There's no doubt that Victorian Era inspired clothing is one of the best looking (but unusual and weird for others, specially in modern times) fashion statements out there. Yes, I'm talking about a well-known Japanese street style called Gothic Lolita. This is basically like Classic Lolita but with a much darker palette.
Well, darker is an understatement.
Did I mean to say, darkest? The style is pretty much the opposite of another Lolita substyle called Sweet Lolita because of their contrasting color schemes, with sweet Lolita drowning in pastels and cute patterns, while Gothic Lolita is all about black this, black that, but in a good way and you'll find out more about that later. The silhouette is same as the classic Lolita look but with dark undertones to it, despite the color choice, the look is very elegant, gentle and modest, believe it or not. The accessories are a tad more different, too. So what makes this style the way it is? Below are the factors and key points to remember when it comes to Gothic Lolita, the elements thrown into it and also a little bit of history, so read on.
Gothic Lolita or GothLoli for short, was believed to be pioneered by non other than Mana-sama, the guitarist of the Visual kei band called Malice Mizer, at around the year 1997. He in fact opened his own fashion line named Moi-même-Moitié which which was mainly focused on this style, with his and other visual kei bands' lead on wearing elaborate costumes, the acceptance and normalization of the Lolita style took place and a lot of fans followed suit. He used the term Gothic Lolita to introduced his brand and it has been stuck ever since. Let me tell you that this is not just popular in Japan, it also took the world by storm and a lot of non-Japanese are trying on this style despite being judged or criticize since this is very unusual for other parts of the world.
One thing you need to know that this fashion was actually a topic for controversy, at least for Western countries. And it's because of a certain novel of the same name (Lolita) by Vladimir Nabokov which was about an adult who was grooming and abusing a 12 year old girl. Japan did not have that in mind when the term was spreading out, for them, it simply means cute and sweet, and not an embodiment of something really horrible.
Color scheme, it's not so hard to remember when it comes to GothLoli. This movement mostly consists of a single or two colored dress and accessories. But it is always monochromatic, if generally speaking. It's typical to see all black gothic Lolita girls from head to foot.
But depending on the wearer's preferences, they can add a touch of different color as long as it's dark, like dark reds, purple, blue, grey or brown. They tend to stay away from any bright color especially pastel or they will simply fall on the Pastel goth category and loose the GothLoli essence. White and black is something a lot of people are trying to avoid when it comes to this look, but this color combination might be able to work if the pieces are combined and put together tastefully.
Style and everything else
Gothic Lolita's appeal is quite popular and despite being on the darker side, this fashion style actually executes elegance and modesty due to its key points. Gothic Lolita girls wear dresses, blouses or skirts that do not show anything revealing. If wearing a blouse, usual types are the one with a perfect tailored cut (nothing baggy), with a lot of details like ruffles or embroidery. As for the skirts, the ideal type is those that are just a little bit above the knee, but it can be a little lower. Jumper skirts are also a thing and should be worn with a blouse that fits the category. Let me just mention the silhouette, usually a Lolita style is in a bell-shaped skirt but Gothic Lolita embraces an A-line shape like the classic Lolita.
Petticoats are worn underneath the dresses or skirts (like all Lolita substyles) but unlike classic Lolita, petticoats should not be seen at all cost, if it is inevitable, there are black petticoats you can wear. The white ruffles from it will not look good for the overall Gothic aesthetic. Bloomers are also worn by Gothic Lolita girls, remember that this style is promoting modesty so this is a must.
The accessories. Let's start with the head. An Alice bow is typically worn (black, of course) or a mini top hat (Classic Lolitas avoid this one because it looks "costumey") and it works well with GothLoli. For others, a Gothic choker would work wonders for this look, one with laces, ribbons or maybe the pendant along with it. Laced cuffs or sheer hand gloves is also a great option to have.
Footwear style is the same as all the other Lolita substyles, Mary Jane shoes but it should be in dark color. Socks and stocking are usually worn but the socks' length is always above the knee, and you guessed the color. Black, always is. There are finishing touches needed to be applied for the look. Other accessories like purses, handbags or small backpacks that goes well with the look is a great addition, something with designs like spiders, cobwebs, religious artifacts or even a cute coffin shaped one. Black parasols would also come in handy in not only making you look even better, but it will shield you from the rays of the sun.
The makeup is not as intense as you think, despite that this is being associated with Western goth style, the makeup is not that dark and heavy for GothLoli. They tend to keep their makeup as light as the can but focusing on the eyes, and the lipstick, despite donning black clothing, the mostly refuse to wear any black lipstick, but instead, they wear shades like wine red, brown or even purple.
Seeing something dark doesn't mean it can't be associated with cute and sweet, but with elegant, yes definitely and clothing style is no exception. Gothic Lolita can make sure to deliver that dark aesthetics can be gentle and modest looking too. The overall look of this style is just so fabulous and totally worth investing your time into. And this is evident for a lot of people all over the world are starting to do this style for themselves and sometimes doing their own versions of it, which is not bad at all, as long as they are being themselves and having a lot of fun.