I’m finally making a dent in the Lolita Fashion 101 series! I’m essentially taking the whole presentation I’d normally give at conventions, fleshing out different sections, and adding a ton of new things.
Anyone familiar with Lolita Fashion to any degree will have noticed that many wearers, whether in magazines or outfit snaps, have impossibly perfect hair, and perhaps share the same hairstyle as many other girls. What you’re likely seeing is a lot of people wearing wigs with their coordinates instead of their own hair. Wigs have always had a presence in Lolita, but have really flourished in the last few years as better quality fibers became more affordable and widely available in styles which suit the Lolita aesthetic. From Oldschool ringlets to OTT twintail wigs, there’s something to cater to every substyle of the fashion.
Why wear a wig?
A huge part of the wig popularity is down to them being very versatile. Lolita-appropriate ones are available in a wide range of styles and colours, so they’re a godsend for those (like myself) who are less than capable when it comes to styling hair, or who don’t want to change their hair colour to match a coord. If your hair is pink and you want to wear a red coord, but fear a bad clash, all you have to do is slap on a different colour wig and you’re good to go. Even outside of Lolita, they’re great to satisfy those fleeting urges to dye hair repeatedly.
Keep in mind, however, that wigs are not an essential, or even important, part of the fashion. You shouldn’t feel pressured to wear one if you don’t want to, and you definitely shouldn’t be buying one before actual wardrobe essentials such as a petticoat. Even if you wear wigs, you shouldn’t feel like you absolutely have to wear one every single time you wear Lolita. You do not need to wear a wig to wear Lolita, period.
Good Wigs vs Bad Wigs
Before buying a wig, it’s very important to know what you’re looking for. Generally speaking, you want a wig to look natural, or as close to that as possible. That means that you might want to give your local costume shop a miss. Good wigs for Lolita are those with natural colours that look close to natural, and unnatural colours which aren’t too bright or tacky.
Notice how the wigs appear soft and almost natural in texture. Even though the wig on the right is an unnatrual colour, the quality does not fall, and is similar in that regard to the more natural-looking wig on the left. To someone familiar with wigs, it’s easy to tell that it’s artificial, but it’s not cheap or costumey looking, which is the most important part. Unless you buy a human hair wig, you’re unlikely to get one that doesn’t shine a tiny bit, but the less shine, the better.
Cheaper, bad quality wigs often look shiny and plastic, and are pretty much never worth buying for fashion because they’re of no use outside of, well, costume parties.
While quality would be the main issue, there are a lot of styles and colours that might be best avoided, especially as a beginner Lolita. Even in stores catering to Lolitas, or known to be of good quality, you will come across colours or colour combinations which are too harsh or gaudy for Lolita.
The above styles would be very difficult, if at all possible, to work into a Lolita coord without looking like you’d run through a Halloween party and brought half of it with you. The colours aren’t suitable for any dress I can think of, and not to mention the makeup you’d have to wear to not look ill while wearing them! These sorts of wigs, while possibly of decent quality, are best avoided altogether.
Wearing Your Wig
✂ Make sure to cut the fringe of your wig! It may be tempting to just leave the fringe long and sweep it to one or either side, but this can look sloppy and unflattering.
✂ Use common coordination sense with unnatural colours. Don’t shoehorn a pastel pink wig into an otherwise Gothic coordinate, it doesn’t make any sense. When you’re wearing an unnatural colour, it becomes part of the overall colour scheme of your coord, so be sure it ties in if you’re going to wear it at all.
✂ Avoid wearing longer wigs in very windy weather. Apart from the horror of having your wig fly off your head, wig fibres can get badly tangled in the wind, I daresay worse than natural hair. Unless you’re willing to sit down and tease out the tangles afterwards, put it in plaits, substitute a shorter wig, or just wear your own hair.
A good wig shouldn’t be exceptionally delicate, but keep in mind that wigs can’t be calmed with sprays and mousses in the same way that our own hair can when it’s damaged. For that reason, it’s important to take good care of your wig from the very first wear to get the longest use possible from it. Brush your wig through gently before and after every wear. It’s tempting to throw it off and forget about it after a long meetup, but taking a few minutes to brush through it and put it away properly, storing it in the bag it came in, can give the wig a much longer lifespan. My essential duo for keeping wigs tangle-free and in good shape is a Tangle Teezer for easing out knots without tearing the fibres, and Mane n Tail Detangler.
For particularly bad tangles, give the wig a good spray of detangler and gently work it onto the wig fibres. Try to get the worst of the knots out gently by hand if you can, and then brush through. There are many other brushes and detanglers you can get for wigs, but I’ve gotten great wear out of wigs using these.
If you think you’re ready to take the plunge and buy your first wig, these are some reputable shops with styles suitable for Lolita and other styles.