Japanese Lolita

To most people, when they hear the word Lolita they think of a girl who wears children’s clothes for sexual reasons. However, they would be mistaken to assume the same for this fashion. Lolita is a fashion subculture originating in Japan that is based on Victorian era clothing. The original silhouette is knee to floor length skirts or dresses, a blouse, knee-high socks, and other accessories such as bows. Underneath the skirt, one would wear a petticoat and bloomers. Many are unsure of how this style become known as Lolita, though, some give credit to Mana. In 1999 Mana, the leader of the Japanese band Malice Mizer, started his own clothing brand. He named it Moi-meme-Moitie, and stated that his designs were Elegant Gothic Lolita. Unlike the American’s description of Lolita, Ayakawa states that this style is about being, “playful, witty, and [it] feeds the dreams of girls who want to be princesses”(102). For many girls, this fashion allows them to wear adorable and sophisticated clothing. As stated on EglCommunity, “It’s not, as some commentators have suggested, some sort of appeal to men’s expectation that women should be childlike, or an attempt to pander to pedophiles.” The purpose of this fashion is not to emulate little girls. According to Nguyen, “Lolita lives for innocence, decadence, and a life of elegance” (8). This fashion emerged as a way for girls to fight against the growing exposure of the body and skin in today’s society by wearing conservative clothing. It is normal for a Lolita to show very little skin, as that is part of the fashion. However, there are several different Lolita styles.

Classic Lolita is a slightly more mature version of Lolita. It’s not quite aristocrat, the adult version of Lolita, because the silhouette is still present. Often, classic Lolitas wear darker or more muted colors and floral prints are common as well but aren’t required for a classic outfit. They also tend to wear less bows and ribbons compared to Sweet and Country Lolita. Sweet Lolita is defined by bright colors, such as pink and sax, and having bows adorned on the outfit. On the dresses and skirt, it is common to see pictures of cakes or animals. Country Lolita is similar to Sweet Lolita, but with straw hats and dresses in gingham with flowers and fruits designs. It is commonly seen as dressing like a sweet Lolita out for a picnic. The print of the dress and the straw hat accessory are really the only thing that distinguishes it from sweet Lolita, and often the two are grouped together.

Hime Lolita, which translates to Princess Lolita, has the traditional Lolita silhouette of a bell-shaped skirt is, usually with a slightly lower neckline to balance out the fullness of the skirt. It is common for those who wear this style to also tease their hair up, though not all do this. It is also common to see some wearing a tiara or large bow on their head. However, they normally do not wear socks of any kind and wear high heel shoes. Gothic Lolita has the traditional Lolita silhouette, as most of these styles do. Gothic Lolitas tend to wear an all black outfit, or with highlights of vibrant cobalt or white. This is often the first style of Lolita that beginners choose because it is easy to collect black accessories. It is similar to Gothic fashion in America, in that most try to have pale faces with bright red or black lips. According to Wikipedia, “cross jewelry, religious symbols, bags and purses in shapes like bats, coffins, and crucifixes are also used to accessorize the Gothic Lolita look.”

Ouji Lolita, which translates to as Prince Lolita, is also called Kodona outside of Japan. It is considered the male version of Lolita fashion. Normally, according to Wikipedia, Ouji  “includes blouses and shirts, knickerbockers and other styles of short trousers, knee-high socks, top hats, and newsboy caps.” The color scheme tends to be dark color, however, pinks and blues have become more prevalent. Although this is the male version of Lolita, it is most common to see girls wearing this. Casual Lolita is like the sounds. It is a toned down version of Lolita. It still has the basic Lolita elements are still adhered to, but the key element in the co-ordination is simplicity. As stated by Wikipedia, “Casual Lolita can best be described as what a Lolita would wear when not “dressing up”: Still modest and elegant, but not to the degree of most other Lolita styles.” This style often has a simple cut-sew and paired with a Lolita skirt and hair accessories. There is no set color scheme to follow for this style, unlike others. Wearers can wear all black, pinks, and even mixed pastels.

Classic Lolita

Classic Lolita

Sweet Lolita

Sweet Lolita

Country Lolita

Country Lolita

Hime Lolita

Hime Lolita

Gothic Lolita

Gothic Lolita

Ouji Lolita

Ouji Lolita

Casual Lolita

Casual Lolita

Works Cited

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One thought on “Japanese Lolita

  1. benander

    Your did a great job with this. I really like how you explain the variations and give examples. I am interested by Nguyen’s assertion of innocence and decadence. This seems to play in to the stereotype of the eroticized child that some practitioners of Lolita object to. You do a great job explaining the various Lolitas, but you do not devote a paragraph to Gothic Lolita. The transgressive nature of the Gothic Lolita seems to bring an edge to the innocent child look that may also be, in some contexts, disturbing.

    Reply

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