Wearing your j-fashion clothes in unexpected ways

Lolita fashion brands both big and small show off their pieces with lookbooks, fashion shows, and photoshoots. These displays of pageantry not only entice buyers but they also give ideas for styling. But there’s no reason that you have to stick the way everyone else is styling a piece. There’s nothing to say you can’t get weird with it. 

Temporary modifications like pinning or folding pieces can transform the way they look. Plus, it makes your wardrobe bigger without having to buy anything new. Here are some ideas for wearing  your clothes in unintended ways. 

The first step is to identify pieces or elements of pieces that catch your eye. Next you’ll want to imagine what changes you can make temporarily. Can you roll up the sleeves? Can you pin it opened or closed? What happens if you change the hemline? Next, experiment! It’s helpful to do this on a dressform or in front of a large mirror so you can examine it from all sides. It may turn out that your temporary modification exposes the interior of an item or it’s uncomfortable to wear. 

The absolute master of this technique is j-fashion blogger Avina-kei. Their Instagram is full of unusual stylings of all kinds of items. With liberal use of safety pins and an eye towards a voluminous silhouette, Avina transforms main pieces into entirely different shapes to create their coordinates. 

No Sweat(er)

When I saw this Leifdottir sweater in a thrift store, I had immediate thoughts of using it for the gorgeous, eye catching collar. It’s thin material and skin tight sleeves made it a bad fit for layer over other clothes. Rather than using it as outerwear, I started wearing it under JSKs so I could show off the bodices of my dresses. This sweater is now one of my favorite blouses, even though that’s not really how it was designed. 

All Tucked In

One very common suggestion is to fold a JSK at the waist to use it as a skirt. Keep in mind that this may require you to pin the zipper closed, wear a thick top to cover the waist, or wear a belt to keep the piece in place. This modification allows you to show off cutsews that might otherwise be covered by the bodice of a dress, totally transforming your JSK.

Likewise, while I love the collar on this Mullberry Chronicles JSK, it can limit the blouses that can be worn under it. I wanted to pair this dress with a wide collar to evoke a more country, sweet vibe. Thought it wasn’t designed this way, I simply tucked the collar inside the dress and hide the edges of it with a wide collar. I have a little bit of wiggle room near the neckline, so the collar isn’t too rough against my skin, but the part near the zipper would look strange if I didn’t cover it. 

Put a pin in it

Perhaps my weirdest modification was using this overdress from Miss Danger has an overskirt/bustle. I cannot take credit for this one: my friend Yani saw me planning this coordinate and commented that it would look cute with a fake bustle. We re-arranged the gathering at the waist and pinned the top down. She was absolutely right. I’m not sure if I would wear this look to an event like a convention or tea party, but for a photoshoot for Virtual Versailles it was perfect. 

I hope that these examples inspire you to pin up your skirts, roll up your sleeves, and turn your clothes inside out. Okay, maybe that last one won’t work. But who knows! Let me know what you find out. 


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