5 Things I Would Tell a Beginner Not To Do

The Internet is full of advice for Lolita newbies. Heck, not to shamelessly plug my own stuff, but I have written several posts with advice aimed at newcomers, both here and on WunderWelt Libre. However, in the spirit of trying to be positive and encouraging, most advice usually focuses on what to do – and yet sometimes what not to do is just as important. So here are five things that I would like to tell all Lolita beginners not to do.

1. Do not rush

Wait until you know what you're doing
before going on a mad shopping spree.
This is probably the most important thing one can do. When you discover something you really like, it’s natural to want to dive in head first, do it all at once, just so you can take part as soon as possible. But as a wise folk saying goes, haste makes waste – and this is especially true of beginners. When experienced Lolitas rush, they usually end up with unnecessary impulse purchases – but at least they’re impulse purchases that are definitely part of Lolita fashion, that are of at least decent quality and can be sold on without much of a financial loss if need be. But when you don’t know much about Lolita yet, your hasty impulse purchases are likely to be very poor and at the end, once you’ve learnt more, will probably be destined for the bin or the charity shop. Take your time to do your research, as well as save if you need to, to avoid making waste in your haste.

2. Do not skip the research

Everything you need to know has
already been said, so don't be lazy with
using Google.
Linked to the above is the importance of not skipping your Lolita homework. And this means all kinds of research: getting to know the fashion and what makes some clothes Lolita and some not; learning how to purchase items from various sources; reading reviews of items to avoid getting scammed or ending up with a poor quality garment; reading through the most common discussion topics so that you don’t accidentally start beating a dead horse on a forum etc. You could do it the hard way and just learn from your mistakes – but that goes back to the haste makes waste thing and you’ll waste a lot of time and money, potentially getting really discouraged by negative feedback along the way, before you get it right. And given that there are tonnes of useful resources available in English right now, written and on YouTube, unlike back in 2001, then going through the hassle of all that waste is simply stupid and unsustainable. 

3. Do not take offence at negative feedback

Sometimes typed word doesn't translate
well, but this is what we all see when
someone's kicking up a fuss at being
given helpful con crit.
Now, there is a difference between negative feedback, someone’s opinion and plain old insults which you must learn to distinguish first. Not every negative comment is an insult, but also not every negative comment is feedback. While you’re right to be upset and angry at being called nasty names or adjectives (ugly, disgusting, fatty-chan – anything aimed at you as a person or your character and not about your outfit) or an opinion (e.g. ‘I don’t like this’), you will come across as childish and immature if you take offence to a comment aimed at helping you improve. This is usually referred to as con crit (short for constructive criticism) and while there isn’t a set way to deliver it, the good examples will usually point out what could be improved and will give you suggestions on how to do it. Now again, this can be specific (e.g. ‘Your blouse clashes with the dress, maybe try a pink one?’) or quite vague (e.g. ‘Your blouse clashes with the dress’), it can point at some of the generally accepted ‘Lolita rules’ (e.g. ‘You should wear some socks with this’) or be fairly subjective (e.g. ‘A beret would be better than the headbow’), but as long as you avoid emotional, stubborn responses to being given con crit, you should be fine. Again, if you’ve done your research well, you should already know what to do or not when coordinating, so your feedback should be much more specific and positive than negative, but still – the point is to not take offence and throw a hissy fit when being given genuine, helpful con crit.

4. Do not excessively whinge

If you have to, better do it
privately with a friend rather
than in a public post.
It’s human to want to complain at certain things. However, there’s a difference between having a rant once because you spotted your dream dress at what you know through research is a marked up price and constantly whining that Lolita fashion is too expensive and you can’t afford it. Unfortunately, many beginner Lolitas, who are often young and can’t rely on a steady income, will post at length how they want to be a part of the fashion, but they don’t have the means to buy brand pieces or that brands aren’t making things in their size or whatever. Way too often these whingers respond with further whinges to helpful, encouraging, well-meaning advice such as ‘you don’t have to rush into it’, ‘save up for things’ or ‘why don’t you try searching second hand or ordering from a reputable Taobao seller’ etc. No-one likes a person who’s always whining, even less when that person seems to ignore helpful comments from others by posting a ‘but’ after ‘but’ responses because all they want to do is be felt sorry for. Helpful comments which, again, a person who has done their research properly should already be well aware of anyway. There are some truths about Lolita fashion that cannot be changed, such as its cost (because even though Taobao offers good stuff at low prices, £60 plus shipping and shopping service fees is still a lot to some), but many of us are in the same boat and make it work with the same or very similar restraints, which means that you can too. All you need is an attitude change. And if you want to be a part of the Lolita fashion community, then the attitude really has to change. You can’t treat Lolita like you would fast fashion from Primark and if what you expect is fast fashion from Primark, then you’ve picked the wrong fashion to pursue.

5. Do not be afraid

Lily James' Cinderella kept saying to
'have courage and be kind' - and that
will get you far in life.
Along with the first point, this is also extremely important. There are many things that I’ve seen newbies be afraid of or worried about: going out in Lolita in public, joining a comm, attending a meet up, telling their family about their hobby, sharing something online, asking for coord advice – you name it. While I’m not trying to say that you can’t enjoy Lolita fashion alone and in secret, a big part of what most of us love about it is the community aspects and the meet ups, which inevitably means putting together a coord and venturing out in Lolita in public etc. Please, use your best judgement and don’t put yourself in situations where you may be at risk of harm, but the above things shouldn’t be in that category. Take a deep breath, talk to someone or dig through the Internet for specific advice (and trust me, these topics have been discussed at length already on various Lolita sources, you will find advice), then look your fear in the eye and stick a middle finger at it by enjoying yourself.

None of this is new or ground-breaking. But when so much helpful content has already been created for beginner Lolitas, all you can do is repeat what’s already been said, sometimes with a bit more focus on some aspect of it or in a slightly different form. I have taken a slightly broader, generic approach here, but other bloggers may have focused on something else, so if you’re a beginner Lolita or just interested, make sure to read what things they advise newbies to avoid:


  1. Preach! I like your breakdown of concrit, too - some of it can be vague or subjective, but it's still meant as a suggestion for improvement and not an insult, and it is important to be able to respond to something like that gracefully.

    1. That's exactly it. Too many newbies have responded too emotionally because they interpretedd a comment like "I think a different hair accessory would be better" or "You should wear something on your legs, like tights or socks" as an attack rather than help. And especially now when pages like CoF have a pretty strong mod team who will keep order and prevent things like bullying, there really is no need for emotional responses - unless they're positive, of course!


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