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Alternative Fashion: Lolita Fashion

Nicole is a college student majoring in Civil Engineering. During her spare time, she is finding fashion trends that she enjoys.

Alternative fashion has its fair share of styles ranging from emo to pastel goth. However, there is a one certain style that goes away from all the dark clothing and edgy appearance. This style is called Lolita fashion. Originating from Japan, Lolita fashion has become known and loved by many people across the world. With the frills, pastel colors, and Victorian influenced clothes: What is the history of Lolita fashion, and how did it become so popular around the world?

What is Lolita Fashion?

Before starting, it is important to note that Lolita fashion is not related to the novel of the same name written in 1955. Due to the novel and the fashion sharing the same name, people find to get the wrong idea in regards to the fashion. However, that is not the case. Lolita is a fashion subculture that originated in Japan is known for it's Victorian and Edwardian influenced clothing from the Rococo era. The fashion subculture is known to embody the aesthetic of cuteness in an elegant manner. It has different categories of style such as sweet, Gothic, punk, classic, and kodona. There are many more categories of style for a Lolita, but these are the most well known.

Something else that should be mentioned in regards to this fashion is that it is not considered cosplay or a costume. Though the many frills and lace can be something that people may consider suitable for a costume party or a convention, Lolita is not a costume, it's a type of fashion. Just like streetwear, vintage, and preppy are considered different types of fashion styles, Lolita is just another way for people to express themselves with their clothing.

There are many different categories that Lolitas can wear if they wish to do so.

There are many different categories that Lolitas can wear if they wish to do so.

A Quick Timeline of Lolita

Lolita fashion does not have a clear origin, but there are events to that led to the start of the fashion subculture. In the late 1970s, Japan was experience a new social movement called Otome-kei, where Otome means maiden. This movement influenced Lolita fashion later on since the maiden style for this movement looks similar to modern day Lolita fashion. However, the rise in popularity in cuteness was already taking place in the early 1970s. Sanrio (the company that had created Hello Kitty) started experimenting with new designs to fit the kawaii style (kawaii meaning 'cute' in Japanese), which was becoming even more popular during the 1980s. After the Otome-kei trend, a new a style started emerging, called Doll-kei, the forerunner of Lolita fashion.

During the 1980, brands like Pink House, Milk, and Angelic pretty started to produce and sell clothing marketed to appeal to those who desired cute clothing, a new style was created, which would later be known as Lolita. A decade later, Lolita started to become more accepted, where media and music influences like bands from visialkei trends started adopting the Lolita style. Later on, the Harajuku bridge (or Jingu Bashi) became the meeting place for Lolitas and other alternative fashion lovers. It started becoming more popular causing and increase in Lolita fashion stores, and being seen in more well-known fashion magazines. In the late 90s, the fashion subculture started to become known in other countries besides Japan, and stores started slowly popping up in many different parts of the world.

The Emergence of Lolita Fashion in fashion magazines

The Emergence of Lolita Fashion in fashion magazines

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How to Dress Lolita

After learning what is Lolita fashion and how it came to be known around the world, there is only one question: How does one dress Lolita? Lolita fashion tries to have a style that is intended to blend feminine, sophisticated, and a little aristocratic elements with a cute, fantasy like aesthetic. This being said, with the heavy influence that it has from the Victorian era and Rococo era, there is a lot of corsets, lace, ruffles, and other vintage pieces in the mix. However, not all subcategories will apply of these details to the fashion.

The most defining quality of a Lolita is the silhouette of their clothing. In general, Lolita fashion usually needs petticoats and crinolines under skirts or dresses to fluff them up and bring more of a cupcake or A-line shape depending on the subcategory of Lolita Fashion. With the cute shape and design of the dresses, it is surprising to some people to know that pastel colors aren't always the essential to dress Lolita. As mentioned before, there are plenty of categories ranging from pastels to gothic styles.

As a foundation outfit, a Lolita outfit usually consists of a lace blouse, with decorative socks, voluminous skirt or dress, with a petticoat or crinoline underneath. A few accessories that can be added to the outfit would be a frilly bonne (or head accessories), some bow shoes, and wrist cuffs. The basics are pretty simple to start with, so as one grows their style, they can add more accessories that will make them more comfortable and can compliment their style.

To have a better understanding of the basics and what to look when building a Lolita Fashion wardrobe, a future article is in the works to help better understand what makes a Lolita outfit to what doesn't.

There's a large importance on obtaining the silhouette for Lolita outfits.

There's a large importance on obtaining the silhouette for Lolita outfits.

Lolita Fashion: It's more than the clothes

Lolita fashion is a very unique style that has gained the attention of many people around the world. With their crinolines and puffy skirts, it's hard to miss a Lolita all dressed up. Dressing up isn't the only that they do though. Having tea parties is an important activities that many Lolitas participate in. It gives them a chance for them to dress up a little bit nicer and have an enjoyable lunch or dinner with a group of other Lolitas. It is more about showing their Sunday's best and having a good time with friends rather than the itself. There are also conventions dedicated for other Lolita's to meet each other and create a new friend and strong bond with the ever-growing Lolita community.

Lolita has a very strong community all over the world, so those inside the community have many strong bonds with other Lolitas all around the world. The passion and intense love that person has for the style really is something to be appreciate. It's not a style that is for the approval of others, rather than the approval of one's self. If it feels good and looks good, then what's the harm in trying out the style? Anyone is welcome to try the fashion if they are sincere and appreciate the fashion itself. Besides, feeling confident in what you wear is the whole point of experimenting with fashion.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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