♥Do's and Don't's♥
♥Don't do whiteface. Seriously, save it for the drag queens and visual kei stars who have hours to spend applying their makeup. The same goes for blue and black lipstick - some people can pull it off if they're willing to devote a lot of time and money to their makeup and get nice products and apply it expertly but otherwise it's just a Bad Idea.
♥Do go for a more natural makeup scheme. Though gothic and punk lolita will typically have much heavier and darker makeup, all styles look better with the look of freshly scrubbed skin. This isn't to say don't wear foundation, but keep it light and as close to your natural skin color as you can. This will give you a far more youthful appearance.
♥Don't wear a mini-skirt. This should be obvious but it's one of the most common mistakes. Erololi skirts are shorter than usual but they are still safe to bend over in.
♥Do wear a skirt no more than two or three inches above your knee for non-erololi styles. It can be longer if you like - up to about mid-shin then you're in ballgown territory :P
♥Don't show your petticoat! It can be acceptable to wear a petticoat as a skirt or having it show through another skirt in punk or erololi styles, but in no style should your petticoat seems as if it were unintentionally peeking out - that tends to just look sloppy.
♥Do wear a petticoat an inch or two shorter than your skirt, and also make sure it doesn't show through the fabric. Wear a white skirt for lighter fabrics and a black skirt for darker.
♥Don't wear ill-fitted clothes.
♥Do wear clothes that suit your body. Not baggy but not too tight either. Your clothing should be tailored but still comfortable to move around in.
♥Don't just throw your hair back into a ponytail while in your lolita finest.
♥Do remember to style your hair to suit your outfit. You don't have to spend hours achieving the perfect sausage curls, but do brush your hair and either leave it down (but not lying limply) or pull it back elegantly.
♥Don't be a slob.
♥Do take care of your appearance. Wash your face and iron your outfit before going out. Try and keep your clothes in good condition because a lot went into affording them.
♥Don't wear your headdress or hairbow right at your hairline.
♥Do wear hair accessories pushed back so they lie at the top of your head. Bangs tend to make hair accessories look more natural and elegant but they are not required. If you like the look of bangs but don't want real bangs everyday, it's ok to pin the front part of your hair forward a bit and fake it.
♥Don't wear cat ears for the sake of cat ears. You might have a cat themed loli outfit for halloween or perhaps you bought a lolita jacket with cat ears, but don't just stick some on for no reason. It will make your outfit look like a costume. The same goes for wings and any other non-clothing item you might add to a costume.
♥Do add animal appliques to your homemade lolita clothing if you really want to work in your favorite animal.
♥Don't carry parasols inside or outside when it's raining. They're not umbrellas and can't go in the rain, but it's still bad luck to have one open indoors.
♥Do wear sunscreen every time you go outside, even if it's not that sunny. Premature aging so not loli :P
♥Don't wear socks over tights. It's just weird ^_^;;;
♥Do buy a pair of wool stockings for winter months when it's too cold for just socks or regular tights.
If you're unsure if your outfit could be classified as casual loli, just make sure you have a traditional loli skirt (one you could put a petticoat underneath) and at least 2 of the following items. If you're wearing a loli dress or jumper you just need one of the following. For a less traditional loli skirt (say like a pleated skirt), then I'd say go for about 3 of the following (thanks to invertedcross for bringing up this situation). Though if you have 4 or more of these you're probably a full-blown loli at that point.
Casual Loli Checklist:
♥ Elegant blouse or adorable cutsew-esque shirt.
♥ Hair accessories - headdress, bow, mini-crown, etc.
♥ Loli hairstyle - sausage curls, Mana pigtails, hime cut, etc.
♥ Loli shoes (ex. Mary Janes).
♥ Stockings or frilly socks.
♥ Frilly parasol.
♥ Additional item - frilly coats, aprons, shrugs, cardigans, etc.
Is this lolita? - a question asked many a time in this comm, whether someone's planning to lolita-fy their converse or just selling something. So I whipped up a few questions to hopefully help people in their lolita endeavors before they have to risk the criticism of the entire community by posting something they think might be lolita/loliable. This will also hopefully help sellers who aren't quite sure if they can sell their item here (because we're much stricter on sales than regular posts). So before you ask the whole egl comm what they think, ask yourself these questions:
For dresses, skirts, and jsks:
♥ Is this item reasonably modest?
The first thing a lot of people will list as a problem with a skirt or dress is a too-short length. This doesn't mean every skirt has to be exactly 2" above the knee, but if you're worried to bend over in it, maybe it's not the best choice. Similarly, the possibility of cleavage or an excessive amount of shoulders showing is probably going to get a lot more negative comments (though if you plan to have it be ero-loli, say so, but even ero-loli has a certain standard of modesty). If you do find a dress hat's a bit revealing, and you plan to wear something under it, please say so. Mention that you're considering this dress with longer bloomers or a blouse underneath and people are likely to consider other parts of the dress than just the length and such.
♥ Is this item the right shape? Will a petticoat fit underneath?
A.k.a is it bellshaped? While Victorian Maiden did come out with some very lolita pencil-skirts, you'll be hard pressed to find a pencil or A-line skirt wandering around ebay or the mall that's lolita enough to neglect this rule. Circle skirts can usually pass this and the first test, but our next question is:
♥ Is this item elegant?
Elegant adj. - Characterized by or exhibiting refined, tasteful beauty of manner, form, or style.
Circle skirts can sometimes make you look like you're on your way to a hoe-down. There is nothing elegant about hoe-downs, and I say this as someone who's been to them ^_^;;; A lot of people can find nice squaredance dresses that with a little alteration can become beautiful lolita dresses (because they will certainly need some alteration, so save these projects for more experiences seamstresses). But if you find a squaredance dress that looks like a pinata exploded on it, chances are no amount of alteration can save it. Also not to say things like deconstructed or punk dresses are bad, not at all, they have their own charm and elegance.
♥ Would a little girl/refined young lady wear this?
Since the other three questions could easily create a picture of a frumpy, matronly dress, I added this question. But I also don't mean to imply adult baby with this question, so don't look for actual children's clothing. It's more about the feeling of the dress. Does it make you want to bust out your stuffed animals and have a refined tea party? Or perhaps build a daisy chain in a garden? Then you know you're on the right track (o^_')b
♥ Is this item modest?
Again with the modest, I know, but it's important. Is the shirt see-through, midriff-baring, or unable to button very high? If you answered yes to any of these this probably isn't the best choice for a blouse. Cutsews need to be modest as well, even the tank tops. If you find a tank-top that might be lolita, remember that while spaghetti straps are a good way to survive wearing loli in the summer-time, the neckline of the tank should make up for the bared shoulders. Look for square or slightly rounded but higher necklines, no cleavage should be exposed.
♥ Is this item elegant?
Another soon to be frequently asked question. Does the blouse look like something a hippie/"bohemian" (I put bohemian in quotes because real bohemians wear whatever they feel like and not what some fashion magazine tells them their style is) would wear (since that's all I see at the mall nowadays)? Hippies and bad mall-bohemians, like hoe-downs, are not really elegant. Look for things that are well-fitted but not too tight, and made of excellent materials.
♥ Is there something special about this blouse that makes it lolita?
A plain gap-style button-up would pass the first two tests, but there's nothing inherently lolita about it. Even something as small as a peter-pan collar or little capped sleeves can make a blouse lolita, it doesn't need a boatload of lace. But lace can help an otherwise ordinary blouse become more lolita. Cutsews are the same way, but cute screenprints can also bump up the loliness of a plain shirt. So if you find a plain pink baby tee, but it has a lovely crown print, then it may be perfect for casual lolita.
♥ Is the item at least partially inspired by the Victorian or Rococo era?
Not to say your adorable hello kitty watch can't be worked into lolita, because Victorians did carry watches. But you're unlikely to find something like a lolita baseball cap or lolita aviator sunglasses. This mostly applies with jewelry. Yes, most jewelry can be worked into a lolita outfit. But what makes the jewelry lolita on it's own is it's Victorian inspiration or loli motifs. Which leads to our next question:
♥ Is the item lolita on it's own?
Things like cameos, fancy lockets, silvers crowns and keys are some good examples of lolita jewelry that can stand on it's own as being lolita. Another example would be with stockings. While you can work fishnets or striped tights into lolita, they are not items we would allow people to sell here because they're not inherently lolita. However, with stocking toppers (that bit of lace and bows and such at the top of lolita stockings), any kind of stockings can become lolita. Similarly, lacy parasols are lolita on their own, umbrellas are not. Again these can be worked into an outfit, just avoid posting/selling them on their own.
♥ Is this item elegant?
Ratty old sneakers are not loli. Stripper/drag queen heels are not loli unless you are, in fact, a drag queen in Mana's case. Honestly lolita shoes really consist of mary janes and adorable boots and the occasional high-heels. Every other type of shoe (except ratty sneakers) can be worn with lolita really, but these are not lolita by themselves. If you're planning to lolify your shoes, make sure they're in good condition and the quality of work on them improves them. Don't just glue ribbons all over your flip-flops :P
♥ Is the item lolita on it's own?
This mostly applies to selling because you can really wear whatever nice shoes you want. Don't try and sell plain black chunky boots or Chucks here, this really isn't the place ^_^;;;
For all items:
♥ Is the item well-made?
Are the materials good? Try and avoid shiny fabrics and bad lace, especially in selling.
♥ Could you see this being in a gothic lolita bible?
If you look through the GLBs, they have some pretty wacky stuff. If your stuff isn't any weirder, then you have a better chance at making your case for it.
**A quick reminder that these questions aren't meant to discourage people from working their favorite items into their loli outfits, only to determine if the item is lolita enough by itself to warrant posting about/selling here. I always want to encourage creativity in lolita fashion, and this is only meant to try and reduce the "is this lolita?" posts rather than to curb originality. But if you think these guidelines are way too strict/missing something/completely off base let me know and we can revise this together to make a helpful guide for people trying to perfect their feel for what's lolita and what's not ^_^
♥ Tips on Washing ♥
♥ Most lolita clothes are listed as dryclean only, sometimes it's better to err on the side of caution.
♥ If you're not sure if your clothes can maybe be washed, try handwashing in cold water very carefully.
♥ If you think your clothes are washer safe, wash them in cold water on the gentle cycle.
♥ Lingerie bags are recommended to keep all your frills from getting tangled or torn.
♥ Wash anything that might bleed by itself. Be especially careful with strong colors like red and black when they're near white.
♥ Ultra Strength cold-water Tide is useful for soaking out stains from lace. (estradizione)
♥ Tips on Drying ♥
♥ Air-drying is your best option. Flat-drying specifically will keep your knits from stretching (don't hang them), and will generally help things keep their shape over time.
♥ If you're using a dryer do no DO NOT use heat. This will shrink your clothing.
♥ Don't wring out your clothing as this causes wrinkles. (xbiteyourtongue)
♥ Be careful with Dryell. (clarice)
♥ Tips on Ironing ♥
♥ Use the lowest heat setting possible.
♥ Be especially careful around synthetic lace, it will melt. Seriously, it will just completely melt.
♥ Don't iron velvet, steam the wrinkles out. ()
♥ If you're not sure how a specific fabric will handle an iron, carefully test a less visible section of it.
♥ If possible, just dry your item carefully (don't let it sit rumpled) so you won't have to iron it. If it's already dry, sometimes if you hang something up in the bathroom with you while you shower the steam will take out some of the wrinkles.
♥ Iron screenprinting on the backside of the fabric. (mintymuffins)
♥ Iron with filtered water if you live in an area with hard water. (mintymuffins)
♥ Other Tips ♥
♥ Don't hang your clothing on wire hangers. Padded hangers are best, but wider plastic generally works as well. (lunarlolita)