There comes a time when every potential Lolita has to take the initial plunge. When she dons a petticoat and steps out into the world! The GGB founders decided their time was the Sakura Matsuri festival at the beautiful Brooklyn Botanical Gardens! Geek Girl Brunch isn’t just about finding friends with similar interests, we also want to expand those interests and try new things. Lolita fashion was new to us but we had tons of fun exploring this incredible fashion community. Over a brunch of bento boxes, green tea cupcakes and more than a little sake we discussed what exactly about dressing Lolita was so great! Read on for our experiences and for a few tips we learned to make stepping into that petticoat a little easier for the new Lolita!
Lolita has many rules that can be difficult to parse. First timers may find theselves confused, overwhelmed, intimidated. For a Loli who doesn’t speak Japanese, the shopping can be downright incomprehensible! Lolita Fashion tends to be very expensive (really really). It takes some research, internet savvy, a dedication to cuteness and a lot of support from your fellow Lolis and we think it is totally worth it!
Me and Lolita fashion is kind of like Ariel in The Little Mermaid. I admired the ridiculously adorable Lolitas from afar and wanted to be “a part of that world” but didn’t think I would be accepted because, I wasn’t kawaii enough. I don’t have one particular style, it’s kind of random and can go from feminine and girly to rocker chic in a day. But with time, I got over the fact that I didn’t need to be “cute” 24/7.
The brunchers and I have discussed how we always admired Lolita fashion but didn’t know much about it. Since Sakura Matsuri was coming up, we thought it was the perfect time for us to dive head first into the Lolita subculture like we always wanted.
I admit, I tread very very carefully. Since I was a novice, I didn’t want to do the wrong thing and offend other Lolitas with my newb lack of knowledge or Loli etiquette. So I researched and researched and researched until my eyes were bleeding an Angelic Pretty print.
When Sakura Matsuri came around, I was pretty happy with my Lolita coord and debut, but little did everyone know, I was a hot mess just hours before. I literally went to the post office that morning to pick up my Bodyline package! Cute on the outside, chaos on the inside.
I learned that there is so much work that goes into being a Lolita, but once I did my hair, makeup and donned my coord, I felt really freaking cute. Putting on my coord was like a Sailor Moon transformation, I instantly “tried” to act more ladylike and feminine. My mood changed immediately, I didn’t default to grumpy New Yorker, instead I was cheerful and smiling all the time (which is kind of weird on a NYC subway). I thought to myself, “I can’t be this freaking adorable and act like a sour puss!” The feeling was addictive. I had so much fun I couldn’t wait to plan our next Lolita outing!
I used the Lolita Theme as an excuse to dive into this fashion culture and pull the trigger on a few purchases that I could never previously justify.There’s something about those poofy skirts and hair bows! I found myself mostly browsing through Classic Lolita inspirations, but there are tons of Sweet Lolita pieces I also loved! I ended up sourcing most of my outfit from Etsy because of time restrictions and the fact that NYC ended up not having ONE brick and mortar Lolita store (rip Tokyo Rebel?). It’s too bad because I promise that if there had been a store I would have dropped some serious cash in the name of cuteness. I found it more difficult to justify the prices of Lolita gear while shopping online. It’s very expensive and my language barrier (not to mention ship times) kept me from purchasing from certain retailers.
Lolita seeps into your everyday life. My work outfits were cuter. My makeup was girlier. I was watching a TON of cutsey anime and staying up late bookmarking coordinates, watching youtube closet tours, reading tumblr posts about going out in public wearing Lolita for the first time.
By the time Sakura Matsuri came around I was excited to finally wear the cute stuff I’d been amassing for the last few weeks and also terrified that the REAL Lolitas would recognize me for what I was – a friggin poser n00b. I didn’t know what to do with my hair, but Yissel showed me pictures of Lolitas with pixie cuts and I felt a thousand times better. I went shopping all over Manhattan searching for the perfect cardigan (never found it) and agonized over other peoples shopping bags on the subway (is that girl a Lolita? I’ll bet she’s a Lolita.)
But once I was in my coord at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden (the subway ride there was uneventful. Bless New Yorkers) mugging for pictures with the rest of Geek Girl Brunch and feeling totally part of the community, I was fine. I was having FUN. And then the best thing happened, a little girl asked us what kind of princesses we were! The one thing I wanted! It happened! It was awesome!
Getting ready for Lolita brunch made me feel like I was back at FIT. Much like when a designer must do a wealth of research before ever putting pencil to paper, I spent weeks–no– months, doing google searches, Pinterest boards, favoriting pieces on Etsy, hunting on EBay, perusing Lolita forums and YouTube videos, and translating foreign websites before ever making a purchase. It was the most homework I’ve done in ages. And just like my assignments at FIT, It was fun, exciting and a world of frustrating at the same time.
The draw of Lolita for me is the femininity and polish. I’m already a retro girlie, a petticoat wearing rockabilly at heart. So this was just taking feminine style even further and I wanted to do it right. Boy did it end up costing me. Lolita clothing is designer clothing. And you can often find yourself paying designer prices when assembling your coord. From the dress, to the petti, bag, socks, shoes…. and so on. I mean, I could’ve shopped at Bergdorfs with the grand total of my Lolita purchases.
I have to say, all the spending and stress was worth it. We looked amazing. We were photographed and complimented a dozen times over. We even made the New York Times! We felt like kawaii princesses for a day and as Rachel said, had a little girl affirm this belief.
Bonus, right after Sakura Matsuri I went to a Mets game in my Lolita attire. My very first ball game. Boy did I get stares! Yet, I didn’t feel self conscious at all. I just felt pretty. Why? Because I wasn’t wearing a costume. I just wearing a beautiful dress. Lolita. Isn’t. Cosplay. I felt just as comfy in my coord in the grandstands as I did in the garden. And even there, a little girl kept starring up at who she thought was a princess, while everyone around her cheered for the home team. Alas, the Mets didn’t win the game. But there was still a victory to celebrate. We had another winner that day. The Lolitas.
Here are some tips for first time Lolitas (like us!)
If you’re a noob like us, and on a budget, and/or short on time, Bodyline is your saving grace. It’s in English, it’s incredibly affordable. It carries larger sizes (some Lolita companies only carry 1 size)
Here is a great tip that Yissel learned to save even more money! When checking out on the Bodyline website, switch the currency back to yen before proceeding. When pay-pal converts the final price back into USD, you’ll find the total about $15 cheaper!
The general Lolita rules will tell you not to use swing dance/ rockabilly petticoats, but Yissel’s pink, lace trimmed petticoat turned out to be perfect for her classic Lolita ensemble. More so than the $50 bell-shaped skirt she ordered. Ouch. Tip: if you have a rockabilly petti, one of the issues is the length. A problem easily solved by just rolling the waistband down or just hiking the petti up. You can attach it to your bra and make it a mini dress. Perfect length, perfect a-line poof, problem solved.
For all the extra bits like hair ornaments, jewelry and even bags, Etsy and Modcloth are your friends as far as online shopping, but for uber last minute touches, stop by your local H&M (hair flowers), Claire’s, or the Stone Flower in Brooklyn.
And remember Sephora for lashes! You didn’t just put all that work into your coord to ignore your face. Complete the look!
Do you have any tips for new Lolis? Let us know!