What’s in my wardrobe: Lolita edition

‘When I wear Lolita I feel like I can do anything’


Adélaide Rose is a self-professed Lolita. She’s always been into anime, but her love of the Japanese style only blossomed a few years ago.

A wearer of fanciful frocks full of frills, lace and elegant patterns, Adélaide is a first year Japanese student at Brookes, and she’s given The Tab a peek into her elegant and feminine wardrobe.

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The fresher dresses as Lolita once a week

How did you get into Lolita?

“It was a few years ago now I went to Hyper Japan, which is a Japanese culture event. It was for my brother’s birthday, and at the time I was into anime a little bit so I thought, well why not go along? Anyway, I saw a Lolita fashion show there and I thought oh my gosh, what’s this amazing style? I ended up searching it online and from then on I became hooked.”

How do you typically style a Lolita outfit?

“I normally base it around a dress, one-piece or jumper-skirt, otherwise known as a strap dress. Sometimes I have a certain headdress I want to wear and I’ll style it around that, but I basically decide what dress I want to wear depending on the season, whether it’s hot or cold. I don’t really have any rules as to what I want to wear.”

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Adélaide uses lacemarket for a lot of her clothes

How often do you wear Lolita?

“Well, I think Lolita maybe once a week? My other clothes do share some of the aesthetics that Lolita has basically, so I’m quite Lolita-esque most of the time. I wear clothes that share influences with the main style. I only wear skirts or dresses though, I don’t own any jeans.”

How and where do you get your clothes? Is it expensive?

“I get most of my clothes from Japanese online stores, and I go to second-hand sites and forums like lacemarket too. A lot of people who wear Lolita use lacemarket, it’s like eBay but for Lolita accessories and clothes. I save up to get it all, and it does become quite expensive, especially with customs and shipping fees.

“Most of my main pieces are from big Lolita brands, but I build them up with cheaper pieces from high street stores, charity shops, and I also hand-make some things. I spend most of my money on the main pieces because they’re really good quality. You may think it’s pretty expensive spending £80-100 on one dress, but it’s going to last you ages.

“Also if you decide the style isn’t for you anymore, they have a high retail price so you can resell them and get a lot of money back depending on the condition you’ve kept them in.”

Do you think Lolita has to be expensive?

“I think anyone can get into Lolita if they want, but like any other hobby, you get out what you put in. There’s people that like video-games and they can be expensive, plus console prices. I don’t think Lolita is any more expensive than a lot of other hobbies to be honest.”

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She never wears jeans

What kind of reactions do you get when you go out wearing Lolita, if any?

“A lot of people stare at me, but I don’t notice it anymore. I mainly get nice reactions, but there are always a couple of dirty looks. You get cute reactions from small children sometimes, and old ladies commenting on how nice you look.”

Tell us about your modelling, how did you get into it?

“Basically I do some freelance modelling at the moment. I have a Facebook page and I’m on a website called PurplePort where I can contact photographers and other creatives who want to work, I send messages and apply for their projects. I do a shoot maybe once every few weeks?

“A lot of people like my style, they think it’s very different so they want to add that to their portfolio. I sometimes get paid, sometimes I do collaboration work if I want to do a certain shoot. I get to travel a lot because of it. Recently I’ve been away up to Liverpool, and then the other weekend I was in Weymouth for a shoot. It’s a lot of work.”

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The Japanese student gets a lot of compliments for her look

Talk us through your favourite pieces.

“The brand of this dress is called Moi Même Moitié. The fashion label was created by Mana, he’s the lead guitarist of the Visual Kei rock band Moi Dix Mois. The style of the brand is ‘Elegant Gothic Lolita’, which is a phrase he coined himself. It’s unlike quite a lot of the other Lolita brands in that it’s more subdued, refined, and has a darker taste to it. He uses a lot of religious imagery and other gothic elements, but this dress is quite unique in that it’s an ivory and gold colour-way so I co-ordinate it more classically.”

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Elegant Gothic Lolita

“This is one of my more casual dresses, I use it more as a summer dress, not really for best. I can wear it with a looser petticoat. I did add some lace detailing to the bottom though to smarten it up a bit.”

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Adélaide will customise her own dresses

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She added lace to smarten it up a bit

“This is a Baby the Stars Shine Bright‘ dress. They’re my favourite Lolita brand and it was my first Lolita piece, so it means a lot to me.”

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This dress has a sentimental value

“I like making accessories, I don’t have much time to make them anymore with uni. The first pair of shoes are from an independent brand called Antaina, I’ve had them since the summer. They’re not the comfiest shoes to wear, let’s just say they’re not made for walking. The flats in the middle make more comfortable walking shoes, these are from John Lewis. The ones on the far left are rocking horse shoes from Bodyline – I can’t afford the Vivienne Westwood originals.”

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The Brookes student also likes making accessories

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These boots aren’t made for walking

Lastly, what do you like the most about wearing Lolita?

“It makes me feel happy. It makes me feel brave. When I wear Lolita I feel like I can do anything.”