Spicing Up an Outfit


Both in and outside of Lolita there seems to be some sort of a stigma about wearing the same outfit too many times. And when you think about it, that’s a very modern problem – even Marie Antoinette had to wait months for a new dress to be finished and wear the same dress more than once in the meantime! At the same time items like the Little Black Dress don’t go out of fashion precisely because you can wear them multiple times and for various occasions. Considering that Lolita fashion is not a cheap one to get into, I feel that this can discourage some of the newer members from participating more in both the fashion and in the local community, as they don't want to be seen as a One-Outfit-chan. However, I think that the key here is in having the right accessories!

As a little experiment I'd like to show you how you can change the same base outfit with different accessories. For the purpose of this post "base outfit" means a JSK, a blouse and a pair of shoes – these three pieces will remain unchanged and the post is written with the assumption that you do own a petticoat. To make this challenge extra tricky (but hopefully also extra useful) I will use two base outfits, one using a border print JSK and one using a non-printed/neutral printed one. This way I'm hoping to show that regardless of what kind of piece you own, you can still affect how the whole coord will look by simply changing everything around your base.

Border Print JSK

Say that you went a little crazy, maybe even bought a dream dress as your first Lolita piece. That’s amazing, you love the way it looks and how it makes you feel – but now that you spent all your savings on this one dress and used leftovers to get a blouse and shoes, you’re out of money and feel like you only have one outfit. But while you may want to save up a little for some of these accessories, you’re not necessarily stuck with just one outfit!

Base: AP Crystal Dream Carnival Tiered JSK, Infanta
Swan Lake blouse + Deary replica heels

| offbrand socks and earrings | Etsy bow barette |

| AP Twinkle Carnival OTKs | AP Crystal Dream Carnivalring | offbrand headbow | Chocoming clip | Risu Rose
necklace | offbrand Venetian mask |

| AatP Arabesque OTKs | Soufflesong Mermaid Song
bonne | AP Crystal Dream Carnival ring | Risu Rose
necklace |

I couldn’t resist going gradually more and more OTT with this dress. But even if you only compare the last two you can see how the accessories change the look of the base. This dress has the added benefit of having quite a few removable parts for extra versatility, and having this neutral colour base lets you play with accessories however you want. Those are still three different outfits even if the differences between them are subtle and more highlighted by what you can do with the dress than the accessories themselves.

Non-Printed JSK

Maybe you went with what some would consider an easier or a smarter choice of a cheap non-printed dress – or maybe you simply have that sort of outfit and somehow feel stuck with it and can’t think of other ways to wear it. Yes, plain JSKs are praised for their versatility, but if you’re short on blouses it certainly can feel a bit samey until your savings accumulate. But it doesn’t have to be this way, just be creative with all the other pieces.

Base = Bodyline L262 JSK, offbrand chiffon blouse,
Bodyline S274 heels

| offbrand socks and pearls | Cutie Creator wristcuffs | bow
detached from the dress |

| AP Candy Fun Fair OTKs | Peacockalorum wristcuffs |
offbrand sailor cardigan | Etsy bow barette |

| AP Drained Cherry OTKs | offbrand bow clips | handmade
bracelet |

Maybe because there isn’t a big print to distract you, but the difference accessories can make is a lot more noticeable here. You can transform the feel and style of the dress with the right items and a versatile enough base. As long as your colours arent clashing you can change an item after item and have dozens, maybe even hundreds of new outfits.

Final tips

These relate to things that are very commonly put in various wardrobe building advice posts, but as they are good pieces of advice they’re worth repeating.

  • Start off with a white or cream blouse. They really do go with everything and you’ll find it a lot easier making a Gothic Lolita coord with a white blouse than a Sweet Lolita one with a black one.
  • Pick colours for your coord out of your main piece’s print. They already work within the print, so you know that they’re safe to incorporate, plus bringing out accent colours (e.g. pink accents out of a predominantly blue and white dress) will give balance to your coord.
  • In case of non-printed main pieces, think of colours that go well together. White matches everything, but read a little about matching colours. Things like the colour wheel, cold and warm tones, earth and neutral tones etc. are all useful tricks when trying to match colours.
  • Accessories don’t have to be by Japanese brands. You can get most pieces cheaply by searching your local charity and high street shops, Taobao stores, Facebook sales etc. Don’t feel pressured to spend loads on a plastic ring or pair of bow clips from a Japanese brand when Claire’s Accessories may have something very similar for a fraction of the price.
  • Keep a picture of your main pieces on your phone. It’s especially useful when you’ve built up your wardrobe a bit and may start forgetting what you own or what exact shade is it. Having a reference close by when you’re out shopping will help to purchase pieces that really match.

There are many things that you could do with one outfit, which I hope I managed to demonstrate here. Sometimes just changing your necklace or headwear can make a big difference. Whether you have a big wardrobe and are in a bit of a slump or just starting out and looking for inspiration, advice and guidance, I hope this post was useful to you. The important bit is to have fun and not be scared of experimenting a little.

Have you worn the same outfit more than once, but spiced it up with different accessories so it looked new every time? I’d love to see some of them, send me some links in the comments, please!


  1. Also you can't jugde a colour on a screen, until you see in real life. The last winered bow I bought was more chocking pink than deep red. Simply I wasn't sure of photo was accurate, in this case it was.

    1. Definitely. That happened to me a few times already, though never with Lolita. What bugged me though is that the photo is one thing, but it's actual people putting them up online - can't they just add a disclaimer that the actual colour is different and describe what it is rather than hide behind all this "colours may look different due to screens" thing? It really grinds my gears.

  2. This is a very helpful post! Accessories really do make such a huge difference to a look it's nice to see it illustrated like this.

    1. Thank you, I'm glad my intention came across. Especially given how cheaply you can get many of the accessories I think everyone should be having loads at hand to change up their outfits. :)


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