny themed" rather than a distinct style!

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  2. There's a brand called Jane Marple? That's... I'm not sure how I feel about that.

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    1. Yeah, kind of an odd choice for a name I think xD

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    2. I think its pretty awesome I love Agatha Christie they named the brand after the character most likley

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  3. I feel like Casual lolita is a bit of a sub-sub categori of lolita. For every substyle, there is a Casual way of doing it. Sometimes I will wear Casual lolita, just with a t-shirt and a skirt and a headbow, but it feels a little like "cheating" to me, haha!

    Julie of Queensnorthernstar.blogspot.com

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    1. I definitely agree xD I was going to compare it to OTT, but even then, OTT tends to have more defining features than Casual Lolita does. Casual Lolita is just what you wear when you don't feel like putting on a lot of accessories to me xD

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  4. I love Casual lolita! perfect for school, and shopping:D

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  5. I think it's more of a toning down. The same as casual Goth. I don't thing it's a stile. You just wear less stuff and have a lighter make up. It's like a casual outfit and a outfit you wear on celebrations. I prefer toned down outfit for everyday, then I can really enjoy getting all dressed up while going to a club or a party.

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  6. I'm tempted to say that I like this style of Lolita better, simply because you can wear it out of the house without people staring at you! On the other hand, I almost wouldn't even call the outfits in the picture "Lolita" because they resemble other styles that I see everyday. For example, the first outfit I would classify as "Punk", and the third I would classify as "Preppy" (which is usually more of the look I'm trying to achieve).

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    1. xD But "pretty" and "punk" are already pre-existing subcultures, neither of which those 2 outfits really fall into!

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  7. Casual Lolita is more versatile and personable! I think it has the biggest room for self expression and less duplicity because you can take the base, add your own personal screen tees, and it's truly one of a kind.

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  8. I agree that casual lolita is not really a style on it's own, just a way you can tone down pre-existing styles. And as for the otome brands, in my head, I only include their dresses/skirts that can be worn with a petticoat underneath as "casual lolita" pieces, as the rest of their clothes are for regular Otome styles. Out of the three listed, I think it's easier to find ETC or Jane Marple clothes that can be used in lolita I think; like I don't recall hear anyone talking about MILK much, other than for accesories in the lolita comms. Actually slightly off-topic, but do you know if "Otome" is a phrase the english comms made for this style, or it's actually called that in Japan? It's only because when I see some Japanese girls wearing those clothes in fashion sites, they'll say they're wearing "Emily Temple Cute style" or something like that, instead of "Otome style."

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    1. From what I have heard "Otome" is mostly used as a sort of lifestyle-ish name in Japan. Like you would describe yourself as an Otome, and there are clothes designed specifically for Otome Kei but they aren't really called that? I feel like it's the same way that Moir Girl works in Japan, or something like, say "Hippy" in the US.

      In the Lolita/indie brand/otome LJ comms that there are, you can find a lot of posts by Tsu talking about how otome is perceived in Japan, she's waaay more of an expert on it than I am! Haha, hence why I have only just made this post now, and it's so short xD

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  9. It's never been a substyle to me, but a way to wear your preferred fashion in a way that's not so in-your-face as more elaborate outfits in the same way that OTT is a word used to describe more elaborate outfits. I certainly wouldn't classify "OTT lolita" as a substyle, as OTT outfits can be classified into the different substyles although they are mainly sweet. I think another way to dress a lolita outfit down is to not wear specifically lolita shoes, e.g. tea parties, but rather to wear something more mainstream but still loliable like victorian-styled boots, brogues, or heels.

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  10. Hiii ! im 13 too (:
    I am totally into lolita and i wear different things
    too school too i dont care what people say about me I love what i wear.
    I dont really care about others opinion if theyre negative.
    I just love the style of lolita and thanks for the blog its really use full ! (: xoxo

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  11. Can you make a blog post about casual classic lolita for a 23 year-old please? A more mature look that is still pretty and feminine, but if anyone I knew through work spotted me wearing outright lolita on my days off work it would harm my image as a professional.

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  12. Mmm Otome Kei wasn't really associated with Casual Lolita at all in the early 2000s, I suppose it should be currently linked to Gyaru, in a visual sense I mean.

    Brands like Liz Lisa and Axes Femme are kind of indicative of Casual Lolita traits, the skirts and sukapan have lace trims and floral prints, the skirts are worn without petticoats but sukapan/skorts have sewn in bloomers to the skirt that give it a nice full shape.

    Hems are a little on the shorter side making the overall lolita aspect more casual and "daily" wear, it's decorative but not as out there as the full lolita get-up. Dresses are also very feminine, similar cut to some lolita dress shapes but are designed to be worn without petticoats.

    Most of the blouses are definitely usable for a full lolita ensemble, the cardigans being the pièce de résistance as they have some intricate prints (similar to the prints you'd expect on lolita jumper skirts or dresses) but can be worn as casual/smart wear.

    I guess you could say the emphasis on toning down what you would call the "costume" aspect of lolita and making the silhouette more natural looking as opposed to bell-shaped petti-hips.

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