How Does Your Family React to Your Frills


Lolita versus family is a battle literally as old as the fashion. After all, it all started as an act of rebellion by young women against societal and parental/family expectations of what a young woman should do in her spare time and how she should look. Namely to search for and attract a husband. To this day it continues to be a fighting issue for some lolitas, mostly the younger ones, although equally as many have a positive experience. Hell, at this point many lolitas themselves are mothers and get to involve their children in the fashion in some way, be it through actual dressing up or just getting kids to help them pick an outfit.

I myself belong to the lucky cohort. By the time I have gotten into the fashion I was already legally an adult and living away from home for university. However, my parents have always given me a lot of freedom and been very accepting of the things I do and how I chose to self-express. I don’t recall them ever uttering the archetype parental phrase of “You’re not going out dressed like this” – although granted, for a multitude of reasons I was neither into going out and partying or dressing outside of what would be considered appropriate for my age.

Also, because of how I was introduced to the fashion, by extension they didn’t have as much of a shock compared to some. The first few dresses I bought, the first two lolita dresses they’ve ever seen, were just this novelty fashion I brought from my first study abroad trip in Japan. For the first few years I kept them for burlesque nights only, so again there was no question of “You’re not wearing this to [insert occasion]”.

My parents are big proposers in dressing however you want. With a sprinkle of
'you're not overdressed, everyone else is underdressed' from my Mum. Now
you know where I got it from.

The downside to this is that I’m not sure at which point my parents became aware that the fashion was called lolita. And because I myself took a good few years figuring out the ins and out of the style, there was no typical sitting down and explaining it all that we often advise younger lolitas to do when they encounter parental opposition. Still, given my lack of research and slow start, it’s still not bad that only my Dad had a moment of associating the fashion with the book, which I have since corrected. My Mum, as far as I know, seems to have been under the impression that lolita was either like a sister fashion or inspired and ‘Japanised’ version of rockabilly and 1950’s/feminine vintage clothing, which is not the worst assumption to make.

So it’s not been much of a change: they went from accepting that this is clothes that I owned and sometimes wore with minimal understanding of the fashion to accepting that this is clothes I wear and meet other people who wear them with a better understanding of what the fashion is. Dad is just being Dad and doesn’t have much interest in clothes, although he has said once that his favourite piece of mine is the Fairytale Library skirt because it’s less ruffly, more toned down and feminine without being feminine-on-steroids. The one time he saw it he also liked my Innocent World’s Georges Rose JSK and my recent gothic acquisition of Alice and the Pirates’ Sugar Plum Fairy Princess JSK. Generally anything that’s less in your face and that could pass better as maybe vintage clothes he tends to like better than the OTT prints.

Simple and passable as quirky normal-wear.

Mum, on the other hand, likes it quite a lot! I still reckon that she’d be quite into it herself, but more on the classic side, more patterns than print, maybe some retro styling. She’s tried sweet once and, in her own word, felt a bit like “a mutton dressed as a lamb”, which probably wasn’t the best introduction to the fashion in terms of encouraging to wear it, but that was her own choice (she got to pick the dress she wanted me to use for the makeover and picked Crystal Dream Carnival herself). That aside, she is a great supporter and enjoys the visual aspect of the fashion. Even though she isn’t aware of the ‘lolita rules’, I can trust her opinion when I’m stuck on finishing touches for the coord because I can trust her general fashion sense.

Big and bold, fit for a tea party.

However, the one thing neither of my parents is keen on is the price. Just like many who don’t quite understand where the price tag on lolita clothes come from, they tend to react with a sharp intake of breath at the mention of price. I tell them when I get something cheaply, mostly to prove that it doesn’t have to be expensive, but generally if they ask how much something was I respond with “You’d rather not know” to spare them the heart attack. They wouldn’t berate me or anything, since it’s my own money that I spend, they were simply brought up at times and in circumstances that demanded savings and while they have become better at spending money on things themselves, old habits die hard.

As far as my extended family goes, the majority of them are unaware that this is what I wear. Those who do either openly accept it and like it for how different it is or just ignore it, dumping it under the “it’s just her thing” label and move on.

Does your family react positively to you wearing lolita fashion? Did you have issues introducing them to it? Anyone you suspect would really like wearing it if whatever arbitrary conditions were met? Below are links to the other bloggers participating in this week’s Lolita Blog Carnival prompt and their stories of frills vs families, be sure to check those out!

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