In the year of our Lord Mana-sama 2019, no lolita should be saying that she needs more blouses. There are options for every budget and size, yet still too many lolitas make do with too few blouses. I have tackled this topic in the past, but I feel that it is time to revisit it. However, this time I won’t approach this topic just from a substyle perspective. To discuss the topic in mode depth I will also consider the cuts of the blouses and how that affects the overall coordinate. After reading this you will hopefully have fire lit under you to expand your blouses collection!
Buying a white blouse because it’s versatile is one of the most common advices given to new lolitas. While the colour can work with all substyles of the fashion, not all cuts are equally versatile. Look at these examples and how the different blouses change the feel of the coordinate. They even make them lean towards different substyles! Depending on whether you’re wearing your blouses with JSKs or skirts, you may have to consider different things. Having said this, the type of neckline and sleeve remains important on all blouses. So here’s a quick breakdown of the most common styles of necklines and sleeves in lolita fashion.
* More common in Visual-kei fashion than lolita, although can be used if layered correctly.
Depending on what neckline or collar the blouses feature, these can really transform an outfit. It’s one of the few parts that are visible from under a JSK, so think about what vibe you want your coord to give off. To exemplify this better, look at these coords with non-printed JSKs. However, even with a bold border print blouses can make a big difference. In this sweet lolita look, the outfit seems even sweeter or more toned down depending on the blouse used.
Look how cutesy and sweet this coordinate is! Peter Pan collars are very common in sweet lolita, as their round shape looks softer and resembles children’s clothing more. It fits very well with both pastel colours and bold, playful prints.
Now compare it with coordinate number 2 featuring a high collar neckline. This style is much more common in classic lolita, as well as gothic, as it looks more elegant. When paired with a border print dress, this more mature cut of a blouse will tone down an otherwise pretty sweet look.
The sailor collar on blouse 3 gives off a more summery vibe and on its own is a more sweet-looking style. However, depending on how you style the rest of the outfit, it could also lean more classic with a retro feel.
Let’s stick with neutral coloured blouses and focus on the difference sleeves can make. Classic lolita coords like this one lend themselves well to being transformed by different kinds of sleeves. Also remember that having blouses with different sleeves can be practical, as well as aesthetically pleasing. After all, short sleeves aren’t so practical in freezing winter – and neither are long, thick ones in blistering summer.
Although it’s a little harder to visualise, as the necklines also differ, sleeves can make an equally huge impact on the coordinate. Short sleeves can appear more youthful, even when paired with high collars. This is because it evokes a feel of Victorian children’s clothing and carefree summer days.
On the other hand, long sleeves appear more serious and mature. They can make an outfit appear more like a uniform or Victorian adult fashion, as they cover up more of your skin.
Lastly, princess sleeve blouses are more elegant and are used in classic, as well as gothic and hime lolita styles. Since they tend to be made of light fabrics, to give the sleeves more bounce, they evoke a lighter, more Rococo feel rather than sombre Victorian.
And finally we’re getting down to the nitty gritty of colour. We all know that sweet lolita lends itself well to coordinating with different colours. That’s why in this section I’m focusing on gothic lolita for a bit of a challenge. Because if you think that black or white blouses are all a gothic lolita can get, you’re in for a surprise. Personally I’d suggest also matching your legwear to your blouse to maintain colour balance, but use your coordinating instincts to find something that works.
While black and white are easy colours to incorporate into gothic lolita, you should not feel limited to just that. Many jewel tones that work well with classic lolita will also complement gothic coordinates. Bordeaux red is a common third colour in gothic wardrobes. It brings to mind imagery of blood, vampires and wine, all of which are common gothic themes.
Emerald green is less common in lolita fashion in general, but works very well with gothic style. It can add a more aristocratic and sophisticated flare to your coordinate. This particular blouse is the one Mana wore at Hellocon Eternal Twilight event in Helsinki in 2018. That is how you know that the green is guaranteed to work with gothic.
And speaking of Mana, blue in gothic lolita fashion is a classic combination promoted by his brand. Whether you choose a darker navy shade or a brighter electric blue, you will surely find something that works
Whether your wardrobe spans different substyles or sticks to just one, a variety of blouses helps diversify your looks. Start easy, by getting different cuts, then build your confidence to start colour matching and experimenting. Hopefully this post really has inspired you to expand your collection of blouses. Just don’t forget to go for things that will match your wardrobe. And if you’re on a budget, simply wait for Wunderwelt’s sale to move to the blouse department!
29-year-old Capricorn, Polish-born, UK-based and in love with Japanese fashion (predominantly Lolita). I enjoy a good bargain, OTT coords, cats and baking, and when in Japan I’m a self-confessed purikura addict. When I don’t blog, I work in the education sector, overseeing international exchange programs, and sometimes I get to do some exciting freelance translations on the side.
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