Sunday, 3 February 2008

I was a teenage gothic lolita.

I told you I'd be awful at regular updates! And now, onto the point of this entry:

At age 15 a friend linked me to this Morbid Outlook article on Gothic Lolita and from there on in I was hooked. I loved the gothic look but long sweeping skirts don't suit 5-foot-zilch me and the only outwardly gothic clothes accessible to me at the time were made of tacky crushed velvet and fishnet. Gothic Lolita, however, seemed beautiful, whimsical and elegant, as well as appealing to my love of everything doll-like and Victorian.

The online gothic lolita communities were a great source of advice, encouragement and information and I’m sure that they continue to be as such. I recall the first time I posted photographs. They were of the outfit below, which I wore to my then-boyfriend’s debs. As well as getting tidbits of advice such as “ditch the fishnets, go for solid or classically patterned tights,” I got the assurance that I was ‘doing it right’ and one girl even commented that I looked like a duchess! That remains one of the most wonderful compliments I have ever received.

However, two things emerged from out of the depths of the lolita community that frustrated me. The first was the cattiness. An online community filled mainly with females (excuse me for the gender stereotyping but PMS is a cruel, cruel mistress) who have the guarantee of anonymity is sure to tempt people into bitchiness, but I really have no tack with people who will put their energy into tearing apart someone who is looking for advice. The worst manifestation of this bitchiness was a livejournal community wholly dedicated to reposting other people’s pictures and making a mockery of them. Lots of people, myself included, joined in order to find out if we had been posted or not. Lots of girls made mockeries of themselves so as not to be targeted. We were bowing down to a bunch of bullies instead of challenging them and their constrained views of what lolita fashion could and could not be.

These constrained views were the second and main reason why I stopped reading online gothic lolita communities. I understand that it is a particular ‘style’ and to execute it properly certain elements needed to be there, but I got sick of doing that. I wanted to wear high-heeled oxfords, not multi-strap mary-janes. I wanted to look like a Victorian picnicker, not a fluffy princess. I wanted to wear my lolita dresses, blouses, socks and hair-bands in an unlolita way, my own way. So that’s what I’m doing now, and I’m pretty happy about it. I get to let the Victoriana-obsessed part of me leak out without having a long list of things I need to buy to ‘do it properly’. I get to express myself while wearing some of the most beautiful dresses I own without conforming to aesthetic ideals that aren’t my own. And I’m pretty happy about it.

There's a recent outfit (bad quality photo, sorry!) with my all-time favourite dress by Victorian Maiden, white rose clips in my hair (Accessorise), oxfords (River Island) and brown patterned tights (the mother and her generosity). It's not particularly mixed-up but I like it.


Unknown said...

Wow, I love your take on this look! The sleeveless Lolita dress is such a great look, it's definitely a great way to transfer my love of the Victorian era into clothes.

Julianne said...

You look beautiful! I got turned off by the lolita community before I even managed to get into it. There is so much silly bitchiness and restriction, and it's also really hypocritical - people with great, almost professional-looking photographs get admiration whatever they wear, whereas others with slightly-blurred photos taken in the mirror get far harsher criticism. I still really like the style though!

Unknown said...

Aww, what a cute article! When the Gothic Lolita look hit, I always preferred the clothing over the standard goth fare. It was much cuter and suited for smaller frames (I'm 5 foot 3) and way more interesting...


Marie-Kristine said...

wow, you pull that look off really well!