Monday, March 9, 2015

Lolita 52 Challenge Week 7 - Why Do I Wear Lolita?

Modeling for Chantilly at RuffleCon 2014 Fashion Show (c) Cammy To
This is a question which, while common enough, is often difficult to answer in its entirety. I find it to be quite easy to offer up a fairly basic reason for my love of lolita fashion - generally one which focuses on the beauty of the aesthetic and the clothes themselves. That being said, beauty alone is not the sole reason I dress in the way that I do. Nor do I think one's love of something can be boiled down to so simple an answer. While some lolitas might staunchly stand by beauty being the sole driving force for their interest in the fashion, I would argue that there are many beautiful fashions and aesthetics in the world which are just as easily accessible as lolita - so why this particular beauty?

I don't believe that I'm alone in mentioning that simultaneous with finding lolita, I was also much younger and just as involved with searching for myself. There is a hint of nostalgia in my love for lolita which stems from the fond memories brought to me by this lovely fashion. It is not unlike wearing your favorite shirt and remembering all of the great times you had in it, or feeling like a particular pair of shoes are your good luck charm because they are never absent when something particularly spectacular happens. Lolita fashion brought me to a lot of places I wouldn't have had the courage to go before and taught me that there is nothing more empowering than the realization that your idea of beauty and self-worth is yours alone; it cannot be dictated by the thoughts or opinions of others no matter how forcefully they are presented.

I would be dishonest if I didn't admit that at first lolita was, in my opinion, the perfect fashion because it covered up areas of my body of which I was not particularly proud. In high school I was particularly self-conscious of my thighs and felt that they were disproportionately large and unseemly - far from the fashionable thigh-gaps of every magazine cover I saw. Lolita skirts and dresses covered my legs with layers of fluffy petticoats and topped them off with the most beautiful prints I had ever seen. My fashion hid the parts of myself I wasn't ready to embrace. In college I learned many valuable lessons about self-worth and beauty which have since banished my negative self-image, but I still feel indebted to the lolita silhouette for allowing me time to come to accept the parts of myself I didn't like, while still dressing in a way which made me feel beautiful.

Above all else, lolita is a celebration of beauty; it is a celebration of craftsmanship, art, discerning tastes, and femininity. My love for lolita stems from an appreciation for this beauty, but also a thankfulness to the fashion that dragged me out of the dark, sat me in a chair, and convinced me that I too was capable of the same level of beauty I had always admired. Wearing beautiful clothes made me feel beautiful and yet not once did I feel overpowered by them. My favorite coordinates were an expression of self, and not a costume to be later removed. Long after I took off my first petticoat and JSK, I still felt their effect - a confidence that could not be shed no matter how many times my personal fashion changed. Ultimately, it was this first experience looking into the mirror and truly appreciating what I saw there that led me back to the fashion years later. I was drawn by that same nostalgia, and love for the loud proclamation to the world that yes, I was covered in frills and lace and all other badges of feminine beauty, and yes I was very proud of that thank you very much. Beauty became an armor as much as it became a skin and lolita became a lens through which to see the world as much as it was the fashion I chose to wear.

In my mind there is only one way to describe the process of falling in love with lolita fashion: once a lolita, always a lolita. Though your personal style might change, the fundamental appreciation for beauty in all its forms and the understanding that craftsmanship has real, true value is something that cannot be so easily shaken.

I wear lolita because I love beauty, but also because it has become a part of who I am today whether or not I'm layered in frills. Lolita is love, lolita is life.

Why do you wear lolita? Share in the comments below!

Until next time - much love,
Burgher

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