This week’s prompt for Lolita Blog Carnival is a fun one:
Your First Impression Of Lolita Versus Now!
To be honest, I can’t quite remember my first impression of lolita… It was a really long time ago. It was probably when I was 13 or 14 years old? I was definitely in middle school at the time.
Photo taken by my friend Camille
I stumbled upon a Gothic & Lolita Bible one day in a bookstore, and that’s how I discovered lolita fashion. I’m not exactly sure of my first thoughts about the fashion, but I think my initial impression was lolita as an over-the-top and absolutely beautiful aesthetic. I did not know the term “alternative fashion” at the time, so I am pretty sure that in my mind, I thought of lolita as – gasp – a costume. It was definitely outside the mainstream, and even though I loved the style, I couldn’t imagine people wearing it on a daily basis.
In addition to this, I think my understanding of the fashion was simply in terms of “Gothic Lolita” versus “Sweet Lolita.” I knew about “Old School Lolita,” with its rectangular headdresses and eyelet lace and all, but I wasn’t quite sure about other styles that fit into lolita. I also had little to no knowledge of other J-fashions.
When I became interested in learning more about lolita fashion, I purchased my first Gothic & Lolita Bible! This is the one I got:
It’s Volume 4 of the English language publication by TokyoPop. I still have this book on my shelf at home! After reading through this book, I was hungry for more, so I started to look for places on the Internet where I could see more examples of the fashion. At first, I had no idea where to start and was quite clueless. In high school, I discovered the EGL community on Livejournal, and that was really helpful! At first, I felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information (and especially: the rules!). Eventually, I felt more and more comfortable with the fashion style, but I still admired from afar since I wasn’t sure how I could afford anything lolita.
Now, my impression of lolita is very different! I learned about other alternative fashion styles since my first encounter with lolita, and I now understand that lolita is not a costume. It’s a fashion style: with its trends, its “popular” brands, its indie brands, its sub-styles, and its quirks. There are people who wear lolita everyday, there are people who wear lolita every week, and there are people who wear lolita once in a while – and all of these are totally acceptable. Lolitas also don’t have a “type.” You don’t have to be “ladylike” to be a lolita. Your gender and gender presentation does not correlate with your ability to dress in lolita. There are lolitas of all personalities too! There’s a great deal of diversity within the lolita communities, both online and offline, and I think that’s one thing I’ve enjoyed most by learning more about lolita fashion.
There’s one last discovery I would like to share about lolita: lolita fashion in its simplest form is clothing and accessories that people coordinate together to form cohesive outfits. But in the end, lolita clothing is just clothing. You don’t have to wear the clothing pieces as lolita. For example, it’s easy to wear a dress from a lolita brand without a petticoat and pull off otome style. The same goes for the reverse (I’ve used an otome dress for lolita before). If you have a lolita headdress, that doesn’t mean you have to use it exclusively for lolita. It could go well with another outfit too!
~Be sure to read other blog posts on this topic for the Lolita Blog Carnival!
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