View Guestbook
Sign Guestbook


Answers to Reader Questions *new*

Lolita Links:

Introduction Page
G&L Style Guide
Ideology Research
Novala Takemoto
Mihara Mitsukazu
Personal Thoughts
Personal Gallery
How to Crossdress
Related Styles

Music Links:

Schwarz Stein

Velvet Eden



Personal Links:

My art/bio/music
About the Site

Main Page

Lolita, Gothic, and Gosuloli's
-or an overly thorough explanation of the lolipops-

Now as you all probably know by now Takemoto Novala was arrested for being in posession of drugs....
In Nichome.... ...... ... ... . . . .

Well, regardless of what else he was doing in Nichome, I would just like to remind you that going to jail
RUINS PEOPLE'S LIVES. There's nothing funny about it. Srsly. And I don't even particularly like him.

I still do wish him the best of luck and hope that the Japanese legal system will prove human for once
and go easy on him. Drugs are just drugs after all, and while I don't do them I don't see how
he was hurting anybody else ;_; Ganbare yoz

Attention: I am a serious anthropologist, and this is my research. If anyone uses this information, comes up with a similar guide in an academic or media context, etc without telling me or being able to back up their claims to simultanious discovery...I may sue. Aside from Shihori, who can potentially do with it as she pleases. Copyright Faith as of 2005.

And special thanks go to Miyu Komoto for helping me with unreadable kanji, sticky parts, etc etc.


Features: (I do not always outline new things here, so please check the "Updates" in the upper left-hand corner for more)

08.24.06 - I want you to read this. It explains a lot about lolita, this site, me, etc.

FIRST AND FORMOST: When I started studing lolita 3 years ago (yeees, 4 years ago), I was lucky enough to meet with an amazingly reflective and intelligent Japanese Lolita studying at the same institution as I was. Her name is ShiOOri Asako, and she is still brilliant. I was only beginner/intermediate level in Japanese, and when I asked her to tell me about lolitas she outlined the different styles as she saw them. I decided to put them up on the net for people who were interested, not expecting the guide to become popular...but it did, didn't it? *laughs*
After that, I went to Japan, read internet sites, books, BBS's...and decided I had to disagree with her. This is my version of the guide and definition of the styles. However, the idea to write a guide came from my discussion with her, as well as terms such as "italoli," which people had heard, but no one mentioned when I asked them about them.


A preface to the guide, which I highly suggest you read

A refutation of people's angry responses that I had to dig out by myself because no one bothered to email me about them

And please, I am a bandgirl. I am also gothic and lolita outside of my bandgirl identity, but I am still bandgirl. If you have time, check out my favorite band, Schwarz Stein. They broke up, but still have diaries, and Hora (keyboard) is still making CD's under God Synthesis, AND they're back together temporarily to do a one time thing called "another cell"...if you're at all interested...you can still order it from



A. Goths
- black and white, occasional red
- crosses
- "like sisters/nuns"
- occasional lace, chains, or frills, but not a lot
- long hair, black sometimes
- short or long skirts, pants, long overcoats
Atlier Boz, Moi Meme Moitie, NA+H
There is a lot of confusion between punk and goth, especially when someone wears something black with chains and belts on it.

B. Cyber and Cyberlolita
- Feotus (miyavi) and Takuya Angel
- really bright, neon colors
- use of traditional Japanese design elements and fabrics
Sometimes these look like clown suits. They're still considered somehow traditional Japanese by some.

C. Casual
- Vivienne Westwood
- Emily Temple Cute
These stores are located on the 5th floor of Laforet, making them just as inconvenient to get to, but at the same time removing them from the lolita stores in the basement. They are for people who like cute, but do not necessarily like lolita. The clerks at Vivienne Westwood insist they are not lolita. (For those who do not know, Vivienne Westwood, along with Gaultier, are globally recognized).

D. Punks
- umm...punky?
- Sexy Dynamite *everything*, Algonquins

E. Lolitas
Lolitas are defined by their cute image. They are imagined to like things that young girls like, such as lace, frills, teddy bears, etc. The image is definitely that of a young girl, and it is thought that lolita is more extreme than punk and goth, although outsiders have a tendency to lump the three styles together into "lolita" anyhow. There are 2 major distinctions before anything else: bandgirl and non-bandgirls.


1. Bandgirls
- some dress up only to go to concerts, where they know everyone else will be dressed up too
- some wear the clothing because their idols wear it
- connected to the visual kei scene
- generally not into the politics of being a lolita
- hearkens to the original bandgirls, who wore elaborate punk/lolita outfits
- ageless, since they are doing it for the bands
- may or may not wear the clothing outside of concert-going
- use the clothes to show support and connection to their favorite bands
- non-band related lolitas, or band related lolitas who are snobs, sometimes use "bandgirl" as a derogatory term
- H. Naoto, Moi Meme Moitie, Punk very popular

The following styles are not ONLY for bandgirls, but they are most often the choice of bandgirls.

a. Elegant Gothic Lolita
- Mana's image of what a woman should look like
- heavier make-up, sometimes
- more of a fit, grown up feeling
- HEAVY tie to Malice Mizer or Mana (but not always M10M)

The innocence of a maiden, her cuteness, sweetness,
And her love of other's misery.
It exists within everybody, and the memories of that instant
Made into a fashion image,
That is E.G.L. (Elegant gothic lolita)
Treated lavishly with frills, ribbons, and lace
Just as one were an antique doll
Though it may be the production of pure darling,
I pursued a dress to make one feel that, somewhere, it holds "poison"
I ask of you to test your maidenhood memories within.

The Gothic Lolita Bible "agrees with Mana completely about what a Gothic Lolita is. Mana is like the prince of the GLB." According to one of the people who works there. And, just randomly, diamonds can be EGL certified, and that means they are good.

b. Elegant Gothic Aristocrats (EGA)


As the word "aristocrat" shows, to the last,
the basic doctrine of EGA is the fusion of "beauty and the sublime."
It is male, and it is female
It is neither male, nor female
"hermaphroditism" "androgeny"
While pursuing that kind of neuter charm it is
A dress enshrouded in uncertainty and chilling sublimity
That is the concept of E.G.A. (Elegant Gothic Aristocrat)
Aristocratic and lady-like,
like an angel and like a devil
What direction it may take depends on you.

It seems older people should become gothic aristocrat or goth. Older lolitas are dubious for me and receive a lot of criticism from their younger counterparts. Younger people may say they think anyone should be able to wear anything, but they're uncomfortable with the idea all the same, becuase it means the person is not becoming a member of society. By 30 minasan...for a lot of people the cut off is somewhere around 24-26. Some mothers wear it, but they do it with their daughters and wear long skirts.


2. Sweet Lolita (Amaloli)

a. Amaloli (sweet lolitas)
- Baby, Angelic Pretty, Innocent World, MAM
- lace and frills
- use of headpieces
- also known as Koterori, they are the originals
- teddy bears
- use informal language
My friend says they are ditzy, but she's a highly educated kurorori so I don't know if I can trust what she says. Anyway, they are basically normal people who wear weird clothes. They like the west. They do not try to speak politely though, because their message is "I am just a normal person in strange clothes; please do not think I am weird." Like otaloli, they tend to be younger. A general feeling here seems to be that once someone reaches 20 she should stop being Ama or hide her age.

(1) shirololi (white lolitas)
- amaloli who wear all white
For goodness sake, please do NOT wear a white dress with giant black boots or striped stockings. This is something just about everyone agrees is ugly.
(2) himeloli (princess lolitas)/Anchikuloli (antique lolita)
- past knee length skirts
- floral print patterns
- elaborate hair
- tiaras, occasionally
- the "hime cut", with cheek length bangs and long, straight hair

b. Curashikku (classic lolitas) and Roriita (Lolitas)
- Victorian Maiden, Emily Temple Cute, Juliette et Justine
- language does matter
- very reserved
- the place where everything that is not black, white, or frilly goes
- Jane Marple is not lolita, but is often worn
They're not as *glam glam adeyaka* as the others, but are extremely reserved. It DOES reflect in their language, probably because they don't look as odd as the others. They can afford to act a little strange. They are creepy, just from experience...I hate talking to them.
c. Romantic Lolita (optional distinction)
- use of an european princess image
- lot of bows and ribbons
- not princess costume halloween dresses though
d. Kurorori (black lolitas)
- Atlier Pierrot, H. Naoto, H. Naoto Blood and Frill, Angelic Pretty, Innocent World, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, Cornet
- they're not really into the ideology
- they tend to be pretty cheerful people, and want a cuter image
- they wear mainly black, but a little white too
- minimal make up
- more of the little girl feel of amaloli
- cloth textures tend to be plain, like cottons as opposed to silk
Kurorori dress the way they do because they like to. The style often crosses over with gothic lolita, since no one can completely separate them as of yet. This doesn't mean that the girls themselves are unsure of their identity, since they are sweet lolita, and sweet lolita are not gothic lolita. But to everyone else it can be hard to tell.


3. Gosuloli (gothic lolitas)
- Moi Meme Moitie, Innocent World, Atelier Pierrot, Millefleures
- they wear black, or blue, or white...or whatever they think is gothic lolita
- depressive, suicidal art (wrist cut) stereotype
- black lipstick and false eyelashes, sometimes
- crosses, sometimes
- more mysterious than cute, sometimes
- use of velvet, tafeta...curtain material...sometimes, if it's Mana...
- mostly black, white, and a little blue or red (not too much white though, and it shouldn't feel like you're "free." Suffer, damn it >_<)
- somewhat scary at times, like "don't touch" feeling
- popular among both band and non-band related lolitas equally, but a LOT of bandgirls chose it

I won't get into these so much. I mean, there's enough about them out there already. But they aren't always EGL, they don't speak all funky and use big words. Like the Amaloli, they try to convince people that they are just normal people who dress differently...and no one knows what a gothic lolita is, really.

What is gothic lolita?
The Really Friendly Moitie Clerk: "Um...hold on..." *runs over to other moitie clerk*
Male Moitie clerk: "Um...I dunno *laughs* I think maybe black and white. The body line's tighter, more elegant."
Moitie Manager: "O_O"
Girl: "I'm gothic lolita because I'm wearing black and white. If I were all black, I would be kurorori."
Girl 2: "It's crosses and spider web prints. Like H. Naoto Blood."
Band promoter: "It's black and white. There's an atmosphere of scary, like don't come near me. Lot of black eye-liner."
Closet Child Clerk: "Kurorori and Gothic lolita...aren't they the same? I guess it depends on how everything is worn together. They use make-up more often too. Their hair should be more shoulder length, cause that's lolita." Are they hiding something, do you think? "Yeah...maybe, yeah. They've got a mysterious feeling."
Boz clerk: "It's floatier fabrics, and not a lot of frills and ruffles, but still some. The lace is important, and of course black and white. Maybe there's a scary atmosphere to it."
Innocent World Clerk: "It depends on the brand. Marble, Visible, Moitie...like this [dress] is black, but it has a high waste and a cute feeling, so it's not gothic lolita. But if you wear it with other things, it can be."
Kera Clerk: "It's whatever. Anyone who says they're a gothic lolita can be."
Angelic Pretty Clerk: "No hearts and bows and stuff, that's too cute. Gothic lolitas are more beautiful, and maybe a little scary. Black and white stuff can be gothic lolita, and sometimes red and blue."
H. Naoto clerk: "Huh...*laughs* I dunno, I never thought about that...There's no difference between kurorori and gothic lolita. They're scary sometimes, like a crazy image. Don't touch me, like, or like a horror show. Eh?...I really don't know at all."
Two girls: "They're like demons, black. They like bands, and because they like the bands they dress that way to get closer to their idols."

Lady: "There are really frilly, and that's amaloli, kinda frilly, and that's classic, and then not so frilly, and that's gothic lolita. The ideal gothic lolita is one of those guys from a vis kei band."

Everyone I asked had to think really hard about it, and there's a definite blurring of kurololi and gothic lolita in most people's minds. Again, they're completely different things, but hard to tell apart sometimes just be looking.


4. Pankurori (punk lolitas) - not always recognized as a category but makes sense
- somewhere, anywhere between any of the categories
- just have to be punkish
- popular among staff at events and respectful if done properly
Pretty self explainitory. H. Naoto Blood, usually, or a mix of brands.

5. Erorori (erotic lolitas)
- mainly it's a skin thing - tank tops are erotic almost without fail
- they like corsettes
- black and red clothes
- bondage
- Black Peace Now, H. Naoto


6 - subset. Otarori (otaku lolitas) and Italoli (painful lolitas)
- they are "the people who got it wrong" in the elitist circles
- a lot of black and white
- cheap fabric and lace
- headdresses
- influenced very heavily by anime and manga
- usually younger fans, around 14
- use of handcuffs
- people who do it for the cosplay
- the entrance phase that some gothic lolitas go through before finding their niche
- Putomayu, BATSU, Bodyline, anything gotten as a set on Takeshita Doori
- influenced by anime and manga
- wear clothes that, somehow, do not suit them
- use super polite language all the time
- use way to elaborate make-up
Otarori are fascinating, really. They are not accepted by the other lolitas, but it sounds like they might not care so much either way. There is a unique otarori culture with its own set of rules and images for people to follow. They chose cheaper clothing, and thus the material resembles cosplay.
Otarori flirt with Italoli a bit. It's like in "I feel Sick," when Dev goes to the goth club and talks to the "mummy" with the bees. These're the people who carry it to an extreme and annoy everyone like hell. No one wants them around cause they're just trying too hard or not at all. I'm sure you know some people like that. The other type, although no one voices it, are the people who think they are better than all the other lolitas because they have money/a nice face/etc. They're the worst say some.

My reply to someone getting upset at me for saying Putumayo is Otarori...

Of all of the goth/punk/lolita stores, the one in the Laforette basement with Putumayo, MAM, and the like gets the most attention. Everyone browses the other stores, but the number of 14 year olds in half-lolita half-casual clothing that go to the Putumayo-based store is large, making up most of the sales. Putumayo is simply more accepted in society at large, and is often worn half-heartedly by younger people not quite into the subculture. MAM provides them with an entire outfit, and thus they do not have to coordinate and define their style for themselves.
Putumayo is okay if worn by someone who knows what they're doing and can accesorize properly and commit to the full style. But aside from a little extra lace here and there, and a drawing of a two headed bunny or the like, the clothes often resemble those found in the Shinjuku station department stores. I get no extra attention when I wear it outside Harajuku, whereas when I dress in Boz, Moitie, or H. Naoto Blood I get stared at. Putumayo tends to elicit envious stares from high school girls.

Subway convo between two girls about my Putumayo outfit:
"Look at that. Cool."
"It's so nice..."
"I can't wait until I'm in college; I don't wanna wear this uniform anymore."
"Yeah. Me too. I wanna be able to wear my own stuff."
And so on.



7. EGS (Elegant Gothic Sumololita)
- Mana's newest style
- frilly sumo underpants
- custom designed for aging cross dressers

(it's a real picture from Mana's new concert. I swear. I got it from Shoxx *lol - I figure he'd already hate me so I can do this*)


When I asked a bunch of randomly chosen people in Harajuku about the whole "can a guy be a lolita" debate they found it..well, wrong. Judging from the answers, just about everyone in Harajuku thinks there are no male lolita as of 12/02/04 (one female Boz clerk aside), though if someone designs something that catches on it might change. They can only be...

A. Punk
B. Goth
C. Cyber-wa
D. Prince
E. Dressing in Drag/Crossdressing/Cosplaying
F. Following the same guidlines as female lolita
G. Violet (he's the 75 lb. DJ who wears big hats and is always in the bible. He chases after socks and forgets what he's told you within a 24 hour period; I think I would love him, but I don't) or Novala...whom I dislike

PLEASE consider it. What kind of Japanese guy is into the things he was into when he was a young girl? One who has problems defining "girl" I think...jrockers excluded on performance basis and Mana excluded on his seemingly unrequitted love for his girl self basis. Don't underestime the importance of gender roles in Japan. I have met male lolitas, but they try very hard to wear exactly what they would if they were girls.

Just on a side note, if you want to make friends with lolita it is extremely easy. Don't act like you know everything though cause, well, you know so much less than they do. And dressing up helps; if you look good people will actually come up to you to chat. Just don't try talking to the ones who look like they are snobby; they probably are.