On Being Lolita: In Defense of Bloomers

On Being Lolita: In Defense of Bloomers

When I started wearing lolita fashion, bloomers were a highly-touted staple. Tutorials and requests for tutorials popped up frequently in the main community, and lower-priced pairs from Metamorphose‘s seemingly-endless stream of lucky packs disappeared from sales posts almost instantly. Most lolita seemed to struggle internally between owning really lovely bloomers or spending as little money as possible on something that should hopefully not be seen. The now-closed online lolita clothing shop “In the Starlight” was a good source for relatively inexpensive bloomers, something they were known for besides their infamous petticoats. Wearing bloomers beneath one’s petticoat was considered to be of tantamount importance; an outfit was incomplete without that undergarment.

Now, it seems that the tide has shifted. I’ve spotted numerous discussions or commentary expressing dislike for bloomers–some saying they’re too babyish, annoyingly uncomfortable, or simply unnecessary. The popularity seems to be falling.

However, bloomers play an important role in lolita fashion: shielding your undergarments from prying eyes.

Admittedly, that doesn’t necessarily sound very important. That’s not something commonly worried about with other fashion styles. Most of the time paying attention and not behaving rambunctiously is enough to keep from flashing friends and strangers. Unless the wind is extremely gusty, modesty is pretty much up to your discretion.

This is actually not true in terms of lolita fashion, and the primary reason for this is the petticoat. When wearing a petticoat, it pushes the hem of your skirt further from your body. This provides an angle that makes even a knee-length (or slightly longer) skirt not quite long enough. A slight bend at the waist or hips, even less than 45-degrees, can be enough to provide a clear view of everything beneath one’s skirt. Traveling up or down staircases or escalators, or merely standing on a higher level than another person, provides the same opportunity. Although I am never consciously looking for it, I am usually aware of who is and who is not wearing bloomers–because unintentional actions can flash your undergarments at those around you!

Some lolita don’t mind showing their skivvies to strangers and friends, but I am not quite that at ease about it. If bloomers themselves just rub you the wrong way–so much that you can’t bear to put on a pair–there are other substitutions. Maybe you feel it’s too weird to wear something poofy like bloomers, or maybe you find the leg elastic uncomfortable. Bike shorts, exercise shorts, or boxer shorts can serve as stand-ins for bloomers. Opaque tights are another option, although that can be somewhat oppressive in the summer.

It’s simple to overlook the usefulness of bloomers. That doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself a ¥7900 pair of long bloomers from Metamorphose. Bloomers are a very simple staple to make yourself; you don’t even need fancy fabric or trim, although bloomers don’t use very much of either. You can pretty them up as much as you like. Bloomers patterns are easy to find in the costume selection of most fabric stores, and there are always patterns for bloomers in the GosuRori pattern books. There might even be patterns floating around on the internet~

Additionally, longer bloomers with a pretty lace or ruffled edge can be a nice outfit accent, particularly with shorter skirts. It used to be common for lolita coordinations to feature bloomers peeking out below the hem of a skirt, although that has fallen out of fashion recently. If Angelic Pretty keeps raising hemlines the style might be revived!

Whether you wouldn’t dare wear lolita without bloomers or vow to never place one leg into something so ridiculous, don’t forget that most undergarments are worn for a particular purpose. Bloomers aren’t just for looks–they’re for preventing them.

On Being Lolita: Laundry Day

On Being Lolita: Laundry Day

All garments benefit from proper cleaning techniques. The wrong temperature water can have a drastic effect on certain fabrics or trims. Colors may bleed, stains become set, or tears exaggerated. Lolita clothing is far from affordable, and even if you own inexpensive garments from Bodyline, Anna House, or one of the many TaoBao sellers it’s still a shame to ruin something by laundering it improperly.

The easiest garments to wash, in my opinion, are petticoats, socks, and bloomers. Jumperskirts, one-pieces, blouses, and other items typically require more attention–usually very careful handwashing or dry cleaning. Socks tend to get dirtier than any other item, especially if one is the type of lolita who perhaps is not terribly ladylike. …Not that I know anyone like that, of course.


Most socks, even expensive socks from Japanese brands, can be safely machine washed. There are two things to watch out for when washing socks–colorfastness and lace. This is more pertinent in the case of dark socks with white lace. An easy way to test colorfastness is dampen and apply the detergent you hoped to use on less noticeable part of the sock–such as under the foot. Then, rub a white rag against it. If the color transfers onto the white rag, it is not colorfast and should be washed separately. (Soaking in vinegar and salt is an old trick to help keep colors from bleeding out of an item.)

It is also important to check the lace on your socks. Ironing the lace back into place can be tedious, but there’s no need to do so if you are careful.

If your socks aren’t bleeding, you can safely wash them in the washing machine on the delicate cycle. I always wash with cold water to avoid fading. As always, wash with like colors just in case of any bleeding. I put my socks in a mesh lingerie bag to keep them from getting caught on anything inside the machine and bent out of shape. If your socks aren’t colorfast you can still wash them alone, but their color might fade if they aren’t treated. If they have contrasting lace or an intricate pattern, it might be safer to spot-treat or dry clean, unless you trust yourself to clean them by hand.

Most lolita socks look nicest if they are laid flat to dry instead of tumbling in a dryer. Smoothing the wrinkles out can really improve their appearance. This is most important for lace! Don’t dry lace-topped socks in the dryer unless crumpled lace doesn’t bother you. I always smooth out the lace with my fingers until it is laying neatly–it dries best that way.


In my opinion, bloomers are the easiest garment to wash. I’ve never run across a pair that couldn’t be machine washed and dried–unless you own bloomers made of the silk Mana spins from his own hair. Simply wash and dry with like colors. I like to use a mesh lingerie bag to keep ribbons or trim from getting caught on other clothing.


There are generally two types of petticoats in lolita fashion. Petticoats should be categorized by fabric type–usually tulle/netting or organdie/organza. Both kinds can be safely machine washed on the delicate cycle with cold water.

However, tulle petticoats benefit from being washed in a large mesh lingerie bag, to keep the tulle from tearing. It is very useful to starch tulle or netting petticoats, as well, as they provide better support to skirts when stiffened by starch. This can be accomplished either afterwards with spray-starch or during the washing cycle with a starch added to the washing water. Tulle petticoats can be dried in an electric drier, but only with extreme caution–they will melt if the heat is too high! Hanging a tulle petticoat upside-down to dry helps it stay nice and fluffy.

Organdie or organza petticoats don’t need the protection of a mesh bag, and they usually clean more thoroughly when washed separately. They also don’t require starch, since they rely on volume, not stiffness, to provide their poof. They can be tumbled dry on low to medium heat with very nice results–it leaves them fluffier than hanging them up to dry~

I actually enjoy washing my lolita clothing. It makes me feel accomplished to see things become so neat and clean, and I hate to wear dirty things~