As the holiday season rapidly approaches, everyone is scrambling to find the perfect gift for the people in their lives, including fans of Lolita fashion. Well meaning relatives and clueless friends may ask “What gifts would you like?” As a j-fashion enthusiast, it can be frustrating to receive gifts that totally miss the mark. So here is a handy guide you can email to friends, print out for grandma, and accidentally leave open on a browser tab on your significant other’s laptop. Most Lolitas won’t need this guide, but if you’re looking for some ideas for a friend who dresses differently than you or you’re a new Lolita looking for some ideas for your Christmas list, read on!
Its hard to go wrong with this one. If you have the means (and you order in time for Christmas), buying something directly from a Japanese Lolita brand is guaranteed to make a Lolita enthusiast’s day. Hopefully you know the general style that your Lolita likes (the big three are sweet, classic, and gothic), but if not, here’s a quick and dirty guide. If your Lolita is always in pink, they probably wear sweet, so try looking at BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT, Angelic Pretty, metamorphose, or Innocent World (tip: BABY and Angelic Pretty both have stores in the US for ease of shipping).
If your Lolita looks like a historical painting or blends in with grandma’s couch, they probably wear classic, so try Victorian maiden, Innocent World, metamorphose, Physical Drop, or Juliette et Justine. If your Lolita wears all black, they probably wear gothic, so try Moi-même-Moitié, ALICE and the PIRATES, Sheglit, or ATELIER-PIERROT. (If you need more guidance about brands, maybe look at some of the past articles on Wunderwelt Libre.)
Even if you can’t afford a main piece (that is, a dress or a skirt), an accessory, blouse, purse, or novelty item is sure to charm your Lolita giftee. If you don’t know your Lolita’s measurements (or what size clothes they wears), stick to items like hair accessories, jewelry, and purses that will fit a Lolita of any size. If you’re not sure what colors she wears, its usually a safe bet that she can use brown, black, white or cream.
Lolita has a thriving second hand market and many Lolitas have populated their wardrobe with used clothing. There are many sellers who offer a wide range of styles and clothing, but for ease of use, its hard to go wrong with Wunderwelt.
Wunderwelt is very easy to use even if you don’t speak Japanese. They have a simple to use cart system, robust English support, and they accept Paypal and Western credit cards. The site also sells some items new from brands through their Wunderwelt Fleur imprint. As Wunderwelt also groups their clothing by “genre”, so you can see all pieces that fit the style your Lolita usually wears.
There are other resellers online, including sites like Closet Child and Maiden Clothing, but those websites are not as easy to navigate for the the uninitiated. There is also Lace Market, an auction site sort of like ebay that caters to Lolita and J-fashion fans. You will have to make an account, and you may encounter some wary sellers as buyer without feedback, but you can also message sellers before, during, and after an auction to ask questions.
A word about shipping from Japanese websites: If you’ve decided to purchase something from Japan, you may notice a quirk in the checkout process. Japanese sellers don’t always include shipping in their pricing. Most often, you will check out, pay for the item, then receive a second invoice after your order is processed. Obviously, this makes estimating the cost of the item a little challenging, but most of the websites in this article have a shipping cost estimate somewhere on their site. Keep in mind that because items are shipping from Japan, the shipping time may be longer than you anticipate.
Before the advent of the internet, Western Lolitas got their kawaii fix in the form of FRUiTs, Kera, and the Gothic & Lolita Bible, magazines from Japan that depicted youth styles, including Lolita. There are dozens of J-fashion publications, both active and defunct, but Lolitas of all styles still love looking over books, magazines, and other media for inspiration. Try these specific titles (which can be found on Amazon and other book retailers websites):
If purchasing from a Japanese site is too difficult (and believe me, we’ve all been there), resist the urge to just pick up some bows in the kid’s section of Walmart. Try instead to find western independent designers to purchase from. One place to start looking is the Lolita Collective. Based in the US, the Lolita Collective acts as a store front and distributor for indie designers. If there is a designer you like in particular, check to see if they have a Etsy or Storenvy, because most designers have more stock than the Lolita Collective carries. They have a simple store front and cart system and they ship from inside the US, so shipping times may be shorter than ordering from Japan. The Lolita Collective also has options to sort by style, so you can find accessories your Lolita is sure to wear and love.
In the immortal words of Albus Dumbledore, “One can never have enough socks. Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair.” Socks and tights are a staple in any Lolita wardrobe and they’re also the item that most often needs replacing. If you are nervous about choosing a gift for your Lolita, get her socks. Get them from Wunderwelt. Get them from the Lolita Collective. Get them from Sock Dreams. Get them in cream, white or black. Your Lolita will be delighted.
Your Lolita undoubtedly has some outlet for her interests, either in their local community or online. However, most Lolitas I know would be excited to share their hobby with their friends and family. You don’t have to get dressed and go to their next meet with them, but how about spending an evening watching Kamikaze Girls with them or planning an afternoon tea? Your Lolita will appreciate the effort, even if you don’t get everything right.
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