Japan has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to fashion. With unique, eye-catching looks and an inspiring skill for putting pieces together, it’s no wonder many fashionistas view Japan as a fashion pioneer.
Lolita style is one of the world’s most iconic Japanese street fashion looks. Here’s what you need to know about Lolita, and how you can participate in this alternative fashion movement.
What is Lolita Style?
Lolita style first appeared in Japan in the 1970s. This look takes inspiration from the Victorian and Rococo eras, promoting layered fabrics, high necklines, and ornate accessories. Lolita is equal parts theatrical and innocent, with a focus on youthfulness and non-conformity.
While it may not seem like an overtly rebellious look, the Lolita fashion trend is viewed as a defiant fashion trend in Japanese culture. This movement of self-empowerment stems from deeply-rooted disdain toward adulthood and the older generation. In other words, the Lolita Japanese street fashion is punk— except with frills.
What are the Major Lolita Subsets?
Within the larger umbrella of Lolita street fashion are major and minor subsets of the look. The three main subsets include Classic Lolita, Gothic Lolita, and Sweet Lolita.
Classic Lolitas are known for more historically accurate Victorian garb. A Classic Lolita fashion dress tends to boast neutral shades of browns and grays or regal-looking dresses that you’d expect to find on a porcelain doll. Classic Lolitas are often adorned with feminine trimmings like ruffles and bows, without being overstated.
As the name implies, Gothic Lolitas are known for dark, mournful colors and attire. The look is less cutesy and more mysterious, reminiscent of the attire worn in Penny Dreadful. While this alternative fashion trend is different from the modern Goth look, there is often overlap between the two.
Finally, Sweet Lolitas take their ruffles and bows to the next level with pastels and overstated cuteness that’s more aligned with its Kawaii style origins than the other subsets.
While these three subsets are the most well-known, there is a variety of Lolita looks, from Sailor Lolita to Steampunk Lolita to Country Lolita and beyond.
How to Get Started with Lolita?
Getting started with Lolita street fashion can be intimidating. While it’s been an iconic piece of Japanese fashion history, it’s less popular in other parts of the world. Here are some helpful tips to get you started with this style movement.
1. Find Your Signature Style
First, take some time to look at the various Lolita subsets and find the one that speaks to you the most. Remember that Lolita is a form of individualism and nonconformity; you don’t have to fit into one category. However, finding the subcategory that resonates with you can be beneficial when it’s time to go shopping.
2. Start Small
While you might eventually want to wear Lolita every day, it’s best to start small. Pick up a few staples that you can use to build a wardrobe. The three main components to invest in will include a dress, a petticoat, and some shoes.
From there, you can start to add different accessories that will let you build upon and change your look.
3. Document Your Pieces
Take a photo of everything you buy for your Lolita wardrobe. This action will allow you to compare how things match without running back to your closet. As such, you’ll be able to buy functional pieces to build a cohesive wardrobe.
4. Find a Community
The supportive community is one of the best parts of the Lolita culture. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding Lolitas, and it can feel intimidating to venture out alone. Finding a Lolita community can give you the welcoming support you need to rock the look with confidence.
The Lolita style is a fascinating part of fashion history, and, in many ways, an art form.