Gothic Lolita Lifestyle: Or, Being a Goth While Wearing Lolita

Somewhat recently I've noticed that people have used the term "Gothic Lolita Lifestyler" used to describe, of all people, me! This sort of came as a shock, considering that I'm a bitter old hag who mostly scoffs at the idea of living in a ruffle filled Miss Princess Lolita wonderland. I've always actually just considered myself a Goth who happens to wear Lolita, and thus, I tend to have a lot of Gothic hobbies/interests/pop-culture favorites/decor choices and my own Lolita style just so happens to mesh nicely with them.

This is actually a photo of a hotel! The Witchery by the Castle in the UK.

But the more I got to thinking about it, why not? Why not just say "Alright, you got me, I'm a Gothic Lolita Lifestyler!" Classic Lolitas have their own lifestyle, full of Victorian furniture, classical music and quiet evenings spent reading books; and Sweet Lolitas have their own pink plush world filled with cupcakes for breakfast, stuffed animal filled beds covered with sparkly pink canopies and Hello Kitty kitchen appliances (of course, I'm making broad generalizations here!) So why cant I just sweep my Gothic life up into my Lolita life? Why should Classic and Sweet Lolita Lifestylers get to have all the fun while the Gothic Lolita Lifestyle just gets lumped in with Classic with a few Malice Mizer posters and Moi Meme Moitie dinner plates thrown in for good measure? So with this post I'll be going over a few things that I consider part of the Gothic Lolita Lifestyle.

There are, of course, lots of different Gothic styles and I'm not saying you must do it this way, I'm just using a few of my favorites, favorites that I think blend nicely with the Lolita aesthetic, as examples.

Just dressing in gothic frills is never enough! We want them to extend all around us, so even if we're just relaxing on a lazy PJs day, we can still enjoy the romance of them all around us. There are so many ways to incorporate the Gothic Lolita style into your decor, and I can't possibly go over every single one of them, so instead I hope to give you some basic ideas that you can run with.

From Chintz of Darkness, an amazing blog featuring Gothic decor.
  • Incorporate famous Gothic Lolita prints into your decor. Iron gates, candelabras, chandeliers, religious icons, stained glass windows. Even if you can't actually have all of these things in and around your house, you can still decorate with the motifs! Wrought iron style wall hangings are a very popular decor choice, you can usually pick them up anywhere, from home decor chains to country chic websites. Chandeliers have been very trendy for a while now and you can find a lot of chandelier silhouette fabrics, bedspreads, wall decals, and even trendy little chandeliers for a very cheap price that are just meant to hang around and look cute. There are also all sorts of window clings, and even faux stained glass paint that you can use on regular windows to give them a stained glass look.
  • Use picture frames, and lots of them. Fancy picture frames in pop colors have been really trendy for a while, and you can usually pick them up for cheap and paint them to be a much more appropriate color (like black, gold, bronze, or even a dark red!), or go on the hunt at thrift shops for the fancy gilt frames a couple decades ago. Pop out whatever painting of puppies of shy farmgirls might still be in them and replace them with something a bit more gothic! Look around online for strange antique illustrations or centuries old religious art, print them out, and put them in the picture frame. You can go even further by draping necklaces or, if the picture is large enough, long strips of tulle, velvet, brocade, or any other fabric that matches your decor.
  • Create a shrine to your clothes! Hunt down a dressmaker's or display dummy, or even clear off a dress-sized spot on your wall to hang a fancy coat rack and drape the area around it in black canopy or vintage lacy table clothes. Find some fancy little wall hooks and place them strategically around your room, maybe cluttered around your vanity, or just in a neat line and start hanging your necklace and other dangly jewelry on them.
  • Buy some fancy hat boxes or other knickknack boxes and stack them up. They're the perfect place to hide away little accessories, crafts, or just to use as an all around junk holder. You can typically pick them up at home decor shops for between $4 and $10. I like to buy them in a variety of different designs so that I can remember exactly what's in them, which comes in handy because I also like to stack them up about bed-high and use them as night stands!
  • Stock up on doilies, lace table clothes, throw rugs, fancy scarfs, tapestries, table runners, etc. Just about anything that can be thrown on the ground, draped over a table, placed under an object d'art, gathered and draped over a curtain rod, or tossed over a couch is a great addition to a gothic room. Try to use them in creative ways too! If you have an old lace table cloth, consider tossing it over your bookshelf and pinning it back to create a curtained look, large vintage tapestries can be tossed on beds to cover uninteresting bedspreads, pretty sheer scarfs can be draped over a low-watt lamp's shade to give the room a dim and colored tint, the possibilities are really limit-less.
  • Create a curio space. Clear off a nightstand, the top of a bookshelf, a pretty shelf, the top of a dresser, or really anywhere you have the space, and use it to display a curious collection or a collection of curious things. Maybe a stack of old books with some ceramic figurines on top, a little shelf with a row of antique tintypes all lined up, or a spot on your vanity dedicated to pretty teacups filled with glittering jewelry.
  • More is more! You can never have too much when it comes to decor. Too many throw pillows, too many pictures on the wall, too many books stacked up in a corner, too many clashing prints? It's just not possible! If something tends to look "off" I'll most likely just throw some more stuff there until it looks better.

Music, Movies & Books
Music, movies, and books are just as important as decor! Now that you have this impeccably decorated Gothic area, you're going to need a reason to hide away there for days on end, and what better way to enjoy your new Gothic space than with fitting forms of entertainment. For music to fit the Gothic mood, look to moody and atmospheric bands. I'm a fan of Dead Can Dance, Mors Syphilitica, Sopor Aeternus, iLiKETRAiNS, Sieben, and Soundarcade, and I've even been listening to a lot of traditional music from the middle ages when I want to listen to something that's good for putting on repeat for a very long time and just wallowing in music.

For movies, you might be interested in something with rich visuals and a dreamy plot. Something that you can oogle over the clothes and the decor and wish that you lived in their world. I must admit I've always had a soft spot for the first Addams Family movie, even when I was little I used to watch it and wish I could go and live in their big dusty house. Some other movies I love to drool over are Perfume, Interview with the Vampire, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Dracula.

Books preferred by the Gothic Lolita might be similar to the movies that they prefer, in fact, all of the Movies above, except for The Addams Family, were all originally fantastic books! Anything that feature lush fantastical worlds that you can loose yourself in is the perfect book to read while lounging in your Gothic boudoir and listening to fitting music.

Hobbies are often an important part of the Lolita Lifestyle, as Lolitas we tend to gravitate towards creative activities that result in something that we can incorporate into our wardrobe or jewelry box. The Gothic Lolita is no exception! While the Sweet Lolita might enjoy deco-ing her, well, everything, the Gothic Lolita might be one to make black beaded rosaries or embroider a crown onto a black hankie. Pretty much any Lolita craft project can be geared towards the Gothic Lolita, sometimes simply by making it in black. Even deco can be made to be a bit more Gothic.

If filling your time with collecting strange things to decorate your house with, watching dark movies, reading books, and making lots of black dresses and accessories still leaves you with some time on your hands, and you need yet more hobbies, many a Goth has wiled away their time learning about the past. Either by simply reading books on the subject, or going out and visiting places with a strange, or simply long, history. Spend some time at a museum, a local historical site, or browsing antique stores for hidden treasures.

Your Non-Lolita Wardrobe
We can't wear Lolita all the time! Sometimes the occasion calls for us to put our frills away, and sometimes we just have to sleep and it's pretty uncomfortable sleeping in a petticoat. The Sweet or Classic Lolita might have a difficult time finding something to replace the frills when it comes time for us to wear something else, and most just settle for general cute clothes or something with some elegant ruffles. But, as Gothic Lolitas who also happen to be Goths, we've got it pretty lucky. When the time comes to take off the Lolita, surprise! we were just regular old Goths underneath all along. The dress up never has to end! Just adding a few romantic frills to a regular Gothic wardrobe (if yours doesn't have them already) is enough to extend the Gothic Lolita look into every corner of your wardrobe. For formal/work occasions, thank your lucky stars Corporate Goth was invented, consider lazy PJ days to be flowy black nightgown and sheer black housecoat days, and even more casual, Lolita-y, outfits can be made with a few simple skirts and non-Lolita dresses. Here's a couple of them!

It's way too hot to wear Lolita, but I still want to wear something girly and cute.
A simple black sundress paired up with some accessories that every Lolita is bound to have is a nice way to wear something that's still cute and girly but without all the bells and whistles of Lolita. In the summer, when I'm feeling too hot and too lazy, I'll usually wear something like this. It's easy, cool, but still cute. I've actually gotten a fair share of compliments from completely normal looking people while wearing simple BtSSB sidebows with black sundresses, which always makes me smile and think "Haha, suckers!"

I have to go somewhere nice where people expect me to look "normal"
Even if we wear Lolita 24/7, there are usually a few occasions where we're forced to wear something "normal"; weddings, funerals, work related events, going out with cranky family members who would rather die than be seen with the likes of you, etc. All it really takes to tone down the look is a simple business-wear skirt and some sheer tights (or opaque ones in the winter). A relatively simple Lolita blouse, paired with a cardigan, the skirt, a cute pair of heels, topped off with some simple and elegant jewelry and a BPN purse make for a relatively normal, yet still Gothic, outfit.

Again, this post isn't meant to be the be-all and end-all of Gothic Lolita Lifestyle, or just plain old Gothic Lifestyle, but it is just meant to represent a different aspect of the Lolita Life, the Gothic one. The many blogs and websites that talk about Lifestyle Lolitas tend to focus on the Sweet Lolita side of things, leaving Gothic Lolitas who, at the very least, are looking to extend their style into their decor, a bit lost sometimes.

So what do you all think of the idea of a Lolita Lifestyle? Love the idea or loathe it? Do you feel that the Lolita Lifestyle is one particular kind of lifestyle, perhaps the more traditional tea drinking, classic music listening, embroidery loving lifestyle that anyone, regardless of personal style, can and should follow? Or do you feel that the Lolita Lifestyle is something that should be suited to the individual and their own tastes. Or, perhaps, do you feel that Lolita Lifestyles are full of beans and clothes should stay clothes.

As I've noted at the top of this overly long post, I tend to shy away from the "Lifestyle" label, because I mostly just consider all of these things part of the Gothic subculture, which I enjoy along with Lolita. But recently I've just decided "why not?" why feel like I need to separate the two when there really is so much overlap for me.


  1. These images you've chosen for the room decor are absolutely gorgeous!

    Obviously the post was beautiful as well, but I was just spell bound by those rooms. Lovely aesthetic!

  2. I really like this how to serie for daily lolita life. It is inspirative and helpfull, which I guess is what was your basic idea. :D Also, love you for corporate goth link! I am sort of closet goth now because I cannot really wear "strange" fashion in my campus (I am in university of law). I tend to more casual look, but recently my roommate really upset me by pointing out that I almost wear boy style... I HAVE to do something with me and you have just filled me with bouquet of ideas!

  3. I think Lifestyle Lolita is great, as long as it's not forced. If you're not the type to be super cute and elegant and such in everyday life then you won't have have. But if you're obsessed with that stuff anyways, then great! You'll have fun.

    I guess I could be called a Gothic Lolita Lifestyler, but I just consider myself plain old goth.... I was a goth first, and I'm a goth when I'm not wearing lolita, so I'm a goth first and foremost.

  4. I was goth long before I started wearing lolita, so I was already into the lifestyle ^-^ But I think in general, lifestyle should just be "suited to the individual", for any fashion. My general lifestyle is gothic, but I don't limit myself to that, I really just do what I want XD For example, I love My Little Ponies, glitter, and deco-ing things too. I guess I'm goth with a teensy sweet side. ^-^

  5. This was an absolutely fantastic post. As a Goth with a nice purple/black themed bedroom I just considered it as part of the Gothic Lifestyle, but now because of your post, I'm thinking up ways to make it more "Gothic Lolita" - so that means adding more ruffles and lace!

  6. Okay, sorry to freak out, but you are seriously my favorite person ever right now!!! I am so happy I found this article.

    I've been wearing lolita for about two years now, but I've never really been able to tackle which substyle I wanted to (mainly) wear. Lately, though, not only have I decided that Gothic is definitely the style for me, but I've also been getting more into general western Goth fashion and subculture. Needless to say, this article made me feel so excited and confident about easing into a goth AND gothic lolita lifestyle. Thank you! :)

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  8. loove your collection so much and love your blog as well<333 thank you for this ans keep going:) you're amazing:))<33
    semi formal dress

  9. I am married. I just discovered this lifestyle, read about it on a friend of a friend's Facebook profile and WOW. My wife was a goth when we first started dating before we got married. Jobs, travel, and major life events later, forced her to get out of it for a time. Now she is slowly getting back into it. I noticed her wearing black more and paler makeup and she is sooooo much happier. This seems like something that would interest her. So my question is there an age limit on the gothic lolita lifestyle?

  10. wauw het ziet er heel goed uit. Heb je de volgende link bezocht ..? zo niet, open dan de link en geniet van 25% korting en gratis en snelle verzending.


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