Building a Complete Lolita Wardrobe
I've been asked several times, over on my formspring, about what I would consider a complete Lolita wardrobe. As many Lolitas will tell you, you pretty much never have a complete Lolita wardrobe any more than you have a complete wardrobe of anything! You're always adding new pieces to any wardrobe as new pieces come out, seasons change, and trends pop in and out of fashion. However, if you're looking to start a Lolita wardrobe, and want the most bang for your buck, it's a good idea to build a wardrobe with completeness in mind. So that way you can get the maximum outfits out of a minimum of pieces.
I think that if you can wear a new, different looking, outfit every day for a week, you've managed to to build yourself a very workable Lolita outfit. I've been asked before what I think kind of items would be in a wardrobe like this, and while I think there are several ways you could compile a wardrobe that would do the job, my ideal way would be:
1 good petticoat in a color that works with your wardrobe. Unless you like a very minimal poof, I'd advise against tulle petticoats and go for a chiffon, as tulle petticoats tend to deflate very quickly, so you're constantly buying new ones and are often forced to wear multiple ones at once.
1 piece of "special wear", this means something that might be a little too fancy to wear everyday and is best saved for special meetups or might be a very obvious piece, like a bold print, so it would be best if it wasn't worn too frequently. If you have a limited budget, and can only really afford to spurge on one piece, you might as well make it this piece!
2 easy to coordinate dresses, JSKs are the best option, due to the fact that they are a little easier to mix and match because you can pair them with different blouses for different looks, and if you plan on wearing something over them, you can wear them without a blouse so you don't have to deal with cramming puffy sleeves under not-so-puffy sleeves.
2 skirts in 2 different designs. For example, one could be a relatively plain skirt, while the other could have a bustle, a high waist, multi-tiered, etc.
5 tops of various designs, some of which are cutsews, and one of which is a "statement" top in either a contrasting color or of a fancier design. Having cutsews in your wardrobe is vital if you plan on wearing Lolita on a regular basis, because Lolita blouses tend to be fussy and might not be appropriate for all weather and occasions, and sometimes it's nice to wear something a little more comfortable.
Headwear that matches each of your skirts or dresses. This doesn't necessarily mean one piece of headwear for each skirt or dress, if you have multiples pieces in one color, you can get away with sharing a headpiece between them.
2 pieces of outerwear, such as boleros, cardigans, or light jackets.
1 pair of shoes that matches everything.
1 purse that matches everything.
As many different pieces of legwear as you can accumulate. These can be picked up offbrand cheaply, and in the beginning you can get away with one of each type of legwear at first, for example: 1 pair of plain socks, 1 pair of print socks, 1 pair of opaque tights, and 1 pair of crochet or lace tights.
Lots of different accessories. This is also something that can be picked up offbrand cheaply, or even come from your current accessory supplies, and includes not only jewelery but also wrist cuffs, gloves, collars, corsages, and any other small accessories that can be added to make individual outfits unique. If you're even slightly handy with a needle and thread and a glue gun, you can probably whip up a fair amount of these!