image from The Red Bunny
After reading ElleJay’s wonderful letter to lolitas on her new blog (check out Sherry and Cookies!), I thought it sounded like a good blogging prompt: write an open letter to lolitas everywhere. I’d love to see other blogs debut their open letters as well! Feel free to leave a link to yours in the comments if you write one, and I’ll add it to the bottom of this post.
Dear Lolita-chan, Wherever You Are, Whoever You May Be:
Whether you’ve been a lolita since the early days of black platforms and blue lipstick, or you have yet to step into your first pair of tea parties… Whether you cherish a wardrobe of pastel kittens or elegant roses and Chantilly lace… If I could mail this letter through a wormhole, to my sixteen-year-old self, tottering on the edge of the lolita world, this would be it. Since I can’t, here it is for you.
Get dressed up for yourself. Meetups and conventions are fun, but nothing beats getting all dolled up without any worries or stresses. Coordinate a new outfit and have fun toddling around the house in platforms, or heading to your local park to read.
Turn off the Internet. Not always, not forever. But sometimes. When every coordinate seems the same, when you feel discouraged that you’ll never afford the ‘real deal’ or even just what other girls have packed in their wardrobes… Other things you can do when you’re not on the Internet: see nature, go out to lunch, try new flavors of tea, experiment with hair and makeup tricks, make friends. Whether you choose to engage in lolita lifestyle activities offline or just good ol’ day-to-day errands, it’s a refresher course in life. It can save your lolita love. A good rule to live by: too much lolita can turn your brain into half-rotten cotton candy.
There are no gods in lolita. In ElleJay’s letter, she mentioned that we tend to get too obsessed with idols in the lolita world. I don’t mean the usual idols like Misako or Maki and Asuka – they’re a little too removed from those of us outside of Japan to develop much of an idolatry for (though we love them, of course). It’s easy to get caught up in idolizing real lolitas you’ve met or observed online. Whether you’re comparing yourself to others or diving headlong into the most popular trends, you need to step back and be more objective. The best thing I have ever done is getting to know some of the girls I’ve been gaga over – my ‘lolita crushes’ you could say. Nine times out of ten, we’ve actually become friends! The best thing you can do is remove the distance and help the girl you idolize off the pedestal.
Break out your crafting skills. I love dressing up in head-to-toe brand, it’s true. But nothing makes an outfit pop or wiles away a cozy afternoon like making a few handmade accessories. Check out the Kera DIY sections or street snaps for ideas, or design your own fashionable daydreams. Feel free to go a little tacky, a little crazy: doll heads into brooches, unicorn beads into earrings, pom poms onto shoes.
Don’t try to label yourself. If you wardrobe is a mish-mash of black and red, lilac and pink, and heavy combat boots, it’s perfectly okay. Wear off-brand, vintage, hole-in-the-wall stuff if you can find it. Swap between lolita, or fairy-kei, or casual princess or punk or mori if you like. Street snaps are your friends. Even the tiny photos, I pore over for ages.
Don’t let the drama get to you. Don’t fall for such epithets as ‘special snowflake’ or ‘ita’ or anything else that gets dreamed up. These are just made-up words, which can only hurt you if you give them power. Likewise the stuff you hear on the streets instead of on the screen. Don’t put stock in the vernacular of ‘freak’, ‘dork’, and the ever-popular ‘what are you wearing’. Stand tall; you’re wearing a little-known imported couture.
Find your own beauty. Don’t despair if you’re not the stereotypical lolita you see in magazines – Japanese, pale, and somehow adorably chibi-shaped. Lolitas can be beautifully luminous in all races and sizes. Play up the things you find beautiful about yourself, like rosy cheeks, attractive eyes or graceful wrists. Don’t ever think there is something inherently ‘not lolita’ about you; you are a lolita, so you are by logic ‘lolita enough’.
Don’t be afraid to let go. Is lolita a phase? Can we hang on to it forever, or does it impart its wisdom and then push us to ‘graduate’? Will it some day fade the way of its fashion predecessors, lost to time and scrapbook pages? These are questions I don’t know the answer to, may never know the answer to – or perhaps will look back on knowingly, some distance birthday in the future at twenty-five, or thirty, or forty. Love lolita while it is with you. People, things, fads, interests all come and go. It’s not permanence that makes things beautiful.