The range of Japanese street fashion has been expanding over the years. With a vast variety and its rich history, it is truly one of the most remarkable things about Japan. People can just dress up according to what they feel without any fear of judgement. There are numerous Japanese street fashion known to man, some of which are Gyaru, Visual kei, Decora, Fairy kei and Mori Kei. If you want to know more about Japanese street fashion, you can read our post about it by clicking the link below.
Must read: Top 11 Japanese street styles explained
But what we'll cover today is about one of the most well known of the bunch, not just in Japan but all over the world. Lolita fashion. This specific style is mainly influenced by Victorian era style of clothing. This subculture is more diverse than most of Japanese street styles that many substyles have branched out of it over the years, and its fascinating that they are still quite distinct with one another despite them having the same silhouette and main look base-line.
Photos: Pinterest, Hilolita, LolitaIn, Lolita Show
We'll be providing details on everything about all the known substyles under Lolita fashion from the names, to the motifs and all the elements that you need to know.
This serves as the base look for every Lolita substyle there is. The wearer of this fashion would resemble a Victorian Era woman or even a doll. Out of all the substyles under Lolita, this one emits a more elegant and mature vibe. It makes you want to think about drinking tea while reading a good book on a Sunday afternoon. Color motifs for this style would be those beautiful dusty pastels like mauve, lilac, jewel tones and anything color within that range. We have an in-depth post about classic Lolita fashion and you can read about it by clicking on the link below.
Must see to know more: Classic Lolita fashion: All you need to know
Photos: Lolita Fashion, Hilolita, Lolita Show
This substyle focuses on all things kawaii and pastel. Having the same silhouette as classic Lolita but the color palette and motif is completely different. It is known to incorporate kawaii related concepts like cartoon characters like Hello Kitty and My Melody, kawaii prints and patterns like berries, other fruits, cute animals and the like. Colors incorporated are any bright ones or even pastels. For more details about sweet Lolita, click on the link below.
Must see to know more: What is a sweet Lolita? All you need to know
Photos: Pinterest, Sololita, LolitaIn
A dark take on Lolita fashion. Gothic Lolita uses a bell shaped silhouette rather than the classic A-line. Dark motifs are also in use like skulls, cobwebs, religious artifacts, coffins, bats and blood red roses. The color scheme could be monochromatic with all black or it can be coordinated with other darker colors like crimson, navy blue, maroon and any color along those lines. Typical gothic accessories are used by with a more elegant approach. As far as makeup goes, dark tones and red lipstick are the most basic ones. You can read a lot more about Gothic Lolita on the link below.
Must see to know more: Gothic Lolita fashion: All you need to know
Deco Lolita (Decololi)
Photos: Pinterest, Flickr
The kawaii crossover of Decora and Lolita, this is the style that uses excessive amount of accessories from head to foot. The color scheme is just like sweet Lolita though is more focused on pastel colors and cute motifs, but accessories is what sets these two apart due to its amount. The clothes and the accessories usually go together as color goes. Common motifs for this style is candy, desserts, cute animals and anything else on the same range. Hair is also usually composed of wearing wigs that are also pastel in color, and they have a rather poufy volume for a more exaggerated effect and more room for accessories. Makeup can be sweet too, face stickers and some rhinestones are common for Decololi's basic makeup look.
Japanese punk fashion merged with Lolita? Yes please. This substyle shares the same silhouette with any other Lolita out there but with a punk twist. The base dress itself doesn't have to be as precise as the others, there could be uneven cuts of fabric, some added studs and spikes, fishnets instead of sheer fabric, and so on. It's basically Lolita with added Punk elements into it. The dresses or skirts tend to be a lot shorter than other Lolitas, as opposed to classic Lolita where the length can get up to the calf. You'll also typically see Punk related prints on the dresses, like plaids. Accessories would include studded cuffs, fishnet arm warmers, studded chokers, fishnet stocking, and punk boots.
The Japanese word Hime literally means 'Princess' in English, and as the word suggests, this style is heavy on the princess-like appearance. Color scheme is the same as sweet Lolita, with bright and pastel colors. It may be a little similar to classic in terms of look and silhouette but with some elements of sweet implemented into it. One noticeable accessory with this look are the head dresses that royalty would wear. Bonnets, tiaras, veils, flower head dresses and the like. The dress is usually layered with lots of ruffles and other sheer material to have a more elegant look. Sleeves that are flared and necklines that are either square, heart or even high collar ones are also typical for this style. Accessories like golds, silvers and pearls would help achieve regal look, as well some additions like lace gloves.
Photos: Pinterest, Lolita Show
This look is directly inspired by nautical motifs and a typical Japanese sailor uniform. Sailor collars are of course the most distinguishing part of this look, then there are motifs like the anchor symbol, as well as a wheel can be seen printed on some dresses. Instead of ruffles, pleats can be seen on the skirts, short sleeves are also one element of this look, it is basically Lolita while maintaining the whole concept of a sailor uniform. The variety of color is vast, it could be just any color as long as the key elements of it being a sailor Lolita exists. Black shoes or school shoes paired with socks that are knee or ankle length would best fit for this style.
Photos: Lolita gals, Pinterest
This great mix of the Japanese traditional wear called Kimono and Lolita is really a work of art, though this one is the most difficult one of the list to put together since Kimonos tend to be an expensive item in Japan. Aside from the price range, it is also not simple to incorporate this style for your own, specially if you're not from Japan. There are things that need to be considered when it comes to Kimono and its vast tradition. There are certain elements that goes with age, marital status, social class and more and could cause inappropriation when not done right. Waistbands with bows can be seen and it is an attempt to imitate an Obi, sometimes, traditional Kimono sleeves are used but not all the time, some styles would have flared sleeves instead.
Photos: Pinterest, Lolita Show
This is the same concept as Wa Lolita, but this one uses traditional Chinese wear or Chinese qipao rather than Japanese. The top part of the whole look usually consists of frog fasteners and high necks/collars. The patterns used are the ones typically seen on their cheongsam dresses, and other traditional Chinese related prints. Qi Lolita hair would also stay true to its concept, mostly with twin buns, braids or any other traditional Chinese hairstyle and accessories. And just like Wa Lolita, it could cause an issue of being inappropriate if not done correctly due to lack of knowledge with Chinese history, so yes, it can be hard to put together as well.
Photos: Lolita Tutorials, Pinterest, Milanoo
If you're familiar with Steampunk fashion, you'll know that its concept is about a futuristic Victorian era woman. This substyle is a great mix of that and Lolita fashion. It still keeps the classic Lolita silhouette but with steampunk's trademarks like gear prints, top hats, corsets and goggles. Color palette sticks true to its form, using only bronzes, brass, browns, blacks and off-white for the blouses. Steampunk Lolita tend to have shorter but poufier skirts than the normal classic Lolita.
Now that you have seen the substyles, now you know why the subculture of Lolita is very popular worldwide. What makes it so attractive is the unusual blending and coordination of Japanese people using Western Victorian period clothes. It also comes with a collection that can be selected by many people who would like to try this fashion.
Which one on the list did you find the most appealing? Are you considering on trying one of these style for yourself? Tell us in the comments below!