Sunday, 11 June 2017

Lolita Basics 3: Building a Basic Wardrobe + Printable Checklist

Hello! ♡
Welcome to the third part of the Lolita Basics series! Last week, we discussed where to buy and not to buy Lolita fashion, and this week we will discuss building a basic wardrobe ^^
So, without any further ado, let's go!

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

When starting out with Lolita, build a basic wardrobe first based on your favourite substyle. When you get this done, you can buy more pieces in different colours and styles and explore other substyles too.

Here's what you need to build a basic lolita wardrobe! I have added a printable checklist at the end ^^

A plain JSK/OP

Get a JSK/OP without a print on it, where the focus is on details like lace, ruffles and bows. Sometimes prints can be hard to coordinate, especially when you're first starting out, so a plain dress is a must-have and versatile. If your style is Sweet, get a pastel dress, if Gothic- black or other darker colours, and for Classic try ivory, beige or muted pink.
Whether it's a JSK or OP is up to you- it's nice to have one OP and one JSK for a start. It all comes down to personal preference ^^
My recommendations;

A JSK/OP with a print

There are a loooooooot of motifs that can be seen on lolita prints and dresses. From macarons to deers and gothic architecture, find a dress that reflects your personality! If you love reading, get a book print such as the Angelic Pretty Memorial Library JSK. If you are a cat person, then try the Lyre Ivy Spoiled Cat OP. If gothic architecture is more your thing, then Moi-Meme-Moitie's ruins catchedral OP  might be the dress for you. You get the idea! Every print that I have and is on my wishlist has some sort of meaning to me. My first print was this , bought at a Lolita bring and buy sale. I bought it because I loooove candy and also because my style is sweet- like candy ^^ 
Although the brand isn't the best (a lot of their pieces are ita), the JSK isn't a bad dress and I still wear it- but of course I can coord it much better now ^^ When I first bought it, I wore it without a blouse, a wig that didn't really match and no petticoat (though the dress has a built-in petticoat) and ballet flats >-< 
So- choose a print that reflects you as a person! Don't get a print just because it's popular. Use Lolibrary to help you!

A skirt
A skirt comes in useful especially when you're doing more casual coords- and when you're new to lolita, it's good to start with a skirt to get used to the fashion. Whether or not it has a print is up to you, my first skirt had a pretty strawberry cake print  as I looooove strawberries.
My recommendations;

A blouse

A blouse is a must for wearing JSKs and skirts. It is generally agreed that a JSK without a blouse is a no-no in Lolita- there are exceptions, such as if it's really hot and the coord is done well, but at least one blouse is a wardrobe staple. Luckily, blouses are quite easy to find- just go to a thrift store and you'll likely find some grandma blouses that can work. Look for details like ruffles, lace and perhaps bows. If  you can't find a blouse when you're out shopping, get a plain white blouse and sew on some details such as ruffles- use the internet for inspiration. Of course lolita blouses are very plentiful on the Internet so you shouldn't have trouble getting one! Blouses with detachable sleeves are lovely because one blouse can be worn when it's hot and cold ^^
It's best to get a blouse that can go with everything in your respective style- white for sweet and classic, and black for gothic. You can always buy more colours later.
My recommendations;

As I have learnt from experience, you can't just wear ballet flats in your coord. A priority should be a pair of Lolita shoes in a versatile colour- either black or white, depending on your style. I made the mistake of buying my first shoes in lilac- of course they'll come in useful for when I get a lilac dress, but they don't match all my coords. So, first get a pair of shoes that will go with everything- black or white. The style isn't really important; do an image search and look at coords to get an idea of what to look for. Shoes go from more extravagant styles such as this, to simple "tea-parties" like these. Bodyline is very good for shoes and they go up to larger sizes, and An*tai*na does custom sizing ^^
Brand shoes aren't really worth it. They are pretty much the same style as shoes you can find on TaoBao, Bodyline, etc. and the quality is basically the same. So unless a brand has a unique shoe design that you fall in love with, there's no use in dropping the few hundred dollars on brand shoes.
Brand shoes tend to go like this;
  • 22.5cm/S - EUR size 36/ UK size 3/ US size 5
  • 23.5cm/M- EUR size 37/ UK size 4/ US size 6
  • 24.5cm/L- EUR size 38-39/ UK size 5.5/ US size 7.5
  • 25cm/ LL- EUR size 39-40/ UK size 6-7/ US size 8
The shoe size conversions are just approximations ^^ Asian shoe sizes are by cm- so a 240 is 24cm, 245 is 24.5cm, and so forth. Measure your foot first ^^ Do this by laying it flat on a sheet of paper, then mark where your toes reach, and mark where your heel is. Then, just measure with a ruler. I got around 24cm, so I would need a Japanese size 245, as a 240 would be pretty snug >-<

A good pettiocat

Lolita fashion has a certain silhouette and length. Without it, it's not Lolita. To achieve the characteristic lolita silhouette, you need a petticoat. Some dresses have built-in petticoats, but often it's not quite there. Bodyline is great for many things but petticoats is not one of them. Good petticoats are from Classical Puppets and Dear Celine.
A petticoat poofs up your skirt and gives it a shape. There are two lolita silhouettes as I mentioned in Part 1- A-Line and Bell. Some dresses are made for only one shape, others are good for both. Sometimes it says which shape a dress is best for, other times you need to see photos of the dress being worn to determine the best petticoat for it.
It's good to invest in a good quality petticoat as it'll last you a long time and it's better than buying lots of cheaper pettis. White or black are the best and easiest to find colours ^^

It's good to have one pair of tights, one pair of OTKs/knee-highs and one pair of ankle socks to be worn according to the weather ^^ For tights, first get solid colour ones ( such as white for sweet and classic, beige for classic,black for gothic), for OTKs/knee-highs choose plain ruffle-top ones or ones with a versatile design, and for ankle socks plain ruffle-top ones are best ^^

A coat
For wearing lolita in the colder months, get a cute coat to keep you warm ^^ There are plenty on TaoBao (which are also resold on AliExpress, Spreepicky,etc.) as well as from brands. Bodyline also has some very cute coats. There are lolita-specific coats that are the length of a dress, as well as coats that are normal length. Which one you get is up to you, I prefer normal length coats as they are more versatile and don't cover up my skirt, but it all comes down to preference ^^ Sometimes you can also find loli-able coats in normal stores, or coats that can be made loli-able with a bit of DIY ^^
To get an idea of what to look for, some coats I'd recommend are;

A cardigan

You can also wear a JSK with a cardigan instead of a blouse. It can just be a plain cardigan you picked up at the thrift store or a fancy one made for lolita with ruffles and bows- it's all up to you! You can also modify a plain cardigan.

A cutsew
Cutsews can be worn in place of blouses with a skirt and are great for casual Lolita (cutsew+skirt+tea party shoes is a great starting coord for getting used to the fashion). A cutsew is basically a cute, lolita top that is not a blouse. It could be a t-shirt with ruffles and bows and a cute print, there is a wide range of styles. With some DIY, you could even make your own!
 Examples of cutsews include;


Accessories add a finishing touch to outfits and make them unique. Luckily, they are easy to find, both brand and off-brand ^^ The accessories you need to have at least one of are;
  • A versatile bag (eg. this one and this one)
  • A necklace (eg. this one from my shop and this one from IW)
  • A bracelet (a pearl bracelet is fine but there are also fancy ones like this)
  • Wristcuffs (you can make them yourself or buy affordable ones from Bodyline)
  • Headwear (a headbow, a hat, bonnet or headdress)
  • Parasol- for blocking out the sun on sunny days. This is actually optional but for many lolitas, it's a staple ^^ A plain parasol with ruffles is just fine. There are also fancy brand parasols out there ^^
As promised, the printable checklist can be found by clicking here ^^

When you have everything on this checklist, you can experiment with more colours and styles and prints c:  You will also be able to put together quite a few coords with these basics ^^
Now, a question- what is your Lolita staple? Which piece of your wardrobe can you not live without? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

 Have a lovely day!
~LilacBlossom ♡


  1. Hi Lilac!

    Very intersting post!

    I wish it would be easier to get shoes and try sizes. If you order abroad, return policies might exist, but its expensive and frustrating.
    Also having a nice collection of cute shoes seems crazy, but what pair of shoes can you recommend for boys?



    1. Thank you!
      When ordering shoes online, you just need to know the length of your foot in cm. Also, it will usually tell you if the shoe fits larger/smaller than normal and there are detailed size guides too so you'd be fine! And if anything you can always sell/trade the shoes ^^
      Sadly finding kawaii/lolita shoes in physical stores in the West is very difficult *^*
      As for cute shoes for boys- hmm, I'm not too knowledgeable in this, but pastel trainers came to mind! Thankfully you can find them pretty much anywhere and they're super versatile. Plus you can always DIY them to make them cuter! You can add a patch or something like that ^^
      Have a lovely day!


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