The Lolita community tends to be centered around the internet for many people due to how spread out fellow Lolitas tend to be, and the lack of real-life Lolita stores for many people. This is both a blessing and a curse! It's an amazing way to pool resources and to meet some fantastic people you may have never come across in your regular day-to-day life, but it is also a pretty easy way for rumors to travel and for anonymous opinions to be touted as truth. This is not even taking into consideration the unfortunate fact that some people are just a lot more rude on the other side of a computer screen than they might be in real life. I feel like an unfortunate combination of all three of these tends to lead to a number of half-truths and rumors that are considered actual fact by many.
The actual fact is the Lolita community is big, being composed of thousands and thousands of people worldwide, so it's a little silly to be making any sort of sweeping statements about those who wear the fashion, and many of the misconceptions about the fashion itself tend to boil down to people simply not bothering to take the extra step to educate themselves.
I'm loathe to admit this, but some of these things can be true about individuals, just like all sorts of awful things can be true about individuals, but you really shouldn't be making broad sweeping statements about a pretty large group of people, based on the actions of a few.
1) Lolitas who wear Bodyline or other cheaper brands are looked down upon. If you don't wear brand, people don't think you're a real Lolita.This is the battle cry of the Lolita who has probably never actually met another Lolita, who's trying to psych herself up for the imagined verbal beat down she expects to get for shopping on a budget. This is also one of the biggest lies circulating around in Lolita. If you assume this, you obviously haven't been reading my blog!
The truth is that almost all Lolitas will own "budget" and offbrand pieces. They might not personally like to buy from your favorite cheaper brand, for whatever reason, but that doesn't mean they probably haven't jumped on the chance to score some cheap Lolita or looked for pieces to wear with their Lolita coordinates outside of brand catalogs.
The bottom line is that, so long as you are not actively being a jerk to everyone, most Lolitas don't actually cares how much or how little you spent on your outfit or what the name on the label says.
2) Lolitas with tattoos, facial piercings, unnaturally colored hair, identify as anything other than straight, are not female, have darker skin, are not a size 0, etc. are also looked down upon.The first misconception dealt with what people choose to put on their body, this one tends to deal with the actual person and the complaint encompasses too huge of a list to even have here! Pretty much any deviation from a literal porcelain doll have been claimed as something other Lolitas will look down on you for being.
When it comes to "alternative" choices, such as tattoos, facial piercings, unnatural hair colors, etc. you're actually going to find that this is all pretty passé within the Lolita community. Lolita's might be known for looking like Pretty Pretty Princesses™ but the fact is that, despite the penchant towards pink, Lolita is an alternative fashion that is generally considered even weirder than your garden-variety punk or goth by your average person. Many people who are interested, and have the guts to wear, Lolita tend to sway towards the alternative anyways. I can't even tell you how many Lolitas I know are tattooed, pierced, and have decided to don a wig simply because they felt like their hair color du jour didn't quite match their outfit. You're not going to be able to please everyone with your own fashion choices, but most Lolitas aren't even going to bat an eye if you are pierced, tattooed, and dyed an unnatural color.
For things that you can't exactly choose, such as sexuality, gender, skin color, ethnicity, religion, size, etc. you're going to honestly find much of the same attitude towards alternative fashion choices. Many people have found that alternative styles or subcultures are often much more accepting of these things than mainstream society, and Lolita isn't any different. I've gotten a ton of questions on my formspring, and the question is frequently repeated in Lolita communities all over, asking "I'm _____, can I be a Lolita?" and the answer is always "Yes! Anyone can be a Lolita!". When it comes right down to it, Lolita is simply clothes (adding a lifestyle is completely optional), and the amazing thing about clothes is that everyone actually wears them!
The same as the first misconception, you're going to find that most Lolitas are more concerned with how you act than what you look like.
3) Lolitas who make their own clothes are looked down upon too!I was going to include this in with the misconception about cheaper brands, but I decided it deserved it's own little section because I've seen it mentioned separately so many times. I've even seen many people go so far as to say that Lolitas who make their clothes are better and more "true" Lolitas than people who don't, in the same breath as complaining that Lolitas will look down on them for doing so. Do you see the conflict here? You really shouldn't be reveling in your superiority while simultaneously condemning people you feel are doing just that.
I feel that this is another preemptive battle cry of those who are simply afraid of what other people think, but the truth is, so long as you know your way around a sewing machine and have a pretty good grasp on the Lolita fashion, if you sew your own clothes Lolitas will tend to be very impressed.
4) Lolitas are so rude!This is related to misconception #4 in the original post, as well as the exclamation point at the end of the first 3 misconceptions. While outsiders tend to assume that Lolitas are supposed to be polite all the time, many people who consider themselves Lolitas come into Lolita communities or events with the assumption that other Lolitas will find a reason to look down upon them.
This assumption is probably my biggest pet peeve within the Lolita communities. Lolita communities (both online and off) are really not that much different from any other community, sometimes there are people who are rude, but more often than not, most people are going to be perfectly civil to you because that's just how most people roll. If you're finding yourself constantly getting into arguments with other Lolitas wherever you go and find that you're making more enemies than friends, honestly, you're going to probably find that the problem lies with you, not with what other people are wearing.
If you go into any situation thinking "Oh gosh, these people are a bunch of jerks!" you're probably not going to like what you find, whether it's the result of this negativity being way more obvious to other people than you think it is, or this sort of attitude simply skewing other people's actions and responses in a negative light in your eyes.
5) Brands only release clothes in one size, and that size is very small.When I was still getting into Lolita back in the early 2000's I was under the impression that all Lolita brand pieces were made to fit someone with a 33/25" figure, which is still something most people believe, almost a decade later!
While it's true that most brand releases don't come with a size option, the individual pieces are actually designed to fit a wide range of sizes. Many releases will have at least one piece that features shirring which is meant to make the piece stretch to fit a multitude of different sizes. Taking even just a quick peak at this size list will show that almost all brands release pieces that will fit plus size figures. It's not a size range that can fit everyone, but it really is a lot more varied than most people will give brands credit for. If you happen to fall outside of this range just remember misconceptions 1 and 3, handmade and smaller Lolita brands are usually willing to make custom sizes, and no one is going to care that you're not wearing brand.
6) It's incredibly expensive to wear Lolita."Expensive" means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but I've heard a lot of pretty far-out price ranges that people assume all Lolita costs. The typical quote I see is that dresses cost $400 and a full outfit will probably set you back around $1,000. Yeah, sure this can be true, but it is only because Lolita encompasses a pretty wide range of prices! You can honestly easily pick up dresses for as little as $50, if not cheaper. Sure, this is a bit more expensive than a pair of jeans and a t-shirt you found on a clearance rack, but it's tiny fraction of the price people assume Lolita costs.
Even if you are just talking about brand prices, there are tons of ways you can buy brand for relatively cheap. Check out this post for some more comprehensive information about that!
If you're handy with a sewing machine, or willing to learn, you can cut costs further if you find some good deals on fabric and notions and add in some offbrand pieces. Because, once more, so long as you have a grasp on the fashion and aren't a complete jerk to people, no one is going to actually care about your labels. Check this coordinate out for a perfect example of a drop dead gorgeous Lolita outfit that is composed up entirely of Bodyline and offbrand.
7) Brands are big faceless corporations that have no idea what their customers want.I see this thrown around a lot as a reason why people should get away with a lot of stuff concerning the great replica debate, but the truth is, even the biggest of the Lolita brands are relatively small companies catering to a relatively small niche. While many might argue that the the high price on Lolita pieces makes up for the smaller quantities sold, that is simply untrue, and in reality, often times, the smaller a company is the more likely they will have to have higher prices to cover costs.
Besides these facts, most brands are actually much more active with the Lolita community than many people give them credit for! I feel that many people outside of Japan aren't really aware of this simply because they probably live several thousand miles away from any brand's shop! Many brands frequently host fashion shows, tea parties, and other special events for their customers, something that you're pretty much never going to see your average clothing shop do.
Many people also quote the limited releases and size ranges as "proof" that brands don't listen to their customers because a brand might not be currently re-leasing something that suits their wants, but, once again, Lolita brands are relatively small companies, and it's simply not within their ability to re-release every piece on-demand and offer it completely custom sizes. However, brands have clearly shown that they are aware of these wants by the more-and-more frequent re-releases of popular prints and the expanded sizes that have been popping up in recent years.
8) Lolita brands have strayed too far from their roots! They only release prints now/cater to the OTT crowd/follow some silly trend.I've actually seen this said pretty much whenever the topic of Old School Lolita comes up. "I wish brands made these older dresses!" people will exclaim "They're all too focused on seeing who can make the most ridiculous border print now!" they will often elaborate with. But the truth is that this older design that people keep insisting brands are neglecting are actually still being released! It's a pretty impressive feat for a clothing company to continue to re-release the same pieces, practically unchanged, for well over a decade while simultaneously also releasing pieces on the cutting-edge of their fashion niche.
I find it a bit ironic that the people who feel that the brands are focusing on current trends are too busy focusing on the pieces the brands release that follow these trends to even notice that the designs they are claiming are non-existent are literally sitting right next to them in the online shops.
9) Lolita's only wear one style, and Lolitas who wear one style dislike Lolitas who wear other styles.Ah, the eternal struggle between Sweet an Gothic, OTT and Old School, Classic and Ero, Punk and pretty much everyone else. Practically every combination of styles and substyles have been claimed to be pitted against each other in a bitter war at one point, but I think the classic example is the Sweet vs. Goth. How many stories have you heard about a Gothic Lolita getting dirty looks from a Sweet Lolita across a convention center, or a Sweet Lolita getting the cold shoulder from a Gothic Lolita at a meetup and then claiming it's due to a secret Lolita conspiracy to hedge out all Lolita styles but the one "true" style? I don't know about you, but I've heard this more times than I can count, as completely ridiculous as it sounds.
The simple truth is that most Lolitas don't stick to one style, or at the very least, have experimented with wearing other styles in the past and plan to do so in the future. It's pretty ridiculous to assume that someone currently wearing Moitie is going to hate you even though they probably have the same Angelic Pretty dress hanging up in their closet.
Just like with every other misconception on here, you very well might come across the occasional person who claims to have been born a Classic Lolita and won't even give you a second glance if your skirt features bunnies riding on unicorns floating on a sparkle made of rainbows, but for the most part, these style wars are completely imagined. As I mentioned in misconception #4, if you interact with people with a preconceived notion in your head, such as the notion that people wearing pink will hate you if you wear black, you're going to be mistaking most every slightly awkward "hello" or meeting that doesn't end in exchanging friendship bracelets as a personal wrong against you.
10) Lolita is about elegance! If it's not elegant, it's not Lolita! It's called Elegant Gothic Lolita for a reason.I find this one pretty silly, but I actually hear it quite a bit, especially in reference to Sweet Lolita. It seems to be used especially by those just aching to look down their noses at other people, but who can't actually think up a good enough reason to do so. Just because Mana decided to use the slogan "Elegant Gothic Aristocrat Vampire Romance" for his brand, doesn't exactly mean that ridiculous jumble of words needs to be taken literally for everyone.
The fact is simply that not all styles of Lolita are based solely around the idea of "elegance", and it's simply incorrect to claim they are. Cuteness, edginess, deconstruction, and even eroticism are all themes frequently found within Lolita just as much as elegance might be. If you don't think AP's newest rainbow ruffled dress covered in melting stars is elegant, that's perfectly fine because it probably never intended to be, just don't try to wear it as a Classic Lolita dress and you'll be fine.
Again, I want to end this post with the note that, yes, sometimes you might meet someone who is just a completely unlikeable person who might be living proof of each of these things, but that's probably going to just be how they are regardless of what they are wearing. But to make sweeping statements about a very large group of people based on what you witnessed a few doing, or simply heard about someone else witnessing such a thing, is honestly exactly as bad as the behaviors you're condemning. For example, someone who says that the only real Lolitas are those who own brand, and someone who says that those that wear brand are uncreative snobs, are both doing the exact same thing. And preemptively jumping into defensive mode about your own fashion choices is simply going to suck all the fun out of it for you and everyone around you.
I have been lurking around a lot on Tumblr lately, and I've noticed a ton of anonymous secret and confession sites popping up, and I have been seeing so many of these things being brought up again and again. I feel that these sorts of sites are not so much a look into what is really happening behind-the-scenes in Lolita, but rather a look at what people are secretly afraid of happening. They're the perfect rumor mill "Oh, I know this is true because I saw one Lolita say it, anonymously, written in fancy text over a picture of an Angelic Pretty dress!".
It's one thing to want to vent about your fears and bad experiences, but I feel that a lot of these sites are not so much allowing a "safe" place for that as they are allowing a cesspool of negativity and rumors to fester within the Lolita community under the guise of "the truth everyone is afraid to speak", which, in my opinion, is so much more harmful to the community than someone not liking the dress you're wearing.
If I could end this post with a few very simple tips they would be to find a friend to rant to or start a private diary if you need to get something off your chest, relax and stop jumping to judge others before you feel they have the chance to judge you, and stop believing everything you see on the internet.