Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of lolita fashion or a newbie just dipping your toes in the water, it can be overwhelming to keep track of of the many options we have in terms of dresses, legwear, and accessories. And while it’s fun to purchase the perfect pieces for a particular coordinate, it’s more practical to have items that can be reused in different looks. Here are some tips for filling in the gaps in your wardrobe and planning your next purchases.
To start, identify themes and motifs in your wardrobe. At this point, it’s best to focus only on your main pieces. We’ll tackle other items later. Look at the prints you have and see what elements appear more than once. For example, see how many dresses feature designs like stars and moons, crosses, or roses. If it helps and you have space, try to physically group your main pieces by design element. This will help give you a visual idea of what elements you have the most of.
You may already know that you collect main pieces that feature particular designs elements. If so, great! Your work will be easier. If your wardrobe isn’t cohesive, don’t panic! Find colors that appear across your skirts, dresses, and blouses. If your wardrobe doesn’t feature many prints, you can decide what elements of your main pieces you want to highlight. You might find that bows or lace appear in many dresses. You can build clusters of accessories around something as simple as that!
Now that you have an idea of the themes in your wardrobe, start thinking about your accessories. This includes headwear, jewelry, leg wear, and purses. It may help to think about coordinates you’ve created in the past. What accessories have you used with your main pieces? You may already begin to see patterns emerge. Again, if you have the space, try to physically group your accessories. Get as specific as you need to. Maybe you’ll have enough items to create a cluster of raven accessories, or maybe you’ll only have enough to create a group of black items.
Now identify gaps in your wardrobe. It may help to physically or digitally assemble sample coordinates. As a rule, a lolita coordinate should feature at minimum a main piece, headwear, legwear, and shoes. You may already be aware of the glaring holes in your wardrobe already, but this process should help you see the some of the more subtle things you should be on the lookout for.
You may discover that you have a bat shaped bag, ring, and leg wear, but not matching headwear. If you’ve physically grouped these items, it is a good idea to store them together. Making sure all of your rose pieces of jewelry live in the same place ensures that you’ll have accessories on hand for all your floral coordinates. It may help you to keep an actual list of the items you’re now looking for on your computer or phone so you can easily access it while you’re shopping.
Obviously, not every piece of your coordinate must reflect the theme or design element you’re trying to pull together. Sometimes a pair of lacy ankle socks will do just fine. You can still group into general categories. I like to make sure that for every blouse I own, I have at least one pair of matching legwear in both color and length. This system makes its simple for me to assemble a coordinate for daily wear, since I can be sure that I have matching items. Similarly, conventional fashion advice suggests matching your shoes and your purse for a polished look, and the same advice can be applied to lolita fashion.
If you are just starting out in lolita, looking at color and motifs is an excellent way to start gathering staples for your wardrobe. If you’re slightly more advanced, try to look at the style that each piece reflects. You may find that while you have five white blouses, none of them are a classic blouse, which makes it difficult to wear them with your collection of Victorian Maiden JSKs.
Armed with your new knowledge of your wardrobe, you can now confidently pick up some new accessories and know that you’ll be able to wear them with something. Happy shopping!