I love almost all Japanese street fashion, but my favorite style above all is Lolita. I'm sure you may know what lolita is already considering that most of you reading are either people I know in person or people from /cgl/, but for those who are unaware, lolita is a fashion that epitomizes loveliness and femininity. The important aesthetic elements are a sense of modesty, a flared skirt, and exquisite detail from head to toe. It draws inspiration from Rococo & Victorian fashion, Alice in Wonderland, and porcelain dolls. There are three main substyles in lolita: gothic, classic, and sweet. Gothic lolita is dark, luxurious, and somber. Sweet is bright, cheerful, and instills a youthful feeling. Classic falls somewhere between the two with earth and jewel tones and historical inspiration. My style tends to fall into classic and classic hybrids with the other two substyles.
Being a huge weeaboo who loved anime and all things Japanese, I had a vague awareness of lolita before I got into it. Perhaps somewhere I had seen a lolita in one of my ultra cheesy shoujo mangas. My first glimpse of actual lolita was an advertisement for Baby, The Stars Shine Bright in Shoujo Beat during a particularly boring history class in seventh grade.
She's beauty and she's grace...
It was love at first sight. By no means was I a girly girl, I hadn't owned a dress or skirt for many years at that point but everything about the coord enchanted me. There was detail on every inch of the outfit: the way her hair was perfectly coiffed, the wristcuffs with lace that perfectly matched the lace on top of her knee high socks and the white lace of her parasol, and perfect white shoes with little bows. The dress was the main course with the boat neck collar (is that the correct term?) with small black bows that matched the bows on the hem which had a lovely strip of tulle underneath. The print was simple, yet interesting and elegant.
I knew in my angsty thirteen year old heart that this was the dress of my dreams. This dress invoked that dreamy fairy tale princess feeling I chased after when I was little. I had no idea how to obtain this holy grail so my quest was put on the back burner for some time. It wasn't until six months later when, I visited my local Borders (Does this story show its age now? R.I.P. Borders) and saw a new shipment of what appeared to be magazines in the manga section. It was the Gothic & Lolita Bible English Issue for Summer 2008.
I pored over that mook for hours and hours. The binding was incredibly worn down by the end of the year. The streetsnaps, the brand coords, the short stories, the interviews, everything was just perfect. I bought that awesome coffee table book Gothic & Lolita and picked my favorite outfits. I knew that lolita was expensive, far more than my parents were willing to spend on "overpriced dresses you'll grow out of next year". During this time, I had also started to cosplay so I convinced my dad that a costume would be the perfect reward for good grades. I loved the anime series, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and really wanted to cosplay her. I found the most beautiful promotional figure of her that was in a 1000% accurate not-ita authentic Gothic Lolita outfit.
Putting the lol and ita in lolita
I mentioned how I got this great new lolita cosplay to an online friend who actually wore lolita at the time. She proceeded to tell me this wasn't lolita and it couldn't ever really be lolita because it was a cosplay. I was flabbergasted! How dare someone tell me my perfect plan wasn't going to work?! I dejectedly wore the cosplay as just a cosplay and never mentioned my desire to wear lolita for a long time.
It was only recently that I finally bought real, true, honest to god, burando. I had started browsing Behind the Bows my senior year of high school for amusement and seeing how ridiculous lolita drama was. I couldn't get enough of that pure, unadulterated dramu and had a lot of free time after graduating so I started to browse /cgl/ as well. At this time, the style had started the big shift away from sweet towards classic which I enjoyed far more than sweet. I had a decent amount of savings from graduation, birthdays, and Christmases so when I saw Krad Lanrete doing a preorder for a re-release of Lost in Sea, I jumped on it.
The release was incredibly slow and orders were pushed back month after month. I started to get antsy so I would browse dream dress threads which got me thinking about dresses that I dreamed about. Suddenly, I remembered my holy grail, that beautiful dress that had started it all. I tracked down the Lolibrary entry for it and posted the dress, feeling that I'd surely never find the stupid thing because it was so old and not very popular. Within the next week, I got a reply from an anon of a listing of the exact dress and colorway I wanted on mbok for way under what it retailed for. I dropped everything, learned how to use a bidding service, and before I knew it, the package was in transit to the States. It arrived, I tried it on, I looked like a dumbo with my deflated petticoat and too-short skirt and my waist bow on my head, but I felt like the ultimate perfect lolita princess and pranced around my (empty) house squealing like a five year old after too many pixie sticks. It was the best god damned experience of my life.
The Most Exciting Package of All Time
Oh my god I'm so big
It's been about a year since then and my love has only grown for the fashion. I can't wait to see where my adventures take me and what is to come in the future of our community.
Shout out to the anon who helped me, I love you, gullfriend. (sorry.)