Why is Oldschool Lolita so Nostalgic?


I had been thinking about it recently, as I watch more and more people pursue what we now know as oldschool as their primary lolita style. What got me in particular is that although I didn’t even become aware of lolita fashion until 2010 – by which point it was firmly in the OTT Sweet craze – looking at oldschool pieces and coords still makes me feel nostalgic. It should be impossible, I never actually witnessed the early lolita style we now call odschool, so let me share a couple of thoughts on this.

It takes us to a simpler time

Lolita fashion in the noughties was slightly more ‘messy’, for lack of a better word. Nowadays we take matching colours and themes (or at least substyles) pretty seriously, but that wasn’t the case back then. Black platforms with pastel dresses were commonplace (a more direct Alice in Wonderland inspiration perhaps?) and a certain degree of mismatch was normal, as people made do with what they had. Also, when you think about the hair and makeup back in the 2000’s, even in the West it was a lot simpler compared to now – blending was something that only makeup artists knew and slightly frizzy, spikey hair was what you saw in all teen magazines. Looking at oldschool lolita reminds us both of those simpler looks and to have fun with what you wear. Just like a sweet you had often as a child or seeing a certain film can bring back childhood nostalgia.

This here is some very early lolita, but it's a great example of that 'make do' attitude
that resulted in some mismatch: socks that were most likely from a normie shop,
pieces that match but aren't coordinated to the T, smaller poof. It's cute, just in a
way that we wouldn't necessarily wear today.
Image found via Pinterest, I do ot own.

Kamikaze Girls

For many of us it’s a favourite film. Regardless of whether Momoko was the one who introduced you to lolita fashion or not, when looking at oldschool coordinates, you will probably think of her and that will bring some happy memories. Not only that, since Momoko was living the dream, whilst at the same time being painfully removed from it (middle-of-nowhere village, weird family life, daydreaming about a time long gone etc.), it is easy for us to relate, as we dream of that lolita lifestyle while our own daily realities are often far from kawaii. For me the nostalgia that this film triggers also relates to my time in Japan, as I look at the familiar backgrounds and little things that aren’t mundane and daily in the UK. 

Both Momoko's coords and that rich shade of green that only rice paddies in summer have give me tonnes of nostalgia!
Image from the film, I do not own.

The history of each piece

Even though I don’t wear oldschool lolita myself, I do own a couple of pieces that are certainly from that era. I believe my oldest main piece hails back from 2007, which means it is already 12 years old – and more importantly, still in remarkable shape! Holding a garment that has been taken care of for so long and which was made during those early days, when lolita fashion finally started resembling what it is today, is incredibly humbling. And more so, to think of the journey that an individual piece makes before making it to you – how many hands has it been in, how many miles did it travel in its lifetime, what kinds of meetups it may have been worn for etc. – that definitely makes me feel very nostalgic.

One of my 2007 release pieces and it still looks basically brand new. It's been well loved until now and I will make sure that if I ever need to let it go, it goes to someone who will also give it a loving home.

It *may* have been the first kind of lolita I saw

Now this isn’t something I can be absolutely sure of, hence I’m putting it last. As I’ve said in the past, the first time I saw lolita fashion was on my sempai at university, who was a daily lolita at the time. For the life of me, I do not know what was the dress she wore when I first met her – however, I do remember that it was pink, very frilly and definitely not printed. As that was 2010, this would make it quite likely that it was something oldschool in style, even if the details may have been more modern (like lace and other trims). She no longer wears lolita to the best of my knowledge and I wish that I could find some pictures of her from around that time just for me to look at. However, still when I see a pink x white oldschool lolita coordidnate, it brings me back to those first days at university when everything was wonderful and I was all star struck (and before reality of my university hit me in the face like a shovel).

While what I remember my sempai wearing was much poofier, with more
ruffles and more princessy than this, it's certainly a style that makes me
think of her.
Image found via Pinterest, I do not own.

All of this coming from someone who doesn’t wear oldschool and wasn’t in the fashion when oldschool was the only kind of lolita available… Do you feel the same way about this style? Do you wear it? How does it make you feel? Or maybe you’ve been around in the fashion since those early days and continue wearing oldschool? What about it makes you feel nostalgic, if anything? What is the oldest piece that you own? Let’s see what lolita antiques we can find between ourselves! 


  1. I think these are all totally accurate! There's something about that kind of quirky make-do quality to the older coords that make it super charming to me. I got into lolita in like...2004-5? So it's definitely a nostalgia thing for me, the first lolita I fell in love with!

    1. I can imagine just how much more nostalgic it must be to someone like yourself who got into the fashion so early. What do you think about how lolita evolved now? Is the current look something you like or does it make you want to dress more in oldschool?


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