Fashion By Jenni

{December 14, 2007}   What is Gothic Lolita?

Whenever I mention the words “Gothic Lolita” everyone seems to be confused as to exactly what that means. Even one of my friends who is very informed about the Japanese culture was befuddled. Basically, Gothic Lolita or Goth Loli is an extremely popular fashion trend in Japan and has seeped into America’s culture gradually.

The reason I love this fashion is that instead of trying to be sexy the aim of this fashion is to look cute. I mentioned in my Top Five Favorite Fashion Trends Post that trying to be sexy cheapens you and how I wish we could aim to just look cute. The Lolita look was inspired from the Victorian era when everything was more proper. Japan is moving towards looking proper while us Westerners are trying to wear as little clothing as possible.

Aspects of the Gothic Lolita outfits are:

  • Petticoats- The purpose of petticoats is to add volume to the skirts. As a general rule petticoats are supposed to do their job without being shown. Having the skirt poof out is an essential part of the Gothic Lolita look. The reason you don’t look wide while wearing one is because it gradually gets wider and the rest of outfit is tighter in comparison.
  • Blouses- Frilly blouses are very elegant and really add to the outfit. The goal when you are putting together a Lolita outfit is to aim for elegance. Make sure the blouses aren’t too short and cover your belly, because we are aspiring for cute not sexy. Anything frilly will add to the outfit and long/puffy sleeves will work well with it. Just make sure you don’t wear any low cut blouses.
  • Skirts- They are around knee length or sometimes shorter, but make sure they aren’t a mini skirt. If they are out of your school or work dress code than they are definitely not right for this style. Tiered skirts are very prominent in this fashion.  Make sure the skirts aren’t very tight, because they need to be loose enough to wear a petticoat underneath them.
  • Dresses- Gothic Lolita dresses come in a variety of styles. Many of the same rules apply to the dresses that apply to blouses and skirts. The top must not be low cut and the bottom must not be too short. The sleeves come in a variety of styles. Try to avoid wearing a tank dress, because you don’t want your shoulders to show too much and never wear a tube dress with this fashion.
  • Accessories- Bonnets are often worn and give off a kid-ish feeling and feel dignified at the same time. Lace or bows also look nice in your hair as long as they match the outfit. Parasols are associated with this fashion and lace ones look fantastic. In Japan knee high socks are all the rage. Although, it doesn’t always show that it isn’t full length if you are wearing a knee length skirt. They look great with Gothic Lolita outfits and come in a variety of patterns and colors.
  • Materials- The materials of the outfits vary, but two of the most common are lace and cotton. Lace is great in moderation, but you don’t want the entire outfit in lace or else it cheapens the look. Cotton like in the U.S. is a very common outfit material and the majority of outfits use cotton in them. Velvet is another material used and in my opinion it looks best when that is the main fabric for a piece instead of being used in parts of the outfits. Many of the outfits use not just one fabric such as cotton with lace embroidery.

Gothic Lolita is my favorite style in the very style conscious nation of Japan. How couldn’t a country where the women spend eighty percent of their income on clothes have good fashion? Since I gave a basic synopsis on what Gothic Lolita is I plan to go more into depth on other aspects of it such as the sub categories of Lolita fashion and great places to shop for it. I am curious to hear your questions about the fashion.


Devon says:

Wonderful! I’d like to see what you have to say about the sub-groups; fashion within fashion can vary widely, as you know. Colour choices are as important as cut and fit in the Gothic Lolita fashion, there are a few shades that are common & some that are rare to nonexistent, it would be good to touch on this no?
Fantastic article, an enjoyable read; thank you. ^_^

Cuervitte says:

Hi, i know this article is old but the correct term for this fashion is “Lolita”.. gothic lolita is just a sub-genre of it :D

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