Gothic Lolita Starter Coordinates

There are a lot of places online that will show you great ways to get started on building a Lolita wardrobe and making the most out of a few key pieces. But most of these tend to focus on sweeter or more colorful styles of Lolita. Starting a Gothic Lolita wardrobe might seem like a very easy task, just buy a lot of black right? But you'll soon probably find yourself bored with wearing the same thing. Besides, there's hardly any wiggle room to experiment with other styles of Lolita, without having to make new purchases, if all you have is a handful of black blouses and black skirts.

Great Gothic Lolita starter pieces
I'm using a lot of Brand items as examples, but don't feel you absolutely need to have brand, off brand is just as good!

  • Petticoat- While not pictured above, this is the most important part of starting a Gothic Lolita wardrobe! It's going to give the correct shape to all your skirts and dresses. You really can't have any kind of Lolita wardrobe without a petticoat. Since this is about starting a Gothic Lolita wardrobe, I would suggest a black petticoat. If you end up with a white, or other colored petticoat, don't stress over it too much, after all, the petticoat isn't really meant to be seen.
  • Head pieces- Get two in all black. One should be either an Alice bow (either head eating or something smaller on a headband is fine) or if you're daring, and old fashioned rectangle headdress. The other should be something a bit more fancy and Gothicky and might require an up-do to wear, such as a circular head piece. (shown: 2 Baby, The Stars Shine Bright head pieces)
  • Jewelry- A few simple pieces will go with just about anything, a strand of faux pearls, a cameo brooch, and if you are looking to get into the more extra Gothic styles of Lolita, an elegant cross necklace and earring set make a great addition to an outfit.
  • Bags- A simple black Brand tote bag with a cute print is a great addition to any wardrobe and can be carried with just about any outfit. Keep the print monochromatic, either white or a metallic, so it can match with anything. I would also suggest getting a sturdier purse as well, for when you need to look a bit fancier. I've used a kind of silly bat shaped purse in my outfits, but any kind of fancy black purse would look nice. (shown: Angelic Pretty tote bag, Bodyline bat bag)
  • Socks and Shoes- A single nice pair of black Lolita shoes is really all you need at first, go for a classic mary jane. For socks a pair of all black and a pair or two of all white is good to start with. They can be knee socks, or above the knee, lace topped or non-lace topped. I would personally suggest above the knee socks with Gothic Lolita. (shown: Bodyline shoes and socks)
  • Blouses and tops- An all black and an all white button up blouse is a good start. A black cardigan and an ultra Gothic, but not necessarily Lolita, top are good additions as well to a Gothic Lolita wardrobe. For the ultra Gothic top, go for either a very nice overbust corset, or a bustier type top. Make sure it's not made out of something cheap and tacky like satin and covered in ugly white lace. It should match the quality of your Lolita clothes.(shown: Metamorphose black blouse, In The Starlight white blouse, offbrand cardigan and corset)
  • Skirts- A fancy all black skirt is a good idea, something more than just a plain skirt with a ruffle on the bottom, like something tiered or with a bustle back. As well as a fancy black skirt, keep your eye out for a black print skirt that doesn't have too cutesy of a print on it. The Cherry Berry Bunny skirt from Angelic Pretty doesn't count! Aim for a Classic style print, like something with elegant flowers on it, not hyperactive rabbits. (shown: In The Starlight black bustle skirt, Bodyline floral high-waisted skirt)
  • JSK- Just one at first, an all black one. If you are on a limited budget but absolutely want Brand in our wardrobe and are unsatisfied with just a tote bag, make this your Brand piece, it will feel extra special when you wear it! You can pick up a plain black Brand JSK second hand for as little as 100 dollars. I've seen them go for much less on occasion. So adding a little bit of Brand to a beginners wardrobe isn't as expensive as you might think! (shown: Baby, The Stars Shine Bright JSK)
Using these basic Gothic Lolita starter items I've created a few different styles of outfits. Please excuse my sometimes made up Lolita categories, some of these just fall under "Gothic Lolita" but are quite different from each other.

Elegant Gothic Lolita
Using the JSK and black blouse to build a Kuro gothic outfit, I've added a few of the more Gothic accessories to the outfit, such as the round headdress, cross earrings, cameo brooch, and bat bag to keep this outfit from just being Sweet Lolita in black.
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Cute Gothic Lolita
Personally, I don't agree when people refer to black and white Lolita outfits as "Gothic Lolita". I see them as almost their own category. I always want to call such coordinates "Classic Lolita" in reference to the fact that so many years ago, when Lolita first got started in the West, black and white were the color coordinate to wear. Nowadays, black and white is sometimes seen as a "beginner Lolita" color scheme, but I think it can still look very cute when you remember to keep the black and white separate. No black dresses with white lace, but rather all black pieces combined with all white pieces. This coordinate could almost be considered sweet if you were to replace the black with a pastel color, but because they're in black, I think they manage to look much more toned down and refined.
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Classic Lolita
Provided you managed to hunt down a floral print black skirt, and not a puppy or bunny covered print in black, you can create a lovely Classic Lolita coordinate with your starter pieces. To beat any cuteness into submission with a more refined style, use a few of the more elegant accessories, like a round head piece, pearls, and a cameo. I've used the tote bag, just because it had a fancy gold foil print, but if you have a tote bag with a cuter print on it, stick with the purse.
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Ero Lolita
Or, possibly, Uber-Gothic Lolita, depending on the type of Gothic top you are using XD. I'm using a corset and no kind of cover up, so it gives it a very burlesque and Ero feel to it. This look may end up looking more Gothic with a Lolita shape and less pure Lolita, but if you know what you're doing, it's still going to look awesome.
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Sweet Lolita
Or almost Sweet Lolita. The floral print on the skirt is still going to look very Classic, but if you add a white blouse, white socks, a cuter head piece, and a less formal purse it's going to start looking very Sweet. If you know you love Gothic Lolita, and just feel more comfortable wearing black over pastels, this is going to be a very easy way to either build up the courage to wear an Angelic Pretty Pastel Monstrosity, or to just flirt with the sweeter edge of Gothic Lolita without being limited to plain black and white.
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Casual Lolita
I really love this skirt! Can't you tell? If you want to try out Casual Lolita, without just looking like a deflated Gothic Lolita, this print skirt is going to come in handy! Pair it with the buttoned up cardigan, a casual tote, pearls. Exchange the socks for a pair of plain tights and leave the head bow at home and do something very simple with your hair, like a pair of braids. Also be sure to wear a less poofy petticoat. The cupcakey poofy look isn't for casual, but by all means don't forget to wear a petticoat! Just wear a simple tulle pannier to give your skirt a little bit of a poof.

Of course these aren't the only outfits you can create with a few skirts and blouses, but just some of the different Lolita styles you can manage to squeeze out of them. I hope you found this helpful, whether you are new to Lolita in general and looking to start up your own wardrobe, or even a Sweet Lolita veteran who's been thinking of coming over to the darker side of Lolita.


  1. I love this! And if you adapt it a little bit, you can use it for classic or sweet as much as for gothic. And, I love your sweeter coordinate which isn't in plain black and white! It's cute enough to wear to a meetup, but simple enough to wear to church. I'm totally getting a few things like this some time. ^^

  2. I love this post so much! Everytime I find myself bored with lolita, I read this post and remember exactly how and why I fell in love with lolita all over again :) Thanks for all the great tips posts!!!

  3. Davidsson ThereseJuly 1, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    I want to thank you. For the last fwe days I've been reading your blog as much as I can and it's been very helpfull. I've loved the lolita style for years now but I've only worn it a cupple of times be cause I only have one outfit. Nedless to say i don't want to over use it.  But with all your posts I feel like I can start moving towards my dream wardrobe! There is just so much information here and you have a simple way of explaining things.
    Thank you, you have reliten my lolita fire!

  4. Are some beautiful sets. Everyone is really beautiful *----*
    But one question, where I can get more images of jsk of BTSSB?
    Seems no longer for sale and the only picture I have seen is that. I can see more detailed images? Thanks ^^

  5. I have a question. It's probably a weird one......
    Can you combine a Lolita outfit with combat boots?
    I know it's a strange combination but i really like my combat boots.

  6. To Anonymous:- I am sure that the combination of combat boots and a lolita outfit will look absolutely delicious. The contrast between the butch and the elegant on the same person will be lovely, even of it cannot strictly be called lolita any more.

  7. I love this article ! EGA Lolita has its own unique characters ,I love it.

  8. What does JSK stand for, please?


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