The Lolita Dress Code


There is more to the title of ‘Lolita’ than a gaudy dress, the Lolita style is an adaptation of Rococo and Victorian period garments with street fashion. This fashion movement originated from Japan in the 1980’s and has evolved in a popular fashion trend worldwide.

The Lolita outfit is composed of a few elements which is then layered upon with your own creativity. The basic items of clothing needed are: headwear, blouse, bell-shaped skirt, undergarment (bustle, bloomers or tutu), legwear, and shoes. Although none of these can be called absolute necessities or are fixed items ie. a headband can be used, a hat or even hair clips. Remember that coordinating a Lolita outfit is like designing a wedding cake, it has many tiers/layers. You can take away or replace a couple of ingredients, but if you forget the egg, the sugar, and the milk, it’s not a cake anymore it’s a biscuit! Now let’s go in depth of all these individual garments:


Like the French, lolita’s adorn their hair. This can typically be with a headbands, an Alice bow, barrettes and elastic bands, more recently the vintage veiled mini madhatter hats are quite popular. However, hair corsages are a timeless classic for the Lolita look.


In general you may have noticed, lolitas prefer to exposed as little skin as possible, so capes are additional to cover shoulders in wearing a strappy style dress. The usual lolita blouse buttons in the front and features a collar which sometimes has an in built corset or tie with cameo and lace trim.

Bell-shaped skirt

The ideal lolita silhouette is a bell shape, whether she is wearing a dress or a skirt. This shape is achieved by many layers of petticoats and bloomers beneath. A skirt which cannot fit enough petticoats underneath to achieve this shape is not correct. A Lolita skirt should be no shorter than 2” above the knee to keep modesty.


An often-forgotten but key piece of attire are bloomers and petticoats. A petticoat is simply necessary to achieve the correct bell shape silhouette, whereas bloomers are necessary to retain a young lolita’s modesty. You may be wondering,: “but whydo I need to wear such fancy undergarments if nobodies going to see them?” This is purely becuase you are wearing a skirt in the shape of a bell. Real bell’s swings upwards, so when moving around, the interior becomes quite visible. So wearing bloomers prevents one’s thighs–and all else–well hidden from the casual eye.


Though a lolita’s skirt may scandalously reveal her knees, a lolita tends not to expose her legs. Generally the legs would be covered up to the knee, which means wearing knee-length socks, over-knee socks, stockings, or opaque tights. Sheer tights are a big NO NO as they are too ‘sexy’ for lolita, while ankle socks especially lacey ones refer to the opposite subculture such as Sissy, and are simply less flattering or childish.


The traditional footwear of choice for lolitas is the Mary Jane but similar alternatives are available! A proper lolita shoe should feature a closed, rounded toe as well as chunky, thick heeled or platforms (although flats are acceptable). Another favorite style is Vivienne Westwood’s rocking horse shoes.

With such a brilliant style comes a lot of time and effort. Have you ever dressed up in Lolita clothing? Leave us a comment in the section below.

4 Comment

  1. […] The Lolita Dress Code […]

  2. […] have already assembled the key elements that go into creating a Lolita outfit in a previous article, however what style is your Lolita costume? Let’s look into the different genre of Lolita, this […]

  3. Aisha says: Reply

    Thanks Mel, I don;t go to lolita meetups but just parade as one at conventions 😀 you should definitely come to MCM expo in May 😀

  4. Melissa Smith says: Reply

    Love your article Aishy! You've made me realise that I quite often buy Lolita outfit items (petticoats, bloomers, bell skirts, Mary janes, capes and blouses!). I need to come to an event with you!xx

Leave a Reply