First Experience Going Out in Lolita

Yay, another great Lolita Blog Carnival topic to get stuck in! I can’t wait to read other stories for this. Though I guess I first have to share mine…

I don’t actually remember the first time I went out in lolita. Or more specifically: I don’t remember the first time where I’d go out in it and considered myself to wear lolita. As you may know, I got into it with the intention of wearing it as rockabilly-esque stuff, so my two Bodyline dresses saw a fair share of wear, particularly to various burlesque shows. That doesn’t make for a particularly exciting blog post, so instead let me tell you about the first time I went out in lolita with other people dressed in lolita. In about a month it will be exactly 6 years since that day and I’ve been riding a massive nostalgia wave anyway, so let’s indulge that.

This was years back during my second study abroad trip in Japan, which I spent in the gorgeous city of Kanazawa. (Side note: if you want the traditional vibes of Kyoto but with fewer tourists, Kanazawa is your place to go, as well as a fantastic destination on its own merit.) Over the months leading up to that day I have gotten particularly close with three other girls in my group, one from the USA, one from Belgium and one from Singapore - for ease of writing, I will call them C, K and E respectively. K was also into lolita and together we had gotten C into the fashion. E on the other hand is very much a tomboy who’s into cosplay, though she was curious about trying lolita out (spoiler: she prefers ouji, but that was a whole other day from this one). About a month before that day I had finally spent my hard-earned cash on Fantasy Theater, so as it was C’s birthday coming up, we decided to all dress in lolita and have a fun day.

Let’s rewind time, all the way back to July 2014. I remember waking up ridiculously early on that day, confused as to why that was. But instead of dwelling on that, I had used the extra time to get everything ready. My nickname, Cupcake Kamisama, was given to me by the group of friends I’d met at Kanazawa University for being the chief baker. I was the one making everyone’s birthday cakes and cupcakes, and C’s birthday was no exception. So I managed to assemble the Victoria sponge with fresh blueberries that was going to be C’s birthday cake later that evening, and get myself ready with plenty of time to spare before we actually needed to head into town.

| Angelic Pretty Fantasy Theater Gilet JSK | Bodyline heels | offbrand mini hat and earrings |
Necklace wasn't technically part of the coord, it was something I wore constantly.

This isn't even that different to what I'd wear now. Though now there would probably be socks and a better petticoat!

This is the coordinate that I wore. Today it evokes quite conflicting feelings, but back then I was happy as it had come together exactly the way I wanted it to. As you can tell, my styling was still much more rockabilly than lolita. Yes, it was July in Japan and it was very hot and humid (and also rainy), but that’s not why I didn’t wear a blouse. I had no blouse because I didn’t think this dress needed one. I still think that it looks good without a blouse, but today I’d probably balance that out with more accessories or something. And at that time I wasn’t keen on lolita socks or tights, the patterned legwear seemed too much (hoo boy, how the tables have turned on that!), so I wore sheer nylon tights for comfort. However, I am happy that even with those choices it is clear that I had a sense of direction and coordination. The shoes matched the mini hat, the victory roll balanced said mini hat, the makeup matched the victory roll… I even had a carousel bag (Merry-Go-Round from Innocent World), which didn’t make it to any of the photos, but matched the theme of the JSK print. The elements are there, it just wasn’t quite lolita enough. Oh, and I did have a petticoat on! It was the wrong shape for this dress, as I only owned one rockabilly A-line I had to fold over, but thanks to this dress’ built-in petticoat at least the skirt wasn’t completely flat.

But enough self-concrit and back to the day! It was very rainy, sort of the back-end of rainy season (though Kanazawa is rainy regardless), which did nothing to help with the heat, as you can tell by us not having any outer layers. I explained why I had no blouse, but let me quickly defend my friends. At that time I think C (to my right) didn’t have one yet. This was her first lolita dress she bought from BtSSB in Kanazawa and was waiting until her next scholarship instalment came through to get more. K (far right) either felt that it was too hot for a blouse or she gave her only lolita blouse to E (2nd from the right) who was only trying out lolita and was wearing clothes borrowed from K. So yes, we all went out like this and it was hot enough that being blouseless at least kept us from overheating in our JSKs. And meant we were pretty cold once in air-conditioned spaces, but that’s just how things roll.

C is the only one with a proper lolita parasol, as it was her birthday present from us.

Lolitas on public transport is always a fun adventure!

We took the bus from our up-a-mountain campus into the city centre, to Katamachi where both nightlife and geek-life gathers in Kanazawa. As far as I remember, we didn’t have any particular plan other than to eat something before going to Animate. I don’t think any of us even bothered to look up what cute cafes there may be in Kanazawa that we could get to by bus? I’m sure there would’ve been plenty, but we sort of just went and figured things out along the way. A pretty haphazard approach, but since we weren’t aiming for anything that may have been popular, we simply looked for something fancy enough that would be within our budget, it worked out.

Our luck brought us to a cafe called Budou no Ki, which is actually a small chain in Kanazawa at an affordable mid-price point. They are aiming to be Italian-esque, though like many European-inspired cafes in Japan that are within that price range, they will have some mainstream Japanese dishes too. And they do lovely cakes and desserts, so it was perfect for our needs! I remember ordering some sort of pasta dish (because I have always lived dangerously whilst in lolita), though I can’t remember whether I had skipped desert or just forgot what I had. Probably the latter, though I say that mostly after flicking through the photos to jog my memory. I do, however, remember one of my friends ordering a strawberry and basil parfait because we were super intrigued as to whether that would even work. It did work, very nicely actually, the basil kind of did for the parfait what mint would’ve done, but more subtly.

The photoshoot shenanigans with cafe menus. We've all done something like that, haven't we?

I've been into most embarrassing behaviour since 2014, clearly.

If I wanted to be kind, I would've called this coord ero. But I know that there was nowhere near the level of thought required for ero. So just enjoy this mild cringe trip - and a glimpse of my bag.

I can't remember whose dessert platter this was. But I can confirm that Budou no Ki's desserts are delicious!

You don't need to see K's face to know what expression she was pulling. Desserts = pure joy!

After filling up our bellies with this casual frilly lunch, we headed into Animate. In most places in Japan Animate will be surrounded by other manga and otaku-merch shops, but Kanazawa is not a big city by Japanese standards (even though it has a population of roughly half a million). As such, it doesn’t need that many nerdy shops, so Animate shares a building with a maid cafe and the lolita and other J-fashion shops, which were on the ground floor. I don’t think any of us bought anything that day. I certainly didn’t as I was doing that whole study abroad trip entirely self-funded and had to budget carefully. So I merely sighed heavily at the sight of Crystal Dream Carnival on Angelic Pretty’s display and we had fun browsing, admiring the fabrics and how “pettable” they were. We did have a few other friends join us at that point, who were more interested in actual Animate, so while C and K joined them to browse, E and myself stayed on the ground floor resting on a bench by what looked like a photo spot (where the outfit shot above was taken).

Both this and the next picture are from October 2013. But not only is photography not allowed inside, we didn't even think of taking any (beyond a few outfit snaps) because even with the end of our trip in sight it felt like a place we could always go back to. And one we had engraved in our memories.

An escalator taking you up to more nerd paradise is a common sight in Japan.

After that we braved the rain once again to return to the dorm we all stayed in for a birthday party with the rest of our classmates. Even our teachers commented how we were “the friendliest” cohort to date back then, where we’d frequently hang out all 19 of us, whether it was someone’s birthday or whether we happened to catch each other in the common room and gradually more people joined as we just chatted. I brought out the cake, others brought other snacks and after a whole day wandering places it was great to sit on a couch and hang out with the rest of our group. Our lolita quartet caused a bit of a commotion amongst our classmates with the lolita outfits, so there were plenty of “I want a picture with you, please” situations happening. That was maybe the only time in my life when someone looked at me in lolita and wanted to take a photo with me because they liked how I look where it wasn’t weird or uncomfortable. When strangers ask that, it inevitably feels like you’ve become a tourist attraction - when your friends ask that, it’s simply another memento of the wonderful time you spent together.

Seeing others enjoy the things that I baked brings me great joy.

And looking at it now, I am pretty proud of that Victoria Sponge, I proper packed it with blueberries as much as I could!

One of several "I'd like a picture with you all" photos.

What on Earth were we talking about then to cause such a reaction? I have a suspicion it was about cringey accents, but can't be sure. Shoutout to that red petticoat, I still have it, but it's well crap!

Which brings me to wrapping this post up with a few reflections. I guess you could call this my first lolita meetup. However, I only consider it to be one in hindsight. At the time this was simply us going out for C’s birthday and we agreed to wear lolita as we all wanted an excuse to wear it. Although being out in lolita was a little easier in Japan, there was still comfort in numbers. And when I say easier, I don’t necessarily mean that it’s common. During my last trip in March 2019 I spotted a few lolitas in the wild in both Osaka and Tokyo, but those are much, much bigger cities than Kanazawa, which back in 2014 certainly didn’t have many. (Apparently there was a lolita at our university, but I never saw her, C and K did.) But as a white person in Japan I already stood out and by that point I had gotten used to the looks this fact attracted in certain parts. Being in lolita, particularly with three other lolitas, didn’t feel like we’d attracted that much more attention than we otherwise would have - or at least the company masked that well. The Japanese are also very polite, so whether in the bus, at the cafe or in Animate, we encountered nothing but smiles from people. Of course, the shop girls at the various lolita shops in Animate were particularly excited and complimentary, which kind of soothes my current embarrassment at how ita my outfit was. Back then it didn’t matter that I wasn’t wearing lolita properly, it certainly didn’t to the most lolita people around that were the shop staff, who were simply happy that we were part of this fashion too and that we could engage in conversation with them about what we liked or might be interested in buying. (I still have very vivid memories of BtSSB shop girl showing us an Usakumya and demonstrating that the bunny ears are a hat, though that was on a different occasion than this. It was a sweet moment though.)

Because of all of this, though primarily because of being with my friends, that was one of the most memorable days from that study abroad trip. Yes, the whole 1-year trip that was already packed with memorable days! And thanks to that experience I feel that my confidence in wearing lolita and the desire to pursue it more seriously really grew. Kanazawa may not be the centre of otaku culture or of J-fashion, but the small Angelic Pretty, BtSSB/AatP and Innocent World/KERA branches became one of my favourite places that I still think about with a lot of fondness and sentiment. I’d love for us four to have a reunion meetup like that at some point, just go to Budou no Ki for lunch and then shop in Kanazawa’s Animate (bonus points for fewer lolitas competing for those newest releases). Coordinating all of us now that we’re working adults would be very hard, but hopefully it won’t be entirely impossible, even if it turns out to be at another destination.

Thank you for reading through this lengthy trip down memory lane for me. Fingers crossed I haven’t wiped out all of your energy because there are more posts about people’s first experiences of going out in lolita still to come as part of this week’s Lolita Blog Carnival prompt. So have a quick tea break and a biscuit, then delve right into those - I know that I will!


  1. It was really lovely to read your post <3! I love a good down to memory lane trip! Also I think that all of you looked fantastic and I agree that dress doesn't need a blouse! It's so much fun to see how much we've change (or not, hahahaha!).

    1. Thank you so much! I really want to re-do this outfit because the dress really can be worn blouseless so well, but I know that right now I would able to do this in an actual lolita way. It will happen one day, for now I think every time I reach for Fantasy Theater, I'm still too distracted with all the ways I haven't worn it yet, since there are so many colours to play with!


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