Lolita is a type of fashion (and a novel wrote by Vladimir Nabokov) that originated in Japan. Clothing is based on Victorian and Rococo clothing. Rococo is also called the Late Baroque period and developed in Paris, France. Rococo is more lighthearted and intimate than the earlier Baroque periods.
The novel (if you are wondering) is about a middle aged literature professor who is obsessed with a 12 year old. He becomes sexually involved with her after becoming her stepfather. Thanks to the novel lolita generally refers to a sexually precocious girl.
Anyway, many people now think of lacy clothing and looking almost like a doll when they hear “lolita.”
Lolita has specific qualities as a fashion no matter which classification you are looking. Part of the lolita fashion is to combat the sex that pervades modern culture. The goal is to look cute and elegant: not sexy and provocative.
Lolita fashion doesn’t show a lot of skin. Because it is based on Victorian and Baroque, the fashion features knee length skirts, petticoats, corsets, floor length gowns, blouses, knee high socks, and head wear.
The fashion is trying to revive the elegance that characterized Rococo and Victorian fashion. Instead of showing cleavage, a lolita seeks to accent a pin or a brooch that reveals some part of her personality.
3) Cuteness/ Kawaiasa
It is also an attempt to look cute as opposed to provocative. This is why lolita fashion often looks disconcertingly young or doll-like. The idea is to have an elegant silhouette while having endearing elements and adorable aspects. Knee high socks coupled with a wide knee-length skirt and umbrella brings to mind a young girl and a genteel lady in one conflicting package.
There are 4 main styles in lolita fashion. Each keep to the 3 major characteristics but place an individual twist on them.
This is probably the style most Americans associate with lolita fashion. GothLoli, as it is also known, combines Goth with the characteristics of lolita. Black is paired with sharp contrasted colors (red, red lips for example) or neatly outlined eyes. However, GothLoli still seeks to look natural. White powdered faces are considered bad taste. The usual accessories of Goth are also common: crosses, coffins, crucifixes, bats, and so on.
This branch resembles GothLoli but favors antique and floral patterns. Classic doesn’t go into the dark edge like Gothic Lolita, nor does it go into the saccrine sweet look Sweet Lolita aims for. It favors intricate details, a-line designs, and the high waist style (called the Empire silhouette).
This is the style that screams baby doll. Sweet Lolita favors fantasy Victorian clothing, child motifs, and bright colors. The colors are pastel (to feel very young), fruit themed or flower themed. Lace, bows, ribbons, and animals associated with childhood are favored. Think Alice in Wonderland and you have the style.
On the opposite end of Sweet Lolita, Punk Lolita adds tattered fabric, ties, chains, plaid, and short hair to the Victorian look. Punk is an offshoot of the 90′s grunge movement. Punk can swing between the blacks of GothLoli and the sweetness of Sweet Lolita styles. Punk Lolita looks the most modern of the styles. It lacks the same level elegance of GothLoli and Classic because it shows a bit more skin and the tattered accents break up the lines. However, Punk looks less jarring and “weird” than the other styles. Punk Lolita draws less attention while still remaining modest, elegant, and cute.
This style is considered the most sophisticated and elegant. It builds upon the Victorian theme to create a noble, mature look. Of course, it still remains kawaii. This is one of the styles that men wear.
There are other styles of lolita. Some are based on traditional Japanese or Chinese dress; others are focused on simplicity as opposed to frilly lace.
Lolita is interesting because modesty is its main focus. Good lolita fashion bares very little skin. Rather cuteness and elegance reveals the person under the clothes.
Guys can be Aristocrat or Ouji, a unisex sex of lolita. I personally think the Victorian style suits look less pretentious than our modern suit. They have more utilitarian aspects to them: a long trench coat would shed water in addition to looking nice.