Tuesday, 16 September 2014

♥ Lolita Fashion: A Beginner's Guide - Part Two ♥

This is the second part of the Lolita Fashion Beginner's Guide. I've created this to have a short, but in depth guide to help new members of my local comm, as well as others new to lolita fashion that may have a use for it. For part one, see here.

In this section of the guide, I will go into detail on "Cosplay Lolita" and Starting a Lolita Wardrobe.

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"Cosplay Lolita" Versus Lolita Fashion




Despite the name, Cosplay Lolita is not actually a part of lolita fashion at all. These clothes are inspired by lolita, but ultimately can't be considered lolita because they don't follow the basic guidelines of the style. These dresses and items are almost always made by cosplay companies trying to cash in on the lolita fashion style. These companies are unaware of what makes a lolita coordinate, aside from maybe one or two elements, so their pieces could never be considered lolita.

These are often the most common reasons why an item may be cosplay lolita:

  • NO PETTICOAT OR NOT ENOUGH ROOM FOR A PETTICOAT - This is the cardinal sin of lolita fashion. In order for it to be considered lolita, in almost all cases, there must be enough room for a full petticoat. 
  • TOO SHORT - Short dresses and skirts aren't unusual in lolita, especially when you consider Angelic Pretty's pieces, but these pieces are often outrageously short. The rule of thumb for beginners to lolita fashion is the dress should be from an inch above the knee to an inch below the knee in length.
  • BAD MATERIALS - Low quality cotton, see-through fabrics, and shiny satin are all too often used in cosplay lolita. If the lace is scratchy, itchy, messy or thin it is bad lace. These laces are often used in cosplay lolita. Ribbon used in cosplay lolita will often be shiny and easily frayed, unlike the quality satin & grosgrain ribbons used in proper lolita pieces.
  • INCORPORATE NON-LOLITA ITEMS - Arm warmers, leg warmers, fingerless gloves, maid headbands and other cosplay items are often incorporated into these cosplay outfits. Cat ears and aprons can be worn in lolita, but only if they're high quality. It's very common to see bad quality ears and aprons in these cosplay outfits. If it looks comparable to a Halloween costume, it's most likely cosplay, and not lolita.
It is all too easy to accidentally buy Cosplay Lolita. If able, please check into a local or online community before purchasing any items. Even if you're positive it isn't cosplay lolita, a second opinion from someone experienced in the fashion is a great help when starting to buy lolita pieces.

Cosplay Lolita isn't the only thing mistaken for lolita fashion. There are other Japanese fashions that are often confused for lolita fashion. Himekaji and Himegyaru are the most commonly confused styles. While cute and stylish, these styles don't follow the same guidelines and ideas as lolita fashion. Many items described as "lolita" online may actually be one of these two styles.


Recommended Reading


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Starting A Lolita Wardrobe

[ Source ]


When you start wearing lolita, you aren't expected to have a complete wardrobe immediately. It takes time to build your closet.  Still, it is reccomended that you buy a few essential pieces at once to build a 'basic' closet when you start wearing lolita fashion. This way you won't be stuck wearing the same outfit every single time you wish to wear lolita.

Here are a few necessary things for your first lolita wardrobe:

  • 1 Petticoat - Make sure your dress(es)/skirt(s) all share the same petticoat-shape. If you have both a cupcake-shaped piece and an a-line shaped piece, then you will need two petticoats right off the bat.
  • 1 or 2 Blouses - Owning a blouse is necessary for this fashion and a good way to start is with a convertable blouse. By buying a blouse that has detachable sleeves, you'll have both a long-sleeved and short-sleeved blouse in one! If you have two blouses make sure that they have different collar styles to keep your coordinates i
  • 1 Pair of Socks and 1 set of Tights - It's good to have both socks and tights not only to keep your wardrobe versatile, but also to be prepared for all kinds of weather. When buying socks, plain knee-highs just won't do. Try to find lolita-style socks that will match your blouse. It will be easier to coordinate with them this way. Solid tights or lace tights are a great investment for a starter wardrobe. 
  • 3 Main Pieces (OP/JSK/Skirt) - At the bare minimum it's good to have at least two or three main pieces to keep things fresh. With your pieces you should keep them easy to work with the rest of your wardrobe and match the rest of your items. If you add too many different colours or styles to your wardrobe at the start, it will get very expensive as you’d have to buy matching accessories for each colour/style.
  • 1 or 2 Headdress/Hair Accessories - Make sure they'll be able to match all or most of your main pieces!
  • Shoes - One good pair of shoes can work, as long as it matches everything. Make sure the colour and style will work with all your main pieces.
  • Jewelry - Keep things simple to start. Bows, pearls, flowers and other 'basic' lolita themes are the easiest to use for multiple styles. 
  • Depending on your climate, you may need to buy a cardigan, jacket or coat.
Building a lolita wardrobe does take a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. By planning ahead, you can build a strong wardrobe. A good lolita wardrobe is one you can mix and match with. By buying multiple pieces that share something in common, it’s easier to make your wardrobe work to your advantage.

Recommended Reading


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If you're interested in reading more, please continue onto the final part of the guide.
If you have any questions or would like advice, please comment below!
Thank you for reading!

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