Ask Miss Caro-chan: Wearing Lolita At Formal Functions

Today's Ask Miss Caro-chan comes from Lady Weaver. She asks:
It seems as if, upon high school graduation, many of my friends and family members have been getting engaged. I don't want to detract from the bride's day, but I still want to wear my poof. What does the discerning Lolita wear?
What to wear when we go somewhere where we are expected to dress up is a dilemma many Lolitas have to eventually face. Obviously, we spend most of our time, or at least whenever we are wearing Lolita, more dressed up than any one we know. But when it comes to a formal function in which full-blown Lolita is simply not appropriate, we have to master that tricky art of dressing down to get dressed up. If you want to wear the Lolita finery you already have, or you simply can't comprehend buying something that's not Lolita, there are a few simple things you can keep in mind for when you have to go to something where you are required to blend in a bit more than you normally do.
  • Consider a more toned down style, like Classic Lolita. Classic Lolita is a, well... classic way to blend in a bit more with the normal folk. Many of their dresses are less over-the-top than other styles of Lolita, and can often pass as "Sunday best". You might even consider going for a basic black Gothic Lolita style. Try a simple black Lolita dress with a square collar and short sleeves.
  • Keep it "grown-up". Leave the Bunny Bear bags, unicorn prints, and giant head eating bows at home. They will usually draw too much attention from the average person, and not good attention either, but usually "Why did she bring a teddy bear and is wearing a little girl's dress to a wedding?" attention.
  • Try a cardigan. Try a cardigan over a blouseless JSK, or even over whatever it is you plan on wearing. A plain, but nicely fitted cardigan is just a really nice way to look dressed up for normal people, but to look a bit more casual for a Lolita.
  • Loose some of the poof. Try not to be poofier than the bride XD Wear one, slightly deflated, tulle petticoat to just add a little bit of lift to your skirt. Try aim for a more A-lined silhouette, not a cupcakey one.
  • Avoid knee socks. Choose a plain pair of tights instead. If it's in the summer, even consider going bare-legged.
  • Go headdressless. Instead of a bow or a ruffly headdress, try a headband with a simple bow on it, or even just a hair clip.
  • Keep accessories "classy". This is mainly for Sweet Lolitas who border on Deco. Leave your plastic cupcake rings and glittery bangles at home. You know it, I know it, and every Lolita out there knows that plastic Angelic Pretty jewelery can cost an arm and a leg, but to the average person they are going to just to assume you showed up at someones wedding covered in play jewelry from the toy store.

Here are three coordinates (click for the polyvore page), made with the above tips in mind, that I think would be very suited for wearing to something like a wedding. All three are based around a Lolita brand piece, and do indeed look very Lolita, they are just a bit more toned down than usual.

In the end, it really all depends on what reason you have to tone down your Lolita. If it is something like a traditional wedding, it's incredibly inappropriate to show up in a dress more decorated and poofier than the bride's. Or maybe you will just be around many people, extended family and co-workers for example, that you are just not comfortable dressing Lolita around. If the wedding is unconventional, and the bride and groom are all very familiar with your personal fashion style, don't feel shy about asking them if you can wear your frilly finery to their wedding. They might not mind at all. But if they do, try not to take it so personally, after all, it is their big day, not yours.


  1. Those are beautiful coordinates! I wish I had them, especially the pink one <3

  2. My only suggestion is to avoid the black. Dress a Day addressed this one.

  3. Hi! First I must say that I really, really like your blog, and style to write, and usually I agree with your opinions. And again, these tips for dressin down to dress up are very good mostly.

    Only one thing bothers me. You suggest wearing gothic lolita to someone's wedding. I don't know about other countries, but at least here in Finland it is not okay to wear black to someone's wedding. If a person wears black, it means that she wishes some harm to happen for the bride.

    Okay, now I have said it. :D And in the end, I'll tell once more how much I enjoy reading your blog, and this is nothing personal. I hope I didn't offend you in any way by saying this. ^-^


  4. XD I am not offended. Obviously, if it is culturally inappropriate then don't wear it. This question also kind of includes other formal functions, in which black would be OK, so I wanted to include it. Plus I had no idea that black was apparently not OK at weddings, every wedding I've ever been to, I've worn black, and so have many people there, but they were all more laid back weddings.

  5. Ah, I never heard of that rule! And judging by the comments, most everyone else hasn't either XD I've been to several weddings in which black was perfectly acceptable. This post kind of also includes other formal functions, so I think it's still a good example of wearing Lolita to something formal. Again, it would all really depend on the particular wedding. It's hard to say "never wear black to a wedding" like that post did, when most brides honestly don't care.

  6. Well, maybe it's only a Finnish thing then. :D

    And e.g. for funeral gothic lolita would be very okay, I think. :D

  7. :) The coordinates are lovely! (Yay for IW) I remember at a wedding this past Dec, my twin walked out of her room in a poof skirt and she was immediately told to pick out another outfit. I do know that the bride broke the black, red, spaghetti strap rules... in the middle of winter no less
    Thanks for the post! :D

  8. I loved *O*
    In this year, I will be have an school graduation too, and I will dress Lolita in the party too XD

  9. Hello everyone~! >_<
    So next month, I have a formal event to attend to... A wedding reception actually.
    May I ask if it's ok if I wear a jumper skirt and put on a blouse, plus a petti with less "poof"? And... I have Mary Janes... Will that work?
    Sorry, I'm kinda new to this >_<

  10. It's not just a Finnish thing. In most parts of the world black is linked to funerals and death (that's why it's "gothic"), and it's really inappropriate to wear it to a wedding. Maybe some people wouldn't mind it, but I wouldn't risk to be offensive, only for my style perferences. In your place, I would consider to ask first, or to simply wear other dark, muted colours, with maybe a floral print, or something like that. You wouldn't wear a baby pink dress to a funeral either...


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