Lolita fashion is a fashion subculture originating in Japan that is primarily influenced by Victorian clothing as well as costumes from the Rococo period. Lolita has made this into a unique fashion by adding gothic and original design elements to the look. From this, Lolita fashion has evolved into several different sub styles and has created a devoted subculture in Japan. The Lolita look consists primarily of a knee length skirt or dress, headdress, blouse, petticoat, knee high socks or stockings and rocking horse or high heel/platform shoes.
The name is ironic since the fashion was created to fight the growing exposure of the body and skin in today's society, specifically in regard to young women. Lolita fashion can even be considered a movement where girls ranging from pre-teens to late 20s fight the current fashion with modesty. It allows a woman to feel young, cute, beautiful or off-limits, depending on which type of Lolita a girl chooses to be. Usually Lolita fashion is mainly fall into the following four styles:
Gothic Lolita, is a combination of the Gothic and Lolita fashion. The fashion originated in the late 1990s and has been speculated to be "the social backlash" in response to the Japanese fashion Gyaru; however, many adherents of the Gothic Lolita fashion are inspired by music, especially visual kei," the visual rock genre" in which musicians combine rock music with visual effects and costumes.
Gothic Lolita fashion is characterized by a darker make-up and clothing. Red lipstick and smoky or neatly defined eyes, created using black eyeliner, are typical styles. Though Gothic make-up is associated with a white powdered face, this is usually considered bad taste within the Lolita fashion. There are two types of Gothic Lolita outfits; one that calls "Elegant Gothic Lolita" it usually uses dark color schemes like black, dark blues and purples. The other type is black with white accents. These dresses have been compared to French maid costumes and they're generally not thought of as being very Gothic, at least by Western standards. As with some Western Gothic styles, cross jewelry and other religious symbols are also used to accessorize the Gothic Lolita look. Other accessories in the Gothic Lolita style include bags and purses which are often in modernly common shapes like bats, coffins, and crucifixes.
Like many other Lolita fashions, the visual kei movement was responsible for helping to introduce and popularize the Gothic Lolita style.
Sweet Lolita, is heavily influenced by Rococo styles as well as Victorian and Edwardian clothing. Focusing on the child and fantasy aspects of Lolita, the Sweet Lolita style adopts the basic Lolita format and uses lighter colors and child Candy girl in its design.
Makeup used in sweet Lolita is common throughout most Lolita styles. Pink, Peach, or Pearl make up styles are highly 'sweet' and used by many Sweet Lolitas. This look, paired with a shade of bright pink, red, or orange lipstick, is commonly used as well.
Outfits consist of pastels, fruit themes (Cherries or strawberries, or any type of sugary fruit), flowers (Roses, jasmines, lily, cherry blossoms) lace, bows, animal themes (Cats, bunnies, angels, mice) and ribbons to emphasize the cuteness in the design. Popular themes in the sweet Lolita are references to Alice in Wonderland, fruits, sweets, and classic fairy tales. Jewelry often reflects this fantasy theme. Headdresses and bows are a popular hair accessory to the sweet Lolita look. Bags and purses are usually have a princess-like design and often take the shape of strawberries, crowns, hearts, and stuffed animals.
Classic Lolita is a more mature style of Lolita that focuses on Baroque, Regency, and Rococo styles. Colors and patterns used in classic Lolita can be seen as somewhere between the Gothic and sweet styles; it is not as dark as Gothic Lolita, but not as cutesy as sweet Lolita. This look can be seen as the more sophisticated, mature Lolita style because of its use of small, intricate patterns, as well more muted colors on the fabric and in the overall design.
Designs containing a-lines, as well as Empire waists are also used to add to the more mature look of the classic style. Most classic Lolita outfits, however, still stick to the basic Lolita silhouette. Shoes and accessories are less whimsical and more functional. Jewelry with intricate designs is also common. The makeup used in classic Lolita is often a more muted version of the sweet Lolita makeup, with an emphasis placed on natural coloring.
Punk Lolita (or Lolita Punk) adds punk fashion elements to Lolita fashion. Motifs that are usually found in punk clothing, such as tattered fabric, ties, safety pins and chains, screen-printed fabrics, plaids, and short, androgynous hairstyles are incorporated into the Lolita look. The most popular garments are blouses and skirts, although dresses and jumper skirts are also worn. Males have known to take up Punk Lolita fashion, and as well as Victorian style Lolita fashion.
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