How to Rock Lolita at Your Prom

Every year that prom season rolls around, I am glad not to be going. The stress! The drama! The sixty-seven bobby pins in my waist length hair, spending long hours at the table wishing I was that couple playing Go Fish (’cause this girl asked two guys and still had to go stag.) Okay, bad flashback. But this year, I have seen some really cute prom looks and I’ve been wistful to go again. Not because of the prom dresses I’ve been seeing at the local mall. But because now that I am way past prom age, I finally feel I could do it justice. Vintage dresses! Crazy hi-tops! Pastel dreadlock extensions! Or something like that. The only senior prom I’ll be looking forward to these days is when they send me to the home.

Oh, well, I shall live vicariously through you young’uns who are lucky enough to be going to prom! Every spring I see girls talking about wearing lolita to their high school proms, particularly new lolitas. I was just sixteen when I got into the fashion myself! One of the fun parts about prom is that it’s really all about you: there’s no bride to upstage and no eggnog to spill on your pretty dress. Prom is when you get to express yourself in a formal, fashionable way – kind of like a debutante ball, since we don’t really have those up North anymore. (Do they still have them south of the Mason-Dixon? I don’t know!)

But here’s the deal with lolita at your prom: this is not the night for any-old-lolita-coordinate. As daywear, lolita looks fancy next to jeans and t-shirt. But when the rest of your classmates are dripping rhinestones and weird cut-outs, an ordinary lolita coordinate is actually not fancy enough! Crazy, I know, but: the key to a great lolita prom style is to go fancier. 

I’m going to be doing sweet lolita style morphed into prom queen for this article; I won’t be doing other subsets of lolita because I’m not as familiar with them, but the same ideas can work for classic and gothic. Use your imagination and make it your own!

And first, a word of warning: do not buy any dress sold as ‘lolita prom dress’. Those words in the same item description, particularly on Ebay – well, trust me, it’s going to be a hot mess.

Prom Queen: Sweet Lolita Style

1. The dress. It doesn’t matter if you choose a brand dress or prefer to go the less expensive route and buy an off-brand dress, perhaps from Taobao. Choose either a small print or solid in a pretty pastel with lots of ruffles and lace. I picked this particular dress for its drop-waist and short tiered chiffon skirt, which makes it feel more like a sassy cocktail dress to me. This dress will also dress down after the prom for a cute lolita look you can wear to a meetup or for daily wear.

2. The shoes. Instead of heavy lolita footwear, go for a delicate and super feminine mule or heel. I chose DreamV’s infamous heart-heel, which comes in an array of colors and has the cute twist of a heart-shaped kitten heel. Whatever you choose, go for something delicate and refined. While these mules are fairly inexpensive, another inexpensive option would be Bodyline’s rendition of the “cage” shoe in a pretty pale pink.

3. The tights. Although tights aren’t usually a prom staple, in this case leaving the legs bare would make it look unfinished. Lace tights in white or pink with a floral design will make a sweet lolita dress look more grown-up and ladylike.

For accessories, a statement necklace such as this Tarina Tarantino Barbie necklace would be a great choice, or you could go more subdued with a golden heart locket or smaller pink crystal. Pink pearl would give a little retro sophistication to this prom look instead if you’d prefer. A goes-with-everything handbag from Baby or MILK would be a nice choice, or simply a beaded or floral clutch.

For hair, ask your stylist for tons of big curls or perhaps a bouffant updo a little like a himegyaru’s – bring in some pictures from magazines or the Internet if you aren’t sure you’ll be able to articulate what you want. Makeup can be done in typical sweet lolita style, with lashes and liner. Use candy-pink blush (though perhaps more subtle a stroke than for an ordinary lolita coordinate) and a warm rosy lipstick or tinted balm.

Things to avoid wearing with your lolita prom look…

  • “baby”ish border prints like toys, candy or baby animals; if you’re set on a print, try roses, jewels, or stars instead
  • knee-high socks, but over-the-knee will do in a pinch if you’re short on tights
  • bubble-toed standard lolita shoes
  • stuffed animal purses (yes, even unicorns)
If you’re feeling adventurous, try…

If you’ve got prom pictures, drop me a line! I’d love to see some great prom lolita darlings in the comments – have you ever worn lolita to your prom?

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