How to Be a Gothic Lolita at a Young Age

Gothic Lolita is a popular Japanese street fashion, that is becoming widely known in the Western world today. This style usually leans towards the look of a Porcelain doll, or other doll-like characters. Gothic Lolita is an elegant style, mostly popular among teenagers or young adults. The clothes, makeup and hair can be quite difficult to adapt to if you are quite young. Parents and schoolmates can crush your confidence. However, that shouldn't hold you back. If you're at a young age and want to get into the Gothic Lolita lifestyle, stop dreaming; just read this article.


  1. Image titled Be a Gothic Lolita at a Young Age Step 1
    Understand the style. There is nothing worse than trying to be something when you know nothing about it. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of Gothic Lolita before attempting to get involved in it.
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    Also make sure you have a thorough understanding of all the other connotations of "Lolita" before calling yourself one. For one example, "Lolita" has been a nickname for "Dolores" in Spanish for centuries. For another example, the Gothic Lolita style is not as famous in the English-speaking world as the novel Lolita (narrated by the main character, a middle-aged man who married a middle-aged woman in order to seduce and rape her 12-year-old daughter Lolita while claiming he's in love) by Nabokov is. In fact, this is where some Japanese speakers got the idea of a "Lolita complex" (abbreviated as "lolicon," now a word in Japanese) from. If you're a girl calling yourself a Lolita (or a woman calling yourself a bitch, or a gay guy calling yourself a queer), that's one thing if you're aware of the negative connotations and determined to take back the term...and that's another, stupider, thing if you're oblivious to the negative connotations of "Lolita" (or "bitch" or "queer").
  3. Image titled Be a Gothic Lolita at a Young Age Step 3
    "Gothic" has even more connotations than "Lolita," so get an understanding of these too before calling yourself a Gothic Lolita or a Gothic anything else. Learn about the Gothic literature of the 1800s, the Gothic architecture of late medieval Europe, the Gothic tribes neighboring the Roman Empire, etc.
  4. Image titled Be a Gothic Lolita at a Young Age Step 4
    You can buy a Gothic Lolita Bible from a Japanese bookshop, online, or at a comic book store. These provide an excellent source of information. If you can't get your hands on one, try researching Gothic Lolita on the internet. Many sites will take you through the style and history of Gothic Lolita, as well as the entire Lolita fashion.
  5. Image titled Be a Gothic Lolita at a Young Age Step 5
    Determine why you want to do this. Do you want to be a Gothic Lolita because your friends think it's cool? Because it's the "in thing" at your school right now? To adapt to the lifestyle of any type of subculture, you need to be doing it for the right reasons. You should be reading this article because you appreciate the style and culture of Gothic Lolita and want to be a part of it -- not because your peers are doing the same. If Gothic Lolita is not who you really are, it will show and you'll get labelled a poser.
  6. Image titled Be a Gothic Lolita at a Young Age Step 6
    Ease into the clothing. Chances are, your parents aren't ready to see you decked out in the full Gothic Lolita uniform, and neither are your friends. This is okay, as it gives you time to explore your clothing style and tastes. Firstly, try to imitate the Gothic Lolita style, but using ordinary clothes. This can be done by wearing the following:
    • Little girl blouses- your parents shouldn't object to these, as they are decent and rather like school uniform shirts. Try to get these in pastel, lighter colours to begin with. Later, move on to more complex blouses, like ones with peter pan collars and cap sleeves.
    • Knee length skirts. Your parents also are not likely to object to these. Try to get fuller, "poofier" skirts that sit on your actual waist. The colours can be pastel and light to start with, so as not to get too drastic. If you're looking for patterns, try delicate prints and embroidery.
    • Long socks. These are usually in white or black, just above or sitting on the knee. You can also try stockings. Wear these with the skirts and blouses.
    • Ballet flats. These can be considered Lolita when purchased in the right style and colour- again, light, pastel colours, perhaps with little ribbons. You can also try Mary Jane shoes.
    • Simple hair accessories. These include ribbons, plain alice bands, or alice bows.
  7. Image titled Be a Gothic Lolita at a Young Age Step 7
    Get Lolita Hair. This may not be difficult at all, because this style works on some hair types and does not raise any eyebrows. Straight hair is easy to maintain if you have it. You could also try "properly" curled ringlets. Medium or long length hair is supposedly perfect. If you are allowed to, try dyeing your hair a dark or wild colour, such as black, dark brown, or auburn red. If you can't dye your hair then don't panic- just leave it as it is. Some good hairstyles are to just leave your hair loose with a headband or bow, or pigtails with ribbons. Bangs are also supposedly perfect. Take good care of your hair and keep it clean and healthy.
  8. Image titled Be a Gothic Lolita at a Young Age Step 8
    Get the natural look. Gothic Lolitas do not wear a face full of makeup- in fact, the bare look is considered quite beautiful by some people. Look after your skin- wash and moisturise daily, and don't sleep with makeup on. If you have fair or pale skin, this is supposedly perfect. If you have darker skin, don't worry. You could try using a powder that is just a shade lighter than your skin colour in order to make yourself look closer to the same race as Japanese Gothic Lolita teens, or better yet simply leave it. If your eyes need enhancing, use a little eyeliner and mascara. Lip gloss is good, clear or pink. If you want to wear lipstick, try natural colours such as bronze or dark brown.
  9. Image titled Be a Gothic Lolita at a Young Age Step 9
    Invest in the clothing. When you think your family and friends have adjusted to the style, you can start hunting down the actual Gothic Lolita clothes. Firstly, you need to get your hands on the essentials. These include:
    • Money to buy the clothes, or to buy material to sew the clothes.
    • A couple of white or black blouses. Make sure that these have a peter pan collar. The sleeves should either be blouse sleeved or cap sleeved.
    • A petticoat. Make sure the petticoat is a good shape- usually a bell shaped or A-lined.
    • A couple of full skirts. Be sure to purchase knee-length skirts, that are full enough to fit your petticoat underneath. The skirts should sit on your waist, not above or below, or the shape will become odd.
    • Boots. If you've eased enough into Mary Janes and ballet flats, try boots with wedge heels. Make sure they aren't fetish shoes though, as this will either ruin the style or appeal too much to guys with Lolita fetishes (depending on which fetish the fetish shoes are for). Or you can simply to stick to the shoes you had before.
  10. Image titled Be a Gothic Lolita at a Young Age Step 10
    Be elegant. Try to keep your image sweet, doll-like, and elegant. This means no revealing clothing, no heavy makeup, no baggy clothing apart from the skirts, and no messy hairdos. Make sure you're well groomed all the time- from keeping your nails pretty to making sure your hair is clean.


  • Don't straighten your hair too often, if at all. Before straightening hair, use a protective serum and rub it in thoroughly. Straightening to often will result in dry, damaged hair. If you can, straighten just once a week or less and then maintain the look with a blow dryer. The same goes for curling hair. Don't use lye!
  • In Japan, those older men who offer to buy girls fashionable stuff in exchange for dates, sex, etc. are said to have "lolicon," short for "Lolita complex." Protect yourself and don't accept any offers like this, whether or not you are in Japan. Sacrificing some Lolita-ness to protect yourself is better than sacrificing some of your safety to be more Lolita-like (no matter how many other people accuse you of being inauthentic for not doing whatever it takes to be a Lolita).
  • However, if you are looking for some reputable US lolita clothing shops, and are highly recommended.
  • Don't be immature. Try to be mature and responsible, or you'll ruin the image.
  • Get rid of frizzy hair by using an anti-frizz shampoo and conditioner, as well as a serum. Try using olive or hair oil in your hair- this adds shine, colour, and moisture, preventing dull, frizzy locks.
  • If you can't get your hands on the proper clothing, don't panic. Just keep wearing the clothes you were wearing before. Because you're young, you aren't expected to be a full fledged Gothic Lolita, anyway.
  • Learn to sew. You can make your own pretty outfits then! If that is beyond you, simple sewing skills are a good idea- you can add extra lace and ribbons to plain clothing, and it's a fun and ladylike pastime.
  • Everything should be slowly eased in, or you're going to give the people around you a shock. Your parents are also more likely to stay happy if you ease the style in with them.
  • Buy the Gothic Lolita mook.(Japanese magazine-book) It's not expensive and it has lovely pictures, recipes and even sewing patterns! However, they are in Japanese. A few translations are being made- check the manga section of your local booksellers soon!


  • People may bully or tease you. As a Gothic Lolita, you could simply laugh it off sweetly or ignore them. As a Goth, you could remember that Gothic troops pushed the Roman Empire out of Germania and back across the Rhine. As a human being, you should protect yourself and your safety no matter how un-sweet and un-Lolita standing up for yourself makes you look.
  • Your parents may be unhappy with this style. If so, back off a little and ease it in again; don't turn up one day as their transformed, Gothic Lolita daughter.
  • Your parents may be unhappy with you calling yourself a Gothic Lolita and fear for your safety if you call yourself a Gothic Lolita in public. If so, listen to them. In English, "Lolita" has had negative connotations (thanks to the novel Lolita by Nabokov) since years before Japanese teens invented the "Gothic Lolita" style. Likewise, Japanese adults have been calling the lust some middle-aged men have for girls in junior high school uniforms "lolicon" (short for "Lolita complex") long before the "Gothic Lolita" style was invented. Meanwhile, "Gothic" sure doesn't mean "non-" so "Gothic Lolita" sure doesn't sound like "non-Lolita." Parents may fear that calling yourself "Gothic Lolita" in public could, if you later get raped or otherwise abused by an older man, be used by the jury as an excuse to blame you and find him not guilty.

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Categories: Japanese Fashion