How to Be a Lolita

Three Parts:Getting the Right ClothesPicking a Specific Lolita LookBeing a Lolita

Lolita is a Japanese street fashion inspired primarily by the clothing and style of the Rococo and Victorian periods. This fashion movement started in Japan in the 1980s and has evolved and spread since. Nowadays, Lolita can be seen worldwide. You can learn what clothes options are available to help you craft your own Lolita look, and how to pull it off with elegance and style.

Part 1
Getting the Right Clothes

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    Pick clothes carefully. Lolita styles of clothes can be found all around you, though it may take a little work to find items befitting the style aesthetic. You can purchase brand items second hand online and you can also find 'Lolita' items locally. With a little creativity, though, you can cultivate your own wardrobe from a variety of places near you.
    • Stores such as Forever 21, H&M, Macy's, etc they all have skirts and blouses that can be used to build your wardrobe.
    • Check out second-hand stores for good deals on old skirts and dresses. You can often find what might seem to be "out of date" dresses that will fit in perfectly with the style. Plus you'll save lots of money.
    • When picking out your clothes be aware of the silhouettes that are prevalent in the fashion and the flow of the outfit.
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    Find matching blouses and skirts. Basic party, church or summer dresses are all effective for pulling off a basic Lolita style. It's about looking classy in an almost Victorian fashion, taking inspiration from the floral patterns, and the sense of elegance from that era. It's a cute or elegant look.
    • The most common type of Lolita blouse is a button-down shirt with a peter-pan collar, which is a round type of collar. Though any type of blouse can be used but it shouldn't expose the skin too much. Think elegance.
    • The classic Lolita skirt or dress are the bell and A line shapes. This shape is achieved thanks to the petticoats and bloomers beneath. A Lolita skirt can be longer then knee length and shorter by only 2". If you are short and petite size, its best if the skirt is slightly above the knee. It will make you look a lot taller. It works with any look, not only lolita.
    • It is common for this style to involve details in complementary or contrasting colors, such as black and white.
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    Find cute clips and bows for your hair. A Lolita shouldn't leave the house without putting a cute little bow or clip into their hair. Cute little hairclips, headbands, and flowers can be used to provide a little accent for the hair. This is one of the hallmarks of the style.
    • Headbands are also popular, which may come in all shapes and sizes.
    • Large bows are also very common. Smaller bows such as on barrettes may also be used if one wants a less overpowering look.
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    Get some elaborate undergarments. Petticoats are often necessary to achieve that bell shape that is so essential to the Lolita silhouette, while bloomers are also often used to add some layers and warmth to the outfit. It's somewhat elaborate, but in keeping with the Victorian nature of the look.
    • Knee-length socks, over-knee socks, stockings, and opaque tights are often a part of a Lolita look as well. Sheer tights are sometimes thought to be too "sexy" for Lolita, while ankle socks aren't quite elaborate enough for the style.
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    Wear some chunky platform shoes. Mary Janes are perfect for this look. Think of the types of shoes a little girl might have worn to church. A proper Lolita shoe should feature a closed, rounded toe as well as chunky, thick heels or platforms. A lower heeled tea party type shoe is also popular.
    • Boots are common too in some goth or punk lolita styles. Another good type of shoe is the Vivienne Westwood Rocking-horse Shoe, which features a mary-jane style top with a large chunk of wood at the bottom to add height and often features a curved front and a part cut-out of the back.
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    Accessorize. A good Lolita look can be even better with the right accessories. Depending on what specific look you want to try to build up, you can augment it with some side-items that will make it really pop. Use any of the following, and learn more about crafting specific looks in the next section:
    • Parasols
    • Canes or walking sticks
    • Old-style pocket watches
    • Clutches or handbags

Part 2
Picking a Specific Lolita Look

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    Try a classic "bad girl" look. A Gothic Lolita outfit is the most popular one out of all the Lolita styles. It's pretty modest, characterized by a bell-shaped skirt and puffy sleeves, and a dramatic mysterious make-up and hair style. Dark Lolita outfits can usually be black or any nice rich dark colors such as purple, dark red and navy.
    • 'Guro' Lolitas try to portray a "broken doll" sort of look, gruesome yet innocent. White clothes with blood splats is the best choice. How gory is always up to you, and can range from anything to some bandages, a sling, or some blood splatters on your clothing. Just be sure to use materials that will not rub off onto your surroundings.
    • Punk Lolitas wear deconstructed fabrics, fishnets, chains and studs. Layering is the key to this style, and adorning your basic knee-length skirts with other basic punk accessories. Pink hair and studded belts? You got it.
      • Guro and Punk styles have waned in popularity and it may be difficult finding items for those looks.
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    Try a "cute girl" look. Sometimes called "Sweet" Lolita, this look is like the good queen to the goth's dark queen. It's filled with many bows, hair clips, and ruffles. This outfit is usually pastel colors can include pink, creamy white, and powder blue, and light lavender but an outfit can be any pastel or plaid or any color at all as long as it is not neon. Hair is typically curly and bouncy.
    • Give it a "country" touch with straw baskets, hats, fruit, and gingham patterns. Most Lolita outfits require a blouse under a jumper skirt to pull of the Lolita look, but it can get away with-out a blouse.
    • Some "Princess" aka "Hime" Lolitas accent their look with miniature crowns, tiaras, and extravagant or large hair, and dresses.
    • This look should involve lots of white, or a single notable color-scheme. Sometimes Shiro and Kuro lolitas match black and white twin-style apparel to go out as a team. Light and dark is a common play in the Lolita world.
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    • "Wa Lolita" introduces traditional Japanese clothing into the look, using kimonos, long 'sode' or, sleeves, and 'obi' or sashes that are taken from Kimono outfits. The patterns and accessories are usually covered in detailed Japanese flowers and prints. (Note: this is a very difficult to pull off style without it looking costumey. Its generally not a popular look)
    • "Aristocratic Lolitas" incorporate western romantic styles into the genre. In general, there are no cutesy prints, lace, over-the-top frills, or bows. Skirts are often worn long, and corsets may be used and high corseted waists on skirts is common. Fitted jackets with tail coats are popular, so are frilly shirts, top hats, and veils.
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    Go for a more masculine Lolita look. While Lolita is often thought to be pretty "girly," some looks incorporate masculine styles and "boy clothes" into the look. It can be a cool way to shake up people's expectations and play around with your style.
    • Some Lolitas do a sailor or nautical theme. Sailor collars, dark blues, and whites is what makes this style. Nautical symbols such as ship anchors and wheels make very cute additions. Like most Lolita styles the same bell-shaped skirt is expected, quite often this skirt may be pleated, and the outfit may often include a puffed-short-sleeved blouse with pockets.
    • Kodona or "boy style" is another common sub-genre of Lolita fashion. This has feminine touches, such as feminine shoes and accessories with short capri-style pants that cut off at the knee and usually have details on them such as lace-edged cuffs or ruffles.
    • Other common additions to butch-up your look are suspenders, ties, bowler caps and long socks. The more extravagant styles can include things like spats, canes, top hats, and other Victorian accessories.

Part 3
Being a Lolita

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    Go for dramatic contrast with your make-up. Most Lolitas don't use a particularly elaborate make-up routine, but generally a pale foundation look is paired with dramatic highlights in terms of eye-shadow and lipstick, used to create that Victorian look.[1]
    • Darker goth-style looks should be made up accordingly, with dark purples, or deep red lips and very dark eye shadow. Sweet Lolita looks should focus on skin tones and lightening up the cheeks to create a rosy look.
    • Make-up isn't always necessary for a Lolita look. If you don't want to wear make-up, it's fine to leave it off and let your clothes do the work of the style.
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    Make your hair match your specific style. Depending on your particular interest in creating a goth look, a different hairstyle will be appropriate for each. In general, sweet Lolitas need to have bouncy curls, while darker or goth Lolitas will want to have dark, straight hair with bangs.
    • Cute styles often have colorful highlights, as well. Pink streaks and super teased-out styles are very indicative of Lolitas.
    • Darker styles will sometimes have deep purple highlights, or other types of color thrown in. But a bleach-blonde look could be just as goth as dark hair. Experiment some to see what you like, and try to stand out from the pack.
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    Find a casual Lolita style for dressing down. It would be tough to dress up like a Lolita every day, but if you want to really "be" a Lolita and not just costume-up for a cosplay or Anime convention, you can learn to integrate more basic elements into your look for a day-to-day Lolita style. There are various toned-down versions of the basic Lolita style, while still retaining the basic elements of the look.
    • Find a simple skirt and simple hair accessory to pair with regular t-shirts and shoes. Taking the time to throw a single little "girly" element into your look will help to make it more pronounced. Mostly, you'll want to avoid long pants.
    • Take the time to do your hair and make-up up, as if you were dressed in your most elegant finery. Even if you're just rocking a t-shirt, your Lolita spirit will still be on display.
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    Read the Gothic and Lolita Bibles. There are a variety of "Bibles" for Lolitas, first published in Japan in the early 2000s, which have more recently been translated into a variety of languages, English included. Featuring photographs, style descriptions, and a variety of lifestyle guides, these books are common and popular among Lolitas and those interested in the style.
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    Head to an Anime or Lolita convention. Lolita meet-ups are common in some areas, which often cater to "Lifestyle Lolitas," who are interested in incorporating more traditional home-making skills into their lives, as well as a more traditional or Victorian style.
    • Likewise, Anime conventions and cosplay conventions are often places to meet fellow Lolitas. To some, though, this is more of a "costume" to be distinguished from a "real" Lolita. Still, it can be a good place to get some fashion tips and meet some new and interesting Lolitas.
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    Consider learning traditional homemaking skills. In addition to being a fashion, some people enjoy living a "Lolita Lifestyle" in which one sees Lolita as more of a philosophy of living beautifully and elegantly. For some, traditional home-making skills like baking, embroidery, and sewing are embraced as part of the elegance of the style. While it's not necessary if you're just looking for a new clothes style, these are ways to embrace the Lolita lifestyle. Check out the following articles for some traditional homemaking skills:
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    Dress this way for yourself. The term "Lolita" comes from Vladimir Nabokov's novel of the name, which is about a relationship between an adult male and a young girl, named Lolita. The term is sometimes used to refer to a sexually attractive young girl, but the fashion seeks to distinguish itself from this interpretation.[2] For most Lolitas, the look is emphatically not about being "sexy" or appealing to men's ideas of what a woman should look like. it's about reclaiming a traditional version of elegance and femininity. Lolita fashion should be empowering.


  • Worried about money expense? Learn how to sew! It's cheaper and it makes your lolita clothes even more special.
  • Don't be shy to ask a fellow lolita questions! They would be more than happy to help you.
  • You don't have to have a closet filled with Lolita clothes only! You can have normal clothes, sexy clothes, pajamas, etc that doesn't have to do with anything with lolita styles. Does that mean you're a poser? No. Of course not. You're still that cute Lolita.
  • When it comes to Lolita Day, you should gather as many friends who are loli and have a great day doing photo-shoots, scaring the nation with your awesome cuteness and obsessing over the latest dress from fan-plus-friend! If you're the only ruffle but (to you) in the whole wide world, then you can still have fun by putting glitter on everything from your boyfriend to your Starbucks mug, then find unwilling victims and give them a glitter-makeover, buy yourself something nice from your favourite brand, visit a local book store and read something interesting, take lots of pictures and maybe even join a new community of Loli's!
  • Never wear black shoes with an entire white outfit such as for Shiro Lolita.
  • Depends on where you live, making lolita friends is very hard. So perhaps showing your group of friends what the lolita style looks like, they might start dressing up like one too. You can also take part of feminine activities with your friends. Though if they don't like, please don't force them to.


  • This fashion is about being creative and unique. You should always maintain your individuality while dressing up as a Lolita. You can always spice up your Lolita outfit to fit your unique style.

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Categories: Japanese Fashion