History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

22 October 2011

Lolita Fashion

Lolita fashion is a fashion subculture originating in the 1970's in Japan and is based on Victorian-era clothing as well as costumes from the Rococo period. The style has expanded greatly. There are Gothic Lolitas, Sweet Lolitas, Punk, Classical-Aristocrat Lolitas etc., but what I find most interesting is the decidedly historical flare to the outfits AND and that the Lolita look began primarily as one of modesty.

That's right, modesty.

The whole looks seems to have little to do with the literary Lolita theme revolving around a middle-age man falling in love with a 12 year old girl.

Or does it?

The original Lolita fashion silhouette is of a knee length skirt or dress with a 'cupcake' shape assisted by petticoats, but has expanded into various different types of garments including corsets and floor lengths skirts. Blouses, knee high socks or stockings and headdresses are also worn. Lolita fashion has evolved into several different sub styles and has a subculture that is present in many parts of the world, but the look is decidedly young, in my opinion, and also classically historical (orginally).

As per "Wikipedia":

In the context of fashion, the term 'Lollita' does not relate to sex. The usage of the word may also be considered wasei-eigo or and derives from the female given name, 'Lollita'.

The fashion movement is based on a strong reaction by the wearers against the exposure of the body and skin in today's society, specifically in regard to young women. Adherents fight the current fashion with modesty presenting themselves as "cute" or "elegant" rather than "sexy". One follower of the Gothic Lolita fashion explained:

We certainly do not do this for the attention of men. Frequently, female sexuality is portrayed in a way that is palatable and accessible to men, and anything outside of that is intimidating. Something so unabashedly female is ultimately kind of scary—in fact, I consider it to be pretty confrontational. Dressing this way takes a certain kind of ownership of one’s own sexuality that wearing expected or regular things just does not. It doesn’t take a lot of moxie to put on a pencil skirt and flats. It’s not, as some commentators have suggested, some sort of appeal to men’s expectation that women should be childlike....or to emulate little girls, despite the name Lolita."

What do you think? Do you like the look? Have you seen Lolita fashion stateside in the big cities?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The fashion movement is based on a strong reaction by the wearers against the exposure of the body and skin in today's society, specifically in regard to young women."

I've been a lolita for 5 years, and honestly that's hardly a concern for a lot of us. In fact, I know several of us, myself included, who dress in a rather provocative manner outside of lolita. For a great number of lolitas, especially Western lolitas, it's about feeling beautiful and has nothing to do with modesty or "fighting the system." Much of the Wikipedia article is outdated (some of it was never correct to begin with). Also, the quote pulled was not representative of the majority of the lolita population.

7:06 PM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

Good to know, babybeluga! Thanks for posting.

I kind of like the clothes (especially the Gothic/Classical Aristrocrat styles). Feminine. Wikipedia, definatly needs updating!

10:36 PM  
Blogger Juliet Grey said...

Great post, Kathrynn! I'm always up for anything about fashion. I've always been fascinated by the fact that a trend which is so much about traditional western European silhouettes (and ones that constricted the female form) originated in Japan, which has its own centuries-old tradition of shaping women's bodies through fashion/garments. And certainly the appearance of the geisha was designed to appeal to men.

5:03 AM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

Thanks, Juliet. CNN actually ran a story on "Lolita Fashion Invading the West" this week---which prompted me to read more about it!

3:36 PM  

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