Lolita Handbook (lolita_handbook) wrote,
Lolita Handbook


Main Styles

Gothic Lolita

Probably the most used lolita term. The traditional blackxwhite scheme is very recognizable, but not all gothic lolita is black and white. This style incorporates the darker colors and themes (like cross motifs and veils) from Western goth into the more adorable lolita style to produce a very unique style that takes a lot of practice to perfect. So it's darker than sweet lolita, but much sweeter than Western goth. Most lolitas start off with this style because it much easier to find gothic items locally and it's very easy to coordinate. But be aware that Gothic Lolita is nt a substyle of Goth fashion, though it incorporates some of its elements.

This style may also be called 'loli-goth', 'goth-loli', 'Elegant Gothic Lolita' or 'EGL', but these terms are somewhat misleading, though they are commonly used so be aware. Some people also consider Gothic Lolita a coverall term for lolita fashion, probably because of the Gothic Lolita Bibles, but this is also misleading because many lolita styles possess no gothic elements.

(Click on the hearts for pictures)
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Sweet Lolita

Now the most common lolita style and definitely one of the cutest and most colorful. It has all the traditional lolita elements but with a more wider choice of colors, like light pinks, baby blues,whites, and even sometimes colors like lavender, canary yellow and mint green. This is also where you'll find the most fluff and frill. Lolita brands that sells Sweet Lolita clothing might often have themes, such as fairy tales (i.e.: Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Snow White, etc.), cupcakes, fruits, and other sweets, puppies and kitties, and fragrances.

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Classic Lolita

Classic lolita is a slightly more mature version of lolita. It's not quite aristo because the loli silhouette is still present, but there are fewer frills and it's a lot less cutesy. Generally classic pieces are decorated with a few self-ruffles or some ribbons, but you won't find yourself swimming in lace and large bows. Classic lolis tend to wear darker or more muted colors (as opposed to bright pink or blue) and floral prints are common as well but aren't required for a classic outfit. What makes this style harder to distinguish is that it is right between sweet and gothic lolita - the dark reds and blues and even blacks can be confused for gothic style while the light florals make it look like sweet. What separates it from both is that it relies on an elegant cut or print instead of a lot of trim. The perfect style for those who love lolita but who want a more subdued look.

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Original guide here.

Punk Lolita

Punk lolita is a really hard style to pull off because it treads a fine line between lolita and full-on Western Punk. Traditional punk elements are used - plaid, chains, spikes, deconstructed fabrics, etc. - but what separates punk lolita from traditional punk is really the fact that it's adorable and a bit cutesy. Good punk lolita tends to keep the bell-shaped skirt or the frilly blouse even with all the other more punk features, and lolita accessories are mixed with punk (for example, a lace trimmed spiked collar). This is the only lolita style where big stompy boots really fit, but honestly any shoes work for punk lolita so long as you have other lolita elements in your outfit. Though keep in mind you'll probably look a little ridiculous to real punks, so you may want to leave the frills behind for the Buzzcocks concert.

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Original guide here. (Sorry it's so terrible, it was one of the first)


Aristocrat is a more mature style, so I'm not sure whether it would actually be called lolita. But it is associated with it, simply because of it's old-fashioned elegance. The skirts are longer and they don't have to be bell-shaped, and the shoes and other accessories are typically less cutesy. It's what lolitas grow up to be - an elegant, refined lady. For a few examples (I'm sorry they aren't very good):

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Original guide here


Boystyle is just as varied as lolita ranging from the cute little-boy style of kodonas to the more sophisticated dandy or aristocrat. "Kodonas" might wear knickers (not the underwear!!!) with a proper blouse and a vest, while aristocrats would wear a whole suit; a suit like those from the Victorian Era, not a tuxedo. But seeing as I don't really wear boystyle, I thought I'd leave the description up to those who understand it better than I do (namely neuromance), see here from teddyboys. For a few examples:

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Original guide here.

Common Themes

Kuro Lolita

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"Black" lolita - like any other style of lolita but completely black. I'm not entirely sure why the style merits it's own name, but just a heads up this is what it is called. Kuro-lolitas are often spotted with their lighter counterpart, the shiro-lolita.
(Note: Kuro-lolita is not a name to call darker-skinned lolitas. I've seen people say it in this term and it's ridiculous.)

Shiro Lolita

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"White" lolita - any style of lolita done completely in white. This is a very tricky style to pull off because wearing floofy white clothing can easily lead to looking like a giant marshmallow, but it's very beautiful and striking if you can pull it off.

~Shiro-Kuro Twins~

Hime Lolita

Princess/himeloli is pretty much what it sounds like - lolita clothing a princess might wear. This style is very much inspired by Rococo (rather than Victorian) and is very fancy, with a mini-crown or tiara to complete the look. But don't think a pink dress and a crown will make you a hime lolita--coordination is key!

Sometimes (but not often) the traditional loli silhouhette of a bell-shaped skirt is extended to a more full-length dress, usually with a slightly lower and squared neckline to balance out the fullness of the skirt (not a plunging neckline or anything). This is a difficult modification to pull off correctly and should be avoided by beginners. Jumpers can be found as well, but not as many blouse/skirt outfits. Overall in my opinion, it's the most feminine and fancy of all the Lolita styles, and often the most extravagant.

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Original guide found here.

Country Lolita

A subset of sweet style, with little straw hats and dresses in gingham, floral, and fruit patterns. Basically you look like a sweet lolita out for a picnic, so it is not uncommon to tote around a wicker basket or parasol. The print of the dress and the straw hat accessory are really the only thing that distinguishes it from sweet loli, and often the two are grouped together.

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Original guide here.

Sailor Lolita

Pretty self-explanatory, it's just a lolita version of the old sailor uniforms. The skirts have nautical stripes around the edges, the blouses have little sailor collars and ties, and sailor hats are worn in place of headdresses. It's really just a small subset of sweet lolita, it's popular enough to deserve it's own panel.

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Original guide here.
Oriental-styled Lolita

Wa-lolita - inspired by traditional Japanese clothing, including the kimono and less formal yukata. One option is a top or dress resembling a kimono in the sleeves ad wrapped bodice but with a lolita bell-shaped skirt. Often lace and an obi bow are added to make it more lolita. Asian or western prints are used for this style - this can be useful for balancing the eastern and western influence. Occasionally brands will put lolita yukatas with lolita-esque prints (such as a cakes/strawberries/etc.) and trims but lacking the traditional lolita bell-shape.

Qi-lolita - inspired by traditional Chinese dresses from the Qing dynasty known as qipaos/cheongsams. High collars, brocade prints, and traditional frog closures usually identify these dresses. The most common qiloli design is a fairly traditional qipao with the base of the dress widened slightly to fit a petticoat (often seen peeking out the side slits). A lot of the time they are sleevless but sometimes puffy sleeves are added to make them more lolita. Again asian or western prints can be used.

There are also attempts at hanbok-styled (traditional Korean dress) Lolita dresses, a lovely example being here.

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Original guide here.

This style also goes by "grotesque lolita" or "injured lolita". Any style of loli clothing will work for this because it's all about what you add to it (though it is more often seen on punk or goth lolis). Eyepatches, blood stains, fake bruises, bandages, and even slings give you that "broken dolly" look. This style can either look scary and gruesome or cute and all please-fix-me. Just don't overdo it, because you can quickly start looking like something out of a Marilyn Manson video. Most of these examples are actually art because it's not a common style.

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Art (Not safe for kids) by sugarcreamcandy
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Original guide here.


Erololi is a more uncommon style that resembles normal lolita style on it is slightly more revealing and often has fetish elements such as collars, handcuffs, garters, and vinyl fabric. By revealing I do not mean exposing, the skirts are just shorter and the tops are a little lower cut, or ones that draw attention to the breasts. Corsets are often seen and usually without anything underneath (such as a blouse). The style ranges from the darker stuff you see in places like "Torture Garden" to the adorable pastel frilly clothing of Kana. It's still appropriate to wear in public but it's usually meant for clubbing or going to concert. Despite being "ero" it maintains a certain innocence through frills, loli accessories, and a certain degree of modesty. It fits a more western definition of lolita (a sexual precocious - not promiscuous - little girl) but elegance and class are still important. This is a very tough style to pull off and it helps to have a lot of experience in lolita fashion before you attempt it. Most of the better examples are found in art rather than life. These ecamples are only to give you a sense of the elements that may be incorporated into ero (corsets, bloomers showing, low-cut but still modest an frilly tops), but they are not examples of perfect ero-lolis.

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Original guide here.

Not Lolita

Lolita Cosplay

Lolita Cosplay is to real lolita what school-girl costumes are to real schoolgirls. It's a little strange that someone would dress up like something you wear regularly, and is sometimes taken as an insult to dedicated wearers of the fashion though it might not be meant as one. Lolita costumes tend to be cheaply made and are generally less conservative than real lolita clothes (much like the naughty schoolgirl costume), so they can easily be distinguished as costumes. Sometimes poorly done lolita is also referred to as cosplay because the poor quality of the outfit seems like it was meant to be worn rarely.

Often these outfits look very French Maid and for some reason seem to have a lot of cosplay add-ons such as cat ears and wings, - things you wouldn't wear everyday. Very often these accessories are viewed as distasteful if you are wear it to a normal lolita meeting, during a regular day or something. Usually lolitas will wear one during a themed party, like Alice in Wonderland or an animal-themed party. Some brands also make cat and bunny ears; this does not mean that they are automatically OK, sometimes they get the style wrong too.

Please note wearing lolita to a cosplay event does not make it cosplay lolita. Some people just feel more comfortable wearing their lolita in this sort of setting, but they treat it as you would a nice evening dress - meant to be worn on special occasions but not as a costume. SO be careful when using applying this term to others.


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