5 Hard Lessons About Lolita Fashion


It's no secret that being a Lolita isn't all kittens and rainbows. Wearing Lolita isn't going to fix all your problems, and mingling with other Lolitas doesn't mean you're going to be welcome with open arms into a completely accepting sisterhood. Just like nearly anything you do in life, Lolita has its ups and downs, and today, let's look at a few of the downs that tend to sweep by and take even the most hardened Lolitas by surprise sometimes. Consider this something of a 5 things I wish someone had warned me about list!

You can't wear Lolita all the time
I know that a lot of people who start in the fashion imagine a life where they can wear nothing but Lolita and live the Momoko lifestyle they have been dreaming of, but it's probably just not going to happen. While there are plenty of opportunities to wear Lolita, and even more to Lolify a little bit of your life, it's just not something you can cram into every nook and cranny of your day to day life.

A question I get a lot from people looking to take their Lolita to the next level is "How do you wear Lolita to work/school/fancy events/etc?" expecting that other Lolitas have figured out some sort of neat trick they just haven't thought of that is going to make this work, and the truth is simply that there are going to be times when you simply cannot wear Lolita. And in all honesty, it's really not that big of a deal.

You're no less of a Lolita because your job or school wont let you dress however you want, or because sometimes you have to put on some normal clothes, or other times it's simply too hot or too cold or you're too lazy to bother with all those petticoats.

People aren't going to want to be your new BFF just because of your clothes
Don't get me wrong, going to Lolita events and being an active member of Lolita communities are a great way to meet like minded people, and wearing Lolita might be just the ice breaker you need in a social situation, but people aren't necessarily going to jump at the chance to be your new BFF just because you happen to be wearing Lolita, even if they're wearing Lolita too.

Ultimately, Lolita clothes are just, well, clothes. And anyone can wear them. Lolita fashion attracts a very wide variety of people, some are going to mesh with you, and some simply are not. I feel like a lot of newcomers to the fashion come in with the attitude that everyone else who wears Lolita is going to instantly like them and agree with them and like the same things they like, and when they are shocked to find out that other Lolitas are just regular people, they write off the possibility of being friends with other Lolitas as a hopeless cause. "Hardly anyone talked to me! I felt so left out!" is all too often the cry of someone upon coming back from their first Lolita meetup.

Lolita fashion is a great common interest to have with people, but just like in any other situation, sometimes you're going to have to put in the effort into making lasting friendships with other people.

You're not going to be able to wear every dress you fall in love with 
I feel like this is a hard lesson that some people sort of never get over! There are so many amazing dresses released by brands, both big and indie alike, it's honestly hard not to love them all. But sometimes it's just something that's not meant to be. 

Maybe the dress is incredibly rare, is out of your price range, out of your size range, or simply doesn't look the way you hoped it did when worn. Sometimes you just have to let it go and learn to love a dress without owning it. Trust me, your wallet and closet space will thank you for learning this lesson!

There will be unexpected things you're probably going to have to buy
This is a lesson I'm learning all the time! Try as I might I feel like I am all too often having to buy something really unexciting that I absolutely need in order to wear something that I'm just dying to get the chance to coordinate. I might want to spend all my money on the dress of my dreams that pops up on auction, or some exciting new release, but what I really need is a new petticoat and a pair of comfortable black walking shoes. Oh, and dry cleaning, and some plain colored tights, and a plain button up in cream, and a plain underskirt in just the right shade of brown, and I think you get my point!

It's fun to get swept up in wanting new main pieces, but there are so many basics that you need too. Especially if you wear the fashion on a regular basis and you wear some pieces so much that you get the chance to actually wear them out and probably have to toss them in the trash. I don't even want to think about how many pairs of tea party shoes I've had to throw away simply because they were just too worn out!

 It's going to take some hard work to get what you want
Many new Lolitas seem to think that people who've been wearing the fashion for a while all know some sort of magic trick to make things easier when it comes to finding just the right piece, in just the right size, for just the right price. The hard truth of the matter is that there is no trick, most of us who wear Lolita who have pretty much any sort of budget at all or fall anywhere outside of the standard size put in a lot of time and effort into building our wardrobes. We hunt and we lurk and we plan and we save! 

The best "magic trick" I can teach you would be to lurk more! Lurk everywhere and try to learn about everything! If you're interested in a particular style, learn who makes it, what sort of prices they go for, and what sort of hoops you should be jumping through to buy them. If you want to learn how to do something just like the pros, who make it all seem so natural and easy (be it posing like a kawaii princess or sewing beautiful dresses!) you're going to have to practice and you're probably going to make a lot of mistakes along the way. 

As many Lolitas will tell you, these little annoyances are definitely worth it for what the Lolita fashion gives back to them! For all the hours of lurking and learning, the reward is snagging your long sought after dream dress after all those years for a good price. For every handful of random Lolitas who you've met but neither of you are ever going to even remember each other names, there's going to a genuine friend.

What sort of hard lessons have you learned in the fashion that maybe you wish someone had prepared you for before hand? 

27 comments:

  1. OMG thank you! The second point was exactly what I've been thinking lately. There are a lot of newcomers in my country right now and I'll hear a lot about this "I felt left out" -talk. Also the weird thing is that people tend to think that there are these kind of "inner circles" where you have to get in, which in fact are just a group of friends. And when you are not part of that certain group, that group is suddenly bunch of elitists.

    ☆ Daily Fuckery ☆

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  2. I enjoyed reading this, thanks for the perspective! There's definitely some great advice & tips for newcomers here :)

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  3. 4 was the biggest lesson I had to learn coming into Lolita! In Goth I found it quite easy to put together things that co-ordinate because everything Goth I have is all on a very similar theme; black and a specific style of Romantic Goth, so if I bought a new jacket or skirt or another more expensive thing like a dress, I'd have no trouble reaching for something out of my closet to put together an instant outfit, plus I've got 10+ years worth of accumulated Goth wardrobe that I've pared down to all stuff that co-ordinates! Now I'm starting in Lolita, I've realised that if I wear white prints, I will need more white things in my wardrobe and more white accessories, and that off-white does not co-ordinate with white unless you're specifically doing ivory x white, and suchlike, and now I'm also wearing actual colours more frequently than I ever did (wine red, purple), which again means having to add things to my wardrobe so I can put together an outfit where that colour appears in more than one place. I'm also tall for Lolita, so I had to buy things like underskirts, and my petticoats started losing their pouf, so I need more petticoats, and my Romantic Goth shoes had the wrong kinds of heel for Lolita, so I had buy more shoes, etc... and meanwhile my attempts for saving up for some genuine Moi Meme Moitie and dwindling to nothingness!

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    1. *are dwindling to (autoco-wreck >.<)

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  4. "You can't wear Lolita all the time". That was (and still is) the hardest lesson for me to learn. I've been wearing lolita daily for few years. Next summer I will have a job placement and it very likely won't be okay to wear lolita there. I realized that I don't really have much normal clothes! First time in about five years I had to buy new jeans. I've started to gather normal clothes that could be also used in lolita or/and visual kei. Visual kei is much more easy to tone down to look very normal but the idea of abandoning lolita is way too horrible. And what should I wear in a pic of internet portfolio to look like myself but also like someone whom any company would want to hire? Is lolita okay as a style for a designer if she wants to do anything else than lolita related things or will mainstream companys reject me because of my "too unique" style? I used to live in this "designers can wear anything they want" bubble until reality struck me and caused this crisis.

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    1. If you're a sweet or hime lolita, then hime kaji might be the answer for you. If you don't know what that is, then I'll include some info for you.
      Hime gyaru ("kaji" is short for "kajuaru", the Japanese adaptation of "casual") is a style that's pretty much all about looking as rich, posh, and feminine as possible. It's different from lolita, but they share a few common aesthetics like big hair and a doll-like face (small mouth, pointy chin, big eyes--which means for the Japanese girls in google images a LOT of eye makeup and circle lenses. This may or may not apply to you). Motifs in the fashion include lace, pearls, roses, pink (other pastels work, as do black and white)--you get the idea. Hime kaji is the same fashion but without the voluminous hair basically, and you get the liberty of wearing jeans (nice ones!) as opposed to skirts when you're not wearing a dress. Jesus Diamante and Liz Lisa are the 2 biggest name brands, with Liz Lisa being more on the casual side, but I'm sure you can find cheaper alternatives here in the west without the big brand name once you become more familiar with the fashion.
      To me, it looks much easier to alter for everyday life than Lolita, so whether or not you've heard of it I hope this at least gave you some kind of idea!

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  5. I love this. For me it's always been hard with spending on useful but boring things. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a lolita costco, so I could buy a 10 pack of plain white blouses and not have to worry about it!
    Another hard truth for me is that I won't always be as interested in lolita. For a lot of people when starting out it's easy to fall into the idea of always and forever being 100% into lolita. Coming to accept the ebbs and flows of my personal interest in the fashion has been hard. It feels a little guilty to leave dresses unworn in the closet in favor of other fashions but ultimately it's nice to expand and have options.

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  6. The hardest thing for me is (if you're into Lolita for a long time) your life, style, and aesthetic change, and your Lolita is probably going to change with it. I've been into Lolita for about 12 years now, actively wearing it for at least 8. I've had phases where I wore sweet casual looks on an almost daily basis for school, phases where I only wore Lolita to conventions so I have some rather OTT outfits that aren't practical at all for everyday wear or even some meet-ups, and phases (like now) where I collect gothic and classic pieces that can transition from Lolita to mori-kei to everyday outfits. As a result, my wardrobe is all over the place, so sometimes you have to choose between maintaining your old style or ditching it for your new one, but when you've worked hard to hunt down just the right pieces to make great outfits, its hard to let them go (along with the memories attached to those outfits!)

    Maybe that's just a Me thing, IDK, but a lot of my aesthetic changes coincided with life changes, which is something that happens a lot in your teens, 20s and 30s, where most Lolitas fall, so hopefully I'm not alone?

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  8. All the others I was expecting but the first one really hurt me. I was really hoping I could be a beautiful Lolita around the clock but this has proved impossible, not only because of wardrobe size issues but because of reasons like weather, mood, time and place. There are things you really can't do in Lolita and there are times you're just not in the mood to dress up. I learned this soon enough and I was a little disappointed but now I'm trying to work through it.

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  9. As someone just getting into Lolita it has been almost shocking how many things go into an outfit! I thought I could put together a couple things right away. Nope. I have to wait for all my pieces to arrive in the mail. IVe been wanting to get a second jsk. But it turns out I have to buy other things before I can think about expanding my meager wardrobe. :)

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  11. Great post. It's clear that your heart is in the right place, and that even if the lessons are "hard" you're mainly looking out for fledgling Lolita fashion fans.

    Would it be okay if I shared your post on our Facebook page?

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  12. I agree! its a good idea to exercize restraint and accept that you cant have every dress. It's so sad!
    --lona Antoinette

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  19. This was a great read, so thank you for sharing. Your point about "People aren't going to want to be your new BFF just because of your clothes", really struck a chord with me, but not for lolitaing reasons funnily enough (although i am a lolita :P ). I am also a dancer and we have had a heap of problems lately with some of our newer scene members acting like jerks and then being all cross because no one wants to dance with them. I feel as though an introduction to reality is a thing that a lot of people need unfortunately.

    <3 Sarah | Oh So Kawaii

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  20. The second point is the one I see people struggle with the most. Members of our group are purposely proactive in talking to newcomers and trying to make them feel welcome. But we're going to talk to each other too because we've been Lolitas together for a long time. My tips for newcomers to any established Lolita group...show up every time there's a meet up, ask questions about the fashion if you're new, ask the other members about themselves, participate in conversations and before long you won't feel like an outsider. People who sit in the corner sulking because they aren't being doted on the whole time aren't going to enjoy meet ups.

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  21. Hello! Your blog is so awesome, I really like its every article and picture, well done :) Thank you for uncovering this five lessons and explaining of every detail and feature of lolita fashion, I think they will be extremely useful, especially for newcomers :)

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