Friday, 12 May 2017

Lolita Basics 1: The Sub-Styles

Hello! ♡
I thought I'd write a series of guides made for Lolitas just getting into the fashion, because I know just how scary and intimidating it is at the start! All these different brands, terms, communities- where do you even begin?  There will be 5 parts- covering all the basics you need to know when you're a new Lolita! I hope my guides will help you out ^^

Lolita Basics 1: The Sub-Styles ✓
Lolita Basics 2: Where to buy, where not to buy
Lolita Basics 3: Building a basic wardrobe
Lolita Basics 4: Mistakes to avoid
Lolita Basics 5: Lolita Terms

The Sub-Styles
Lolita fashion has many, many sub-styles. The three main ones are Sweet, Gothic and Classic. First, I'll go over the three main styles, then I'll discuss some of the other styles. When starting out with Lolita, it is best to choose one of the three main styles first, and stick with it until you get more confident with the fashion. For instance, I chose Sweet, and I still stick with it. Take a look around and choose one that fits to your personality and style best- there's bound to be one!

Sweet Lolita

Sweet Lolita uses pastel colours, lots of frills and bows, and motifs including;

  • animals
  • toys
  • sweets
  • flowers
  • cupcakes and pastries
Old-school sweet, sometimes considered a sub-style of its own, has focus on ruffles, lace and details rather than the print. Currently, elaborate prints and border prints are very popular in sweet lolita. OTT Sweet tends to feature border prints, pastel wigs and lots and lots of accessories.
Usually, the silhouette in sweet lolita is bell-shaped- but in old-school lolita, A-line is seen a bit more. Of course, it all comes down to the dress itself and personal preference. Sometimes, sweet lolita is mixed in with darker colours- this is called Bittersweet, but it's not a style of its own. Sweet lolita is perfect for those with a cute, girly and feminine style, and lovers of pastels!
Gothic Lolita
Commonly seen in anime (though not necessarily accurately), gothic lolita makes use of rich and dark colours such as black, navy, deep red, dark purple and emerald. Popular colour combinations include red and black, purple and black and emerald and black. Black and white is also very popular- but it's very easy to get it wrong and look like an ita anime maid, so black and white isn't reccomended for new lolitas. The main rule is to use white details sparingly and in the right places. This style is perfect for those who love wearing black and dark colours, and love gothic motifs. It's also great for lovers of gothic architecture, as that's a popular motif on dresses!

Motifs in gothic lolita include;
  • crosses
  • skulls
  • clocks
  • roses
  • cathedrals
Classic Lolita
A more elegant and mature style, A-line petticoats are more common in classic lolita. Classic with a hint of sweet coords are quite popular, as the combination of elegance and sweetness is lovely. Skirts tend to be longer in this style, and colours are soft and muted- ivory, beige, brown, rose and wine red are common in classic lolita. This is a perfect style for those whose style is more mature, elegant and muted, but still feminine and cute.
Motifs include;
  • Elegant animals (birds, deer,etc.)
  • Books
  • Flowers
Other Sub-styles
Apart from the big three, there are many many more sub-styles in lolita! If you're new in the community, once you get comfortable with one of the big three, you can explore the other styles if you wish. Each has its own unique aesthetic, some bending the rules of lolita- but they still retain the signature aesthetics of the fashion- poofy skirt, modesty and elegance. There are hundreds of styles out there, but I'll go over just a few. ^^

Wa Lolita
'Wa' means Japanese. This sub-style can look like a bad anime cosplay if not done right, so it must be coordinated carefully. The dresses retain the lolita aesthetic, but with some elements inspired by Wafuku- or traditional Japanese clothing. Dresses may have elements of kimono, such as two crossed collars, a belt resembling an obi and wider sleeves. Prints are often inspired by kimono motifs, and kanzashi (Japanese hair accessories) can be used. I'm yet to see Nihongami, or traditional Japanese hairstyles (or something similar) worked into this style, but I think it'd look interesting.

Casual Lolita
I'd actually recommend beginners to start with this style. It's a good way to get your first Lolita items while getting used to wearing Lolita. Casual lolita is very toned down while keeping the signature elements of the fashion. A typical coord would be a blouse or cutsew, a skirt with a smaller petticoat and tea parties, as well as some accessories. Casual lolita is more comfortable, and attracts less attention- it's perfect for beginners, but also for more experienced lolitas who want to wear the fashion without dressing up too much.
Hime Lolita
Hime means princess in Japanese- and this style is the most elaborate and extravagant, and can be difficult and expensive to pull off. It features an abundance of frills and ruffles, as well as pearls and accessories like tiaras. Dresses are very elaborate. It is inspired by Rococo, with elaborate, curly hairstyles. Although it is most often seen in light colours such as pink and ivory, it can sometimes be seen in darker colours too.

Ero Lolita
The most risky style, bending some of the rules of lolita while still keeping the overall cute and modest aesthetic. While Ero is more mature and can be more revealing than usual- it must still retain the modesty! This means no boobs and no butts visible. It can't be too revealing. Skirts can be a bit shorter than usual, and blouses can have a lower cut. Fishnet tights and corsets are also popular. A difficult style to pull off, but if done right, it looks great!

I hope you found the first post of the Lolita Basics series helpful! If you're a lolita, what's your favourite style? The one you wear most? Or if are you looking to get into the fashion- which style will you try first? Let me know in the comments!
 Have a lovely day!


  1. sweet and hime lolita are my fav ^^~

    1. Ooh, mine too! I also like Wa lolita, but I haven't tried it yet *^*


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