Lolita fashion is something I tried when I was a teenager, and royally screwed it up. I was at a point in my life where I desperately wanted to express myself and didn’t know how. I was yet to come across the word nonbinary, let alone the idea of it. Unfortunately, when I did work out what was going on, I rejected all femininity – something I touched on in my last post – and drove head first into the Peter Pan/David Bowie aesthetic. It’s a good aesthetic, but it shouldn’t be the only one that nonbinary people can relate to, but I did and left all thoughts of poofy skirts and pretty dresses in the dust.
Over the last few years, as I have matured into my 20s, I have learnt that there is no need to fear or reject that feminine part of myself, nor does wearing skirts, dresses, or other “female” clothes make me less nonbinary. In the words of the great Eddie Izzard “they’re not women’s clothes, they’re my clothes”. And this is how I see it. These aren’t feminine clothes, they are the clothes I, a nonbinary person, have chosen to wear.
Unfortunately that is easier said than done, and I am still working on it. I still have a certain level of fear towards more “standard” feminine looks, but that might just be that I don’t like high street fashion.
Whatever the case may be, the wonderful thing about lolita is that it so over the top that you just feel like a princess. And who doesn’t want to feel like a princess from time to time. Even if you sit at the less OTT end of things, like myself, you can still feel cute and flounce around as if woodland animals are doing your chores and your pumpkin carriage if ready for whenever you want.
I’m going to start with the skirt. Why? Because the skirt and the shape of the skirt is a big part of what makes lolita, lolita.
Images from lolita-tips check them out for great lolita info.
You can have either a bell shaped silhouette or an A-line one, with the skirt down to the knees, if not longer, like I’ve gone for here. In this particular outfit, I felt the longer skirt was more “country” – English country garden, not country music. The same goes for the choice of colours in this outfit (or coordinate). Light and bright to invoke spring time, green and cream for a easy wear, no difficult colours to match or to throw off the outfit.
Colour matching and balance are very important in a lolita outfit, hence the term coordinate being used to describe them, you are coordinating. You want to make sure that you don’t have a single piece that unbalances the look. For example a bright green pair of shoes could ruin the outfit, but matching the shoes to the gloves means that the whole things works. Nice and balanced. Same goes for the rest of the outfit. You want to have matching colours and shades while using base colours, such as black, white or cream to set everything off. This isn’t true of all coordinates, but as a rule of thumb it gives you a good idea of how to put a lolita outfit together.
I say all of this, I don’t think I ever really follow the “rules” of lolita. As a fashion, for me it’s about innovating to create a style that I’m happy in and not about trying to be something I’m not. And when you are already battling dysphoria you don’t want to panicking about your clothes, you want them to help you get through the day.
The blouse in this outfit isn’t all that important, I chose it simply because I liked it and it suited the outfit. Which is the best reason to wear anything, don’t you think? The creamy/off white colour and flower lace trim goes well with the colours and pattern on the skirt. It’s useful to have a few “easy wear” blouses like this that could go with almost anything and aren’t too overly styled or covered in fancy lace.
The cardigan for me keeps this look simple and fresh. Nothing too crazy, but still with a touch of vintage elegance, helped along with the gloves, which, as I said before are perfect (ish) match for the shoes.
I’m not an OTT person at all, so for me keeping a look simple is the aim of the game. Adding a few accessories like the hat (with a hatband to go with the skirt) and necklace means that it stays quirky and fun but without overpowering the main feature which is, of course, the skirt.
The most interesting part of this look for me, weirdly, was that I chose to wear a wig. When I got dressed, somehow it didn’t look right with my hair. I actually wanted to look more traditionally feminine. Bit of a shock, I must say, but it made me more comfortable in the outfit and that is the whole point. Don’t be afraid to try something out, you may find it really helps, not just with the outfit but with your mood and dysphoria.
I don’t want to sound like I’m saying clothes and fashion will magically make your dysphoria disappear, because that’s not true, for me or for anyone, but this can be a worthwhile, and fun, coping mechanism.
If you want to have a go at Lolita, the best places to start are lolita-tips as linked above, Lace Market and the lolibrary. These are great places for info and for finding items you like. Lace Market is an auction site for buying, cheaper and second-hand lolita (trust me, it’s so much cheaper than new) or you can look at My Lolita Dress who sell cute indie brands. If you have some cash to throw at lovely clothes then hit the brands, all of whom you will find on lolibrary and lolita-tips.
That’s all for this time. I will be doing more lolita outfits in the future,