Lolita fashion has been absorbing many fashion, cultures and creating its own sub-styles. In today's paragraphs, I will illustrate each of the sub-styles according to dresses' own features.
This article is intended to give newbies an impression about what dresses should look like under different Lolita styles in a vivid way. A very important thing is that I classify styles depending on my own experience. They are not principles or Lolita Law that must be followed. Meanwhile, because of the limited personal abilities, inevitably there will be mistakes in this article. The style of one Lolita dress may be complexed and eventually should be determined by the way of the people who wear them in many cases.
By illustrating and categorizing many images of the dresses in mannequin, I hope this article could provide some reference on questions like ‘What styles this dress is suitable for?’ to some extent. Please feel free to leave your own ideas behind this blog!
Classic Lolita is referred to styles and dresses which have a more mature look relatively. It contains dresses which redefine and reproduce victorian and rococo fashion styles, themed with classic oiling paintings, frame arrangement, prints of decorative arts (especially victorian style) and so on. I also classify dresses with modern art prints as this category.
♚The most simple classic style.
In this style, dresses often just maintain the basic Lolita silhouette, the modesty atmosphere while minimizing the complexion of the design. They don’t have too many complex details and ornament and usually features plain cloth in a solid colour.
And when designers give more details and elements on them, they could be coordinated with more accessories to achieve a more gorgeous appearance.
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♚Themed with classic oiling paintings or frames, or similar classic drawing prints:
This kinds of dress usually feature classical, sometimes hand-painted flat prints. The differences between dresses of this style and sweet styles which also feature the similar prints are the selection and the matching of colours and elements of the dresses’ style.
Just like the dress ‘Quartet Chocolate OP’. It increases the mature feeling by its brown-beige tone, tough wide stripes and double-breasted buttons.
Some brands create dresses with prints inspired from the contemporary art genres, just like Royal Flag OP, Precious Frames Square JSK and Victorian Jacquard OP.
♚Victorian-inspired decorative arts patterns.
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♚Redefine and recreate Victorian fashion in Lolita way.
If the designers intend to give a dress rich levels and texture and enhance the gorgeousness and nobleness, then it will result in Over-the-top classic dresses. It is most common to see many dresses in this style on occasions just like a tea party.
It is usually to see a Lolita dress absorbs fashion elements from other fashion eras.
It is a sub-style of Classic Lolita style. It often accomplishes a balance between classic feeling and sweet atmosphere. An easy way to define a dress into a Country style is whether it could remind you of outings and picnics. Floral prints and gingham fabric are the usual themes.
Traditional Style✦Old School Style
Traditional Lolita consists of cute, girlish dresses made from plain, natural-tone fabrics and lace.  The emphasis of this kind of style the combination way of basic colours and lace. They could coordinate with different materials, in different shapes to get different feminine appearances. It is sort of a typical and timeless Lolita style.
Old School style is similar to traditional Lolita style but in a more mess way. From the dresses aspect, they should not be made from modern fabric.
Sweet Lolita is one of the basic Lolita styles which could bring a sweet feeling. It could be recognized easily relatively. For the following 3 dresses, their level of sweetness is from bitter to high:
Gothic Lolita and EGA
There is one important thing to know before getting deeper with Gothic Lolita is that not ALL dresses in black or dark shade are Gothic Lolita style. Although they are very common in Gothic Lolita style.
Before a few years ago, Elegant Gothic Lolita(written simplified as EGL) was only used for apparel made by Moi-même-Moitié or outfits that composed of this brand. As the name described, it emphasizes a modesty Gothic feeling and feminine at the same time.
Here are some common kinds of dresses under this style:
♚Plain Black designs.
♚Add more Victorian or Rococo elements.
Through give dresses a three-dimensional look, the gorgeousness then up magically.
Prints of a dress is a magical element, which could easily bring out the gloomy, solemn, and strange atmosphere of it. Therefore, related content such as cemetery and religion has become a common theme of Gothic Lolita printing. Classical oil painting prints can also be used to create a gothic-styled aesthetic dress through changes in shades and arrangement.
♚Light colour Gothic Lolita.
It's time to break the stereotype. Light colours just like cream can be the main colour of a Gothic Lolita dress.
Elegant Gothic Aristocrat might not be contained in Lolita fashion strictly. But it is very common to see and could be considered as a sister style of Lolita fashion. The most simple way to distinguish Lolita apparel and EGA apparel is concerning the length of them. Lolita always has finish around the knee while EGA often ends around the ankle. The silhouette of EGA is often very sharp and unadorned.
Indie Taobao Brands recommend: Surface Spell
Punk Lolita is a sub-style which absorbs elements in Punk fashion. It often features rivet, metal accessories, tartan and asymmetric design. Angelic Pretty's 'Tartan Holic' collection showcases this style very well.
Qi style is a sub-style which features apparel inspired by Chinese traditional culture, and sometimes even drawing on the styles of cheongsam, Hanfu, and Qing Dynasty costumes. Wa style always shows apparel inspired by Japanese culture and tradition costumes-kimono. Especially for Qi style, there are many excellent indie Lolita brands have been creating lovely stuff in China.
There have been many popular Qi style collections. Including ' Cherry Blossoms and Water Lights', 'The Azure Dragon and the White Tiger', 'Vicinal Chirping on Flowers', 'Stars in the Twilight', 'Ode Of Whales', 'The Mountain Spirit' and so on.
There are many other sub-styles named by their themes, accent or the significant design element. Marine Lolita, Alice Lolita, Pirates Lolita, Shiro Lolita, Kuro Lolita…… They are very easily recognized so I will not illustrate them there.
In the end, I feel that getting Lolita apparel actually only achieves half of Lolitas' goal, sometimes it is even just the beginning. Exploring the style you love is a long journey.