One of the many great things about lolita fashion is how versatile it can be. Many lolitas like more than one substyle, so having pieces you can wear in multiple ways means more potential outfits. Moreover, the mainstream fashion’s idea that wearing the same outfit twice is a faux pas has permeated through our fashion too. Although it’s not true, being able to wear the same piece in different ways saves a bit of money. Of course, this depends on having a good collection of builder pieces. Still, it can be done and this post will show you just one example how!
Not all dresses will carry all three substyles of lolita fashion, although many can be worn in two. Solid colour pieces are easier to use, as they do not have any themes in the print that could clash. However, there may even be certain prints, e.g. some florals, which could cover all three substyles. Moreover, a JSK or a skirt will be more versatile, because it’s easier to change its look with blouses, as well as any other outerwear. OPs are more limited by design, so while you can certainly find some that’d work for three different substyles, pulling that off will be more challenging. To make this extra interesting – and thus, hopefully, extra informing for you – I will be using both a printed and a solid main piece in coordinates representing all lolita fashion substyles.
Sweet lolita is all about that whimsical feeling. Whether you pile on accessories or keep it simple, the outfits have a feeling of coming out of a child’s dreams. This often involves the use of pastel and bright colours, although some sweet dresses come in dark colours too. Luckily, as long as you balance the colours out in the outfit, most styles of builder pieces will work with this substyle. With the recent trend in a more mature sweet look that leans into otome and larme fashions, sweet lolita wardrobe should easily share space with some other substyles.
Classic lolita is supposed to be the most elegant of the three substyles. The coordinates look like taken from portrait paintings of the past, whether they lean Victorian, Rococo or 1950s. This means that it can use anything from soft pastel shades to rich jewel tones, usually complimented by creams and ivories. As classic lolita spans such a variety of looks, it is probably the best bridge to other styles. You could share your lighter pieces with sweet dresses as easily as you could darker ones with gothic. And if you’re quite an experienced lolita – probably the other way around as well!
Gothic lolitas have a dark, mysterious aura around them. They can look elegant, but also spooky or shocking, depending on which kind of gothic fashion most inspired the coordinate. There is a misconception that gothic equals black. While black certainly is a gothic lolita’s base colour, this substyle can sometimes share a colour palette with classic lolita. Also pay attention to the cuts because, for example, not all black blouses will work with this substyle. Because of this gothic lolita blends much more easily with classic than sweet in terms of sharing pieces. Still, there are plenty of lolitas who wear both gothic and sweet, proving that it is not impossible.
The three coord test is a great way of checking whether a piece you’re considering buying will work with your wardrobe. This doesn’t have to be three different substyles, after all you may not wear all three yourself. Simply being able to put together three different looking outfits with one piece is a good confirmation that the dress won’t be collecting dust in your wardrobe. This is also a fun way to get your creative juices flowing with what you already have! I regularly create coordinates with my own pieces on my blog, stretching it to four outfits instead of three. If you want to some examples of how this exercise works within one person’s wardrobe, click here for more on my personal blog.
* All pieces pictured were available on Wunderwelt and Wunderwelt Libre at the time of writing. They may not be available at the time of publishing.
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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