“Whoa, what’s going on here? Why are you dressed like that?”
“Little Bo Peep, where are your sheep?”
“You look so cute!”
“Are you a Drag Queen?”
“Mary had a little lamb!”
“Why is your skirt so poofy?”
These are just some of the comments and questions I have received while wearing Lolita in public. In my personal experience, people have approached me and asked questions more out of curiosity than in a mean-spirited manner.
There have been a few negative experiences, but I do not want to dwell on them for too long. Here are a few negative experiences I have had while wearing Lolita:
-Stranger Sneakily Takes Photos…-
One day I was helping a friend with her photography assignment. I dressed up in Sweet Lolita (Red Gingham, attempt at a Country Lolita coord), and she took some photos of my on the streets in town.
I did not notice anything suspicious, but my friend noticed something. She came up to me and told me that someone was taking pictures of us without our permission. She called out to the man and asked him, “Don’t you want to ask for our permission first?” He ignored us and just walked away, and I told my friend not to go after him. It was just a small incident after all, and at least he stopped. I do not mind when people want to take photos, but I believe it is proper etiquette to ask for permission first.
-Rude pointing- “HAHAHAHAHA”
Okay, I do not appreciate it when people point at me and start laughing really hard. I know that Lolita fashion is something you may not see everyday, and it is definitely different from “popular fashion,” but it is extremely rude to point at someone and start laughing in an obviously mean-spirited manner. In this situation, I ignored the people laughing and pointing at me and kept walking, keeping my head held high but not making eye contact. I did not know the people who were laughing and pointing at me, so I figured I would probably not see them again. I felt awkward because I don’t like being laughed at (especially since I was bullied a lot in middle school and high school). This was an unpleasant experience, but unfortunately, it is pretty common. Some of my friends said that similar instances of rude laughter were directed at them as well.
Advice: How to deal with negative reactions:
1. Remind yourself why you wear Lolita fashion. You love it, right? Why? Remember why you want to wear it and remind yourself that this is your personal fashion choice. Even if people don’t like what you wear, it is not your problem. Just remember why you like it.
2. Ignore the negative reactions. From my experiences with being bullied and teased in public school, I learned that it is best to ignore negative reactions instead of giving the bullies the benefit of a counter-reaction. Bullies (and rude people) usually want attention. It is best to ignore them.
3. Be confident. Even if you do not feel confident, pretend to be confident. I pretended to be confident when I did not feel confident at all, and this helped me by calming me down and making me feel better.
4. If you are really upset about something that happened, talk about it to friends and/or family! Talking to others and sharing your experiences can help a lot.
5. Remember not to take any insults to heart. Do not let the insults and mean words get to you! If your friends, and not strangers, are insulting you, you should talk to them about how you feel and explain why you wear Lolita fashion. Friends should not be saying mean things to their friends.
There have been lots of stares and some people have thrown insults at me, but there have been positive experiences with wearing Lolita in public as well. Let’s focus on some positive experiences now!
“I haven’t seen someone wear a petticoat since I was a little girl! That’s such a pretty skirt!”
When I was waiting for my ride to my first Lolita meet-up, an elderly woman approached me with a big smile and said this. I smiled back and told her, “Really? Thank you so much!” She then asked me if I was going to a party, and I told her that it was something like that. I explained what Lolita fashion was, and told her that I was heading to a meet-up for people who harbor an interest in this alternative fashion style.
She wished me a good day, and I wished her a good day as well, and then she continued on her walk. This was a positive experience for me because it gave me more confidence while I stood on the sidewalk waiting for my ride. When I was walking from my dorm room to the town center, I had received lots of stares, and I felt embarrassed and awkward. I was also feeling nervous about the meet-up because I was not sure what the community would be like and how I would fit in since it was my first time attending a Lolita meet-up. Now that I have worn Lolita more often in public, I believe that confidence is something you can build over time. I still feel nervous sometimes (mostly about my coordinates), but I no longer feel embarrassed to wear Lolita outside, and I am able to ignore the stares and feel good about myself. I still do not feel comfortable wearing OTT Lolita all by myself, but I can confidently wear OTT in public if I have a friend dressed up in Lolita fashion along with me! Maybe someday I will develop the confidence to wear OTT Lolita style whenever I want, even if I am all alone.
“… Hi! I really like your dress…”
An adorable little girl said this to me one day in a shy voice. She looked like she was only five or six years old, and my heart practically melted on the spot. I smiled brightly to her and said, “Thank you! I like your dress too.” She was wearing a cute pink and yellow floral sundress that was in a similar cut to many JSKs that I’ve seen. (Has anyone else noticed that many dresses for little girls look like adorable JSKs and OPs?) Her mother asked if her daughter could stand next to me for a photo, and I agreed. The little girl looked so happy when she stood next to me; she kept staring at the print on my skirt. I felt happy too; I was really glad that I got to make someone smile! This experience also reminded me of another time… A time when I was cosplaying, and a young girl stared at me and asked if I was a princess. I told her that I was not, but that I was flattered that she thought I looked like one. She looked really surprised and happy to see me there in the mall bathroom. It was not a convention or a cosplay event, but a friend and I wanted to meet up to cosplay at the mall for fun. I wonder if anyone will call me a princess when I am wearing Lolita… That would be an amazing thing.
“Excuse me Miss, you are a walking work of art!”
I was walking downtown dressed in Sweet Lolita to meet a friend, and a man stopped me on the sidewalk to say this to me. I was surprised to hear this since whenever I wear sweet, I tend to get “Little Bo Peep” or “Mary had a little lamb” comments. Sometimes the “Alice in Wonderland” comments come up as well. But I had never heard this comment before! I thanked the stranger and he continued to tell me that he loved the details on the dress. He asked where I got the dress and if it was some sort of new style, and I explained Lolita fashion to him and told him that I had purchased the dress online, secondhand. He said he was amazed that Lolita fashion existed and he thought that there should be Lolita dresses sold in local stores. I replied, “Oh my gosh… I would love it if stores in town carried Lolita dresses!” This would be a dream-come-true for many Lolitas… Imagine that: walking downtown and seeing Lolita dresses displayed in the windows!
~Be sure to read other blog posts on this topic for the Lolita Blog Carnival!