In December of 2010 I finally decided to get stuff, but I didn't know any other lolitas yet and got the cheapest junk off of bodyline and eBay that I could find that was labeled lolita. I got my first brand pieces in 2011, but still couldn't put together good coordinates. Towards the end of the year I went from wince-worthy to "eh," and dyed my hair blonde. I curled it all the time too, but I was so bad at it that I never got a single picture of it still curled. I also practically never wore makeup, so what little I would wear would usually fall off immediately. I was still in the Army at this point, and I struggled a lot with dressing in such a feminine manner. By the end of the year I understood a lot more about quality and color coordination.
In 2012 I bought a lot of stuff and did a lot of experimenting to find "my" style, but somehow failed to keep a single picture of myself in lolita.
Last year I didn't wear much lolita because of where I was living, but I finally learned about makeup and hair and started stabilizing and focusing my wardrobe only on things that I really love.
This year I feel like everything just "clicked." It feels like my itadom lasted about five times as long as the average lolita's, but it never felt that way when I was dressing poorly. It reflected my personality at the time and I had a lot of fun building my wardrobe and patience to make decent coords.