What Lolita Taught Me

The subject of what kind of things we have learnt from Lolita fashion crops up pretty regularly, but it’s still good to revisit it sometimes as we discover more. I myself have touched upon it already when discussing habits I picked up from the fashion and skills every Lolita should have, but would like to go into the subject a little bit more directly now.

A chance conversation with someone at work made me realise just how much I have learnt from Lolita fashion, and one of the most important lessons is the ability to style a main piece so as to create a few very different outfits. There are many people out there who will wear an outfit once and then feel like they can’t be seen in it ever again, or those who lack the skills to see beyond that one outfit with an item that they like and create something different. In Lolita fashion, we celebrate creativity and being able to put together multiple outfits with one main piece (sometimes out of necessity and sometimes only to justify purchasing it in the first place) and we can later apply that skill to other styles of fashion. That way our friends and family may think that we’re wearing something different each time, when in fact we’re very cleverly masking how we reuse pieces through coordinating.

Closet Child full of clothes and still nothing to wear!
Image from Lolita-Tips.tumblr.com

For me this is very strongly connected with valuing quality over quantity. Before I’d have a lot of clothes, mostly T-shirts, not all of which I’d get a chance to wear and many of which would get minor damage fairly quickly along the way. It was also a constant turnover as I bought new T-shirts, as well as other clothes which wouldn’t get as much wear, and having to throw out those items that I wasn’t wearing. However, Lolita fashion made me appreciate quality of clothes and fabrics a lot more, and while I still want to get things cheaply, my definition of cheap has changed to distinguish between ‘cheap for its quality’ and ‘cheap and cheaply made’. Wherever they might come from, I now want my clothes to hold a certain standard, not just because this will make me feel better, but also because they will last longer this way.

There are sales... and then there's Laforet Grand Bazar!
Image from NonoriYago.com
This in turn ties in with taking better care of the clothes that I have. While I was always prone to trying to fix something before replacing it, with cheaper, lesser quality and more fast-fashion kind of clothes I would just throw them on the quickest washing cycle all at once (very few of those items bled and colour catcher sheets are life) and be done with it. Since then I am taking factors like fabric and colour into consideration when doing laundry, as well as using more than just the nicest smelling washing detergent and a colour catcher sheet. And despite coming so far in terms of washing and care, I still feel like I could do more sometimes. When properly taken care of, our clothes can last us longer, which in turn (and in theory) should save money through fewer replacements needed.

Should I take it to the dry cleaners or handwash it?
'Cutie Lolita' by J3SSL33 on Flickr.com
Finally, Lolita fashion teaches us, albeit only to a certain extent, how to be satisfied with what we have. Because of the cost involved with it, as even second-hand items will incur some kind of extra cost (shipping, shopping service, customs for the unlucky ones), we tend to buy fewer bits and/or buy smarter, with a wishlist and more consideration than we give those £2 T-shirts. This means that many of us will have fewer pieces and those lucky enough to have large Lolita wardrobes have either been collecting items for years, have a comparably large disposable income or are daily Lolita wearers, often all of the above. However, whilst we can’t always control our circumstances, we can control how we look at our situation and I guess that the majority of Lolitas are happy with the items they have, whether there are many or few of them. With a little bit of mindfulness we can extend this mind-set onto other material possessions, to be satisfied with what we own or to work towards achieving a workable rather than extensive wardrobe/collection. This is never an end goal, more of a journey in progress, but when we learn to be satisfied with our material possessions, we can often better appreciate other good things in our lives. All because instead of complaining how we can’t afford expensive fashion, we learn to be happy with and enjoy the few items we have, take care of them and learn to feature these in a variety of diverse outfits.

"Secret" goals though.
Image from YouTube.com.

Of course, there are always other lessons to be had from our beloved fashion – those are simply the couple that have struck me after that chance conversation. And I’m sure that the longer I’ll stay in the fashion, the more I’ll be able to add to the list of things that I have learnt from it. I’m not perfect by any means and am guilty of neglecting clothes care sometimes or thinking that I’ve already worn something and need to think of something else to wear to a meet. Ultimately, it’s about being mindful of these things and working towards self-improvement. Maybe in a few years I’ll look back at this and realise that I wasn’t quite so far along that journey as I had thought.


  1. I totally agree with all the things you’ve mentioned, and have experienced them myself! Particularly in coordinating non-lolita clothes…though the downside of this for me is that I’ve become kind of anal about it. It’s okay not to have perfect colour distribution, Roli! The mindfulness and satisfaction with what you own is also a great point!

    1. In my case this has gone more in the direction of "Exposing my shoulders? But... this is inappropriate!". I never used to have a problem with showing my shoulders before, but now it makes me feel uncomfortable. :P

  2. I learned to look after colours I already have in wadrobe while shopping.

    1. I'm far better at5 doing that for Lolita than I am for my non-Lolita stuff. Although I tend to stick to a few favourite colours in general, I don't always remember to consider shades. I should have a good hard look at my other clothes and try to make a more cohesive wardrobe out of that. :P


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