FAQ of Frills
All Questions Answered
We present to you, the FAQ of Frills, a large compilation of common beginner Lolita questions and wonderings! To contribute to this FAQ, send us an e-mail and ask away!
Use the links below to skip to a section of your choice.
Is Lolita a fetish style? Is it related to the book "Lolita"?
Lolita fashion is not related to any type of fetish, nor do practicers of the fashion consider the style sexual, but rather the opposite. Some words that are typically used to describe Japanese Lolita fashion are "cute", "feminine", "modest", "elegant", "youthful", "doll-like", and "innocent". Lolita is like any fashion style, but contains more poof, lace and ruffles than most.
Regarding the book, the term Lolita is generally believed to be a case of wasei-eigo (Japanese pseudo-anglicisms), and not a direct reference to the book itself. While the confirmed origin is unknown, the common belief is that the Japanese thought the name/word was cute, and adapted it for the fashion.
Is Lolita a costume?
No. Lolita fashion may be based on victorian, rococo etc. designs to some extent, but it's not to be regarded as a costume, but as a fashion and daily wear.
Is Lolita the same as lolicon?
No, lolicon is something different entirely, and not related to fashion. It's what the Japanese say to refer to sexual attraction to underage girls - a reference from Vladimir Nabokov's book "Lolita".
When can I be considered a Lolita?
The answer to this will be different depending on who you ask, as it's a rather opinionated question. Some say you can call yourself a Lolita if you have enough love for it, others claim you can't be a Lolita without owning and wearing actual (sometimes brand only) Lolita clothing. Some will claim you're not a "proper" Lolita until you're headed into the stereotype lifestyle Lolita realm.
My personal opinion is that you're a Lolita when you feel like one, regardless if your wardrobe is full of Baby the Stars Shine Bright or not. It's one of these questions you just have to figure out for yourself.
I'm -age 1 to 100-! Am I too old for Lolita?
No. More mature styles, such as Classic and Gothic are generally thought to suit 25-30+ better, however. Notice that this is an opinion, and not a fact. Other opinions by Lolitas include that you're never too old, or simply that you're too old when you feel too old.
For reference, a lot of Lolitas are past their 20's, as it's a rather expensive fashion choice that usually requires a job to maintain.
Is this dress/skirt too short?
The majority of Lolita skirts are knee-length, although Ero, Punk and Casual Lolitas are often seen with lengths above the knee, but definitely not thigh-length. Browse through our style section to see examples of different skirt lengths.
Do I have to wear a blouse with dresses?
While Lolita JSK's are normally worn with a blouse, they are often replaced by a bolero or a cardigan. For Lolitas living in warmer climates, blouses and similar wear is abandoned due to the heat. The majority of Lolitas agree that wearing a blouse, or not wearing one, is not a big deal.
Do I HAVE to wear bloomers?
No. While they're a part of a Lolita outfit, you're not forced to wear them. A lot of people find them to look ridiculous, or feel uncomfortable. Benefits of bloomers include a warmer behind in winter, some extra poof for your skirt, and if you ever happen to fall flat on your face, you won't flash the world your pineapple-patterned panties (flashing bloomers may be equally embarrassing, however). Alternatives to bloomers can be shorts, or tights.
I love the huge old-school Lolita headdresses! Can I still wear them, or will I seem "cosplay"?
Yes, you can. While the really large Lolita headdresses haven't been in style for a few years, is there a reason to not wear what you love? Try to avoid headdresses with wide, bad-quality lace (raschel tends to look bad). Here are some examples of good quality old-school headdresses to compare with a few, now more rare, updated headdresses from 2010 that generally are a bit thinner.
How do you tie a bow?
Lolita fashion is too expensive!! How can everyone afford it?!
Lolitas work hard, save up and purchase the items they love, like everyone else. Younger Lolitas normally save up from their allowance, and a select few recieves money directly from their parents.
Do Lolitas always wear Lolita clothing?
No. Most Lolitas also dabble with other fashions on the side, whether it be mainstream, Otome or Dolly-kei. Lolita is not also appropriate wear at all places and times. Even Lolitas abide to dresscodes.
How do you wear Lolita in hot weather?
In warm weather, it's better to be safe than having a heatstroke. Layers are normally removed, or replaced with lighter materials, such as chiffon. Blouses can be traded for camisoles, or t-shirts when worn with skirts, and are usually not used at all with JSK's. If you feel naked, a short-sleeved bolero is an optional addition. Tights and knee/otk-socks can be removed, and replaced with ankle socks if desired. Bloomers and petticoats are also additional layers that can be removed.
How do you wear Lolita in cold weather?
In cold weather, layering is the key. Warm materials to look for are wool, angora, cashmere, flannel and fleece. Wear knitted turtleneck sweaters, with warm cardigans, and if it's really cold, layer with a camisole/t-shirt/long-sleeved shirt underneath the sweater. Trade the otk/knee-socks for thick wool tights and add thick bloomers to keep you warm from windy weather.
Top it off with a thick coat, or jacket, capelet, a knitted hat/ear-muffs, scarf, gloves and warm winter boots with good traction (which doesn't necessarily have to be Lolita-style).
If no one is going to see your feet, you can also add extra thick socks to the tights. Another idea is also to wear otk-socks over your tights, or wear an extra pair of tights underneath the first.
Are there any Lolita magazines?
The major Lolita magazine, or mook as it's also called, is the Gothic & Lolita Bible. It contains Lolita and Japanese Gothic fashion trends, information and sewing patterns. Another popular magazine is KERA, which isn't mainly focused on Lolita, but Japanese fashion in general. It contains a lot of untraditional Lolita coordinates, something it shares with its sister magazine, Alice Deco à la Mode, which is more Lolita-oriented. There's also Goth Loli (Lolita sewing patterns; also goes under the name of Gosu Loli), Kera Maniax, and Fruits.
There's also old/misc. magazines to be found, such as ROCOCO, Clara Bow, Gothic & Lolita Boudoir, Gothic & Lolita Ensemble, Gothic Lolita and Punk Brand Book and Lolita Fancier.
I'm a boy/man. Can I dress in Lolita? Is there a male version of Lolita?
Short answer is; yes. You can dress in Lolita. However, there isn't a male version. You can take a look at Ouji fashion, however, which is a style very often associated with Lolita. For your reference, Ouji is often (incorrectly) called kodona in western communities.
Why does boystyle have so many names?
A lot of newer (and older) Lolitas get very confused with the sheer number of synonyms for the male companion of Lolita. This confusion has even proceeded with Lolitas treating synonyms for the same style, as separate substyles altogether.
The general consensus of the western Lolita community, is that there's Ouji, Kodona, Boystyle, Aristocrat, Dandy and sometimes Prince. This large mish-mash of names is most likely a result from the early days of Lolita, when the style was still new and confusing in the west, and the misconceptions grew bigger due to language barriers and the lack of Ouji practitioners.
From extensive research, I concluded that Ouji (prince) is the most common name of the style, boystyle (shounen-kei) refers to Ouji, Kodona is a western fan-adapted name, Aristocrat, another fan-adaption, refers to Japanese gothic fashion, Dandy is irrelevant to Lolita altogether and Prince is the translation of the word Ouji.
Unlike Lolita fashion, Ouji doesn't have any confirmed substyles. Strangely enough, Ouji-loli was also a very popular name among Japanese Lolitas, in case you'd like to test your Google/Baidu-fu.
What is "Bittersweet Lolita"?
Bittersweet Lolita is a newer made-up term by the western Lolita community. It refers to black Ama Lolita clothing. Its usage is rather rare.
I've come across some Lolitas I've found to be really rude. Isn't being sweet and polite part of the fashion?
Sadly not. Lolitas are human, and like all other humans, our personalities range from kind and sweet to plain mean. This is a very common misconception among new Lolitas. It's actually only an opinion brought forth by hardcore lifestyle Lolitas.
I want to become a lifestyle Lolita. Where do I start?
Lifestyle Lolita doesn't have any specific requirements, but it's usually associated with adapting good mannerisms and etiquette, as well as participating in certain activities. The typical lifestyle Lolita is polite, speaks calmly, acts ladylike, drinks tea, sews, knits or crochets, bakes and listens to Lolita-appropriate music (such as classical music, JRock, JPop). Note that these are general opinions regarding lifestyle Lolitas, and not facts or rules.
Do I have to be polite, drink tea and eat cupcakes to be considered a lifestyle Lolita?
Lifestyle Lolita doesn't have any requirements, besides from dressing in Lolita more or less daily. Tea, cupcakes and classical music are some commonly associated interests with Lifestyle Lolita, but far from a requirement of any kind. There are also no rules to adapt certain mannerisms, such as being extra polite.
I'm a very petite/plus-sized/tall/small-chested/busty/wide-shouldered girl/woman. Can I still wear Lolita?
Of course! They key is to dress for your body type and size. The one-size (M-size) items brands make, doesn't magically fit everyone. A lot of Lolitas buys brand, and have their pieces professionally altered to their body type by a seamstress. Others ask their seamstress to make something from scratch, or go elsewhere where custom sizing is possible, such as Taobao brands.
A lot of Lolitas have different issues with fitting clothing, whether it being items being too large, too small or too short. Don't be scared to alter your clothing to fit you. Notice that brand items resell value drops a lot with alteration.
Can I wear piercings/tattoos with Lolita?
The simple answer is: yes. There's no reason why you can't.
I wear glasses, but no Lolitas I see wear them! Can I still be a Lolita?
Yes, you can of course dress in Lolita. Having a sight impairment shouldn't affect anyone's fashion choices, that would be silly. While glasses-bearing Lolitas are a bit more rare, they do of course exist.
Does unnatural hair colors work with Lolita? Like bright red, blue, neon green, yellow, etc.
Unnatural hair colors are known to work best with Ama and Gothic, while they tend to look "off" in some styles such as Classic, due to colors clashing. Pastel colors looks great with Ama Lolita.
Do I have to wear a wig?
While wigs are really popular right now, you don't have to wear them unless you want to. A lot of people suggest wigs as the first choice for new Lolitas, but forget that they could also suggest examples and tutorials for your real hair. You can browse our hairstyle section for examples of hairstyles for wigs and real hair.
Why do so many Lolitas wear circle lenses?
Circle lenses are used to make your eyes appear bigger. Just like wigs, circle lenses are just an extra addition to looking more cute and doll-like.
If I wear Lolita, will I get stared at? Will people think I'm weird?
Lolita is a rare style, and will get you stared at as much as anyone else part of a non-mainstream fashion. Notice that attention isn't always a bad thing. How many times haven't you taken an extra long look at someone on the street, because you found their clothing to be awesome? Naturally, there'll be those who are not very accepting of the fashion, and feel the need to voice that opinion. The majority of Lolitas block out the insensitive bad comments, and embrace the many sweet ones, given by those who appreciate the beauty of the fashion.
How do Lolitas deal with rude comments?
It's generally adviced to ignore the rude and insensitive comments, and focus on the positive ones. As Lolita is a very eye-catching fashion, you're bound to receive all kind of reactions, just like other non-mainstream fashions.
I'd like to wear Lolita at work/to a job interview, is this possible?
Wearing Lolita to work, or job interviews is not recommended. The majority of employers will not share your fashion sense (and most likely not care for it at all). It's not worth missing out on a job, or hurt your professional image, for the sake of wearing Lolita (or Otome).
If you're still set on wearing Lolita nontheless, Soniabunny wrote this nice informative guide on wearing Lolita at work, at the EGL Livejournal community.
I'm a younger Lolita. How can I introduce Lolita to my parents?
A lot of younger Lolitas avoid mentioning the term lolita when putting a name to the fashion, as it gives off rather negative vibes in the west. Instead, descriptions such as "victorian clothing" or "Japanese street fashion" can be used.
When showing your parents Lolita, you can begin by wearing less over-the-top styles. Classic Lolita is the most well-recieved style by parents, while Ama Lolita is normally the least liked (especially items from Angelic Pretty, due to the childishness factor). Simple blouses and skirts without gaudy prints and minimal amounts of lace with otk-socks/tights, may prove a good introduction. This can within time be stepped up as your parents gradually become used to "your crazy fashion clothing".
Where can I buy -insert item-?
If it's a recently released item, you will find it on the brand's site. If it's an older dress, you will have to search second-hand sites, and auctions. Please see our shopping pages for more information.
Is there a replica of -insert popular print/dress-?
The Dream of Lolita is known for creating replicas of popular prints (especially from Angelic Pretty). Bodyline, Dear Celine, MoMo & Jia Baby Shop, Kids YoYo, HMHM, DollscroPs, Lace Residence, and K-Star also carry replicas of various items.
What is the name of -insert item-?
Where can I find a great pannier/petticoat?
If you want a pannier that won't deflate fast, you'll want to invest in one made out of organza, or chiffon. Tulle panniers give plenty of poof, but deflate very fast from how much time you spend sitting on them. Candy Violet carries some seriously poofy Malco Mode panniers, and Dear Celine at Taobao is known for their cheap, marshmallow cupcake poof.
Remember to purchase the right type of pannier, for the style of dress/skirt you're wearing. A cupcake-style pannier will look rather awkward under an A-line silhouette skirt.
Is it safe to buy from Bodyline? How's the quality? When do my items arrive?
Bodyline is a very popular, and cheap shopping choice for Lolita clothing. It's safe to purchase from Bodyline, although their items vary in quality. Their newer items are generally in better quality than their older items. It takes about 3 days to 2 weeks for your items to arrive.
What are some good Taobao Lolita stores?
Since this question comes up a lot (and Taobao in general), we created this beginners guide for you. It's also full of links to Lolita and non-Lolita stores.