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 $ on Ebay and they can't afford $ 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.
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?