How to Lolita: Building a Basic Coordinate

Hello, all! So I want to apologize in advance for what will definitely be a pretty long post. One of my goals in creating this blog is to provide detailed information on how to get started in Lolita. It seems to me that I should begin with the most basic and fundamental aspect of being a Lolita: coording! I’m generally mechanically-minded and the way that I coordinate outfits is decidedly formulaic, which has advantages and disadvantages. A major advantage is that my thinking is fairly simple to explain and does result in some nice outfits. I think at the very least it’s a great way for beginners to get the hang of Lolita fashion. I have a few methods for building coords, but this one is easiest and fastest. It can be done in just four steps, and typically takes me about 5 to 15 minutes to throw together a passable outfit. I’m planning on covering methods for creating more complicated coords as well as including contributions from friends in various styles, but I thought it would be best to have some basic information here too so it can be referenced later.

Think of a coord as having three to four layers. The bottom layer is foundation garments, which for me includes bloomers, petticoats, a bra, a camisole, and sometimes a corset. Next is my base layer, which usually consists of just a blouse and legwear. Third, I have my main piece; a skirt, JSK, or OP. The fourth (and totally optional) layer is outerwear, usually a coat, cardigan, bolero, or cape. For true beginners, these pieces are covered in way more detail at the Lolita Guidebook.

Step 1: Normally, when I’m planning a coordinate, the first thing I choose is my main piece. Whether it’s a solid color, an all-over pattern, or a print, this will probably be the focal point. Once you have your main piece, you can determine whether you’ll be creating a Classic, Gothic, or Sweet coord. For my example, I’ll be starting out with a skirt that is firmly planted in Sweet territory.

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Step 2: Next, I use my main piece to determine what color my base layer should be. The blouse and legwear don’t necessarily need to match each other in every coordinate of course, but for this method I match both to the color of the lace on the main piece, in this case white. Remember, matching both style and color is extremely important to the overall finished look! Plain white tights would be perfectly acceptable here, but I think that having patterned tights or OTKs make the completed coord look a little more polished. I choose a white blouse and printed white OTKs that match the color scheme of the skirt, making sure that both suit the Sweet style.img_3210

 

Step 3: At this point, I decide on an accent color. Now, in this case it’s pretty simple because the only color in the main piece is red, so my accent color is naturally going to be red. Sometimes, especially with prints, there will be a few colors to choose from. Choose whichever you’d like, but stick with just one for this method. Once you’ve decided on your accent color, choose shoes, a bag, and headwear that use that color, again being sure to consider the overall style. I definitely get a Summery vibe from what I have so far, so I try to echo that in my choices.

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At this point we’re nearly done. The last step s to accessorize. This is where the concept of color balance comes into play, so I’ll explain that briefly before I continue.

In order to ensure that a coord is balanced, think of it as being divided into five sections: head, torso, arms (including hands), skirt, and legs (including feet). The idea is just to ensure that the accent color is represented in all five sections.

Step four: In this case, there’s no red on the torso yet and the arms are completely bare, so we’ll have to correct that! I do notice that the socks have strawberries on them and I don’t want them to be the only strawberries in the whole coordinate as that might look a little strange. Echoing motifs from a printed piece (stars for a sky print, for example) is generally a good idea. I start looking for red strawberry accessories for the arms and torso. It doesn’t take me long to find a few.

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So there you have it! It may not be the most innovative coord in the world, but it’s totally acceptable to wear to a meet. This is my go-to method when I need to get ready in a hurry or when I’m just feeling uninspired. As long as you pay close attention to the style of each piece and make sure that any print motifs appear a few times throughout the coord, it should yield some nice results.

Happy coording!

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