Ask Miss Caro-chan: Friends Don't Let Friends Wear Lace Monsters

I took a little unannounced week hiatus due to spotty internet connections, but it should be all better now. I didn't get to post my Halloween costume as soon as I wanted to, I was hoping to do it the day after Halloween with everyone else. Because of my lack of internet I sort of didn't even bother uploading my Halloween pictures or anything like that, so I've still got to do that! If you've been following me on Twitter you might already know what I was for Halloween. For those of you that don't know, I, like many Lolitas, took the easy route and just based a costume around a Lolita dress. Except I wasn't Alice or a doll or a vampire or something like that. I was a Lolita Moogle, but more on that when I actually get some pictures up!

Today's Ask Miss Caro-chan is a tricky question that was anonymously asked on my Formspring. Actually, a few people have asked similar questions to this, so I guess it's about time to make a post about this!

What does one do when your friend gets into Lolita.... And they keep wanting to stick to Ita? As in, colors in the coords don't even match at all type Ita. Is there a polite way of telling them they are wearing Lace Monsters and bad cosplay pieces?


This is a tough question that many people who have gotten their friends into Lolita have to deal with. While we have been happily comfortable in our little Lolita world it's sometimes difficult when a friend decides to join you and you have to watch them struggle with the newbie Ita stage that nearly everyone has struggled with. The most important thing to remember in this case is that she is your friend, not a fashion accessory, a fashionable member of an entourage, an extended part of your wardrobe, etc. If she honestly likes the clothes she is picking out, regardless of how Lolita they are, you're really just going to have to accept that. But, on the other hand, if she is trying to get into wearing actual Lolita clothes but just keeps making unfortunate decisions, there is no harm in leading her in the right direction.

Please
keep in mind, this post is directed at people with friends who are newbies and who genuinely want to wear Lolita, not at helping people passive aggressively trash their friends personal fashion choices. So if I get a ton of "A real friend would let their friend wear whatever they want!" comments, well, obviously, but that's not the situation people have been asking about.

Sometimes it's hard to come right out and say "Honey, that does not look good" but, I don't know about you, if I looked completely silly and was oblivious to it I would rather a good friend let me know rather than just walk around like that. The trick is to doing so gently. There are a few relatively easy things you can do to help lead your friend in the right direction.
  • If she asks, tell her the truth. If your friend comes to you with a Leg Avenue Halloween costume or a satin and raschel lace maid outfit from a lingerie shop asking you what they think of their new Lolita outfit, don't lie about it. Saying "Ooooh, it's niiice" isn't going to help anyone. Let them know gently "It's a neat costume, but it's really not Lolita," is a good start. Lying just to make it easier on yourself isn't something that a good friendship is based on, so why start doing it with something silly like clothes? If your friend is honestly asking your opinion, let her know.
  • Talk about the fashion, a lot. You probably already do this, but it doesn't hurt to do it some more! Send her links to your favorite Lolita dresses, pictures of coordinates you admire, casually mention dresses you think she would look cute in and are in her price range. Hopefully she'll start to absorb the fashion's aesthetics a little faster this way.
  • Suggest some alternatives. If she sends you a link to a neon pink lace monster of a dress suggesting that she is going to buy it, offer an alternative dress she would like that is similar, although of a better quality. Try to keep it in the same price range though, many people who fall for questionable lace monsters buy them because they're $50 on Ebay and they can't afford $200 brand dresses. So, instead of sending a link to a sold out or rare Angelic Pretty print, look around Bodyline or even the egl_comm_sales for something in the same price range that is the same color or has a similar detail she really likes.
  • Lend her some clothes. If you are about the same size and you have a fairly flexible Lolita wardrobe let her try on some clothes for a special event, meet up, or even just for a day of dressing up. Sometimes all it takes is the chance to try on real Lolita clothes for some people to realize the difference between questionable Ebay costumes and what Lolita is really about. Try to avoid dressing her up completely though, let her take your pick from your wardrobe and choose her own piece.
  • Buy her a piece or two. When her birthday or Christmas comes up, and if you have the spare cash, consider buying her a relatively inexpensive piece. Keep her own person style in mind though, no matter how much you dislike it. If your friend leans more toward the Punk or Gothic Lolita side of the fashion, don't try to urge her into Sweet Lolita by buying her a pastel pink skirt, as she may never wear it.
  • Be patient. For nearly everyone the Ita stage was just a phase, if your friend doesn't seem to be getting your hints, just be patient. She'll most likely get over it soon enough and learn to dress herself in Lolita just fine.
I've been lucky enough to know Lolitas that have either always been "proper" Lolitas or who have left their Ita stage long before I met them, so while I have never had to personally experience friends of mine going through the Ita stage, these are all things I would have loved when I was just starting out myself! Sadly, I was pretty much the only one of my friends at the time who knew what Lolita was, so any of my unfortunate fashion choices were either encouraged or just chalked up to "It must be that Gothic Lolita thing she's always talking about."

But what about the rest of you? Do you wish you had something of a Lolita mentor when you were starting out or do you think you would have flipped if someone had suggested to you that Halloween geisha costumes do not Lolita make? Are you currently trying to help a newbie Lolita build a wardrobe? If so, do you have any tips on lending a helping hand to beginner Lolitas?

18 comments:

  1. I for one, wish that I had at least learned about the fashion earlier; it's like I missed out on so many years of it. Fortunately, most of my ita days were spent studying the fashion rather than actually trying it out, and I feel that I learned rather quickly once I did make my mistakes.

    I think it's exciting to meet a lolita who's new to the fashion. If one wanted me to help one learn about the fashion, it would be very flattering to know that a part of one's aesthetic refinement would be allowed to go into my hands.

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  2. The only person that I have helped along is my sister and she was instantly drawn to Classic, which seems harder to get wrong.

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  3. I'm not a Lolita as of yet (working on it!) and I'm -terrified- that I'll do something stupid and be a total ita when I first start out. Unfortunately, I'm probably the only one in my area that even knows what Lolita IS, so no dice there. Kind of wish I had some sort of "Lolita Mentor" to help me along, but at the moment, I'll be religiously following this and other various blogs as my guides, so I'd like to thank you in advance for my fashion stalking, haha.

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  4. Thank you for answering my question. ^-^

    She's a good friend; I really want to help her out, but I don't want to hurt her feelings! I know I would rather have her tell me if I was being Ita if we traded places.

    I offered to add her to a Bodyline order I was doing, and pointed her to some of the better pieces, some of which I was ordering. The raschel and satin monsters were forgotten when she saw how *nice* Lolita can be when done right.

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  5. I know of a LiveJournal community for lolita mentoring: http://community.livejournal.com/loli_mentors/ . However, there hasn't been an update on it since January. :( I wonder if it kicked the bucket. ;_;

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  6. I'm pretty new to wearing Lolita. Wearing. However, before I bought my first dress(which was by InnocentWorld btw and absolutely not Ita) half a year ago, I'd been interested in Lolita for years. My lack of money practically prevented me from buying Ita dresses. I think I really learned to understand the Lolita aesthetics through the years and I'm very, very happy about that.
    This blog entry gained my interest immediately because now I could call myself something similiar to a Lolita mentor(which is kinda strange for me because obviously I can still consider myself as a newbie.). A younger girl from my school whom I'd known before started wanting to wear Lolita fashion. She's absolutely into Angelic Pretty which fits her quite well. I'm pretty happy about that, she's motivated and has a feeling for the fashion. What I was and still am worried about though is that she looked for Angelic Pretty at ebay. She found pretty cheap knock-offs and ordered a wondercookie JSK. I can absolutely understand that a beginner wants to save on money. Yet I'm worried about how the dress will look when she finally has it. I'd already told her to be careful with ebay-replicas because I've heard more than enough horror stories. I just couldn't insist on it too much because I think I don't know her good enough to do that. After all it's her decision, her experience. Fortuntely or unfortunately I'd ordered a real wondercookie JSK only a week before her. Comparing quality will be easy. I think even if she might be disappointed the experience will probably be worth the 50€ she spent on the dress. If the quality is bad she'll realize, if it's not so bad I'm happy for her. Bad experiences can sometimes be better than good experiences.
    Well, now I'm not sure anymore what I wanted to say in the first place but thanks for this post.
    I would've wished for a Lolita mentor when I got interested into the fashion. Maybe it's good that I didn't have one though because through the years my personal taste changed from gothic to classic(apart from the wonder cookie JSK I meantioned earlier, that's a dramatic exception) and if I would've bought, let's say, a whole moitie wardrobe two years ago I just couldn't wear it today anymore because it just wouldn't fit me. I like it on others but it's not for me anymore. I practically avoided a huge closet cleaning.

    Sorry for talking so much nonsense(and my bad English, it's not my first language and it's already pretty late while I'm writing this, haha). It just came into my mind while reading your post.

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  7. Your welcome ^^ I'm glad it all ended up working out!

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  8. Don't be so scared to try it! Haha, especially if you're the only one in the area that knows what Lolita is, there really wont be anyone to judge you about whether or not you're wearing "real" Lolita.

    If you're brave and you want feedback on outfits you can always post on either daily_lolita or EGL asking for ways to make your outfit better or what people think of something you plan on buying.

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  9. That's really weird! It seems to just stop alltogether in Jan, all the posts before that are fairly frequent and have lots of comments too!

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  10. I always liked Lolita style, but I bought my first dress only last month, because I didn't know where to find one. I'd like to have a mentor but not only for clothes, it's nice to have somebody who can help you and guide you where you are not good in something.

    About your question....Why do you have to lie to a friend? If a friend comes to show me her new "lolita dress" but it's actually a "costume", I won't have any problem to say "look, it's nice, but it's a cosplay costume, not a lolita dress".

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  11. Oh, I didn't notice that. D: That bums me out even more! Not that I've scouted around for much information, but I haven't heard anything about what's going on with it, either -- have you? :(

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  12. I wore my first lolita coodinate to fanime in 2004. never the less i didn't hear the word ita until a year ago. I was never inolved in the online community and that may be a good thing.

    My advice to an 'ita' friend would be look at brand websites, look at other fashions that inspire you, and don't get involved in the rest of the online stuff. (except a wonderful blog like this one of course!)

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  13. Another great post. I remember one time I commented on a girl (not a friend) that she got a new lolita dress from the infamous Milanoo (MM replica). The dress was okay but her coord wasn't. She wore cat ears with a classic lolita dress. I tried to give her a nice concrit on how she can coord better without using cat ears and gave her better websites other than Milanoo to buy affordable dresses. I also gave her this blog for tips (since she's somewhat a newbie). Then she snapped at me on how "she knows everything about lolita and doesn't need anymore research" and went on saying on how "I don't need to be a bitch to her" while I wasn't being bitchy to her in the first place. I was helping her. Even a really experienced lolita learns new stuff too. *sigh* Oh well, I tried. It doesn't stop me for being honest with "ita" coords.

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  14. Oh, the unfortunate thing that is the Leg Avenue "lolita". My roommate has a dress I helped her make from an old Leg Avenue costume; it's heavily modified and only a portion of the original dress remains- more than 25% but less than 50%. You'd never know from first glance that it was originally a costume. The terrible satin parts have been replaced, as was the built in petticoat and the lace was removed and replaced with some cotton cluny, and I turned the skirt into a tiered one with some matching fabric to add length. It's certainly a casual piece, and still more silly than anything. She wears it out clubbing rather than risk ruining an expensive brand piece in such crowded, potentially dangerous conditions. But it's mostly for fun and to reuse an old costume that was going to be thrown away otherwise. I always love a sewing challenge!

    Long story short, a friend saw, asked where the adorable lolita dress came from, and when we revealed it was a modified Leg Avenue costume, she heard "buy a Leg Avenue costume and call it lolita". I agree with you that your friends should wear what they like, and you shouldn't force them to match you. My roomie and I don't agree on many aspects of fashion, for instance. But this girl is legitimately interested in lolita and we couldn't seem to get her to understand the difference between a heavily modified item and a costume, nor between a costume and brand. Like Selina's girl below, she's deaf to advice; she'll just have to make her own errors, I suppose.

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  15. I'm very new to buying lolita! I know a little about brands, but not much. So, I suppose my question is, is Bodyline a good place to buy from if you don't have $200 dollars to hand?! I don't want to get it wrong!!

    Ari-chan

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  16. Oh geez...my Ita phase. The only "friend" I had who was into Lolita was disgusted by my decision to explore into the lolita world she had so long kept to herself. Regardless of her hate for this I couldn't help but delve into that world. I started by altering an old promdress of my sisters, the sleeves were freakishly huge. I put a floppy slack satin ribbon on my head that looked terrible. She never gave me any direction, only talked to our other friends about me being a lace monster. I wish I had an encouraging friend to help lead me in the right direction, send me website, show me their magazines...like I'm now doing for a friend of mine who's new to lolita. I don't know why that girl never wanted to share lolita with people because I want to spread it like a gospel! I'm so glad I'm out of my Ita phase.

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  17. would you be willing to help me? 

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