The Staples of Lolita Fashion
Headbows, headbands, canotiers, hair corsages, bonnets, berets, barrettes, and mini-hats are the most common hair accessories. Stylewise it does not really matter which sort of hair accessories you decide to use. While wearing something on your head is not required, it will make your outfit look more balanced.
Boleros, Cardigans, Parkas & Pullovers
As with all lolita clothing, these are decorated with ribbons, lace and frills, but also with embroidery, prints or see-through patterns. They are usually kept relatively simple, even in Ama Lolita style.
Lolita blouses come in various styles. The most common type has a peter-pan collar and poofy long or short (sometimes detachable) sleeves. While blouses designed for Ama Lolita may be overly decorated with lace, frills and ribbons, the other styles are usually more toned down. Classical Lolita brands are more prone to carry high collar blouses, rather than peter-pan collar ones.
Lolita blouses may in general feature lace, frills, pin-tucks, jabots, neckties, bows, special shaped buttons, embroidery, and sometimes even pearls or other decorations. Sometimes they also have shirring (a form of gathering) to create special shapes, which will also to fit bigger sized ladies. They're usually worn with skirts or under JSK's.
A cutsew is the abbreviated form of cut and sewn, and refers to clothing made out of jersey fabric. They are usually worn for Casual Lolita, as they are very toned down compared to most lolita clothing. A typical cutsew is plain with poofy short sleeves, neck ties and perhaps adorned with a lolita motif print. Sometimes stores will also put out cutsew dresses, which are also very plain-looking.
Dresses & Skirts
Dresses come in two versions: one-pieces (or OP's) and jumper skirts (or JSK's). A one piece-dress refers to the one that has short or long (or detachable) sleeves. A jumper skirt however, is designed to be worn with a blouse underneath. While wearing a blouse isn't required, it is part of the general Lolita look and its idea of modesty. If you would prefer not wearing a blouse under a JSK, an idea is to instead wear a cardigan. During summers, it is quite common that girls decide to go blouseless.
Lolita dresses are often decorated with special themed prints, such as fairytale characters, imaginary creatures, candy or pastries. Patterns such as polkadots, gingham and tartan are also common.
These come in many shapes, just like dresses. A typical Lolita skirt sits on your natural waist, has a bell shape, and will end at about your knees. The most important part about Lolita skirts is that they must be able to accomodate a petticoat, nor can they be the length of a miniskirt. While a lot of Lolitas obey to a right-at-the-knee length rule, as long as it still contains the Lolita silhouette it will be fine. The skirts are usually a bit shorter in Punk and Ero Lolita.
Lolita skirts are often decorated with special themed prints, such as fairy tale characters, imaginary creatures, candy or pastries. Patterns such as polkadots, gingham and tartan are also common.
A pannier is used under skirts to gain the poofy Lolita silhouette. They're normally made out of tulle, polyester or organdy that are gathered in layers. More layers of said materials will make a poofier pannier. A pannier with stiff tulle may create a nice amount of poof by itself, but with panniers made out of softer materials (such as organdy) it might be recommended to wear more than one pannier. Tulle panniers will also deflate faster than panniers made out of organdy.
There are two different kinds of panniers: normal and A-lined. The normal-type pannier will have anything from very little poof to extreme Angelic Pretty-styled cupcake poof. A-line panniers are mostly used in Classic Lolita. There are also long ones which are typically used for the Aristocratic style.
The terms pannier and petticoat are used interchangeably in Lolita fashion.
Bloomers & Drawers
Bloomers and drawers are underwear that are designed to be used under skirts and dresses. While some use them for the purpose of modesty (if someone peeks up your skirt, they can't see your underwear), some use them for warmth during fall/winter or simply not at all.
Bloomers are the short kind, while drawers end just above the knees. In older coordinates of Lolita, it was preferred occasionally that the drawers peeked out from underneath the skirt, rather than hiding them completely from public display. This is not seen as much today.
Some people also argue that drawers can also be worn with casual and/or Ero Lolita coordinates, without the usage of a skirt.
Knee-high socks, over the knee, and tights are the most common hosiery types in Lolita fashion. In recent years, ankle socks has been added to the lineup. Many brands produce special socks with prints on to match a series of clothing. Common patterns are sweets, animals, hearts, stripes, polkadots, ribbons, florals, laces, fishnets, or simpler ones, such as black with white lace.
If you coordinate it well with your outfit, a pair of unique socks or tights might really make your outfit pop. Use unusual colors or patterns to make your chosen style of Lolita more personal.
The signature shoe for Lolitas is the Mary Jane. What makes a shoe Lolita are rounded toes, thick heels and/or platforms. If heels are not an option, there is also a selection of flats to choose from. A very popular flat shoe is the Tea Party shoes, released by Angelic Pretty. There is also a special kind of platform shoes called Rocking Horse Shoes, that are very popular in the Lolita subculture.
Other types of shoes that may work with Lolita are Gyaru shoes, laced boots, victorian-style shoes, goth platform boots, ballerina shoes and rubber boots.
Jackets, coats, vests, capelets and capes are released seasonly and come in lighter and heavier fabrics. During spring, many Lolitas choose to wear a lighter jacket or trenchcoat, while a thicker coat with a capelet is more suitable for winter. Capelets may feature hoods for extra warmth.
The majority of outerwear is decorated with large ribbons, lace, custom-made buttons and fake fur. Coats flare out at the bottom to be able to accomodate the Lolita silhouette, and often tend to look like actual dresses by themselves.
Parasols, Umbrellas & Bags
Lolita parasols and umbrellas feature lace, frills, ribbons, themed prints or patterns. They're perfect for completing your coordinates during sunny or rainy days.
Bags are usually well-made, decorated with lace trims, scallops and ribbons. The materials range from leather/synthetic leather to cotton. Bags in Lolita are rather unique; while they're often plain, they also come in special shapes. Strawberries, crowns, spades, rabbits, cookies, ribbons and candy are a few popular motifs. Bags made out of toy plushies, and tote bags are also very popular.
Jewelry & Other Accessories
A large amount of various jewelry and other accessories can be coordinated into a Lolita outfit. The items worn are usually made to fit into the specific style worn at the time.
Jewelry with hearts, bows, cakes, stars, and animals are mostly seen among Ama/Kote Lolis. Cameos, roses, lockets, keys, crowns, bird cages are usually associated with Classic fashion. Crosses, coffins, bats and chains are objects more commonly found in Goth/Punk/Ero outfits.
Other accessories include wrist cuffs, lace gloves (popular with Classic/Hime Lolita), aprons, ties, jabots, dickeys and brooches. Seasonal accessories are scarves, shawls, mittens and muffs.