Again I feel bad for not posting in a long time, I'll try to be more active really soon^^
While thinking about what could be my next post, I noticed I have never talked about the basics of the lolita style, which is very important! So here I go :D
To achieve the lolita look (for any style), there are a few things that are mandatory. I'll go from the lowest layer to the top one so it'll be easier to read.
The first most important thing would be the petticoat. It is what gives the lolita dresses that beautiful bell shape. It is important to invest in a good petticoat right from the start since it is what makes most of the lolita fluffy look. There are 2 types of petticoats:
As its name suggests, it is shaped like the letter A.
It gives this effect when it is under a dress.
It is shaped like the top of a muffin/cupcake or even a bell.
It looks like this when under a dress.
A petticoat doesn't necessarily need to be white. There are various colors and you can choose the one that matches the lace of your dress/skirt better or just pick your favorite color.
There also exist different lenghts of petticoats for longer dresses or skirts. The volume of poof is important too since not every petticoat gives the same amount of poof. There is no particular rule for that, it is most likely to your discretion. Sometimes, there are dresses that won't allow much room for poofyness while others will look bad without a super fluffy petticoat.
It is hard to establish a set order to list those lolita essentials, but I do think that the next up is the top since it is very important to put under or over a dress. It is even more important when you wear a skirt since it is not covered by anything. If you are wearing a onepiece dress, you won't need a top though. That is the only exception I can think of at the moment.
There are 4 types of tops to match with your dress or skirt.
The blouse is probably the most common top used to wear under a jsk or with a skirt. There are long-sleeved blouses and short-sleeved ones. The colors again vary a lot to allow you to coordinate them well with all your lolita clothes. There are differences between sweet blouses, classic and gothic ones, but they basically have the same base.
They tend to have detachable sleeves to allow you to get a short-sleeved blouse if the weather is too hot. They usually have lace and sometimes bows and neckties, as do the short-sleeved ones.
It is basically the same as the long-sleeved blouse, but with of course short sleeves. The are perfect if you have long arms since sometimes you could have difficulty finding a blouse with sleeves long enough for you.
Cardigan and bolero
Those two are very similar. The bolero is a bit shorter and smaller than the cardigan, which goes down to the hips or lower waist. Those can basically feature almost anything related to your lolita style and be of any color you need to fit your coordinate. They can feature bows, fur, lace, stylized buttons, appliques and much more. Both these tops are easy to find in regular stores if you take the time to look carefully.
Like I said above, those cover your whole upper body until your lower wait or hips and usually have buttons all the way through.
The bolero is short in lenght and can have short or long sleeve. It usually snaps on together with a ribbon or a few buttons.
Cutsews are basically regular shirts with cute applique or bows/laces. They can have long or short sleeves and be of any color, they can even be in the form of a camisole. Some even have buttons or pearls. Those can also be found in regular stores sometimes. There also exist cutsew dresses, which can be worn on their own and are not meant to be put under or over a dress.
DRESS AND SKIRT
Well that part is obviously one of the most important! It is the main piece of your lolita outfit. You can wear either a jumperskirt, a onepiece, a salopette or a skirt (except for the kodona style which can include pants).
A jumperskirt is basically a skirt attached to a bodice without sleeves. You need to wear something under or over the top part if you don't want to be bare arms. There is a wide variety of different types of JSK. It can have a bustier, no straps at all, halterneck, shirring at the back, cute prints, patterns, bows, lace, and much more! I cannot possibly put an example for each model that exists unfortunately since there are so many of them!
Onepieces are simply dresses that are complete by themselves. They already have sleeves, short or long, so you can wear them on their own. Like the JSKs, they come in many styles and with a wide variety of details, patterns, etc.
Skirts are often easier to wear at work or school since they look more casual. They sell for less than the JSKs or OPs but have a smaller waist if they are not custom made. They also come in various styles and colors. High-waist skirts are a bit different since they have a corset or lace at the back. The regular skirts are worn at the waist. Miniskirts, even if made by brands, are not really considered lolita since they cannot allow enough room for a petticoat to give the lolita shape and are way to short.
Salopettes are a bit less popular but still really cute. I never owned one, but my guess is that you can still put a small petticoat underneath to give it a little poof and shape. As the JSK and OP, you will need to wear a blouse or cutsew under it.
SOCKS AND TIGHTS
It is really important in lolita to avoid showing bare legs, except in case of really hot weather. With your dress or skirt, you can either wear socks or tights.
There are two types of socks, OTK and knee socks. OTK simply means over the knee. While most lolita prefer OTK because they cover your legs better, knee socks can also look really cute and are easier to find in local stores. They come with various patterns, colors and even laces or fur sometimes. I find that it is pretty fun and challenging to try and match socks with different dresses.
You all know what tights are, so I don,t think I need to explain it. All sort of tights can do, as long as they fit with the dress you want to wear. They can be glittery, have patterns or even be made of lace. There also exist lolita tights made by brands, but they are as good as regular ones found at local stores.
Accessories are always a nice addition to a coord. It is very rare to see a lolita without any accessory, especially if you consider headbows and barettes too. Again, the accessories you choose really depend on the style you are wearing. There are head accessories, necklaces, bangles, rings, pins, purses... and I'm sure I am forgetting a lot.
As the title mentions it, head accessories include everything you can put in your hair when you dress in lolita. Headbows, barettes and headdresses are relatively common, while bonnets and berets are seen less often. Some hats and earmuffs can also be considered lolita.
There is a lot of choice of jewelry for the lolita fashion. Again, it really depends on the style you are wearing too. But basically, the types of jewelry stay the same. There are necklaces, bangles, rings and pins/brooches. I will include Wristcuffs here too since I don't think it is necessary to make a section just for them and they are worn to the wrist like a bangle.
Purses and totes
Lolita purses also come in various styles and are mostly essential if you are carrying stuff around at a meet-up or just in your daily life. They can be elegant purses, a cute pink bag with a bow, a stuffed animal or even a treasure chest! They usually are not that big and it can be inconvenient for some occasions. In those cases, there also exist tote bags that are larger than the purses. Of course there do exist some purses that are bigger, but I wasn't lucky yet.
Other cute goodies
There are some other accessories that I didn't mention since I couldn't put them in a particular cathegory and also since they are not necessary at all. Fur collars, gloves, plushies, phone straps... I'm sure there are more but these are the only ones I can think of. Those are not really included in the lolita basics, but I just wanted to give them a little place in my post. I think I'll make a post entirely on them soon.
SHOES AND BOOTS
Of course shoes are necessary to achieve the lolita look! There are a whole bunch of different shoes like tea parties, rocking horse shoes, high heels, low heels and boots. It is important to choose well and take the right size because you will be walking a lot in these if you go to meet-up. They tend to be a bit less comfortable than regular shoes, that's why you need to make a good choice for your first pair.
Like I said above, they come in various styles and colors. They can come with high or low heels, with bows, ribbons, pompoms, they can even be runnings! The only rule to follow is of course, the fact that they should match your coord.
You can't really wear regular lolita shoes when there is snow or when it,s really cold outside, so of course there are lolita boots. You can find some in local stores too, especially the long ones with pompoms. Like the shoes, they can be any colors and have all sorts of cute details like fur, pompoms and bows.
Finally, I think I went over all the basics I know. If I am missing something, if you see mistakes or if the images don't work, please tell me and I'll make the corrections!
Thanks a lot for reading, I hope this helped for those who needed to know about the basics!
If you have any ideas of what I could be writting next, don't hesitate to make suggestions in the comments!
See you soon!