Don’t be afraid to express yourself through fashion! – Chanel Iman

I finally have a continuation on my lolita series! Yay! My first post can be found HERE. This time I will be focusing more on how to build your own wardrobe and how I essentially ignored all of those tips. I will be linking to my source and a few of my favorite stores at the end of the post. I am not sponsored by any of the people I am linking to.

First of all, you want a good petticoat. It doesn’t matter how pretty your dress or skirt is if it doesn’t have the proper support underneath. Some dresses do work casually without a petticoat, but it’s still very much a key part of the fashion. Feeling like a fluffy cupcake also gives a silver lining to any day. My petticoat is made of a material called Seersucker, but I would almost recommend going for chiffon instead as mine has a tendency to deflate on certain sides and I am yet to figure out how to get the volume back.

Now for the main event: Dresses and skirts. When you start, try finding two easy to coordinate dresses, one special occasions piece and two skirts with different designs. This gives you a solid base to coordinate on and something that fits most occasions. Personally, I switched out the skirts with OPs (one piece dresses) and my basic dresses are all JSKs (jumper skirt dresses). The OPs make it easier for me to wear the style more casually as they don’t require a blouse underneath, letting me focus more on getting accessories and other details in the meantime. When it comes to dresses: avoid cheap costume versions and keep away from replicas.

When it comes to blouses you can coordinate essentially anything with 5 differently styled tops. It could be a fancy blouse, something a bit more simple or just a cutsew. Blouses come in a myriad of forms but are more formal compared to the casual jersey knit cutsew. Blouses don’t necessarily have to be from lolita brands either, I have bought a gothic style shirt ages ago and it works with gothic lolita coordinates and a friend gave me a cute black shirt with a Peter Pan collar that works. I am lacking a lot in blouses still, but it’s one of the cheaper areas of the fashion luckily.

Besides a dress and a blouse, you will also need legwear in the form of tights, OTKs (over-the-knee socks) or just socks. There is no such thing as too many different legwear as that is one quite easy and cheap way to switch out the details of your look. You can either pick something that fits the color scheme of your dress, plain solid colored ones, ones with print and so on. Going offbrand is very easy here, but some brands also release matching socks or tights with their dresses if you want to go all out.

You probably also want shoes that fit your style. There’s quite a lot of styles out there and many different opinions on how you should match them. You can match your shoes to your dress, I have a pair of shoes in navy and burgundy, but you could also pick a color that fits anything, I have a pair of black oxfords and a pair of cute white shoes. It’s really up to you in the end. Try to find shoes that are comfortable for you, especially if you know you’ll be walking around a lot and not just wear shoes for pictures.

When it comes to accessories you should always be wearing some kind of headdress that matches your skirt/dress. I like to buy the matching piece from the same brand for my dresses, but this is definitely not a must. I also have basic plain bows in lots of different colors to match most of my dresses. Besides headbows, you can add on necklaces, rings, wrist cuffs and anything you wish. I currently have pretty much no jewelry that goes with my dresses. It’s not an issue for me, but I often feel like wrist cuffs especially would be a nice addition.

You will also most likely want some kind of outerwear, especially if you plan on wearing the fashion in the winter in Finland. A normal coat won’t really fit over the poof of a lolita dress, so getting a lolita coat is something to consider pretty early on. Besides a coat, it can be handy with a bolero or cardigan for slightly warmer weather. I personally own just one coat and other outerwear, but having at least two to pick from is a good idea.

You will also most likely want some kind of purse or bag to fit lolita.

My main source for these tips was these post by FYeahLolita and I also picked out some definitions and examples from the Lolita Fashion Wiki.

When it comes to shopping I personally use these webshops. There are others as well, but try to check with someone in the fashion first whether it is reliable or not. There are replicas and also bad quality dresses going around, so buying from a reputable seller or shopping service is always a must. Note that these stores are Taobao resellers and secondhand stores, if you want to buy straight from a brand you might need a shopping service, but I am not familiar enough in the area to give recommendations.