Gothic lolita style
Gothic lolita fashion is a Japanese style that emulates Victorian dolls. These are your gothic lolita wardrobe staples to save money on gothic lolita style – everything from home-accessorised socks to petticoats to parasols…
We’ll be talking about how to dress Gothic Lolita from head to toe. You don’t have to dress Gothic Lolita all the time if you plan to add Gothic Lolita to your wardrobe. I’m not dressed Gothic Lolita right now. You can dress Gothic Lolita any time you want, and have off days whenever you want. If you want to keep things relaxed, that’s fine. You don’t have to just stick to one alternative stereotype if you just feel excited and fluttery about alternative styles out there.
Shall we have a couple of definitions? We’ll be looking at Gothic Lolita style (the link points to what you can find on UK eBay), but there are plenty of other lolita looks out there. The fashion terms below really exist, but their definitions aren’t copied and pasted out of a style dictionary. They’re based on my personal experience:
Lolita fashion definitions and subcultures
- Lolita: A person who strives to look like an elegant, almost Victorian doll or person, complete with parasols, evening gloves, lace and ribbons etc. Abbreviations: goth loli, gosurori, loli, lolita.
- Italoli / Ouch lolita: Someone who does not wear gothic lolita well.
- Erololi: A more promiscuous Gothic Lolita, who wears shorter skirts, or corsets, for example.
- Elegant Gothic Aristocrat (EGL): This is the Gothic Lolita alternative for the older generations. Gothic Lolita is more for teenagers, and most people, when they hit about 30 change to Gothic Aristocrat as an alternative. Instead of wanting to look like a Victorian doll, these people strive to look like Victorian gentlemen, or ladies. These wear such things as top hats, waist coats, monocles, canes, etc.
- Decora: While Gothic Lolita are cute co-ordinated, Decora is cute overload! Every form of accessory is worn, such as hair slides, bangles, necklaces, badges, etc and all put on at once. It is not uncommon to hear all these accessories clink together as they walk. Decora are more fond of bright colours, whilst gothic lolita used pale colours and black.
- Punk Lolita: Gothic or normal Lolita with a sharp punk twist to it.
- Shiro Lolita: A Lolita outfit that is all white. (Shiroi = White in Japanese)
- Kuro Lolita: A Lolita outfit that is all – you’ve guessed it – black. (Kuroi = Black in Japanese)
- Sweet Lolita: Cute Lolita that almost touches overload, with lots of ribbon, lace and pastel colours.
New to Gothic Lolita? Start here…
If you are a true beginner, the first step is to research Gothic Lolita, or just Lolita in general. Keep an eye out for websites, how to’s and DIY Lolita clothes/accessories. If you have a spare couple of pennies lying around, try buying The Gothic & Lolita Bible on Amazon or eBay. This was originally a Japanese mook (a cross between a magazine and book) that could originally only be read by people who could read Japanese. Tokyopop has now taken it and translated it into English.
The Gothic & Lolita Bible includes patterns and designs if you’re handy with a sewing kit, interviews with Gothic Lolita stars, such as Nana Kitade, and more. It’s a nice little investment – and be prepared to buy the other published volumns too.
Lolita and Gothic Lolita depend on co-ordinated colours
The colours you wear will influence what type of Lolita you want to be. Of course, you can use any colours you want, but they need to look good together and be part of a cohesive overall look. I mean, you wouldn’t wear an outfit in green and pink and claim it was Gothic Lolita, would you? Of course not. Those colour combinations are more like to be Decora. You could, perhaps, say you were a Deco Lolita. Experimentation is fine – but getting the precise look and theme of your chosen Lolita style is half the fun!
If you just want to be original Lolita rather than throw a gothic slant on it, then the standard Lolita colours are white, off-white, beige, cream, baby pink, baby blue and most pastel shades.
If you are Gothic Lolita, your colours will predominantly be (wait for it… ) black, but you can inject other colours into your mostly black ensemble. All colours go well with black. Gothic Lolita often uses pink, purple, white or red as an accompaniment to black.
Decora uses lots of bright colours (think pink, yellow and green).
If you think a colour would look good with Gothic Lolita that hasn’t been mentioned here then do, of course feel free to use it. Only your innate sense of style and fiercely judgemental public opinion will determine if your look is Gothic Lolita, something wonderful and new or Italoli!
Gothic Lolita Wardrobe Staples
Gothic Lolita wardrobe staples are godsends that any self-respecting Lolita should have in her wardrobe in order for it to be ‘correct’ and also appear larger than it really is. With these staples you can wear a lot of the same stuff, but always look elegant and not like you’re wearing the same outfits over and over again. This list won’t be fully comprehensive as I’m still engaged in personal Lolita research myself! It should, however, be a good place to start.
Before you go buying expensive Lolita stuff, look around the stores near you. I found a lovely erololi black skirt with lace and Victorian buttons on the side at high street cheapo merchants New Look, just proving that you can find gorgeous stuff anywhere. Also try eBay. Just search for “lolita skirt/blouse/itemoflolitabeautyofyourchoice”. You do not have to spend £170 on a dress (the average, converted from yen) from Baby, The Stars Shine Bright.
Gothic Lolita dresses
The dresses you are looking for are quite full. Lace and ribbons are a lovely touch. Gothic Lolita dresses should not too showy or have a too-short skirt. A little cheat is to search “square dancing dresses” on eBay. These aren’t as expensive as ones from branded places, and if you find one that suits your image, just pass it off as Lolita!
If you’ve found a perfect Loli dress that isn’t full, don’t worry. Most dresses aren’t that full, so you’ll often find yourself in this position. The good news is that the dress will work well for Gothic Lolita with a petticoat or tutu to add fullness underneath, or will work well as a normal dress for when you’re not dressing in the full Gothic Lolita style. Two in one! Think of it as a money-saver! But do invest in a good petticoat or tutu for underneath…
Tutus and petticoats are used to pad out your skirts if they don’t have underskirting. If they do, it’s just to pad them out a little more. Where I live, tutus are in fashion to wear over jeans or tights, but I’d use them to pad out skirts. I think petticoats are more expensive, as tutus around my area are only £6.99 for a handmade one. Petticoats are longer and more ‘poufy’. The petticotats from inthestarlight.com come in three sizes: 17″, 19″ or 21″.
It would worth investing in at least one petticoat for longer skirts and a tutu for shorter skirts. Maybe you could even try to combine the tutu under the petticoat for a practically vertical pouf!
Gothic Lolita Skirts
The preferable length for any Gothic Lolita skirt is over the knee, or just a little under is fine too. If Erololi is your thing, then thigh high is fine as long as it isn’t too short (and you wear tights or socks with it). Because the average petticoat is too long for a shorter skirt, find or make yourself a tutu, which is just a shorter alternative.
Gothic Lolita Blouses
Frilly blouses with pretty detailing are lovely, and lace and ribbons are an added bonus. If Gothic Lolita is your thing, then you can team white blouses with black skirts, but black is always ‘yes’. Normal Lolita colours are white, off white, beige or cream and pastels. Sleeve designs to look for are long sleeves that are (1) wider at the bottom, (2) long sleeves that are poufy at the top and wider at the bottom that come in tighter around the middle of your arm and (3)short poufy sleeves that. Other than that, short sleeved blouses aren’t too good. But if you find one that looks right, wear it.
Gothic Lolita Socks
These are worn under skirts, of course, and usually come in three lengths: normal socks, ones that come just under the knee, and ones that come over the knee. If you wear a shorter skirt, the peek of flesh where the sock ends is cute and flirty. Longer skirts are fine, of course. If you wear longer skirts, however, you may as well just wear tights if you wear the longer length, but each to your own preference. For a bit of Punk Lolita, you could try alternate colours. For a schoolgirl look, wear them baggy.
Lace and ribbon
You don’t to spend 300,000 yen on a branded dress imported from Japan. You probably have old dresses or skirts in your wardrobe you could customise! You could have just a plain black pair of socks to which you could add a ribbon or lace trim, or a corset ribbon lacing down the back.
If it’s a dress, give it a nice trim, add a petticoat and wear an apron and blouse over it. Do what you want, and what works for you. It’s a lovely feeling to know your cute Gothic Lolita outfit is yours and unique, and you can say you made it!
Gothic Lolita Hair
Hair pieces are good if you have longis hair and can’t wait to grow it out. If you have shorter hair, you could have it really choppy and layered, or a cute little pixie crop with longer bangs. If you have hair pieces, you can have curly ones which can then be attached about halfway down your hair, and it looks like you have long, elegantly curled Victorian hair. If your hair is too short for pigtails, then you can have them as pigtails too. You can always change your hairstyle with hair pieces and wigs.
Gothic Lolita Shoes
You shouldn’t have a million pairs (although it IS rather nice), but a couple of nice, sturdy pairs are good. A true Gothic Lolita should always have a cute pair of platform Mary-Janes, and stilettos are not usually worn with Gothic Lolita. A tip for buying Mary-Janes is that you should have a black pair and a white pair. You can buy other ones with colours on, such as a pink bow, but this means you can only wear them with a outfit that has pink on. This way, your black and white pair will always look good. Other shoes to consider platform boots (but not big, heavy Goth boots like New Rock) or Victorian-style lace-up boots.
Gothic Lolita dress staples are essential to knowing that even if you’ve bought some lovely outfits that you can’t wear everyday, you’ll still have a selection of much cheaper outfits that you CAN wear every day.
Gothic Lolita Accessories