Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Lolita Fashion: Creativity vs Rules

So in my last post I spoke about 'The Rules' of Lolita fashion and divided them into categories. If you haven't read that post yet, please click here!

What I wanted to talk about today is creativity within Lolita Fashion. Personally, I sometimes feel that a lot of coords within this fashion look very similar to each other and there isn't a lot of experimentation going on. Also, often when people actually do come up with something innovative, they are harshly criticized by the (mainly online) community.

Still lolita or not?

I think most of the time when a creative 'lolita' coord gets criticized, that is because it isn't an actual lolita coord or it is unclear whether the coord is lolita or not. Of course the question 'is this outfit still lolita?' is an important one to ask, but can be a very difficult one to answer.

I would say, for an outfit to be lolita, it should follow the rules & at least some of the guide lines that I mentioned in my post about the Rules of Lolita Fashion.
And for everyone who's forgotten the conclusion of that post, let's just copy&paste a bit:

Rules: If you want to make a lolita coord, these are a MUST
Wear a dress / skirt
♡ Always wear a petticoat (If not > probably otome/casual lolita)
♡ Use high-quality materials

Guide lines: It's okay, (and maybe even healthy) to break one or two once in a while, time to experiment with these!
♡ Cover your shoulders (and wrists)
♡ Skirt is knee length (can't be a lot shorter though!)
♡ Cover your ankles/legs with tights/socks
♡ Wear a headpiece 
♡ A coord must be cohesive and balanced (colour and pattern wise) (TASTE!)
♡ Don't wear neon colours or really weird (/exotic) patterns
For the full post click here!

But I think this is not everything yet. We should have a look at the lolita aesthetic as well.

The 'Lolita Aesthetic'

The lolita aesthetic is actually quite difficult to describe. There are many different sub styles within lolita and they all have a slightly (if not totally) different feel to them. Gothic lolita, for example, is usually dark an spooky, yet elegant and romantic. While on the contrary, Sweet lolita is extremely cute, can be pretty loud and therefore doesn't even have to be elegant at all.
So what have all styles in common, apart from the silhouette and basic rules? Well, to answer this question, I think we need to go back to its roots: Old School Lolita

It all started with quite plain garments, no very busy pastel prints, not too many floral prints and usually just a few strings of lace (instead of the 10 layers of lace you can see on some OTT classic btssb dresses nowadays). The people who wore it were rebellious against the Japanese social norms of the time. Lolitas formed a group who didn't want to follow the general rules of 'growing up' and therefore, wore clothes that were seen as a bit childlike. Many took inspiration from porcelain Victorian dolls and Victorian children's clothes, which also explains why they chose the poofy skirts and covering blouses and socks.

Also the story of Alice in Wonderland influenced the fashion a lot, as it still does!

As you maybe can see, even though the fashion has changed drastically since the late 80ies, most coords nowadays still draw its inspiration from roughly the same things:
♡ Porcelain dolls
♡ Victorian children's clothes
♡ Alice in Wonderland
Most coords have elements in them, inspired by one or more of the ones mentioned above.  (whether this is in a dark, classy, or super cute way). It seems to me that the 'rules' and 'guide lines' are drawn almost directly from these three factors, even though they weren't as defined as they are now, back in the old school days. Also, I think the fashion of today is still quite dolly and the link to especially Alice in Wonderland cannot be less clear. Therefore, I guess it would be fair to say that these three things also sort of make up the overall 'Lolita aesthetic', right?

So how can we be creative with the aesthetic and still keep it lolita?
Or in other words, can we break rules, as long as we keep the lolita aesthetic? And what if we stick to all rules, but the coord just doesn't have that dolly lolita feel to it?

It can be difficult to say whether a coord is not lolita or just not your taste. I personally think that a coord doesn't have to be 'perfect' to fit the lolita aesthetic. By perfect I mean: perfectly balanced colour-wise and garment-wise. If it still sticks to the most important rules and has that dolly feel to it, I think it is still lolita. Not everyone may agree with me on this, but I think this is the only way to still create space for creativity and individuality within this fashion. We mustn't forget the rebellious roots of our so beloved street fashion.
In Japan, Harajuku fashion is constantly evolving and Lolita is a street fashion that has a lot of crossing over with other styles like gothic, mori, decora and nowadays mostly larme kei. Maybe this is what we miss in the Western communities for keeping this fashion alive. Here, experimenting is often criticized and if people don't like your personal style, your coords are simply not accepted as lolita. As you may have already guessed, I am not a big fan of this attitude myself but I also understand that it is not so easy to change it. Especially as there are also good reasons for drawing lines for a fashion, for example for not letting everyone call just everything lolita and post it under a lolita tag on social media.

I would like to show you all some examples of creative and experimental lolita coords now. These all break some or more rules, but In my opinion still are lolita enough to belong to this fashion. Have a look and form your own opinions! Would you like to see more coords like these? Are there any out-of-the-box things you would like to try in a coord? Let me know in the comments and be inspired/inspire us! :)

Experimental, but in my opinion still falling on the 'lolita spectrum': (I actually love these for their quirkiness and being unique!)

Left: Bare shoulders, unusual sleeves and a lot of unusual things going on at the waist and the headpiece
Right: Very long underskirt, corset, lots of different necklaces 

Left: Not too much poof, non-lolita shoes, pattern mixing and very bright colours
Right: Bare shoulders and very bright and colourful patterns

 Left: @JosineMaaike on Instagram: Pattern mixing, very vibrant colours, scarf 
Right: Very busy print, loads of different colours and not a very 'lolita' neckline

Left: Mostly 'weird' skirts and the one on the left wears non lolita shoes
Right: @JosineMaaike on Instagram: pattern mixing, Wa-Lolita, unusual colour combination.

Left: Skirts are too short, bare shoulders and non lolita neck line. Also, the gloves aren't very lolita. No leg wear. 
Right: Pattern mixing, super busy prints, bright colours, skirt a bit too short.

Left: Bare shoulders
Right: Hoop skirt, also too short.

Left: Short socks, somewhat unusual shoes and belt
Right: Non lolita shoes, bit of a weird colour combination I think

Left: @minami_tooru on Instagram: Very unusual sleeves
Right: Skirt too short, unusual material choice

Left: Very Old School lolita, with elements that are, according to today's standard, pretty unusual. The huge boots, big tie and the unusual hairdo give this a very strong and -let's say- 'badass' appearance, which is pretty unusual for lolita nowadays.
Right: @Imcherrysparkle on Instagram/Tumblr: Decora x Lolita. Quirky, busy and bright like a decora outfit, but still balanced like a lolita coord!

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I’m just really happy that I find your blog. Your style is perfect. Don’t stop posting ,
    because I’m coming back:)