Friday, 1 May 2020

Lolita Blog Carnival: Pros & Cons of Keeping To One Style Vs. Multiple Styles

Wow, I haven't done a Lolita Blog Carnival post in absolute ages! Today's theme is discussing the pros and cons of sticking with one style. This is definitely something I think about pretty often since I only wear gothic lolita but I love all 3 of the major substyles and would really like to try them all someday. So let's start off with some of the pros of wearing just one style!

Building multiple wardrobes is expensive. It might be easier to build a wardrobe of gothic and classic, or sweet and classic, since those styles cross over easily and allow you to share items between your two wardrobes as long as you stick with certain colours and themes. But if you want to wear both, say, OTT pastel sweet and Moitié-style gothic, you're going to have to buy two entirely separate wardrobes. Goodbye, money. And where are you going to put it all?

I've wanted to try other styles, but I prefer wearing gothic, and that's what I want to save my money for. Old Moitié ain't cheap! Even a super basic starter sweet wardrobe can be expensive since literally none of my pieces would work for OTT pastel sweet, and because I'm not really into the type of sweet that the less-expensive Chinese brands put out. Even old stuff like Sugary Carnival and Milky Planet aren't that cheap. I think I'd just end up buying an OP set so that I could easily try it all at once and resell it if needed.

Good thing my comm has style swap meetups!

I wish Moitié would release full matching sets like this for beginners. It's hard to find perfectly matched items.
Your wardrobe can look cohesive without much effort. I think it's important to build your wardrobe as a functioning wardrobe and not as a collection of distinct coordinates where individual parts can't be swapped out to make new coordinates. It's better to be flexible so that you get more mileage out of every piece - otherwise, what's the point of spending hundreds of dollars on a dress you can only style in one way? In order to do that, you need to make sure all of your pieces go together.

If you only wear one substyle, you don't need to make a concerted effort to make sure that all your pieces work together so that you can get multiple coordinates out of your collection of dresses and accessories. It's even easier if you stick to one or two colours. if you've seen my old wardrobe post, you'll notice that I only wear black, white, and blue gothic-themed items (I've recently started adding red, too!) and that's made it very easy to add new stuff to my wardrobe without worrying about having to buy new things to match it. I already know it'll work with what I have!

You can devote your energy to completely mastering one substyle, and you can be creative without changing your substyle. You're limited in that you can only use items from your chosen style, which forces you to be creative with what you have. Techniques that work well in one substyle might not work for another, so if you're trying to learn and be experimental, I think it's much easier to start with just one! For example, layering of corsets and underskirts in different textures or fabrics looks much better in gothic or in classic than in sweet, in my opinion.

I've been trying to cut back on purchasing lolita pieces (and all purchases in general) and am instead trying to reuse my existing wardrobe in different ways - layering, different colour combinations, etc. It's been a lot of fun! I can still branch out without having to try a whole new substyle, since the gothic brands are all so different and can be combined in different ways. I'm not exactly a master of coordinating, but I'll get there!

Atelier Pierrot staff are so good at coordinating items that I wouldn't even think to put together! Image from from Atelier Pierrot Shinjuku's blog.

Of course, it's not all sunshine and roses. There are a few cons, too.

It's harder to dress up for themed meetups. This is a bigger dilemma for some people than you think! As a gothic lolita, sometimes it can be really hard for me to follow the themes for some of my lolita comm's meetups. I'm in a big comm (100+ members), but I'd estimate the split is about 75% sweet, 20% classic, and 5% gothic. Realistically, the only themed meetups that work for my wardrobe are going to be at Halloween and Christmas.

As an example, my comm was supposed to have a fruit-themed picnic meetup...before the pandemic struck, anyway. Lots of sweet dresses have fruit themes, and some can be coordinated in a way to make them look more classic. It's much harder if you only wear gothic, though. I could sort of fudge it by wearing fruit accessories (Suppurate System's apple necklaces come to mind) but I can probably count the number of fruit-themed gothic prints on one hand.

I can see Alice and the Pirates being able to pull off a Persephone-themed print with roses and pomegranates, or a Garden of Eden print with snakes and apples. I dunno, I just really want some gothy fruit prints.

Black Cat, Witch, and the Apple Tree is such a cute print! I'm hoping to find the red JSK soon.
Brand tea parties and events can also be tricky. Most of my favourite gothic brands are unlikely to be invited to Toronto as guests since there wouldn't be much interest. We've hosted the big sweet and classic brands like Angelic Pretty, Victorian Maiden, Juliette et Justine, and Baby, the Stars Shine Bright, but never an exclusively gothic brand. Now that I've been wearing lolita for several years, I have enough goth-friendly pieces from those brands that I could probably manage. I have one  but prior to that I wouldn't have been able to attend any events with wardrobe requirements without borrowing an outfit. And borrowing outfits for a tea party makes me nervous. What if I drop my jam?!

Angelic Pretty, but make it goth.
Still, I'd love it if Sheglit, h.naoto, Atelier Pierrot (I went to their tea party in Gatineau!), or of course Moi-même-Moitié were able to attend an event in Toronto. Granted, if they did, my comm would be scrambling to find brand items for the party. And since these brands don't appeal to the vast majority of my comm t wouldn't be fair to the brand guests since they wouldn't make much money selling their merchandise. It wouldn't be fair to the attendees either, since they probably wouldn't be that excited to see the brands.

And that brings me to the end of this little discussion! The question was actually a little harder than I thought, which is why this blog entry is so short. When I think about it, in my opinion it's actually better to branch out and wear multiple styles - the only truly prohibitive aspect is cost and storage, whereas the other problems can be overcome with some ingenuity.

Thank you for reading, and please check out what everyone else in the Lolita Blog Carnival had to say!

Lolita Blog Carnival

[Current Music: Aphex Twin - Come to Daddy]


  1. You make an excellent point about still being able to experiment within the restrictions of just one style. The reason so many of us love lolita fashion is the opportunity for creative expression - and given that so many gothic lolitas or sweet lolitas still look different from each other, despite wearing the same substyle, is because we develop our own way of putting those clothes together. I have always admired those lolitas who were very good at layering clothes to create new interesting silhouettes or to pull in themes/colours to make the coordinate different, and it is a next level skill from making outfits different through colours. But if storage space and money restrict you from adding pieces in new colours (or if you simply only like the ones you have, which I know plenty of people who are that way), then textures and layering is a brilliant way to do this, which doesn't have to involve getting new things - only looking at what you have from outside the box.

    1. My favourite thing is seeing how people in the same substyle can coordinate the exact same dress totally differently! The recent coordinate contest on Moitie's instagram is a good example of this. Trying to be creative and working under these restrictions can be challenging but it's also fun!

  2. This is an awesome article from the perspective of someone who wears one style! I enjoyed reading your perspective. Sometimes I do regret having such a diverse wardrobe myself, because I can only really put together one or two coords per main piece (wow you really called me out in this post!) However, I really justify it by the enjoyment I get from wearing something different every day. I just love to change things up!

    1. Even if you don't get a ton of mileage out of each main piece, what matters most is that you enjoy it! And being able to switch styles every day must be awesome.