On Being Lolita: My Frilly Beginning

On Being Lolita: My Frilly Beginning

Inspired by some of the thoughts from my previous post, I decided to reminisce a bit. I’ve been wearing lolita since 2006, which sometimes seems like a long time and sometimes seems like a very, very short time!

I’d know about lolita fashion before then, but hadn’t paid too much attention. I wasn’t very aware of sweet lolita, only the more gothic or punk styles which aren’t really to my taste. Then I became interested in Pullip dolls and purchased one who wore shirololi. When she arrived and I saw all the cute little details, I knew that’s what I wanted to wear, too. I started to plot immediately.

I joined EGL on LiveJournal right away and tried to compile as much information as possible. I browsed the websites of lolita fashion brands; it was the reason I installed Japanese text support–so I would see characters instead of boxes or random symbols. I studied discussions, although I was too nervous to participate. I actually took notes on some things, such as lace types or abbreviations. It’s funny to think back on how focused and serious I was! I fretted about my hair, my finances, and more things. I started typing differently after being ridiculed for a stupid but mostly harmless habit of adding extra syllables at the end of sentences for emphasis. (Didn’t stop me from abusing the tilde, though~!)

This was my very first picture! I had just gotten all items for my outfit, and I insisted on putting it on right away and forced my father to take some pictures of me outside. I still remember how excited I was!

I attended my first meetup without any proper clothes, because I wanted to meet other lolita in person. I was not disappointed in the least! One girl (who was later my roommate for several years) arrived in full regalia, and I was fascinated. She was perfectly coordinated, wearing everything I wanted to own, and didn’t mistreat me for being awestruck. She wasn’t even taken aback when I asked awkwardly if I could touch the lace on her blouse. (I still remember thinking, “WOOOOOOOOOW, this is what they mean by good lace!”)

My first items were purchased shortly afterward. I bought a custom dress from In the Starlight. Sadly they closed in late 2009, but for many years In the Starlight was a go-to for custom-made lolita clothing. They probably provided petticoats and bloomers to hundreds if not thousands of girls! My first dress was of my own design, with a built-in petticoat and detachable sleeves. I wanted something that would be versatile as possible. I didn’t commission my item from In the Starlight because it was any cheaper, I did it because at the time I thought (based on measurements) that lolita brand clothing would be too big for me. I didn’t realize the versatility of sizing until a little bit later!

Once the dress and hair accessory were in hand, I commissioned some socks from another lolita seamstress–then I set out on a hunt for white shoes. My grandmother was kind enough to not only help me hunt out white shoes for tiny feet that didn’t look like toddler shoes, but also to pay for them once we found a pair at a dusty shoe store in a neighboring town! I found a white child’s umbrella with a ruffled edge to complete my look and felt very satisfied. I had the opportunity to wear the entire outfit both in a parade (where I was mistakenly thought to be the lead singer of a band) and to a meetup soon after my birthday~ It was very exciting!

Same outfit, but this picture was taken at my first meetup. I was always very fond of this particular image–the girl who took it coached my pose.

I only have a few not-great-quality pictures of that outfit, but I think back on it fondly. I no longer have any of those items except the shoes–eventually I stopped wearing them. For a while I had just those items, and I wore everything so often that I really bored myself even though I tried to add variety, but I wasn’t bored until I’d worn it to death for a few years! The detachable sleeves made it really easy to wear in different ways, although I’m sure someone more creative than me could have done even more.

Overall, looking back on old pictures gives me a warm sense of nostalgia. I’ve definitely come a long way, but I really regret or cringe at anything. I’m happy that I can think of the way things started with such fondness~ I can’t even really imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t started to wear lolita fashion; it would be much different! For something that isn’t earth-shaking, it really has had a significant impact on my life. Someday, when I’m old, I want to be able to look back on this part of my life with a smile and think, “Wow, I had fun wearing those ridiculous clothes!”

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