Friday, January 21, 2011

Country Lolita, Old School: Looking Back at Some Basics

The egl livejournal community's monthly theme for January is "old school," which means looking back on lolita's earlier periods as a fashion (late 80s through the early 2000s) and revisiting some of the aesthetics and trends popular way back when. I thought this would be a great opportunity to look back on country lolita (back when it was more about coordinating sweet lolita a certain way than its own little subset). As I looked at old Gothic and Lolita Bible pics, Kera snaps and brand ads, I made a few notes about the recurring themes and elements within the outfits. Here we go, *cues Dr. Who theme music*:

Click on the image to see the larger version.

1. Frizzy Hair and Pigtails, especially with curls or bangs. Pigtails are a very casual hairstyle, but very cute overall. They can be worn plain or poofed up/frizzy or in ringlets or braided with flowers or berries in them. Even wear them in "Gretel" style like the Angelic Pretty model in 4th image in.

2. Straw Bags, Totes, Picnic Baskets, Boaters, Mini-Hats and Bonnets are the most common ways of accessorizing a country outfit even today, but the straw bonnet and mini-hat seem to be the chosen accessories of yesteryear. These were decorated particularly with small flowers or berries, and might fasten on the head with pins or with neck-ties. A straw/wicker bag or basket really completes the look.

3. Gingham, Berries, and Pastoral Pastel Florals are the prints of choice. Popular berries are strawberries and cherries, popular ginghams are red, blue and pink. The "old school" dresses are mostly puffy sleeved with bell-sleeve extensions and front ribbon "corset" detail, not to mention a LOT of lace, ribbons and even embroidered appliques as seen in image 3.

4. Grab Your Parasol and Capelet, but Let Your Legs Hang Out because bare knees and calves are common in the country stylings of yesteryear and in the country subset of classic/sweet lolita today. Since the aesthetic conveys the sense of being outdoors, elegant stockings with lacey motifs don't quite fit. The most common socks worn (as seen in many of the examples) are plain white knee socks and ankle socks--often decked out in little crocheted and embroidered berries, keeping with the outdoorsy motif. The most common shoes back then? Red, white or pink platform mary janes, usually that lace up the leg partway or that have one small strap at the ankle. I didn't see a lot of "country" examples rocking the black platform mary janes that were popular back then, nor did I see any boots which I personally like with country loli.

5. Neutral Make-up Palette with a Rosey Cheek is your weapon of choice, as seen in image 8 on the second row. A nice rosey blush on the apples of your cheeks fits in with the idea of being outdoors, as opposed to the pale, porcelain make-up of other lolita styles. But contrary to the sometimes very made-up look of today's sweet lolita, country make-up has remained neutral--minimal eye makeup, blush, and light-hued glossy lips are pretty much all that's needed. Your main color palette should be browns,pinks, light pastels and soft sunny gold tones--maybe a kiss of berry red.

Thanks for joining me in a walk down memory lane. I made up a little coordinate inspired by old-school country style in honor of this little time trip (Below the cut):

Straw mini-hat and basket, muted pastel florals, white knee socks with white mary janes, front corseting on the skirt, long poofy sleeves, minimal makeup, pink lips, rosey cheeks and frizzy, curly hair with bangs (you can't really see in the photo too well, but my hair is falling in loose, wavy ringlets). Plus my trusty parasol of course ;-)

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