I’ve noticed a lot of people are a bit unsure as to what makes punk lolita, well punk lolita. It is definitely one of the more trickier subsets to wear because it can be misinterpreted to be regular goth or regular punk. I wrote up a little tutorial and hopefully it helps!
First off, we have to remember that there are usually some characteristics of Lolita that are the same in all the genres: the bell shape of the skirt. A fuller bell shape is meant to be more cutesy, and yes punk Lolita can generate towards having more of a sweet look or gothier look.
Punk Lolita is more about looking cute with a little edge, like an “I may look cute but I can kick your butt!” kind of mentality. I’d like to point out though that black and plaid tartan doesn’t always equal punk Lolita! General rules still follow, like the length and shape of the skirt!
Here’s where I’d like to regurgitate Carnet’s description because I think she wrote it better than I can:
“Punk lolita is a really hard style to pull off because it treads a fine line between lolita and full-on Western Punk. Traditional punk elements are used - plaid, chains, spikes, deconstructed fabrics, etc. - but what separates punk lolita from traditional punk is really the fact that it's adorable and a bit cutesy. Good punk lolita tends to keep the bell-shaped skirt or the frilly blouse even with all the other more punk features, and lolita accessories are mixed with punk (for example, a lace trimmed spiked collar). This is the only lolita style where big stompy boots really fit, but honestly any shoes work for punk lolita so long as you have other lolita elements in your outfit. Though keep in mind you'll probably look a little ridiculous to real punks, so you may want to leave the frills behind for the Buzzcocks concert (sorry, I'm a punk fan who's stuck in 1979 ^_^;;;).”
I’ve taken some scans to provide as examples, I’m pretty bad at scanning though but I hope it helps clear up a few things!
Any one else can add thoughts too!