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Offbrand Additions to Your Lolita Wardrobe: Part 2 – Shoes and Bags


You’re probably here on the back of the previous post about including offbrand pieces in your lolita wardrobe. Fortunately, whilst offbrand clothing presents a lot of hurdles to overcome, other pieces are much easier to incorporate. In this installment we will talk about shopping for offbrand shoes and bags to go with your lolita wardrobe.


Why Offbrand Shoes and Bags?

Gone are the days when your options were Japanese brands and Bodyline. So why would you want to shop offbrand with this much lolita-specific choice available? There are actually plenty of reasons, which range from practical to ideological. Practical ones include not having the budget for postage, which could be pricier for shoes and bigger bags. There are also health reasons, which dictate the need to ensure fit, comfort or colour match. On the other hand, ideological ones could relate to keeping your carbon footprint low or prioritising sustainability of materials and production. It’s important to remember that shopping offbrand won’t solve all of those problems. However, it may address some areas and make building your lolita shopping easier.


Shopping for Offbrand Shoes and Bags

When shopping for clothing, we talked about how hard it is to blend the clothing with the lolita fashion aesthetic. Yet with shoes and bags it is the substyle that determines how best to shop for these. Luckily, this means fewer things to remember when shopping offbrand for shoes and bags compared to clothing. Each lolita substyle presents different shopping challenges due to their differing aesthetic requirements. With that in mind, let’s cover these in order of the least to most problematic. Disclaimer: as I rarely photograph my bags, all example photos will focus on shoes.


Offbrand Shoes and Bags for Gothic Lolita

What makes gothic lolita easy to shop offbrand for is that goth is already a fashion substyle. From gothic fashion brands like Restyle or Demonia to how commonplace black items are, you are spoilt for choice. Of course, you’ll have to consider the look you want as not all gothic coords are equal. For example, many of Angelic Pretty’s gothic dresses are still quite cute and soft. Now compare that to the look of Atelier Boz or Alice and the Pirates. Therefore, a ouija board bag or pointy heels with buckles might work with some coords and not with others. Consider those details and style differences when checking what your gothic wardrobe needs before going on a hunt. If you plan and make the right investment, you could get away with having fewer bags and shoes. One versatile piece is worth more than five that only match one other thing. And this is also something that is easier to achieve in gothic lolita fashion.


offbrand shoes gothic

For a more elegant gothic coordinate, even a pair of offbrand black Mary Jane heels would work. Although do stalk eBay for good deals on designer brands like Vivienne Westwood.


Offbrand Shoes and Bags for Classic Lolita

Similarly to gothic, classic lolita draws a lot of inspiration from motifs, themes and styles that are already popular within Western fashions. In many cases you could shop for vintage and antique items, and search by colour or theme. As brown is common in this substyle, look for leather shoes and bags. These would be versatile and durable, as well as possibly also sustainable if you look for the right maker. However, elegance is a timeless concept, so you should be able to find simple designs almost anywhere. This is regardless of whether you shop fast fashion or ethically, looking for quick fix or a long-term investment. Historical and vintage reproduction companies like American Duchess, Collectif or Ruby Shoo are a good option for classic lolita. You can also use these brand names as key search terms to find similar products. Depending on your preferred colour scheme, adding offbrand shoes and bags is probably as easy for classic as gothic.


offbrand shoes classic

Hush Puppies is another offbrand shoe company that’s perfect for classic lolita. If the shoes look slightly Victorian and are well made, they’re probably ok for your coordinate.


Offbrand Shoes and Bags for Sweet Lolitas

Sweet lolitas are notoriously the trickiest to shop offbrand for. This is because of the substyle’s reliance on pastel colours, which Western fashion’s associates exclusively with children. Although there have been some changes, offbrand is still not the most reliable source for sweet lolita.

If you need to shop offbrand due to sizes rather than budget, then look at brands such as Irregular Choice. These shoes have a cute and kitschy aesthetic that fits this substyle. They are also detailed and whimsical enough to match the elaborate lolita clothes. In some cases they may even be more ridiculous than the dresses! Irregular Choice also produces bags to match, as well as tights, which are great for plus size lolitas. On the other hand, sweet lolitas generally find it easier to shop for bags. This is not only because generic pastel ones became easier to find, but also because there are plenty of companies making whimsical ones too. From high street shops like Claire’s, Primark and Target to smaller companies like Vendula, you’ll surely find something for yourself.

If your reason for shopping offbrand is due to budget, you can still search for these brands second hand. With some patient stalking you may find older Irregular Choice shoes for the same price as new lolita shoes from a Chinese brand. Whilst you can search for pastel bags and shoes and use key search terms ‘kawaii’, be careful of quality. Lolita fashion relies on the quality of all elements of a coord to achieve the look. And a bag or shoes that are cheap looking will not compliment your outfit.


offbrand shoes sweet

Believe it or not, those are actually really tame for Irregular Choice – even if the sequins flip. That shape and the bows are also perfect for lolita!


Final Words

Although shopping offbrand for shoes and bags is much easier for some substyles than others, it’s still infinitely easier than shopping for offbrand clothing. There are fewer things to remember that make some designs work with lolita fashion. Focus on shapes, the level of detail and quality of construction. With that in mind, and some patience, you should find something to match. As always, consider what your wardrobe actually needs and what would match. This will allow you to make the most versatile investment. Whilst it’s great to have many shoes and bags to choose from, it’s not always practical, e.g. because of storage. Nonetheless, by buying heavier, bulkier things like shoes and bags offbrand you should be able to fill any gaps in your wardrobe quicker.

And having said this, until Valentine’s Day Wunderwelt has a 20% sale off shoes and bags, if you would rather have something lolita-specific after all.

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