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Gothic Lolita Fashion

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no lolitaGothic Lolita is a Japanese fashion inspired by the J-Rock and Visual Kei music scene. It has has little in common with traditional western goth culture except for the color black (and even *less* to do with the traditional meaning of Lolita!) however it has become more common in the US alternative scene over the past few years.

Strict Gothic Lolita style is very brand conscious, although there are a lot of lovers of the look these days that are muchmore relaxed, and mix in clothing with a general dark "dolly" or maid look, often blending in a helping of cosplay.  

The color scheme is usually BxW (black with white trim), WxB (white with black trim), or BxB (blackwith black trim). Related to the Gothic variety, the Sweet Lolita clothing is made of dainty, girlish colors, often with flower, fruit and other "cute" motifs. Pale blue (think Alice in Wonderland) is also nice.

Home made clothing and DIY accessories are a part of many Gothic Lolitas' wardrobe. The authentic brands are very hard to get outside of Japan (although more companies have started shipping to the US), expensive, and Japanese sizes often do not fit well.

Luckily,  much of the clothing in the Gothic Lolita style is easy to make yourself, and many of the EGL magazines, mooks and "bibles" have patterns .

The skirt is usually slightly above the knee, full,and decorated with a variety of lace trims, bows, ruffles, pintucks, flounces and bustles. 

The shape of the skirt is often bell-like, made ofstraight pieces gathered at the waist, although sometimes you see a gored (made of several trapezoids) or circle skirt shape.  skirt shapeThe former shape is most flattering to those with a straight/slim hipped figure (and is more traditional), while the latter is more flattering to those with larger hips or a more hourglass shape. The reason for this is that the straight-gathered skirt will have the same amount of fabric in the waist area as at the hem, while the other styles, because they taper towards the top, will have less bulk gathering at your hip area.

Petticoats, petticoats, petticoats! One of the signatures of the doll-like Gothic  Lolita style is a skirt withan abundance of stiff petticoats to hold up the skirt.

Square dance suppliers are a good source of petticoats and patterns that can be modified for a Gothic Lolita look, but be careful not to just grab the biggest poofy thing you see. The general silhouette of a Gothic Lolita skirt is different, more bell shaped, where a square dance petticoat is often flounced to the point of ridiculousness so that the skirt practically turns upwards like a tutu.(Not that that can't be a fun look, but the shape really screams "squaredance!". and it's not keeping with the EGL style.) Keep to the smaller, more controlled shapes.

Tops are usually button down blouses, often including details like puff sleeves, peter pan collars, pin tucking,lace, frills, and sleeves gathered with ribbons.

Lace trims and ribbons
are used profusely. Many kinds of lace can be used for different effects. White agains black is particularly striking. Often you will see a plain ruffled nylon lace. More expensive Venise laces give a richer look.  Eyelet lace (cotton fabric with embroidered holes) is very sweet and innocent looking. Beaded lace beaded lace trim(trim with holes cut out at intervals and a piece of ribbon threaded through) is very popular, usually found in eyelet style lace, but also in other materials.

Shoes are usually exaggerated and doll like, for example platform mary janes,often shiny patent leather in black or white. Stockings or tights maybe black or white, or striped. Lace trim and ribbons often embellishover the knee stockings.

Tea parties are a popular Gothic Lolita get-together.

A lace or silk parasol is an important acessory. Small versions are better. You can often find these in bridal stores, or you can make your own by buying a kit or re-covering an old one.

Headwear is key to a Lolita's outfit. It may be afull blown Victorian style bonnet, a simple lace & ribbon square, a tiny top hat or even a little jewelled crown.

Gloves are a nice touch to your loli costume, go for the short dainty ones.

Pinafores and aprons go well with the maid or Alice look. A tiny heart shape apron is also very cute!

Other accessories include tiny purses, dolls and teddy bears.

Decorative motifs may include crowns, gothic crosses, bats, coffins, skulls and hearts.

Resources and sites to drool over:
Here are some places that sell Gothic Lolita clothing. They mostly only sell in Japan, but a few will ship to the US.  Even if they are too pricy for you though, theyare fun to window shop!
Baby the Stars Shine Bright
Mary Magdalene
Mihu Matsuda
Victorian Maiden
Kazuko Ogawa
Milky Ange

These are some good places to find out general information, as well as pictures and directories of Gothic Lolita resources.
Wikipedia on Gothic Lolita
Avante Gauche

Looking for other Gothic Lolita fashion pages? Here are some communities you can join.
EGL Livejournal

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