Monday, September 14, 2015

Combining Other Fashions with Lolita (Lolita 52 Challenge)

I talked about this in my Wardrobe Slump post a few months ago, but I find a lot of inspiration from mixing other fashions with Lolita. Finding aspects from another J-fashion that I enjoy, and bringing it into my Lolita coordinates, is a fun way for me to vary up my coordinates, and keep myself from falling into a same-old, same-old pattern.

Not to say that combining fashions with Lolita is easy, exactly. It can be challenging, even impossible at times. Lolita has a very set silhouette and technique behind it that can inhibit it from "meshing" well with other, more flexible fashions. The "rules" (or "guidelines", if you prefer) of Lolita are very black and white when determining what "is" Lolita, and what "isn't", with very little gray area. In short: Lolita fashion doesn't play nice with the other fashions.

This can make combining Lolita with other fashions an intimidating choice for those trying it out for the first time. And that's just too bad, because combining Lolita (or a Lolita-like aesthetic) has created some of the most artistic and stunning outfits I've seen to date! Let's check out my three personal favorite fashions to mash in with my Lolita: Mori Girl, Shironuri, and "Geek Chic".

Mori Girl

A Mori Girl street snap; unknown model

Mori Girl (or Mori Kei) is a fashion that I've talked about in junction with Lolita before (check out my post on how I get out of a wardrobe slump if you're interested!). The name translates to "Forest" girl, and--as the name implies--the basic idea is to look like a girl who would be wandering around in the forest. Because of the vague description of the style, there are tons of different interpretations, and a huge emphasis on creativity, which makes Mori Girl a fun style to experiment with. Mori Girl tends to make use of a lot of layers, knits, and distressed clothing. It even has a more Gothic cousin, Dark Mori Girl (which is arguably related to Strega fashion [which makes use of a more 'witchy' look], depending on who you ask).

The best way to mix Mori Girl in with your Lolita is to adopt a few pieces from a Mori closet into your Lolita closet. Mix and match items, and see what works. It's probably a style best left to Classic Lolita (which would mesh well with Mori's use of layers and neutral tones), or Gothic (which meshes quite handsomely with Dark Mori's more witchy vibe). But Sweet Lolita could probably mesh the knits used frequently with Mori for a wintery look.

What would a Lolita wear for a night wandering around the forest? Finding that perfect blend of Lolita extravagance and Mori Girl elegance is, to me, something straight out of a fairy tale--and definitely a fun way to mix up your outfits.


Shironuri artist and model, Minori, posed with hydrangeas

Shironuri (which translates to "painted in white") is almost more of an artform than a fashion. The style was created by a Japanese fashionista named Minori, who wanted to find a fashion that meshed together the clothes she wanted to wear with Japanese history. Shironuri's distinctive white face paint originates, according to Minori, from the Heian period, when the white face paint was used by aristocrat families. (If you're interested in reading more about the origin of Minori's Shironuri style, check out this interview with her!)

Mixing Shironuri, an extravagant and distinctively artistic style, with Lolita is probably overkill for most events. Wearing it everyday may be a little too over-the-top; but for special events, photo shoots, or a wearing-it-around-the-house-just-because? It might be one of the funnest mash-ups! Of course, everything should be taken with a grain of salt; Shironuri is meant to be an ethereal and artistic style. The quality of your makeup is really reflective of how well you're doing in the style--and you may want to practice doing Shironuri makeup a few times before you attempt to mesh it with Lolita!

The biggest word of advice/warning I can give to those wanting to mix these styles: MAKE SURE TO TEST YOUR MAKEUP. You want to make sure that the makeup--whether cream, liquid, or powder--sets properly, and won't run onto your clothes. No one wants a mess of white makeup staining their expensive Lolita clothing! So please be sure to check that you set all of your makeup properly, and use quality makeup that won't smear.

If you're really interested in mixing Shironuri with Lolita, but have no idea where to start, this post over on F Yeah Lolita is one of the most detailed, beautiful things I've seen on the subject, and definitely worth the read!

Geek Chic

I can hear the complaints already: "Geek Chic? You're telling people to put their nerdy stuff in Lolita? You're inviting people to be Itas! There is no way any self-respecting Lolita would wear the "Geek Lolita" stuff that people put out!"

To these people, I ask: Who pissed in your corn flakes this morning?

Fashion is, first and foremost, about expressing yourself. Having fun. What's so bad about combining two things you love? Do you necessarily have to like the look, or wear it yourself? Of course not! But saying that everyone who wears a Dr. Who-inspired coordinate is an ita is the same as saying anyone who owns Sugary Carnival is an expert at coordinating Lolita outfits. Sure, there are a lot of not-so-great "Lolita" outfits at conventions based around the idea of Geek-dom. But there are a lot of not-so-great coordinates made out of nothing but brand, too. And at cons, there's also a good amount of outfits inspired by these same geeky hobbies that look great. Sometimes, you wouldn't even know they were fandom/geek-chic inspired unless you were told by the girl wearing it that "Oh, I got this coordinate idea from Dr. Who".

And Geeks are nothing if not committed to what they love. Take a look at some of these amazing Geeky Lolita items I've found:

Fanplusfriend's Time Lord Series is based off of the classic "Geeky" favorite, Dr. Who.

This JSK from Be My Full Moon features a border print of d20 dice--perfect for a Lolita off to a Dungeons and Dragons session!

And the plethora of character-inspired coordinates done by individuals archived on Lolita-Tips here!

While these items may not be everyone's style, you can't deny that these items do fit the Lolita "rules". They just express a theme that you aren't used to seeing in Lolita. I, personally, enjoy seeing "geek" Lolita done well and done right. If you don't like it, that's fine too! No one says you have to enjoy every trend or theme that someone else likes. But celebrating diversity is part of what makes Lolita so much fun!

What about you? What are your favorite fashions to mix and match with Lolita? What was a coordinate you saw that inspired you to mix and match? I'd love to hear about your experiences down in the comments below. Until next week, then!

The post above was a response to the Lolita 52 Week Challenge made by the ever so delightful Caro over at FYeahLolita.

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