Boystyle: Wearing the Pants in Lolita Fashion

Boystyle is exactly what it sounds like, the boy's version of Lolita. Just like how the frilly dresses of Lolita isn't always a girls only game, Boystyle isn't just for boys. Boystyle has nearly as many different sub-styles as Lolita, and is often considered a completely separate fashion from Lolita. But Lolita's just love the Boystyle, we can't help it, it's just so cute. And because of that, I'll be going over some of the basics in this post.

Before I begin, I should point out that I'm not exactly a Boystyle expert, I haven't even worn pants outside of work since 2003, so maybe this should have been left to someone a little more in the know than I am. I do know quite a bit about it just from being part of the Lolita community for so long, but if I am totally off-the-wall incorrect about any of this, feel free to point it out to me.

What makes a Boystyle outfit
  • Pants- The most important part of a Boystyle outfit. There are a variety of different kinds of pants to choose from in Boystyle: Formal men's pants, ultra wide-legged pants, puffy shorts (I always want to call these "pumpkin shorts" because of Poupee!) knickerbockers, and even split shorts attached to leg warmers, or pants with attached half skirts for the more punk styles. The one kind of pants I would stay away from in the Boystyle world is jeans. A pair of plain black jeans with no holes or fading is okay, but that's really about it when it comes to jeans.
  • Socks/Tights- An important addition to the Boystyle look is socks or tights! A black and white striped pair is the classic look, but just about any matching pair, in a solid color or a print, will look good.
  • Headwear- Headwear is not as essential to Boystyle as it is Lolita for completing a look. Instead of bows, flowers, and ruffles of lace, the perfect Boystyle headwear is a full-sized hat. A top hat is always classic, but bowler hats and newsboy caps also look good. Avoid mini-top hats if you're wearing Aristocrat, save them for Kodona or a more childish look.
  • Vest- A plain vest is the perfect addition to a Boystyle outfit, worn either with just a blouse, or under a jacket. If you're looking to add some color to a Boystyle outfit, a vest in whatever color you would like is the perfect way to do it.
  • Jacket- Not always necessary, but it can complete an outfit. A fancy jacket over a vest and a blouse always looks smart. You can find fancy jackets anywhere, but if you really want your outfit to look different (and to avoid the butler look) you might want to look into a Japanese brand such as Black Peace Now or Atelier Boz for a very unique looking jacket.
  • Shoes- A clunky pair of gothic looking shoes is the perfect Boystyle shoe. Boots look great too, either knee boots, or mid-calf. If you plan on wearing long pants then any kind of formal men's style shoe will do. But you really can't just wear any old Lolita pair of shoes with Boystyle, certainly not your handy Tea Parties, as they are much too cute. Also avoid any kind of shoe with a pointy heel, as you might end up looking more foppish and less Dandy.
  • Accessories- Boystyle is less accessory driven than Lolita. All you really need to accessorize a Boystyle outfit is a fancy necktie, a brooch, a few gothic rings, and maybe a rose tucked into your hat band. Pick one or two of those and you're all set. And maybe carry a cane if you really want to look stylish.
If you already have a full Lolita wardrobe, especially if you have a lot of Gothic Lolita pieces, all you really need to add to it to have a few Boystyle outfits on hand are a few pairs of proper pants and vests, and to make sure you have a pair of shoes to match. The best part about adding some Boystyle to your wardrobe is that you can find these things offbrand very easily, and cheaply! Most Lolita blouses will work beautifully with Boystyle.

The different styles of Boystyle
There are quite a few different sub-styles of Boystyle, and there is, as always, a lot of overlap, but I'll be going over the basics in this post. While Lolita's different sub-styles are often based on things like color schemes and motifs, Boystyle's sub-styles are usually based on things like pant length and general "age" of the outfit.

Boystyle Aristocrat is very similar to the female version of Aristocrat. It is a very Victorian Gothic style, nearly always done in black, with long jackets, frilly blouses, and minimal decoration. In Aristocrat, blouses are often high-necked, or with a pointed collar, and frequently are decorated with a jabot. Rounded Peter Pan collars are rarely ever seen in Aristocrat. Instead of the full skirts in the female version of the style, Boystyle Aristocrats tend to wear either straight legged formal men's pants, or those very wide legged pants that almost look like skirts. I have no idea what those pants are called. Sometimes the Aristocrat's pants are covered up entirely by a very long, almost priestly, jacket much like the one in this picture.

Dandy is a Boystyle that involves dressing like a little prince. I thiiiink this style is also called Ouijisama, I usually don't use the Japanese names for fashions, so don't quote me on that! Short pants, tights, a pair of clunky shoes (usually not boots), and a vest worn over a frilly blouse (leave the jacket at home) are the Dandy basics. Dandy tends to be a little more frilly or decorated than Aristocrat. Peter Pan collars are okay, big floppy bows usually replace jabots, but sometimes those rounded Lolita ties are seen instead. Pants are often just above the knee, or just below the knee. They are usually either a pair of puffy knickerbockers or a pair with a cuff.

Kodona is the most childish of the Boystyles. It is very similar to Dandy, in that it is much fancier than Aristocrat and uses shorter pants, but, as you can see, it's very child-like. Mismatched socks, suspenders, loud prints and colors are what sets Kodona apart from Dandy. Boots are also seen with this style much more than in Dandy, often the mid-calf boot.

While these three tend to be the main sub-styles of Boystyle, there are a few different looks to Boystyle. While on their own, something like Punk or Gothic isn't necessarily Boystyle, it is a look that Boystyle can take on. These are, of course, Japanese versions of Punk and Gothic, which are quite different from their Western versions.

Boystyle x Punk

Boystyle x Gothic

Things to avoid when putting together a Boystyle outfit
I think the most important thing to avoid while dressing Boystyle is to try not to look like a butler or like you're taking someone to prom. I know it sounds silly, but I've seen this happen several times. Men's formal wear does not Boystyle make. Sometimes the line is a blurry one, especially with the more Aristocratic styles. It's really all in the details, a funky shaped toe to your shoes, a Victorian cut to your jacket, a big floppy tie, raw edges on your shirt, these things will all help you look like you're not just there to take people's coats. If you honestly don't think you can pull off a look that doesn't make people want to call you Jeeves, stick with the more childish or punk sub-styles of Boystyle.

On the other hand, you don't want to look you just came out of a Visual Kei bondage themed music video. Jrock cosplay does not Boystyle make either.

Another thing to watch out for when wearing Boystyle are lengths. Boystyle has a lot of odd lengths (long jackets, short pants, long socks, tall boots) and you can end up looking very unbalanced if you just throw on a random assortment of pieces. There really aren't any strict rules about lengths, and it usually takes some trial and error to find out what looks best on you. But there are a few things I would avoid, such as wearing pants that stop just above the knee with boots or socks that end just below the knee, matching very short pants with knee socks, wearing a jacket that's much longer than your pants, or having the top of your boots stop somewhere under your short pants. Basically, you don't want to leave large patches of skin uncovered, awkward little slivers of skin, or too much overlapping, simply because these things tend to look awkward.

Boystyle Inspiration
If you're looking for some Boystyle inspiration, check out the LJ community Teddyboys, or the blog Prince Des Enfers!


  1. I love boystyle. Thanks for the guide (looks like I've gotten some of the names wrong in the past, too, so this is certainly helpful ^^;;)!

  2. This is soo cute! I juts did a whole post on Lolita and shorts, but I didn't even touch on boystyle.

  3. When I finally feel ready to have a go at boystyle I'm definitely going to read this again! :D

  4. i would love to go out in boy style ^^
    cross dressing seems like fun :3

  5. Thank you for the advice!
    I've just been thinking about boystyle as an everyday alternative (I'm missing the pockets when I'm wearing skirts) and your post came just in time for some inspiration.

  6. Something to note is that, the term 'aristocrat' actually arose out of use of the Western usage of Mana's "EGA" to describe anything that well, looked, EGA-ish. XD

    And 'kodona' was from Plastic Tree's off-handed comment that his style was a mix of 'kodomo' (child) and 'otona' (adult).

    Japanese publications don't really categorize them as anything other than 'oujisama' (prince) and 'punk' or 'gothic'.

    Of course I do understand that you're writing this from a Western loli's point of view. Just pointing out some things! ^^ I love your blog btw! It's the most informative and accurate Lolita blog I've seen so far, with none of that silly 'rules' thing that newish Lolitas tend to hold on everyone. ;)

  7. *Ryuutarou of Plastic Tree lol x_x;

  8. your blogs are the entertaining, witty, fun, and information at the same time. <3 im a fan

  9. I dressed in boystyle before I got into "regular" Lolita, simply because it is much easier accessable/afforable. I wish I'd found an article like yours before I got into it though. I think boystyle is not too complicated but I would've wanted some inspiration. Back then I found hardly anything about boystyle on the web(could be because my googling skills suck).
    I still wear it, on a daily base, even in summer when my lolita wardrobe has to draw back because I can't stand the heat. boystyle is much heat friendlier.

  10. I should have read you're whole blog, before emailing you about this boy style I did not knew about it until a little while ago. I apologize, and thank you for the great information about Boy style. :)

  11. No problem! I'm glad to have helped XD I'll probably still answer your question, as it is something I have been meaning to make a post about anyways.

  12. Love it! The only thing though, is in Japan they just call the whole style "Ouji" or "Shounen-kei/Boystyle", and Aristocrat is a sister style but not part of Ouji.

    Kodona is actually sometimes seen as an insult outside of the western lolita world, as the term came from Ryuutarou of Plastic Tree describing his own personal style(someone above mentioned this too I think). Since it means "child-adult/kodomo-otona" sometimes it's looked at as rude as the term is never used in Japan to explain that look.

    And I believe Dandy isn't actually a term used for lolita in Japan at all.

    But you probably know all that, as we've both been into lolita for the same amount of time. : )
    You're just blogging about the western perspective, right?

    Keep up the good work, I love your blog as always <3

  13. Can anybody tell me where I could get those pants with attached skirt mentioned above. Can't find them anywhere.

  14. Nice website this is! It looks like they have almost a fashion website with how the stones are presented. capri for mens


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