Ah, yes--bloomers. Bloomers are one of those items often considered a "staple" in a Lolita closet, but they're so often overlooked, if for no other reason than you don't usually actually see them in your coordinate (at least, most of the time, anyways!). That's kind of the point of bloomers, really--they aren't meant to be seen, except in the case of some ero Lolita coordinates, and a few old school coordinates.
Cage Skirt coordinate from Atelier Pierrot
For example, in this coordinate, you can clearly see the bloomers because of the cage skirt. I would say that this outfit treads a strange line between Lolita and Ouji, as inspired by Ciel Phantomhive, and it can sometimes get a little bit muddy as to which style you're going for based solely on the clothes. But few would deny that the outfit has Lolita roots, despite the fact that it is technically missing a proper skirt. Pulling off the cage-skirt-showing-bloomers look can be really tricky, and some people dislike it, but I personally think it looks really interesting when done well.
Secondly, we have our bloomers-peeking Old School look. This is a look I like to occasionally wear myself. You can see the lace from the bloomers beneath the skirt, adding just an extra hint of cute lace and dressing up the hem and petti area. Not everyone likes how this looks (I've heard the argument that it makes your dress look like it's too short for you, which I totally understand), but it was undeniably a thing in the Old School days. Your bloomers weren't only a more active part of your coordinate; they were also slightly more historically-accurate.
Basic Cotton Bloomers from Fanplusfriend
Bloomers are a historic undergarment, though they were worn for an entirely different reason than they are worn in Lolita. Historically, bloomers were mostly worn to protect the dress from getting dirty--and it wasn't until the 1870s that the crotch seam was even closed! In Lolita, however, bloomers are worn primarily for modesty's sake. Our skirts, of course, are much shorter than they were in the Victorian and Regency eras. So bloomers' primary function in Lolita is to prevent a panty-flash incident when bending over, if the wind blows up a skirt, or for any other skirt-related mishap that might happen during the day. And Lolitas have two main options when it comes to bloomers: the more historically-inspired bloomers, as shown above, or the shorter, more "modern" bloomers, as seen below.
Tiered Bustle Ruffle Bloomers from Fanplusfriend
Modern Lolita bloomers are usually cut much higher up the leg, to about the length that a pair of shorts would go (or a bit shorter). They're often embellished, with a bustle on the butt and pintucks or lace on the hem, but you can purchase them plain, as well. Bloomers of this variety work specifically in the "panty-flashing prevention" function, rather than allowing the wearer to peek their bloomer lace a la Old School. Which style of bloomer you choose is entirely a matter of personal preference!
Personally, I've made all of my bloomers, and they're my go-to Lolita undergarment for most events. Besides the aesthetic and panty-flash reasons to wear them (and I will speak candidly), I find that mine give the additional benefit of "chub-rub prevention" (especially in summer, when it is often paired with heat rash). Additionally, I don't usually have the issue of bloomers riding up, which I tend to have with Spanx and other shapewear/undergarments for regular skirts and dresses. Bloomers are an indispensible part of my wardrobe; and even if you don't personally like them, I'd recommend something in their place. But then, you might be left out with something that is undeniably Lolita--another item of clothing with which to drape yourself in lace and frills!
What about you? Are you a bloomer lover? Or are pajama shorts and Spanx your go-to? Do you like the more historical-looking long bloomers, or are you a modern, puffy-pant bloomer fan? Do you wear your bloomers as Lolita pajamas? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject in the comments below!
The post above was a response to the Lolita 52 Week Challenge made by the ever so delightful Caro over at FYeahLolita.