Friday, April 15, 2011

They’re Not Rules, They’re More Like Guidelines

A couple of days ago I was talking with my friend Nicolette on msn. Nico-chan is one of the few friends I actually tell Lolita-related things and show dresses to. Although I keep my Loli-obsession at a very low level outside of my safe, she actually knows some things about Lolita I never really tell my other friends (beside Tiana actually).
So the other day, we somehow got to the topic of the few Lolita items I own and in particular my dresses. Nico-chan asked me why I haven’t worn one of them. ‘Because I’m not sure I’ll fit into my Starry Night Theatre JSK the way I want to.’ I answered. She asked about my Baby’s JSK. ‘That one fits great.’ I said. She asked me why I don’t wear that one then. ‘Because I don’t own a blouse yet.’ was my short and simple answer.

Because I don’t own a blouse yet. To us Lolitas an answer like that is as clear as mineralwater. But to outsiders this must sound like a stupid reason. So you don’t have a blouse. Wear the dress without one, no big deal! To us, it’s just wrong. You can’t wear a jumperskirt without a blouse, that’s against the rules!

‘Really?’ Yes, I’m going that way: Lolita and the rules.
When you start out as a Lolita and you ask for advice, one of the first things you’ll find/hear is ‘Read the Lolita Handbook on LiveJournal. It tells you all about the fashion and the rules.’ The Lolitafashion is build up on a bunch of rules. Don’t show too much skin. Wear knee-high socks or over-the-knees. Wear a petticoat with the right shape. Make sure your petticoat isn’t showing. And ofcourse: always wear a blouse underneath a jumperskirt.
In the Lolita-world people seem to be divided about the whole concept of the rules. Many think they must be followed under any circumstances and won’t hesitate to tell other people about what they did wrong. Others consider them more like guidelines and feel free to experiment with colours and combinations. Whatever you consider the rules to be, your opinion will, most of the time, collide with the opinion of someone else.

Now, I cannot speak for other people, so I will restrict myself to my own opinion about the Rules of Lolita.

I like the rules.

Now hold on, before you move your cursor to the right corner of your screen to click the red ‘X’, let me finish!
When I first got interested in the fashion, I was overwhelmed by all the restrictions and things I had to remember so I wouldn’t fail. But you know what? Reading all those rules actually gave me some support! To me, the Lolita Handbook was exactly what it’s supposed to be: a guide for the beginning Lolita and although it’s written quite some time ago, I still recommend it to any newcomer in the fashion.
Now I’m way past the stage of big insecurity. You’ll never hear me say I’m a Loli-expert, but I do think I know a lot more than when I started. ‘So the rules aren’t necessary anymore for you?’ you ask. Maybe, maybe not. But like I said: I like the rules. I love the fact that you have to wear knee-socks/over-the-knees. I love the right shapes for petticoats. And I adore the blouse+jumperskirt-look!
I’m not the kind of girl to tell other people about where they went wrong. I might think it, I can’t help thinking, but saying? No, probably not. Who am I to ruin someone’s happy feelings about a coord by saying ‘You’re doing it wrong?’
But I’m also not the kind of person who disapproves of colouring outside of the lines. I love experimentation with Lolita and I’ve seen amazing results! But for now, it’s not for me yet. I’ll just stick the rules for as long as I want to and I like it. So waiting for a blouse it is.


  1. To me it's like a checklist. It's like you have to have 5 out of 8 to qualify as lolita fashion.
    Because I think ankle socks can be pulled of in a coord but you can't wear ankle socks,no petticoat, no blouse, and no head stuffs. You have to pick one or two things that don't follow and then have the others. Otherwise we have very little to define the fashion by.

  2. i agree with you. i have nothing against others people don't following the rules, but personally, i am in love with blouses, high socks, and all the poof a petty can give me. when i am dressed up casual, seems like something is missing...

  3. I have to say I feel the same way. I like the rules. I like the structure of the fashion. I like knowing that x+y+z is what makes an outfit. There's less room for confusion that way, and you just know exactly what to do after you're familiar with the elements. I don't find it restricting. I like the challenge of keeping within the guidelines but still managing to try something different! :)

  4. I agree and disagree, the rules are a bit daunting, but do you really look like a lolita if you don't wear a petti? I mean as long as I've got the silhouette, "correct" fabric/lace, and I match, I feel that I'm okay. I mean I would probably wear the JSK with no blouse, but I understand your hesitation.

  5. I really like the rules too. Maybe it's because I like having structure and the rules are really about the basics of a lolita outfit. Although, I do think that if you follow the rules you can still have some creativity and experimentation. Look at OTT Sweet style, that had to come about after someone thought bringing more deco into sweet would look right. And most OTT sweet lolita I see do follow the rules for having a petticoat, socks, blouses under jsks, etc. Anyway, I totally understand you waiting to get a blouse for your jsk. No blouses under jsks just seems kind of off, in my opinion XD

  6. I like the rules too! I think they just make an outfit look complete, in a way (:
    While some people 'break the rules' and wear a unique outfit, I still appreciate it but would never wear it personally!
    I hope you get a nice blouse soon n__n

  7. I like the rules too :) I feel accomplished when I make a full outfit! But I like to experiment also, with sheer tights and ankle socks say. Good luck finding your blouse! <3

  8. they are fundamentals not rules

  9. Thank you all so much for giving your opinion! I was so surprised to see that so many people commented! Thank you! ^^

  10. I understand what you mean. I often wear my dresses casually without a petticoat, but I would never post that to daily_lolita because I feel it's not ~true lolita~.
    You could consider wearing your JSK over a T-shirt with puffy sleeves, or a normal blouse if you have one. A bolero or cardigan over it is acceptable, too.
    Als je echt een lolita-blouse wil: ik heb er 1 van Bodyline die best okee is, maar ik draag 'm nooit omdat 't niet mijn stijl is. Als je wilt, mag je 'm overkopen ;)

  11. @ Amoris: Hmmmm... the t-shirt thing is actually a good idea. ^^
    Awww dat is echt lief van je, maar ik ben zo blut dat het verboden moest zijn (ahum). Maar wel heel erg bedankt! =D

  12. I was trying to wear a JSK to prom, but not call what I was wearing "lolita", I'd just call it my prom dress. But I have a 'lolita-mentor' (I guess lol) who's definite about following the blouse rule. So, I'm going to wear a blouse and, well, I feel like I shouldn't care what the rules are, but that's exactly what newbies in any community say. So I guess I should stick with, "You need to learn the rules before you can break them" (but I don't even think experienced lolitas like breaking them, so, I'm out of luck! lol)

    1. Whoa, this post is so old I never expected to get a comment here! =D
      I think you should do what makes you feel happy! ♥