Oldschool Lolita: Wearing the Style Today, and What Wasn’t Lolita.

In my last Oldschool post, I covered a very brief history of the rise, fall, and reemergence of this timeless style. This time around, I’ll be focusing on what to look out for in old street snaps, and the substyle today, including coords made up entirely of modern releases.

Street Snaps: Inspirational, but often misleading
Misleading mightn’t be the exact term I’m looking for, but the untrained eye can most definitely pick up a lot of bad trends and mistake a lot of things that were iffy even then as Oldschool.

GLB_VOL_1 (43)

Barely Lolita, even by early standards.

When trying to document this developing style, photographers likely had a lot of trouble finding particularly good or accurate examples of it. Remember, this is the very early 00’s, and while many Lolita brands that we know were around back then, many originally produced natural-kei clothing, so for those without internet (which was very common back then) or without a particularly big network of people who also dressed the same, the differences between the styles might have been hard to pin down initially. The GLB had to print something, so they often printed peoples interpretations of the style, and coords that wouldn’t reflect even what the Big Brands were putting out at the time.

Another point to note in terms of snaps in the GLB, that many people forget about the “G”.

No, not

No, not “Gesundheit”…

The name of the mook is not “Gothic Lolita Bible”, but “Gothic AND Lolita Bible”. While their focus is much more noticeably Lolita-oriented today, punk and goth elements, adverts, snaps, and garments are still present in every issue. These were present in early issues, too, and the styles often crossed over, so it’s important to keep an eye out for them and not confuse them for Lolita. Mana also brought in some Visual Kei influences, but since he was generally advertising Moitié, he’s normally in Lolita or a EGL.

Wearing The Style Today
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Like I’ve mentioned before, Oldschool is making a comeback, and has been for quite a while. The simplicity of the style calls out to many people who have maybe grown weary of the constant barrage of OTT convention trends, some people feel that it captures the essence of the subculture much better, and of course, some people feel it suits them more than modern styles do. It’s no wonder, then, that so many people now want to add a little Oldschool to their wardrobe. This might seem tricky, but in reality it’s not tough at all. Some people are under the impression that you must only wear older pieces to wear Oldschool, but that’s simply not true. The following coordinates have been put together only with pieces that are either currently available, or that have been available very recently.

                                                                       Standard Oldschool

All from Baby The Stars Shine bright, other than shoes, which are Bodyline.

All from Baby The Stars Shine bright, other than shoes, which are Bodyline.

This coordinate includes the parts of Oldschool that people might remember best, such as the black x white colour scheme, clunky shoes, rectangle headdress, and tons of (good-quality) lace. While many have feared wearing such coords for a few years now, they are accepted as not at all ita by those who have a decent grasp of the fashion. While jumping straight into what was once considered a “risky” coordinate might be terrifying to an Oldschool newbie, if you want to do it, do, and you’ll find that subsequent coords of this style will be less scary to try.

                                                                             Oldschool Sweet

Dress, blouse, shoes, bag: Baby the Stars Shine Bright  Socks and hair bows: Angelic Pretty

Dress, blouse, shoes, bag: Baby the Stars Shine Bright
Socks and hair bows: Angelic Pretty
I should note that a solid-colour JSK would also work here, I just have a huge bias towards tartan.

Oldschool sweet is much, much simpler than the modern sweet lolita we’re used to. Accessories could, of course, be added, but they weren’t a huge deal and an outfit definitely wouldn’t be nitpicked for a lack of them. Colours could also be vivid red, sax blue, and a more salmon-pink which hasn’t been around for a while. Sailor and country themes could also be included. It’s common for oldschool sweet to stick to two main colours, but often, a third would be added, and it was usually black.
sweetwithblackIt might seem crazy to just throw black into an otherwise light-coloured sweet coord, but somehow, it works, especially if it’s tied in by something else, as I’ve done here. It’s supposed that the wearing of black shoes came about from a lack of lolita shoes available to match coords, and that eventually became accepted. It’s also possible that black shoes was a feature inspired by Alice in Wonderland’s design, as she wears black shoes with an otherwise bright outfit, tied in with her black hair ribbon. Whatever the origin, there is something charming about it.

There are other branches of Oldschool Lolita, which I could spend all day talking about, so I thought it best to cover two popular styles.

Oldschool is alive and kicking, and there’s really no doubt about it. While it’s unlikely that it will be as big as any of the fads that come and go year in, year out, it’s definitely finding its place again, with wearers and long-time admirers coming out of the woodwork to share their love for the older style. I’d like to finish up with a few links and acknowledgements.

♥ Old School Lolita Community Worldwide – A Facebook group for those interested in Old School.
♥ Many thanks to Ophelia (http://satanscelestialbaby.tumblr.com/) and Ashley (http://kubikajiri-hime.tumblr.com/) who gave me permission to use their photographs (picture 1 and picture 3 respectively in Wearing The Style Today)!

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One Response to Oldschool Lolita: Wearing the Style Today, and What Wasn’t Lolita.

  1. ravensnow says:

    I definitely think that Baby’s “Classical” line they released recently is helping newer girls who want to jump in and explore oldschool styles without endlessly hounding the secondhand market. I wonder if all the budding interest in oldschool is because of such rereleases, or if the “Classical” line is a response to the interest. Personally, I love their Princess Shirring dress, so I’ll be thrilled every time they release it.


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