Because Chicago is a major city, our “lolita population” constantly ebbs and flows. The sheer volume of people living in the city or various suburbs means there are bound to be several people interested in something you like, even if it is very obscure. This is particularly true for lolita fashion–numerous lolita live in the city, and even more can be found out in the outlying suburbs. There are constantly people moving in and out of the city, coming to and fro for university, and of course there are always new girls (and inevitably some guys) discovering the fashion.
I firmly believe that the very best part of lolita fashion is the communities that form around it. I particularly adore my local community, as most of the members are really great people that I feel very lucky to know. ♥
When one starts getting into lolita fashion, it can be very confusing to sort things out and get a true grasp of what the fashion is and is not. Even following the “rules” cannot guarantee a successful understanding of the style. It takes time and experience to really get a feel for it. Spending time with other lolita is a great way to evolve and grow from a fledgling lolita-admirer to a ♥lolita♥. The best way to do this is participation in the local community–interacting with other, more knowledgable lolita.
However, not every community is the most welcoming. Some lolita have forgotten what it was like to be brand-new to the fashion, enthusiastic about everything and ignorant of sublties of the style. They might have rude comments about the outfit a newcomer was so excited about. However, weathering any initial unpleasantries can reveal willing help–especially if one is eager to learn.
It is very important for a lolita-hopeful to learn how to accept criticism. Most lolita are extremely opinionated, and some will add their 2¢ even if it wasn’t requested. Learn to ignore the rude, unhelpful comments from those who just want to be insulting, but pay close attention to the people who offer constructive criticism–criticism that doesn’t just point out what is wrong, but provides suggestions to make it right. Don’t assume to be an expert on the fashion at first try; be willing to listen to what veteran enthusiasts have to say.
Some people don’t have patience or tact, so they are best avoided if one is brand new. However, there will inevitably be kinder individuals who wouldn’t mind helping out someone unwise in the ways of lolita fashion. Additionally, some people are much crueler online than they are face-to-face; the same person who might be spiteful on an internet community might prove to be a wealth of knowledge that they share with a smile if one is meeting her in person. Attending a local meetup is a great way to talk to experienced lolita, ask them questions, and learn more about such an intriguing style.
It can be intimidating to go to a first meetup–an event where everyone else seems to know each other except you. Being friendly, willing to join conversations, and participating in whatever is going on at the meetup will open doors.
Besides, you just might run into a silly person like me, who loves talking to lolita-to-be~ (Especially since the others are bored with my nonsense by now!)