For a great deal of my life, I’ve had a love for Lolita style clothing. No, not like the book, but the Japanese fashion.
I probably saw something on Gaia Online ten years ago (wow) and did research and found out all about Gothic Lolita fashion. It was probably somehow related to Mana. From there, I learned about Sweet Lolita and Classical Lolita and all the other varieties of lolita fashion. I adore it. Frilly, lacey dresses with tights and all very modest and you look like a doll or a princess or both.
There are two caveats to this passion. First, good luck finding any Lolita clothing in the US. Most Americans associate the word “lolita” with the novel by Vladimir Nabokov, or perhaps the films based on the book. Actually, there are Baby the Stars Shine Bright and Angelic Pretty stores in New York City and L.A., and Atelier Pierrot has an international store, so it is slightly more accessible these days.
The second caveat is price. An Angelic Pretty One Piece dress is a good $300-$400. (￣◇￣;) Ah wow. I figure many people buy used dresses (which there IS a market for!), but that is a painful amount of money to spend on a single dress. Heck, for me, $100 is a lot for a single dress. Japanese Lolita brands (in the lolita community, the well known ones are referred to as ‘brand dresses’) are very high quality and nice and wonderful. A few times a year, they have lucky packs where you can get a dress (either a jumper skirt or one piece) and a blouse and maybe some headpiece or jewelry for a couple hundred bucks, but sizes are still somewhat limited to the one-size (Japanese brands in general are usually one size fits all, which is usually equal to a small or medium in US sizes), and you’re out of luck if it happens to be a print you don’t love (or the print you are in love with sells out before it can be put in a lucky pack).
(This is taken from Angelic Pretty’s facebook pages)
(This is taken from BtSSB’s SF facebook pages)
It wasn’t until a few years ago when I discovered Korean brands (Haenuli is one I know of) and several Chinese brands. As much as I am in love with BTSSB and Angelic Pretty, I am so impressed with Korean and Chinese brands. They have Storenvy shops (so very accessible to International customers) and sizing is great (things fit me!) and are generally more affordable (especially Chinese brands).
From Haenuli’s Storeenvy.
While I was in college, I tried to make my own lolita-style clothes instead of trying to buy some. Even the more affordable indie brands were too expensive for me at the time. I can make an okay tiered skirt, so I made a few tiered skirts with lace and ribbon. However, blouses and dresses were out of the question due to my limited skill. Instead, I kept an eye out for dresses and blouses that were elegant and I felt could be adapted to fit into lolita style. I also tried to make petticoats, which worked just okay.
Last year, I went to a lolita tea party at the local anime convention, wearing a Target blouse, a plain cardigan and an actual lolita skirt that was sold by a vendor at the convention a few years prior. This was the first time I tried to wear lolita around other people who knew what the fashion style was, so I was really nervous they would judge me. But they were all really nice. So later last year, I finally went ahead and bought my first lolita dresses from Fanplusfriend/Neo-Ludwig.
Musical Palmer II JSK (no longer available, but there is a regency dress version)
Enchanted Forest JSK (there is a fancy silk one piece version but this one is discontinued as well)
Wow, just looking back at these stock pictures makes me feel really warm and fuzzy inside, because I fell in love with these dresses and they were amazing to wear at this year’s local anime convention. People gave me compliments and everything!
Since then, I have bought a few more lolita dresses, from Fanplusfriend (their Chiffon Lover series was much pined after, and then there was a sale and they discounted that line to get rid of it, so I acquired a few basic blouses, skirts and JSKs for a nice price) and Clobba Online. And thus, I have acquired a dress problem.