Now, before I go much further I want to explain my choices and offer my 2c on how to build up a cheap yet versatile wardrobe. On F Yeah Lolita, Caro said that her definition of a complete wardrobe was one where you would be able to wear a different Lolita outfit every day of the week. I agree. And I think that you can do this with my [comparatively] uber cheap wardrobe, though you’ll have to do some laundry throughout the week. I also decided to go with a bit of an unusual colour scheme – mint and pink with neutral white. Even though, for example, all pink or all sax blue would be a safer palette to go with, something with more contrast means you can come up with a wider range of more unique looking outfits.
The wardrobe consists of the following items:
1 OP, 1 JSK and 1 Skirt:
I’m lumping all these together because, though it doesn’t matter which is which, I think you need to have one of these in a plain colour, and the other two should feature a patterned or printed fabric, preferably with one being more elaborate than the other. Here I’ve used a very, very sweet mint OP from Infanta [$74], a plain chiffon JSK also in mint from Bodyline [$67] and a pink border print skirt also from Bodyline [$27]. Both the OP and the skirt have a mix of pink and pale green so they can be coordinated in a variety of ways.
1 Neutral Blouse with Detachable Sleeves:
There are two keywords to remember here – neutral and detachable. To get the most bang for your buck this is the best way to go for a blouse. I found the perfect white blouse with detachable sleeves from Fanplusfriend [$55] for this sweet Lolita wardrobe.
1 Coloured Blouse or Cutsew:
This piece is to add versatility to the wardrobe. I chose to go for a pink Bodyline cutsew [$13], but another blouse in a non-neutral colour or a top or radically different design but still in white would have been equally as good.
Though these are terribly unspecific terms, I think having something “structured” and something “pretty” are two good choices for outerwear such as, for example, a full coat and a light bolero, or a military style jacket and a ruffled cardigan. Both boleros pictured are from Bodyline [$20 each] and though on the surface they may seem quite similar the white one is very simple and elegant whereas the pink has a cute hood, which isn’t visible in the stock picture, along with all the ruffles and bows so they still bring different options to the wardrobe.
Something unquestionably lolita, either a headbow or a rectangle headdress if you like the old school look, and something else that suits your personal style – a floral crown, a full sized hat, a miniature hat, a beret, whatever. The pink Bodyline bow [$7] is the typical headbow, and the white floral crown from this Etsy seller [$9] can be either cutesy or fancy depending on the rest of the outfit.
2 Pairs of Shoes:
You could get away with just one pair of incredibly style neutral shoes but having two different pairs makes a wardrobe that much more complete. I’m a huge shoe person so I know I’m biased here but I really don’t think you can be totally stylish with only one pair of shoes. Both from Bodyline and both in white, I decided to go with different styles [shoes $33, boots $47] rather than different colours.
5 Items of Legwear:
Only five? Like shoes, socks and tights are one of those things I never think you can have too many of. But for the purposes of keeping versatility while limiting amounts I think you need two pairs of tights, one that’s a solid colour and one that’s either patterned or printed. Then there are three pairs of socks – plain neutral OTKs, a more interesting pair of knees highs and a pair of ankle socks. With these selections you’ll have something for your legs from the height of summer to the depths of winter. Both the sheer polka dot tights and the pink stockings are from eBay [total $8] and all three pairs of socks are from Bodyline [total $17].
I haven’t put a picture of a petticoat in the collage because really, there’s no need to. There are also lots of differently shaped and priced petticoats, so I’m factoring it into this equation the petticoat as costing $50.
Total Cost: $447
Well, would you look at that. There's enough left over for another item or two - if I were making this wardrobe for real, I'd invest in some more socks and stuff to stick on my head. But that's just me ^__^
You’ll notice that this list doesn’t include accessories. This is for two reasons; firstly, I think the choice of accessories is very personal and provided the rest of your outfit is lolita I don’t think it matters whether you wear a single necklace or bracelet, a matching set of jewellery, or pin a hundred bows in your hair and secondly, most girls already have a collection of jewellery and other accessories that can be worked into lolita so it’s kind of a moot point for that reason also. A purse/handbag is another thing that I feel I can safely assume most everyone already has and even if it’s not perfectly lolita, it will do.
As I said near the start of this wall of text, I believe a full wardrobe is one where you can create at least an unique outfit a day for a week. So, with no further ado, please welcome to the stage seven outfits made using the above items.
A fairly straightforward sweet outfit with lots of pink.
Again, a fairly simple outfit that let's the print of the dress remain the focus.
Taking a page from the Classic style, this print-less outfit is elegant but still a bit cute.
This outfit is again a slightly more elegant and mature take on sweet lolita.
Mixing colours but keeping it in solid blocks for an eye-catching outfit.
Using the pink hooded bolero and knee high socks makes this outfit more pink, less mint.
Simple, floral and fun - perfect for a summertime photoshoot in a field of flowers.
And there we have it. Although still obviously limited, it is possible to create a workable lolita wardrobe on a comparatively small budget. You'd definitely want more if you wanted to wear lolita day in and day out every week, but for someone who wears the style only a few times a week this wardrobe is definitely enough to give you a wide range of outfits.
A few endnotes on pricing:
I deliberately avoided “buying” from Taobao via a shopping service for this wardrobe as different shopping services charge different fees and I didn’t know which one to quote, so my Infanta “purchase” came from Clobba. Also, all these listed prices are exclusive of shipping. Lastly, Bodyline tends to change prices seemingly on a whim, so today’s cheap dress may be tomorrow’s abuse on the wallet.
And a final endnote thingamabob:
I actually had a lot of fun putting together this hypothetical wardrobe, so if you’d like me to do the same with a different style of Lolita, please comment and let me know ^__^