Hailing straight from Japan, the Lolita fashion aesthetic is where Kawaii culture and the Victorian era meet. Think ruffled sleeves, circle skirts, and lacey fabric. However, this niche isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Like most subcultures, Lolita fashion has its own subtle complexities, sometimes hard for a newcomer to navigate.
Within the whole of Lolita fashion, you’ll find that there are many sub-categories. The three most popular are Gothic, Classic, and Sweet Lolita. While each would never be caught without a parasol or ribbon trim, certain aspects of their clothing differ greatly.
Let’s dig into the wardrobe.
What is Lolita fashion? Gothic, Classic, and Sweet Lolita looks
For fans of the spookier side of life, there’s the Gothic Lolita look. This subcategory of Lolita will most likely involve darker colors like burgundy and black, and may carry motifs like crosses, skulls, and bats. Usually, the skirt will be worn with a bell-shaped petticoat to achieve the classic “bell shape”.
Classic Lolitas are the most mature looking of the three popular subcategories and take after the Victorian era’s historic fashion. These skirts and dresses tend to be more streamlined, and are usually the longest of the three with most ending at the mid-calf. Printed floral skirts, stripes, and fleur de lis are all common patterns found in the Classic Lolita style.
In a sharp deviation from the Classic Lolita comes the Sweet Lolita, the “cutest” and most child-like Lolita style. Any Sweet Lolita outfit will include lots of ruffles, bows, and brightly colored fabrics. Patterns decorated with small strawberries, desserts, and fantastical elements are prevalent in this subcategory.
How to create the perfect Gothic Lolita fashion look
1) Best Gothic Lolita fashion dress: Long sleeve ruffle dress
This is the perfect dress for any beginning or long-standing Gothic Lolita lover. This dress has it all; silky black fabric, ruffled sleeves and multi-layer lace and poplin decorations, and an intricate design. It’s important to note that this dress does not come with a petticoat in order to achieve the signature bell-shaped skirt. However, no matter how you wear this number, you’re sure to be the star wherever you go.
2) Best Gothic Lolita shoes: Black platform Mary Janes
Darling Mary Janes may very well be one of the staple shoes for the Gothic Lolita subculture. Their comfort and boy-ish look make for easy parings with the more delicate dresses and accessories. These black platform Mary Janes feature a heart cut-out on the toe, a two-strap design attached to a white ruffle, and a bow at the closure very closely resembling a classic maid headband.
Price: $36.00 – $43.00
3) Best Gothic Lolita headband: Maid lace hair accessory
The designers at BeAngel have done a great job at creating a spot-on classic maid headband. This must-have Gothic Lolita accessory delivers on style, quality, and longevity, and has a long list of happy customers to prove it. Top off your Gothic Lolita outfit with this statement headband and let the compliments pour in.
4) Best Gothic Lolita handbag: Gothic bear shoulder bag
Get ready to introduce your wardrobe to your new favorite accessory; the Gothic bear shoulder bag. This adorable bear is both sour and sweet, embodying the very essence of the Gothic Lolita. Done up in dark colors and sporting cross motifs, this teddy bag is the perfect cross between kawaii and goth, and the ultimate Gothic bag.
5) Best Gothic Lolita gloves: Floral lace wrist gloves
When you’re all dressed up and still feeling like something’s missing, turn to these perfect lace wrist gloves to complete your Gothic Lolita outfit. Not to be mistaken for traditional gloves, these wrist gloves simply fit around the wrist and fan out above and below to create a beautiful shape and highlight the wearer’s tiny wrist and hands.
They are the ultimate outfit completer and a favorite among Lolita fashion lovers.
How to create the perfect Classic Lolita fashion look
1) Best Classic Lolita dress: Long-sleeve Classic Lolita
In true Classic Lolita fashion, we’ve found a dress that pays homage to the Victorian era in all the right ways. A sailor neckline adorned with a cameo motif and beautiful lace trim gives way to long cuffed sleeves and a ruffled hem. It’s not the most subtle Classic Lolita dress you could wear, but who really wants subtle anyways?
Price: $49.99 – $76.99
2) Best Classic Lolita shoes: Victorian Era boots
If you’re doing Classic Lolita, you better do it right with these spot-on Victorian Era booties. With a 2.5 inch heel, mid-calf upper, and a vintage lace design surrounding the toe and tongue, you’ll feel like you stepped straight out of the 1800’s.
Price: $38.99 – $83.99
3) Best Classic Lolita hat: Tea party sun hat
The hats worn during the Victorian Era were nothing short of extravagant. Plumes of flowers and large satin bows were all the rage. One area where Classic Lolita fashion stays the course of the Victorian Era is in its hair accessories. Classic Lolitas love a breathtaking hair accessory, like this stunning bonnet, to tie their outfit together seamlessly.
Complete with lace trim and satin ribbon, this straw bonnet is the perfect hair accessory to wear at your next outdoor tea party or gathering.
4) Best Classic Lolita gloves: Dainty white lace gloves
These lace gloves prove that both functionality and style can live in one place. The Victorian lady does not dirty her hands, and neither does the Classic Lolita. These lace gloves provide a stylish and protective barrier from the outside world, all the while elevating your outfit.
5) Best Classic Lolita bow: Satin bow clip
Ribbons are a must-have accessory for Classic Lolitas, but they can sometimes be a huge bother. If you can’t seem to tie the perfect bow, turn to this satin bow clip and make your day a little easier. With a butterfly hair clip sturdy enough to hold all types of hair, you’ll never have to struggle with your hair bow again.
How to create the perfect Sweet Lolita Fashion Look
1) Best Sweet Lolita dress: Sweet chiffon long sleeve dress
It seems like this dress has all the trimmings a Sweet Lolita could ever need all in one. It packs a huge cuteness punch with ruffles, bows, lace, and even teddy bears expertly woven to create this one dress. If you’re a Sweet Lolita looking for a showstopper, this is the dress for you.
2) Best Sweet Lolita headband: Lace headdress
Perfect for outdoor occasions like tea parties or garden gatherings, this Sweet Lolita hair bonnet is unbelievably cute. Interlaced with ribbons and decorated with ivory white lace, this bonnet is sure to go well with any Sweet Lolita get-up. Take your sweet style to the next level with this undeniably sweet headpiece.
3) Best Sweet Lolita shoes: Lace Mary Jane pumps
Just when you thought it didn’t get any cuter than Mary Jane rockabilly pumps, they added lace. These sweet shoes come in four colors, beige, black, pink, and white, and have two design options. For all your Sweet Lolita fashion needs, get these new favorites to complete any outfit you’ve got planned.
Price: $33.99 – $46.99
4) Best Sweet Lolita cuffs: Lace hand ornaments with bows
If full-on gloves are a bit much for your Sweet Lolita look, try these lacy cuffs instead. Made from ivory white lace and trimmed in pink satin bows, these cuffs sit perfectly around your wrist leaving your fingers bare. The dainty lace covers half of your hand, leaving the rest exposed and free to move.
5) Best Sweet Lolita bag: Fruit crossbody bag
Why store your goodies in a boring leather bag when you can store them in your favorite beverage? This drink crossbody bag gives everything a Sweet Lolita could want, and then some. Choose between strawberry milk, chocolate milk, and even orange juice themed bags all differing in color to tie together your perfect Sweet Lolita fashion look.
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