If there is one thing I love about lolita, it is that the fashion itself is so adaptable and flexible that it is entirely possible to have your cake and eat it too. There are of course a few exceptions to the rule, but many fashion styles can be combined with the lolita aesthetic to create something which is inherently lolita while channeling something very different. I love seeing lolitas that have a particular eye for fashion combine lolita with a completely separate aesthetic to create a very interesting look.
While I think it is rather easy to combine lolita with say, vintage 1950s fashion, it is much harder to take an aesthetic which does not value the feminine or elegant and turn it into a true lolita look. That being said, a yukata and a lolita dress don't seem to go together, but there are a number of very successful wa lolita coordinates out there.
Innovation is the bread and butter of fashion and should be rightly celebrated. Never be afraid to try something new, different, and overall "out there" because there is no telling what you might discover. If there is one mantra you should chant in your head when taking a risk in lolita fashion it is that the aesthetic is all about the silhouette. While I think that many people in the community get far too up in arms over more deflated or subtler A-line petticoats, at the end of the day you should have some volume on your lower half. The playfulness of a petticoat makes all the difference in lolita and by remembering the basic silhouette, you're sure to steer clear of various skirts which would be either too long, or two short to truly fit the lolita look. Take a look at the beginner's diagram that I used in my tips post and notice how the volume of the skirt is balanced by the hair and accessories on the upper half of the body. With such a big statement piece as a poofy skirt, it's important not to forget about loading the upper half up with enough pieces, layers, and details to keep the coordinate from looking bottom-heavy. We want our petticoats to appear weightless, not like they're dragging us to the depths of the Stodgy Sea.
I am always excited to see lolita combined with other fashions, styles, and aesthetics. I think that the mix of different ideas is really what makes lolita an interesting and constantly evolving fashion. At its beginnings, substyles like wa or qi lolita certainly weren't in existence. Instead it took a number of young fashionistas who were willing to combine traditional garments with the avant garde adventurousness of lolita. If anything, combining other fashions with lolita is mostly about remembering what defines lolita and sticking to your guns. Lolita is about the silhouette, the detailing, and the quality of the materials. As long as you combine those three ideas into your lolita coord, it becomes all the more feasible to combine the fashion you love with another stylish inspiration or interest.
That being said, as I mentioned in my article about iconic styles, there are some periods of fashion history which are so profound in their cultural influence that you would be hard-pressed to turn them into a new lolita substyle. Roaring 20s flapper dresses are the antithesis of lolita, and though it would be difficult to work into a truly successful coordinate, an Art Deco coordinate is far more manageable. Sometimes fashion is about compromises and the ingenuity is in knowing when to push and when to give. I would love to see some mod 60s colorblocking in a lolita coordinate, or a flapper-style headdress paired with a dress which makes use of some exquisite beadwork. The possibilities are endless, and all it takes is a little flexibility to make it work.
Until next time, stay strong and beautiful, my lovelies,