On Being Lolita: The Merit of Courage

On Being Lolita: The Merit of Courage

Wearing lolita fashion can be extremely nerve-wracking, regardless of sub-style. Some people are blessed with incredible self-confidence, able to conduct themselves how they please without the creeping fears of being humiliated. Others, myself included, are not so lucky. The outlandishness of lolita clothing makes it as much of a target for unkind words as other extreme styles, but the reputation of “other lolita” certainly doesn’t help. It is one thing to be mocked by strangers–another thing entirely to be mocked by fellow devotees.

Newcomers to the fashion often ask the question: “How can you wear lolita in public?” There is no secret; the only thing necessary is courage.

It takes courage to step out onto a busy street without fearing other people’s reactions to your attire. It takes courage to hold your head high instead of breaking into tears when a crude comment shoots your way. It takes courage to put on a petticoat and hairbow and step outside again when you know that others will mistreat you. It takes courage to meet new people and do new things, no matter what the context.

The most important part, not just about lolita fashion but about any fashion, is feeling comfortable in your clothing. This may not happen immediately when that clothing is something so far from what you may have worn before. I often notice that lolita who wear other bold styles, such as gothic or punk, are less daunted by the prospect of being out and about in their clothing, and I believe it is because most of them have already conquered most of their fears about going against what is “normal” for fashion. If this is one’s first taste of being a black sheep, it can be very daunting!

Recently I took a bit of an involuntary break from wearing lolita fashion, because I moved into a new place and my clothing was left along the wayside for several months. When I finally dressed up again, I felt most of the nervousness that I thought I had lost return to me. As happy as I felt to be wearing my beloved frills again, I worried about what my landlord might think, about what passersby might say, and so forth.

Here are a few tips that I use to help get over that oppressive sinking feeling when fear has taken hold:

  • Stand up straight and tall, and smile! If I act like I am confident, even if I am shaking inside, it is easier to go about my business without thinking too much about my worries. Standing erect and having a pleasant expression exudes an attitude that makes one less of an easy target to pick on.
  • Bring a friend! I find that I think less about what other people might be thinking if I am engaged in conversation with a friend. There is strength in numbers.
  • Remember that strangers have their own lives. They’re not likely to dwell too very much on one odd-looking stranger, so don’t waste time focusing on what goes on in their heads. Keep your thoughts focused on the fun you are having or will have, or other pleasantries.
  • Ignore unkind comments. Arguing with some foul-tongued onlookers is a waste of time and energy. If they’re apt to be cruel, it’s best to move from their presence as quickly as possible. That’s not to say that it’s improper to stand up for oneself, but avoid drawing deeper into an escalating conflict.

The very best way to acclimate yourself to wearing lolita is to do it. Discover how far you can take yourself, and then test your boundaries every once in a while. If you love the clothing but are simply too shy to be seen in public (or you worry about being spotted by co-workers, friends, or schoolmates), pack your frills and change into them at your destination. Walking around with a full “flock” of fully-attired lolita is much less nerve-wracking than being alone.

Most importantly, be aware of your surroundings. Don’t let yourself be unsafe. Whispers or mean comments can wound pride, but anything physical cannot be prevented by courage alone. Do your best to know how the people around you behave. If you live in a bigoted place where you might be threatened for your fashion choices, act responsibly.

Just don’t let unfounded anxiety keep you from fun!

Outfit Snap: Lounging Around Casual

Outfit Snap: Lounging Around Casual

Although I personally find it to be the most fun to wear an elaborate lolita fashion outfit, coordinated with several accessories, sometimes I need more practicality. As much as blouses, jumperskirts, one-pieces, cutsews, knee-socks, and fancy shoes make me feel like a fairy, it isn’t always worthwhile.

Today I am doing housework and enjoying a “white day” with my person, so I wanted to dress up, but didn’t want to wear something I might splash with bleach from scrubbing the tub. Lazing about on the floor wrinkles skirts and petticoats, and I haven’t an iron in my new apartment. Dusting and vacuuming can become very complicated if there are trims and ribbons dangling from one’s outfit.

So I wore a skirt that I very much adore but have been unable to coordinate well. It is Bodyline‘s “fruits parlor” replica–a wonderful gift from my little sister. ♥ The skirt is gorgeous, but it uses a lot of peachy-pinks that don’t match the more violet-pinks or red-pinks in the rest of my clothing. Even the reds on the skirt aren’t similar to any reds I own–not even on a t-shirt! It can be frustrating, and I’ve rarely managed anything I want to wear to a meetup.

Since I’m going to be indoors, enjoying myself, I just wore it with a yellow tank-top (as there are yellow lemons on the skirt) and a pink sweater that isn’t the right shade. My strawberry hair-clips are the only matching part!

Regardless of disappointment in my coordination, I still feel like a lolita to sit here typing in my poofy skirt, and I certainly wouldn’t be happier in jeans!

Reading Corner: Daddy Long-Legs

Reading Corner: Daddy Long-Legs

During elementary school, I remember fondly that all of my classrooms had a reading corner–a little nook with comfy cushions and a bookshelf that was always full of a rotating selection of age-appropriate titles. I have always loved books, so I thought it was heavenly whenever there was a moment that I could tuck myself away and drift off into another world. I was so taken with this kind of thing that I moved all of my furniture around (despite being even tinier as a child) to make my own bedroom book-nook.

My interest in lolita fashion reawakened my love of Victorian literature, which in turn spurred me on to seek out books that I could somewhat identify with the fashion I adore. Due to my association of the style (particularly because I am a sweet lolita) with old-fashioned-ness and the dreams of young girls, certain books make me reminscent in that respect. I don’t limit my “lolita-ish” reading to only Victorian literature, because the fashion does not take its inspirations solely from that era.

The most obvious choice for “lolita reading” is Kamikaze Girls (originally Shimotsuma Monogatari, which translates as Shimotsuma Story), which I suppose I will reflect on some other time. (I had lent it to my best friend, and I cannot recall if she ever returned it to me. Whether she did or not, I certainly can’t find it!) After that, however, there aren’t any novels in English written about the style, and my Japanese ability is far too poor to read any other works from Novala Takemoto.

The other day I decided to reread Jean Webster’s Daddy Long-Legs. Oddly enough, this is a book I have never read in paper form–the first time I ever read it was a endlessly long text file downloaded years ago, and I reread it thanks to the wonder of Google Books.

Although there isn’t the slightest hint of lolita fashion in Daddy Long-Legs, I feel that it is worthwhile reading for any dreamy-hearted lolita. After all, it is the tale of an orphan girl who is sent to college by a mysterious benefactor and suddenly finds herself enjoying life as a young lady, all neatly wrapped into a sweet love story. ♥ When the spirited Judy (neé Jerusha) talks of drinking tea while studying, running off on little adventures with her friends, or buying clothing and trinkets, I can’t help but think similar times with my own dearest friends. Sometimes I image that the gowns she orders for each school term are fanciful creations such as BABY, the Stars Shine Bright might design!

I nearly flew through the pages once I started on it, and I enjoyed reading her letters so very much that now I’m wishing I had a pen-pal again!