After realising I had difficulty making a Lolita-fashion outfit that felt summery I have endeavoured to do some research to help me to create a Lolita fashion coordinate for the summer. I'd like to share what I have found.
If there's anything I've learnt from this research it is the idea of "evocation". One of my favourite fashion books My Basic Note by Naho Mihirogi states that "Clothes show what our inner-selves and our life style is like on the outside. Clothes are the film that connect me to society." What you are doing with fashion is creating an image that is interpreted by your audience. In other words, there is no specific summer lolita fashion and only images that evoke the idea of summer.
Historical Summer Fashion
Lolita is said to be based on historical fashions from the Baroque, Rococo and Victorian period. This is roughly the period from the 15th century right through to the turn of the 18th century. That's around 300 years of skirts and sleeve sizes billowing and contracting and waist lines going up and down much like a hot air balloon attached to a carousel 1, 2. Of course, one cannot begin to pigeon hole the thoughts and fashions of the whole world over this period of time so please take what I say with a grain of salt and your own research.
It seems from what I can glean that although fashion changed it was not as bound by spring, summer, autumn, winter seasons back in those times. In fact, in many places with relatively milder weather, women were expected to stick it out most of the time in the same type of clothes they would wear other times of the year 3, 4. Of course, coats and shawls etc. could be added in winter if required. Clothing appears to be split up into morning, afternoon and evening wear as well as occasion wear such as mourning and wedding clothing. Other places, such as Virginia, had a less forgiving climate so in summer less layers were worn or different materials, such as lustring, silk and light wool were utilised 5. In general, accessories seem to change from heavier fabrics such as velvet in colder months to straw or linen in warmer months 6, 7, 8. 9.
Here are a few portraits from the period to give you an idea of the changing fashions throughout the times. I've tried to include ones with accessories as much as possible.
|Portrait of a Lady - Gabriel Metsu (1667)|
|Left: Portriat of Marquise de Pompadour - Francois Boucher (1759)|
Middle: Portrait of a Noblewoman - Donat Nonotte (1760)
Right: Portrait of the Marchioness Angela Maria Lombardi - Unknown (c.1710)
|Left: Unknown Portait - Howard E. Gray (c. 1885)|
Middle: Portrait of Josephine Bowes - Louis William Desanges (1858)
Right: Portriat of Countess Daru - Jacques Louis David (1810)
As a general rule in fashion, it's thought that the lighter the colour is, the closer it is to summer and the darker the colour is the closer it is to winter. This, however, this doesn't mean a person is only able to wear white in summer. It means that a lighter version of a colour will be viewed as a "Summer Colour". This particular video, featuring Yoshimasa Hoshiba from B.R. Fashion College, explains this concept quite well using a navy jacket as an example 10. As there are no subtitles I have made a few screen caps below.
|"As you increase the amount of white in a colour it approaches a summer colour" - 11|
|"The navy [on this jacket I'm holding] is more of a Spring/Summer navy |
and the navy that I'm wearing at the moment falls more on the side of Autumn/Winter navy." - 12
According to Lolita Fashion Book
I happened to get a hold of the Lolita Fashion Book by Misako Aoki when I was in Japan in 2014. As well as information about the lolita fashion basics as well as make-up and hair tutorials, it has this to say about Lolita in Summer.
"The trick is to use accessories made with natural materials..."
- Go for less petticoats to make your clothes more breathable
- Use natural materials for bags and hats etc. to evoke summer
- Pair short sleeves with wrist cuffs for cuteness right down to your hands
Scan from Lolita Fashion Book by Misako Aoki
To summarise the above, wearing the same type of clothes in every season can be an option as a personal preference or even from a historical perspective. There are also methods that can evoke a summer-feel to an outfit. These include choosing light or natural fabrics that breath well such as light cotton, chiffon or linen; choosing colours that are a shade brighter such as a bright navy, light brown and rose and choosing accessories made of natural materials, particularly straw or cotton.
My Idea For Summer Outfits
Personally, I think single colour pieces in cotton finished with white lace could really come into their own in summer outfits. I like the idea of "breathable" not only in the use of materials and outfit but in an evocative sense as well. What I'm talking about is spaced out prints: prints that give the impression that the wind could blow through the space between them. This, I believe, will be the corner stone of my personal summer style in lolita fashion. This as well as Marine themes that evoke the seaside, which is a popular summer activity.
Below are some prints from different brands, which I feel could work well in a summer coordinate. I've tried to chose items from different years and in light and darker colours.
|Alice and the Pirates|
Left: Alice's Wonder Marine Treasure JSK (Navy) 2014
Right: Ansie Princess OP (Dark Pink) 2015
Left: Sugary Gingham OP (Pink) 2014
Right: Fairy Marine Skirt (Navy) 2014
|Baby the Stars Shine Bright|
Left: Lilly Rose Basket Bag (Pink) 2013
Right: Alice Brudges OP (Pink) 2012
Left: Peter Rabit Just Waist (Sax) 2016
Right: Carousel of Paris (Ivory) 2014
Summer is almost over and I'm still in lock down in terms of lolita purchasing I don't feel I have the right items to create a good summery lolita outfit so I will have to wait until next year to make an actual summer lolita coordinate with my wardrobe. I hope this article will give you inspiration to find your own summer-style for lolita fashion. If you have any summer lolita fashion coordinates you've done I would love to see them too!
Until next time...