This week’s prompt is “Pros & Cons: Keeping To One Style VS Multiple Styles” … and this prompt really speaks to me.
I’ve pondered this question many times, even before I started building my Lolita fashion wardrobe. I’m sure other Lolitas have pondered this as well. I currently have multiple styles and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’ll share my personal Lolita wardrobe story first, and then I’ll share a list of Pros and Cons.
Before I even started in the fashion, circa 2008 to 2011, I really wanted to start off in a single style: Gothic Lolita. When I was growing up, I hated the color pink and didn’t really like Sweet Lolita for all its pastels. I loved the Classic Lolita style since I’ve always been a fan of historic clothing, but the prices always seemed much too high. The first piece I ever acquired was a black Bodyline jumperskirt (although it was more punk than gothic). Before that, I only had offbrand things I found at thrift stores, or skirts that my mom and I worked on sewing together.
In 2012, when I started building my Lolita wardrobe, I took a surprising turn: Sweet Lolita! The reason was simple: budget. At the time, I stalked EGL Comm Sales on Livejournal religiously, on the hunt for secondhand deals. For some reason, and I’m not sure why, there were no affordable options for gothic styles that appealed to me. However, I did find a lot of cute Sweet Lolita items that were cheap. As an adult, the color pink didn’t bother me so much anymore. Part of it was probably due to my time reading the Gothic Lolita Bibles and KERA magazines, and starting to like pastel colors as well.
As you can see from my coord to my first-ever lolita meetup in January 2013, I am wearing (gasp!) some pink! I can’t recall the name of the skirt, but it’s from BTSSB. The blouse is just a basic white button-down shirt, and the bolero was a vintage item from a hospice shop. The large bow was hand-sewn, and the two smaller bows were from Forever 21 (and I still use those little bows all the time for coords!).
So, I went down the route of primarily Sweet Lolita, which was a total surprise! The goal was never to stick to one style forever though. I wanted to wear multiple styles. This is a desire I have not just for Lolita fashion, but for my wardrobe outside of Lolita too. I love fashion and being creative with outfits, but I also have different preferences for what to wear during certain times.
Eventually, I started acquiring Gothic Lolita pieces, and my wardrobe was split between the two styles. Below, you can see some of my coords from 2013 and 2014.
From 2015 to 2016, I acquired more Japanese brand pieces (and shifted from primarily shopping on LiveJournal to shopping on Facebook and MBOK for secondhand items). I also collected more basics like blouses, socks/tights, and accessories, and I started collecting a few classic pieces.
In today’s wardrobe, I have a wide variety of styles, and it can be overwhelming sometimes… but I have no regrets. I am not a lifestyle Lolita, but I do see myself as a collector Lolita. I love collecting different pieces! I don’t have much space, so it’s a struggle in a small apartment, but I make it work (even if it means stuffing clothing into vacuum seal bags or stuffing them into plastic bins and duffle bags…). Someday, I hope to have a proper closet where I can store my Lolita collection in one place. In my last LBC post, I shared my top tips for managing a wardrobe.
Now, for the PROS and CONS of Multiple Styles~!
Variety of styles to choose from
Do you want to go goth today? Or channel your inner Victorian lady? Or are you feeling sickeningly sweet and want to be all ice cream sundaes and whipped cream?
Unleash your creative side
When you have multiple styles, you can also mix some styles together! Do you want to be gothic but lean into classic and look like a Victorian lady in mourning? How about combining some Decora with your Sweet Lolita? Or let’s create some fun Punk / Gothic vibes?
Space? What space? Unless you can afford a larger apartment or to live in a house, you’re not going to have much space with your collection of multiple styles.
This week’s prompt is “Share Your Oddest Experience You’ve Had While Wearing Lolita.”
The oddest experience I had while wearing lolita occurred at a lolita meetup I hosted at a local mall. It was a small and casual meetup: I can’t remember the exact number, but I believe there were 4 or 5 of us hanging out. We were just walking around the mall and window shopping. However, we were stopped by security: security staff claimed we could not dress in this manner because we could be hiding weapons under our poofy skirts.
I think we got singled out because we dressed differently. Weapons could be hidden in a jacket, in pockets, even in your shoes. We didn’t want to cause a scene, so we simply left the mall at that point.
Getting singled out due to the way I dress happens a lot, but this experience was definitely the oddest one. I’ve been to the mall in lolita fashion at other times, and security has only stopped me to ask why I’m dressed like this, but they don’t claim that it’s a hazard or that they’re suspicious of me hiding weapons. They’re either suspicious of me taking photos since photoshoots aren’t allowed in the mall, or they are wondering if I’m performing in a local play or participating in an art event.
I recall that once someone claimed my outfit was a fire hazard. This was not at a mall though; it was at a café. I was seated at the time and I don’t understand how it could possibly be a fire hazard (and it was also odd that no one claimed it was a fire hazard until after I finished eating my meal).
I’m sure other lolitas can relate: when we wear lolita out in public, we generally get a lot of stares, whispers, and unwanted attention. I have lost count of how many times people called me “Bo Peep” in a derogatory manner. And I also lost count of how many times people took photos of me without asking for permission. Street harassment happens regularly as well, although this happens regardless of what I wear. I’ve also been catcalled when I’m just wearing jeans and a sweatshirt (and no makeup at all). It’s sad how many people are disrespectful. At a local meetup, a passerby even spat on one of the attendees when we were walking down the sidewalk. Another time, when I was wearing lolita alone at the mall, someone purposely spilled soda on me in the food court. It was terrible.
If you see someone dressed differently, kindly be respectful. When people ask, I don’t mind posing for a photo. I also don’t mind explaining what lolita fashion is to those who are genuinely curious. In my own experience, I’ve had the best reactions to wearing lolita fashion at museums. Museums are where I get the most respectful questions, as well as people complimenting what I’m wearing. Sometimes, people think it’s a costume or I’m cosplaying, and I explain that it’s alternative fashion and not a costume.
Even if you’re not participating in the carnival, I’d love to hear your oddest experience while wearing lolita in the comments. Feel free to share your own stories!