Every few years, the lolita community will be raise the alarm: “There’s a mainstream item that will work in lolita!” There was the infamous H&M Dress, the Walmart shoes, and other items that have been lost to time. This year, we’ve been graced with a new item: the Target blouse.
Why does this happen?
Every few years, Western fast fashion trends will align with j-fashion trends. This offers those of us who don’t live in Japan a chance to pick up an item that’s easily accessible and widely available. The Gothic Charm School talks about this phenomenon pretty frequently in regards to gothic fashion.
This year, “cottage core” trends that have some overlap with mori kei and other alt fashion styles appeared in many stores. Natural fibers, cotton lace, and peter pan collars are in. The price of vintage Gunne Sax dreses has skyrocketed. To capitalize on this fad, Target has released a whole line of “cottage core” inspired items, including the Natural Threads blouse.
The blouse is available in white, lavender, and blue. It comes in sizes XS through 4X, which includes bust sizes 32 inches through 60 inches, and waist sizes 25 through 56 inches. (The target website did not include arm measurements and my local store had only select sizes. I know that this information is useful, and if I find more sizes or info, I will update this post accordingly.) The blouse closes in front with a row of buttons and features small puff sleeves and a peter pan collar. The price for all colors and sizes is $22.99
As of this post, it is out of stock online in all colors in 1X, 2X, and 3X, and is only avaliable in pink in 4X. It is in stock in all colors in sizes XS through XXL. Anecdotally, I found some of these blouses at all Targets I’ve visited in Los Angeles this summer.
Be careful what you wish for
Of course, these styles gaining popular has another affect: raising awareness and prices of niche styles. In the last year or so, the rise of Tiktok and a growing interest in alt fashion has sent the prices of sweet and old school dresses skyrocketing. This is particularly grating to fans of old school lolita, who have faced criticism about their substyle being outdated or not “lolita” enough and now are priced out of their favorite dresses.
Avina has already written at length about this over on their blog. Pearlie Cute has also addressed the rising prices of the “golden area” of sweet era dresses in a lengthy YouTube video. I encourage you to check out both of those pieces because they address the reasons that this is happening, how it harms the community, and when it will end.
There’s no doubt that people entering the fashion and driving up the price of previously inexpensive dresses is not good for the community. In a fashion where scalping is a known danger, the high prices and influx of new fans is irritating to veterans of lolita.
Despite the pitfalls of elements of lolita fashion rocketing into the mainstream, I want to buy a billboard and scream from the mountain tops that Target has a blouse that works in our fashion. The fact that this blouse is carried online and in stores means that a newbie can finally have a blouse for their first coordinate. It means that the sweet lolita who always has to order online can walk into a store and try it on. It means that minor who’s guardians won’t order online can ask for a Target gift card and buy this for themselves. And the low price point means that everyone will have some money left over for a headbow or necklace.
On top of that, the blouse is 100% cotton, which means that it will readily take dye. The white blouse offers endless possibilities. For about $5 more, your cotton Target blouse can become the perfect shade of green, orange, or yellow. We all know how hard those colors are to find in lolita.
I hope you buy this blouse. I hope that you tell everyone you know about this blouse. And I hope that maybe, this blouse will spark a fashion journey in an unwary Target shopper who finally found something cute to wear.
Some of my friends have set up a Facebook group precisely to notify everyone of things like this (though as far as I know, the group itself remains friends-focused and hasn’t taken off within the wider UK community). Because loliable things pop up often enough if you care to look and depending on what one considers an accessible price point. And like you said, having certain staples locally means that a fashion like lolita, that’s typically inaccessible to many due to cost and/or size, becomes less so. And hopefully things like this will have fewer lolitas use excuses to not buy themselves blouses etc. Having said this, given how harmful fast fashion is, I also hope that people at least stop to consider how they’re buying from places like Target before committing to a purchase. Just weighing whether they can afford to wait for the blouse to pop up second hand somewhere or whether they are definitely buying to keep it and will use it rather that grab it while it’s hot and then realise that this isn’t really what they wanted to focus on would help ensure that it doesn’t end up being a wasteful purchase despite the initial good intentions.
That sounds like a really useful group! And you’re absolutely right about purchasing clothes (especially fast fashion) mindfully. In my case, this blouse will replace an illfitting Meta blouse that I’ll be selling. I was really happy to be able to try this blouse on before I purchased it because it meant that I could ensure that it fit the way I hoped it would.