Taking Classic Lolita to the Next Level. Dare I say, OTT Classic?

When people hear "OTT Classic" there are a lot of mixed reactions, from "OMG that sounds awesome!" to "Impossible! There's no such thing". Personally, I feel that anything, with proper styling, can be made into a nicely put together over-the-top outfit, after all, OTT simply means that a style is a little more excessive than it usually is. To call a style of Lolita "Classic" we are simply implying a general aesthetic, one that typically is styled after elegant times gone by, not that there is some sort of cap to how many accessories you can wear. And after all, many fashions of the past are known for being very opulent and over-the-top in pretty much any sense of the term, so why should Classic Lolita simply mean "those plain Lolita dresses that sort of look like grandma's couch?" Just because Classic Lolita is generally thought of as the more "toned down" Lolita style that doesn't mean that there is a limit to how excessive the style can be, in fact, I think that because Classic Lolita is a bit more toned down that means that it doesn't take much to push it into the realm of over-the-top.

OTT Classic as the next big thing?
"OTT Classic" has been talked about on the sidelines of Lolita for a while now, usually when people are predicting the next big trend in Lolita. I can easily see the next big thing in Lolita being an over-the-top take on Classic Lolita! Classic Lolita has almost always been talked about as being the next big thing, and with people still hopped up on the over-the-top trend that came along a few years ago with Sweet Lolita, it only seems natural that the next must-wear style in Lolita will be just as outrageous.

It might seem a bit of blasphemy to those that love the simplicity of Classic Lolita, but OTT Classic is a style that seems to have everything that OTT Sweet had that made it pretty much sit on top of the Lolita world for the past 4 years. So, what makes are some of the things that make OTT Sweet so beloved that can easily be applied to Classic Lolita?

  • Print overload- One of the things that made OTT Sweet Lolita very popular was the abundance of cute prints coming out for Sweet Lolitas, and the same can be said of OTT Classic. Instead of prints featuring toys and cute animals, an OTT classic enthusiast could have her pick of any of the various Classic prints, from Juliette et Justine's opulent Rococo cupids, to more traditional clusters of huge floral bouquets. One upside to Classic that Sweet Lolita's rarely get the luxury of is the fact that floral prints can typically be bought domestically, either easily and relatively online or through local fabric shops, while finding a good Sweet Lolita print in a fabric store is nearly an impossible task and many Lolita seamstresses have to import fabrics from Japan, at a considerable cost. 
  • Accessory overload- While the OTT Sweet Lolita can load up on hair accessories, wrist cuffs, fuzzy brooches, cute rings, and all sorts of other things they can clip to themselves and their clothes, Classic Lolita has it's own version of accessory overload. Faux rose clips, fancy Victorian-esque jewelry, cameos, and pretty much any other jewelry element that is normally used in Classic Lolita can simply be multiplied and worn like it is in OTT Sweet. Take a cue from the Sweets and add some jewelry and accessories in places they weren't originally intended for, clip a cluster of cameos on a bonnet, pin a necklace fancifully on a bodice bow, or wear brooches in your hair.
  • Mixing in other Jfashion styles- I think that one of the things that made OTT Sweet so popular was it's versatility when it came to outfits outside of Lolita. Many Lolita's are sometimes a bit lost when it comes time to wear something other than Lolita, but OTT Sweet lovers had their pick of a variety of non-Lolita Jfashions to pick from that had a similar aesthetic, such as Decora, Hime, and Pop Kei. These styles could either be worn completely separately from Lolita, or even mixed and matched together to create outfits that were trendy and original. The same can be said of Classic Lolita, since both Mori and Dolly Kei are more and more frequently mixed in with the style and both share a similar aesthetic to Classic Lolita all while having much more relaxed rules.
So what makes a Classic Lolita coordinate OTT?
As I have mentioned, Classic Lolita is generally thought to be a much more toned down and refined Lolita style, so, personally, I feel that anything that is a bit fancier or more decorated than is usually seen in Classic Lolita could be called OTT Classic. This includes things like extra poofy skirts, excessive and opulent jewelry, purses shaped like fancy things, bold prints, extra layers (longer skirts worn under shorter skirts, boleros over blouses, jabots and wristcuffs added to blouses, etc), large bonnets, and non-cotton materials such as silks, chiffons, brocades, velvets, and gobelins. These are all things that, while they are undoubtedly a part of the Lolita fashion and aesthetic, are not often combined all at once in one coordinate, thus adding several of them to one outfit is usually enough to make it a bit more over-the-top than is normally seen in Classic Lolita

Much like with OTT Sweet, it is not just a matter of the dress alone making a coordinate, but rather how that dress is put together with other pieces and accessories. It is a combination of not just a prettily patterned dress, but the addition of accessories as well as hair and makeup styling. A dress with a Victorian wallpaper-esque print paired with a plain cream blouse, cream tights, a matching rectangle headdress and brown mary-janes is undoubtedly Classic Lolita, but pair that same dress with a chiffon blouse with billowing sleeves, a couple extra petticoats, a huge flower covered bonnet, lace tights, Victorian boots, a long lace underskirt, oodles of antiqued gold jewelry, and doll-like flawless makeup job and it just seems like the same dress has become something else completely, not necessarily something better, just something more extreme and definitely over-the-top in terms of elegance.

One of the Lolitas who I think is a perfect example of taking Classic Lolita to the next level is Steph from the blog Moar Lace Please. The following outfits are all from her blog, for more, definitely check out her blog!

Styles like this are also featured several times throughout various Gothic & Lolita Bibles, both in street snaps and photoshoots. Please excuse this very sparse sampling of examples from the Bibles! I have recently lost my folder full of every G&LB scan ever in a computer move and am still trying to get it back together!

A brief note about the phrase "OTT Classic"
I would like to add, one final time, that I am really just using the phrase "OTT Classic" to describe a style of Classic Lolita that is a little bit fancier and more decorated than Classic Lolita is usually perceived as being. If you think that these styles should only be called regular old Classic Lolita, that is fine. If you prefer to call them Neo-Rococo Phantasmagoria Opulent Antiquated Lolita, that is just fine too. 

I'm not necessarily saying that every time a Classic Lolita dons a bonnet with a few extra roses clipped to it that she is being "OMG a totally over the top wacky princess just like those OTT Sweet Lolitas!" I do not necessarily believe that every deviation from the standard idea of Lolita needs a very specific sub-style name or that things that deviate from the Lolita norm and do not have a very specific community approved sub-style name are all the sudden new and strange and no loner Lolita, but I do believe that, as a blogger, it's a hell of a lot easier to use buzzwords and brief descriptive phrases to describe things. You probably wouldn't have made it this far into this post if, instead of saying "OTT Classic", I said "This style of Classic Lolita, that, while still considered Classic Lolita, has leaning towards poofier petticoats and more accessories than what most people consider Classic Lolita". 

Lolita sub-style names shouldn't limit what can be worn in said sub-style, they just make it a heck of a lot easier to talk about the things we enjoy.


  1. This is my favorite style now. And the pink floral dress with the capelet is to die for!

  2. "Neo-Rococo Phantasmagoria Opulent Antiquated Lolita"

    That's just fantastic.

  3. Hi, now reading the post, never though about classic could be OTT, but well though, yeah, it's possible. And i think it's AWESOME *insert sparkles in this word*
    Beside, i found something "similar" to you drawing
    http://daily-lolita.livejournal.com/4836197.html i would say the photo with the classic and sweet lolita on the stairs it's what you are talking about, OTT classic with OTT sweet

    Also i wanna say you your blog is gorgeous and i will keep an eye on it º3º

  4. I've always personally defined OTT as "Every last accessory in the drawer, all at once", so I never really thought it was limited to any style, though it IS easiest to imagine Ama-Kote, and definitely hardest to imagine Clissical-Kote. What I would really like to see/wear would be Bittersweet OTT or Gosu-Kote. Maybe even Guro-Kote! Yes, I keep just about every accessory in me drawer, I'm such a kid!

  5. I recently found some really cute pink macaroon print cloth in John Lewis so it's not impossible to find fabrics...

  6. When I think of Ott- classical I think of a princess/nobel women fancy ball dress but shorter that easy to imagine for me but, I can imagine it other ways too

  7. I feel like this has come to pass. What with the release of Baby's "Made-to-order" series, big frilly dresses that are extravagant but have their foot firmly in the classical genre and a number of super fancy OTT outfits with bonnets that seem to be a blend of the classic lolita silhouette with sweet lolita themes.

  8. Your blog comes highly recommended from my local Lolita group so of course I was super excited when I came across this post :) I'm dominantly into classic daytime Lolita style and am trying to find reliable resources for examples of classic (I'm still learning nuances) so I don't wear something that's a near miss. I know there are a lot of online ads for "Lolita" that are actually major faux pas and I don't want to get tricked. Do you have any recommended resources for this? ❤ Tess


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