ちょび (chobi_chan) wrote in egl,
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Lolita Fashion- The essay!

I don't knoww if this is allowed, but I wrote an essay about lolita fashion {what it is, how it a way of life, etc.} as part of this home-study writing program I'm in. Anyway, since we're all lolita-chans here, I figured "Why not share it with the community?"


Not So Different: A Look on Lolita Fashion


The streets of Tokyo, Japan are a marvelous sight, from the thousands of people that manage to commute in unison to the plethora of neon signs. Still, nothing compares to the first sight of a lolita. You may think that, for one brief and shining moment, that you were transported to the French Rococo Era- For what you just saw seemed to be a teenager girl, bundled up in a frilly dress with a warm petticoat on top, wearing an even frillier headdress atop her head, and shoes that are so outlandishly huge you wonder how the child walked around in them. A style such as this would seem absurd in North America, but for Japanese this is somewhat of a norm in the Tokyo District.

The lolita look is one of the biggest fashion movements in Japan. Although "Lolita" is a reference to controversial novel by Vladimir Nabokov, the fashion shows less skin than any other fashion style worn by girls today, and is mostly worn by teens who try to portray themselves as being ‘cute’ rather than ‘sexy’. Japanese men usually think "Why are they dressing like that? Don’t these girls understand we don’t find this attractive!?", but being lolita is not about attracting the opposite sex. Like all other fashions, it is a way of life. And the only way to learn about one’s life is to dissect it from the very beginning.

Lolita fashion is inspired by many things-the most prominent being the Rococo Era. Now don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of this, few people have; It is lightly mentioned in school textbooks and many people find not only the art but the atmosphere of the era to be quite boring. {It is a continuation of the Baroque Period, focusing mostly on aristocrat life, nature, and exterior settings rather than heroic battles or religious figures.}The Rococo style of clothing included tight corsets, and extravagant, frilly dresses fluffy panniers underneath- now the essentials for any lolita ensemble. Other influences include western goth and punk subculture and even French maid outfits.

Outfits range from one piece jumpers and dresses to matching skirts and cutsew, or ‘cut-and-sewn’, blouses. Skirts are usually knee length and are worn with stockings or knee high socks accompanied with more lace and frills. And since lolitas aim for Victorian, child-like looks, footwear includes Mary Janes and rocking horse shoes. Accessories include headdresses, tote bags, and the occasional teddy bear or parasol.

Like any fashion movement, lolita calls for one’s devotion, patience, and sacrifice. Even though the style has gained popularity over the last decade, it has yet to become truly popular. Though their friends may accept them, lolitas are tended to be frown upon as ‘simple minded’ and are judged harshly for ‘not acting their age’. {Most lolitas dress in lolita attire until their twenties and hide their ages until nineteen.} Specialty shops are also very limited and pricey. {expect to pay anywhere between $100-$500 for a single dress} For lolita who parents support their fashion, cost is not a problem, but for those who have to pay for their clothes themselves, it is a hard task. Many girls learn how to sew and make their own clothes; and those who do well are held in some sort of respect. However, in order to be accepted by other lolita as a lolita, mostly all will agree a girl, and occasional a boy, needs to wear lolita brand clothing. Most lolita dress as lolita only the weekends to go shopping or when they attend concerts.

The heart of lolita subculture rests in Harajuku and Shinjuku, two special wards in Tokyo. These are most likely the two places were you could see gaggles of lolita shopping and just hanging out on the weekends. Harajuku is particularly known as a fashion district, and you can even find the outlet stores of the popular lolita brands Baby, The Stars Shine Bright; Metamorphose Temps de Fille, Moi-Meme-Moitie, and others here.

Another plus to wandering the streets of Harajuku would give you incite on the various styles of lolita fashion; If you thought there was nothing else to a lolita other than the frilly dress and Mary Janes, think again. Not only is lolita grouped away from other fashions, but there are even subgroups inside this strange fashion. For example, there is Sweet Lolita- this is one lolita subgroup that overdoses on frills, lace, and tries to get as cute as possible. On the side of the fashion spectrum, you have Gothic Lolita, which is not to be confused with the western gothic look. Gothic Lolitas, or GothLolis, usually dress in black and white, but still remain true to lolita standards. Gothic Lolitas are most influenced by visual kei, or visual rock, bands, Alice in Wonderland styled outfits, and are seen carrying Super Dollfies make to look like themselves. {Compare that to the Sweet Lolita preferred teddy bear.}Other sub-lolita groups include Classic Lolita, the most mature and Victorian look, and Wa-Lolita, a mix of kimono with Lolita features.

The reasons that compel girls to explore the world of lolita fashion are still mysteries. The clothes acts as ‘surrogate friends’ to those who move to Tokyo and discover the fashion labels. To others, it appeases their desire to feel like a princess. But mainly, it is a way to escape the harsh realities of life and feel young. After all, who wouldn’t want to just slip on a dress and return to their childhood, or spend a little extra money on an outfit that makes them feel like royalty? Why teenagers decided to convert to the lolita way of life is why anyone decides to take interest in anything- It’s what makes them feel good, their natural preference. Who would want to be seen as a woman or a man when they can seen as a person? The frilly, cute, expensive world of lolita is not only a fashion preference but an oasis for the hearts of those who pursue it.
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