These are MY answers to frequently asked questions, not necessarily the ONE AND ONLY answer.
Yes. This also applies for canes, wheelchairs, leg braces, arm casts, and any other medical device. Your health comes before fashion. This is not an excuse to wear dirty sneakers with your coord though (or at least, don't post the pictures online of your coord with dirty sneakers). There are lolita groups out there that can give you better advice regarding these things.
Like everything in life, you have to pick 2 of the following 3: Cheap, good quality, fast. If you want a cheap, good quality piece, you may have to watch secondhand shops for awhile. If you want something good quality and fast, it will be pricey (such as buying new from Brand). If you want something cheap and also right away, the quality is most likely going to suffer. If you are on a limited budget, you will need to have patience to find good deals or to save up for more expensive pieces. There is no shame in taking your time to build your first, proper coord. You also have to make sure your finances are taken care of first- bills before frills.
This is a shopping-focused hobby of dressing up in princess dresses/prince outfits. No one is entitled to a hobby. For the most part, lolitas go out of their way to help others find good deals that will work for them.
Can you afford a coord, be it through a part time job or allowance? Are your parents supportive (or at the very least, not forbidding it)? Then no, you are not too young. However, most online communities require someone be 13 years old or older to have an account on it. Also, some people may not feel comfortable allowing a minor to attend meetups (without the minor's legal guardians present). But you can still wear it yourself.
No. Wearing lolita is not dressing up as an original character or persona. It is 'you' wearing clothing that you like.
You need to measure yourself in cm and compare that to sizing measurements offered by the brand you are looking at. Most Japanese brand will come in 1-2 sizes, and a "medium" listed on a Japanese or Chinese site is going to be different from an American medium. There are many guides and groups out there that can give more insight into plus size lolita clothing.
This is not fast fashion where there are factories making thousands and thousands of JSKs daily. This is a relatively niche industry. Even Angelic Pretty, one of the biggest lolita brands, only has 16 storefronts in the WORLD. Compared to shops like H&M, your average lolita brand is a small business with one shop, making custom fabric and materials to make a limited amount of items to sell to a fairly small customer base.
Members of those k*nk communities have time and time again come into the lolita fashion community to try and force their k*nks on lolitas. Maybe they misunderstand that lolita fashion is unrelated to the book. Maybe they get off on lolitas yelling at them to go away. The lolita fashion community includes minors, and so it is inappropriate to share whatever k*nks with them. Even if the community was only made up of adults, other adults do not necessarily consent to knowing about what other people like to do in the bedroom. If you are into that kind of stuff, the fastest way to make yourself a social pariah (within the lolita community) is to share about it with lolitas. Lolitas aren't necessarily prudes, but they do not want to hear about it! Don't talk about it. Do not. It is also good to not tag any social media posts relating to those particular hobbies with "lolita", or to use the same social media account for both lolita fashion and your adult activities.
I'm censoring particular words in the hope that google does not pick this site up when people google those terms.
The best article I have read about why it is called this is from F Yeah Lolita.
A tl;dr: The Victorian revival/Prarie revival in the 1960s inspired the look that we may be more familiar with as Natural Kei or Pink House style. These styles are somewhat precursors to the lolita fashion we know and love today. This aesthetic predates the name "Lolita Fashion". In the early 1990s, proto-Lolita branched off from Natural Kei/Pink House (which itself was becoming less romantic and more girly). It is predicted that someone outside of the fashions saw the girly, care-free fashion, and gave it the label based on something else popular at the time: the damn movie that had come out around the same time. Also notable is that the term 'Lolita complex' was intially coined in the 1960s, and then an Alice in Wonderland themed 1974 shoujo manga referenced the term. However ultimately, the name Lolita doesn't really have any bearing on the aesthetic of the fashion.
The community has tried time and time again to change the name, and nothing ever sticks. Not 'quaintrelle', not 'alice-kei', not 'tokyo alice'. So when occasionally having to explain the clothes to outsiders, people don't necessarily use the term "lolita", but "egl" or "Jfashion" when trying to be vague, or "Victorian/Rococo-inspired fashion" when trying to be overly detailed.
It is just clothes. That said, try to not make a fool of yourself when you go out in public, but that applies no matter what you wear.
It is probably helpful to be able to drink tea, as many lolita meet-ups involve tea parties, but it's not required to like tea. It may be helpful to know how to sew to make minor alterations to clothing or to do minor repairs, but again, not required. It is just clothes, and you can be as lifestyle or not as you want.
No. Brand is generally higher quality than indie brands, but there are some indie shops that make very high quality items as well. In the end, it is a "you get what you pay for" principle. A $40 dress from Taobao will not have the same quality as a $300 Metamorphose dress, but you may find $150 dresses from indie brands that are pretty damn close. Also, the longer you participate in the fashion, the more likely you will end up with some Brand items anyway.
Cat ears are surprisingly a tricky topic. Angelic Pretty and BTSSB have both put out several headpieces that are cat ears, bunny ears, wolf ears, and probably more animal ears that I cannot think of. However, itas and newbies has also tried to wear cheap looking cat ears with their coords, leading to the rallying cry of 'NO ANIMAL EARS EVER' by some people (even myself at one point!). The best way to incorporate cat ears or other animal ears into your coord is to consider the theme of your outfit (Is it a cat or bunny print and cat/bunny ears would make sense? Alternatively, would black cat ears make any sense in a coord that uses a strawberry print with pastels?) and the quality of the animal ears as well (cheap animal ear headbands, or plain ones similar to what was popular in Kpop during the 2010s do not match the aesthetic).
Referring back to the very first question on here, if special shoes are considered a medical device for you, then wear what is most appropriate for your health. If you do not require special shoes for health reasons and just want to wear sneakers/crocs/normie flats/non-lolita shoes, there are a few things that I would take into consideration. First, if you intend on taking pictures of your coord, make sure your shoes are CLEAN. Dirty shoes are an eyesore. Second, are the shoes somewhat cohesive with the rest of your outfit? Usually non-lolita shoes fit in better with more casual coords. Usually, if I am planning on wearing comfy shoes but want to take a picture of my coord, I will wear the less comfy shoes for the picture and then switch out to go about regular life.
Unless you are already an accomplished tailor, I would recommend against it. It is better to buy your very first lolita dress before going the homemade route, just so you can get a better idea of the detail involved and just how much skirt volume is needed. Another common misconception is thinking that sewing their own lolita wardrobe will be cheaper than buying. Lolita clothes require high quality fabrics (not just quilting broadcloth from Joann's) and the supplies for making your own dress can be just as expensive as buying Indie brand or secondhand, and that does not take into consideration the time required to actually sew the dress. Homemade accessories are a better way to start.
Altering your Brand dresses will effect the resell value of the dress. However, it is YOUR dress and you can do whatever you want with it. If you think you may want to resell it in the future, you should find a tailor who can professionally alter the dress so that when you do sell it, it will still look nice. For simple things like moving buttons, it should be fine to do yourself if you are confident.
It is perfectly fine to only have a few coords, especially when first starting out. If you are a newbie, take inspiration from more experienced lolitas, but don't feel like you have to immediately get the same size wardrobe as them! Some lolitas who have been around for years have fairly small wardrobes because they sell things frequently. Many lolitas take years to get the collections they have and all that time isn't always apparent in their wardrobe posts. It is perfectly fine to take your time, especially depending on your own financial situation.
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