This week’s topic for the Lolita Blog Carnival is “Elegant Footwear: What Types Of Shoes Work For Lolita Fashion?” I thought this was an interesting prompt, and I can related to the struggle many people have because they resist the idea of buying shoes specifically for their lolita wardrobe.
I didn’t grow up enamored with femininity, and even in my adult life I’m not particularly fond of heels. In the age of athleisure, I can certainly understand why people who aren’t going to wear lolita daily, or even weekly, would resist the idea of purchasing shoes to specifically match a coordinate. Aren’t there other shoes out there that aren’t made for lolita, but can coordinate nicely?
But even so, I think that most of those options work better for gothic or classic styles, where chunky platforms and Victorian ankle boots don’t look out of place. For sweet lolitas? Well, good luck finding a pink shoe to match, let alone ones that coordinate well. For sweet lolitas, there are so few options that perfectly match the aesthetic that I think it is a better investment to accept that an outfit will look more polished if you just spring for some new shoes. They don’t have to be heels – rocking-horse shoes, platforms and tea-party styles work just as well.
With the rise of Chinese brands, finding affordable shoes that fit is less of a problem than it used to be. Stores like Antaina, Secret Shop, Angelic Imprint and Sosicshop all carry original and knock off styles that range from 15$ to 50$. While shipping can be a minor inconvenience, it is completely possible to order these shoes directly from Taobao without a shopping service for the best price.
There is also the question of whether industrial gothic platform boots, fluvogs, sneakers or rockabilly style shoes work. I think that all of these things are contextual, and depend on what the wearer is going for. If you want to be a traditionalist, then no, they don’t really work. But anyone who has actually worn lolita as a fashion style, instead of worrying about the community aspect can tell you that sometimes it isn’t about replicating the formulaic lolita aesthetic that we’re all so used to – it’s about finding your own authentic personal style for daily wear. After all, weren’t the Vivienne Westwood Rocking Horse Shoes that are now so iconic in our community originally adopted from another style?
Is it best to leave this type of experimentation until after you’ve learned the nuances behind lolita fashion’s unique style? If you want to be able to call your outfit “lolita” then yes, it probably is. To bend or break the rules we need to first know what they are, and how to maintain the overall aesthetic while incorporating new ideas. But regardless, if you wear the fashion often enough there will eventually come a time where practicality wins out over style or your newest fashion obsession will naturally bleed into your lolita coordinates. Over time, this is how new trends come to life, and how people develop their own personal styles.
So, should you mix your Angelic Pretty with your newest Demonia boots or Jeffrey Campbell heels? I don’t see why not.
After all, if you change your mind you can just take them off.