A quick note about this post: This is not meant to be a "Rules of Lolita" post, as some people seem to think. This is, what I thought was quite obviously, tips for when you don't feel comfortable dressing in pink and pastel and the general over-the-top Sweet Lolita that is so common at the moment. In short, this is how to dress more mature than the common Sweet Lolita. Not how to do it right, period. If you do wear OTT Sweet and love it, good for you, this article was not aimed at judging you for it, so ladies, please, don't get your bloomers in a bunch over it.
Some girls will gasp at the idea of a Lolita who's role model isn't a Disney princess or a pink confectionery. To some girls, it's all about acting young. If that's your thing, go for it, but some of us want something a bit more sophisticated. Were not all skipping down toy isles, whistling our favorite Disney song while looking for the perfect shade of pink Barbie tiara that will match our newest teddy bear covered dress. Some of us look places other than the toy isle for our Lolita inspiration. If you want to make your outfits look a bit more mature, here are a few dos and don'ts. It might seem like there are a lot of them, but you really only need to remember a couple of them for a coordinate to start looking a bit more mature.
Wear tights or over-the-knee socks. I know I say this all the time, but I live by this tip, especially since I haven't been 15 in quite some time, but wear over-the-knee socks or even tights. Socks that fall below the knee tend to look very juvenile. Which is fine and dandy if you're one of those rare girls who happens to be in her twenties but looks 14, but for everyone else, it's probably going to make you look goofy. So keep those socks above your knees!
Wear muted colors. If you love the look of pastels, but don't want to look like you fell into a pile of baby clothes and just wore whatever stuck, go for muted pastel colors. Soft dusty rose, gentle slate blues, or even mauve. Darker muted colors such as burgundy or a dark navy are also a good way to add color to a more mature Lolita outfit without feeling like a nursery print wallpaper.
Stick to classical prints, or none at all. Obviously you don't want kittens and teddy bears dancing in their pajamas and eating cakes on the hem of your skirt. I would even avoid things like plaids (unless it's very dark and simple plaids), gingham, and stuff like cherries or strawberries. Instead choose pretty classic florals or even just solid colors.
Wear cream, ivory, or off-white instead of white. White blouses, socks, and shoes are pretty much the stand by matching pieces to a Lolita coordinate, but try something a little less stark, like a cream, ivory, or off-white instead. Paired with a skirt or JSK in a muted color, it will give the outfit a much softer look, and hopefully be less reminiscent of a school girl. Going through the Bibles I couldn't find an example of this, mostly because pictures in the mooks are so highly contrasted it's hard to tell! So instead of just blouses, here are two, rather lace monstery, dresses, one in offwhite, and one in white, even though they are similar dresses, the offwhite one looks much more mature.
Avoid large Peter Pan collars. Huge, lace ruffled Peter Pan collars have a much younger feel than high necked collars, square or sweet heart necklines, or even just smaller Peter Pan collars that aren't covered in yards of lace. I, personally, think that a square or sweetheart neckline is the best option. You can even mimic this neckline with a JSK, go blouseless and wear a bolero or cardigan.
Keep the poof minimal. Don't feel like you need to have a super inflated cupcake silhouette, of course, you need poof, but you don't need hyper amounts of it. Wear a less extreme petticoat and make sure that sleeves on dresses and blouses aren't super poofy. Maybe even try a skirt with a box pleat instead of gathers.
Don't over accessorize. Don't be a victim of accessory overload, while that might be normal for Sweet Lolita, with the more mature or Classic styles too many accessories tends to look silly. Keep it simple with a delicate necklace and maybe even a bracelet or a couple rings.
Carry a "grown-up" purse. Bunny bags, bags shaped like candies, or anything with lots of rhinestones and ruffles should be avoided. Pick something very simple, with just an emblem or a single bow for decoration.
Style your hair simply. Don't feel like super hairsprayed pigtails and perfect ringlets are your only hair options. Style it simply but elegantly, a soft curl, two simple braids, or with your bangs swept off to one side. I, personally, find that side swept bangs look best with more mature looks, as bangs, especially very blunt ones, can look very childish.
Don't wear a huge head piece. If you want a more mature look, your first step, after not wearing pastel pink, is to avoid too many giant bows, ruffles, and other frilly stuff. The easiest giant bow to get rid of is the one you might be tempted to put on your head! Instead of a big bow, or even a ruffly headdress, look for a nice headband with a small ribbon bow off to the side. You could even go *gasp* headdressless! I know it's often taboo, but you can look so much more mature if you just have nicely styled hair. Try looking for one of those headbands that look like braids if you neither want to style your hair too much, or wear a headpiece.
Don't wear very short skirts. Keep the hemline demure! Angelic Pretty has been known for pumping out skirts that are barely 16 inches long. So keep your skirts at just above the knee at the shortest. Even go for a calf length skirt if you want something very sophisticated.
If you must have a cutesy print, buy it in black or cream. I know that I fall for cute prints every now and then, I just can't help it! If you must must must have the new Hyper Bunnies Teach Teddy Bears How To Bake Cupcakes print, buy it in black, or if they release it in it, cream or offwhite. You will have a much easier time making a pale dress look less infantile than a pink or pastel blue dress, and black colorways usually look less over the top than pink colorways.
So, there you go, Caro-chan's dos and don'ts for when you're trying to make your wardrobe a little more age appropriate. Of course, there's no real "age-limit" to Sweet Lolita, even for the sweetest Sweet Lolita, but some people simply don't feel comfortable wearing pastels and adorable bunny covered prints, and hopefully these tips will reassure people that they don't need to hang up their bloomers for good on their 18th birthday.