Saturday, 23 June 2012

Coordinating Blouses & Skirts in Lolita

The other day someone asked a question on one of my local Lolita communities on Facebook; it basically went something like "I want to try wearing skirts and blouses in Lolita but I'm scared! I usually go for OPs or JSK as they're so much easier to coordinate! Help?" I thought, people shouldn't be afraid to try different pieces and coordinates! So I thought I could write an article on help coordinating blouses and skirts so you have far more choice in your Lolita wardrobe!

If up until now, you've only really bought JSKs and OPs and only have the basic white long sleeved blouse, black long sleeved blouse, white short sleeved blouse and black short sleeved blouse, you'll need to up the amount of tops you have. Not just blouses, but cutsews, cardigans, chiffon blouses, etc. - anything to make each coordinate look a little different. This is the time for fancier blouses to shine - if you only wear blouses under JSKs, you can get away with plainer, sometimes cheaper blouses. Now you're going to have the blouse on show, you can have ones with pretty detailing, such as pearls sewn onto the collar, pintucks and ruffles.

Also look out for blouses and cutsews that have a bottom ruffle on the hem as these look much more flattering over skirts. Plain hemmed blouses over skirts look a little awkward and can make you look shorter and frumpier.

Lots of different styles of blouses and cutsews can be found relatively easy on Facebook sales groups, EGL and obviously on brand websites or seller such as Closet Child or Qutieland. And don't think you just have to stick to Bodyline and brand - Taobao and Rakuten do some lovely loliable blouses and cutsews and you can even find suitable items offbrand. Check out this black gingham cutsew I bought from a girl on Facebook that is offbrand!

Another way you can mix it up with blouses is throwing cardigans and boleros over them! Even some turtlenecks can look nice under short sleeved blouses/cutsews or ones with square or low necklines! You can also have waistcoats for Gothic, Classic and Aristocrat looks and bustier corset-style tops (like the Musette Bustier by Innocent World, which I want so badly but no one seems to have bought it T_T) for Gothic, Ero and some Classic. The bustier tops really make your torso look so slim, really adding to the gorgeou bell shaped silhouette.

Next is the agenda of to tuck in or not to tuck in? It all depends what the cut of the blouse is at the hem - if it has a bottom ruffle or is significantly tapered in at the waist, then flares out at the bottom, it will look awesome over the skirt. You can also tuck it into the skirt and it will still look lovely, just trying to shove all those ruffles down is a little tiresome! If the blouse has quite a straight cut with no ruffle or lace at the bottom, it will probably look better tucked in. It also depends on whether your skirt has an elasticated waist or waistband. Most elasticated waistbands are gathered and so generally look better with a blouse over the top of them whilst ones with a straight waistband look good either way. Here is a comparison of two blouses with ruffles over the blouse and two with no ruffles over (all images from Bodyline as they are the most common place to have models wear their items):

See how far more awkward the bottom blouses look compared to the top ones? Granted the top left blouse is far too big for Yoshiko but the ruffles or flare streamlines the silhouette more - and who doesn't consider the perfect Lolita silhouette nipped in at the waist with a lovely bell-shaped skirt? If you have a plain blouse over the skirt, the waist doesn't look nipped in and the silhouette is straight up and down with the bell shaped skirt, making most people look shorter and frumpier than they actually are.

Once you have a decent amount of blouses, cutsews, cardigans and boleros, etc. (depending on your style) it's all a matter of coordinating the desired skirt with them! Most skirts can be worn with either white or black blouses and look great either way, it's just a matter of what look you're going for - obviously wearing a black blouse with a pink skirt may not have the Sweet Lolita look you were aiming for, unless it's bittersweet and combined with some more pink! More unusually coloured blouses, such as red or lavender, can be worn if the skirt has at least part of the design that colour too. So a black skirt with red detailing in the print will look awesome with a dark red blouse and maybe a black waistcoat over the top of it? Or a pink blouse with a blue and pink skirt! Waistcoats more often than not go really wear with Gothic, Classic and Aristocrat styles but I think they would look equally as cute in pastel colours for Sweet Lolita! Just imagine a sax blue blouse with a candy pink waistcoat over the top of a pink skirt, how cute would that be?!

I hope this article has given you a little more insight into making more coords with your Lolita wardrobe - it obviously takes a bit more money to buy individual items than just OPs, JSKs and basic blouses but you can mix it up so much and get so many different looks with the same items that it extends your Lolita wardrobe to no end! What do you think - do you prefer OPs and JSKs as they're easier to coordinate? Or do you have examples of plain hemmed blouses that look great over skirts? Let me know below in the comments! ^_~ xx

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