Today's Ask Miss Caro-chan, comes from a woman named V. V asks:
I was wondering if you could help me? I love the whole lolita/quaintrelle look but I'm a UK size 16 (I think that might be a US 14?) and veeerrry curvy (i.e. largish boobs and a small waist with an epic hips-and-bum combination!) I'm also 23 now, so I'm coming to it quite late and don't want to go too sweet.
I'm interested in a slightly more classy, adult look that is flattering for an older, larger girl. Do you have any advice on how I could include lolita qualities in my everyday dress without looking like a huge, pastel-coloured, frilly child-doll!
First of all, you might want to check out my Everyday Elegance post, which is directed at someone just getting into Lolita who is looking to start dressing more elegantly. I must admit that I am not too familiar with the Quaintrelle, correct me if I am wrong, but it is a rather romantic and old fashioned approach to life and dressing? If you are not necessarily going to go for a straight up Lolita approach, you can easily find beautiful clothes that have a very romantic look to them but aren't ruffly and pink. Pair a fluttery top that has a flattering cut with a swishy skirt, wear a very light petticoat, not so much to give it poof, but to keep it from being clingy. Use accessories, such as elegant bracelets, chandelier earrings, pretty rings, and Victorian inspired evening bags to make the outfit romantic.
If you are planning on trying to get into Lolita, without looking like a pink cupcake, try one of the more mature styles such as Classic Lolita or even Gothic Lolita with cheap black cotton. The muted colors in Classic Lolita, and the basic black and cleaner lines of Gothic Lolita are not as childish as pastels, and are even more accepted in mainstream fashion for anyone over the age of 8. Many Classic Lolita dresses, especially A-line and ones that don't require lots of poof, can get away with being worn to "normal" social functions, such as weddings, company parties, and whatever other "grown-up" things you have to bother with.
Now, onto the matter of your hourglass figure. I personally think that an hourglass figure is one of the most flattering figures to have in Lolita. Mainly because a defined waist and X-shape (that is poofy sleeves, tailored waist, and fluffy skirt) is what often makes the Lolita silhouette so special. Combine that with a womanly figure and it can just look so classy and timeless! You don't always have to be a willowy little waif of a girl to pull off the style. You might want to check out the Lolita community for plus-sized Lolitas, EGL_Plus, or even my friend Rayray's blog, Part Time Lolita, as she is a plus-sized Lolita and occasionally posts about it. In fact, for a more expanded post about plus sized tips, check out the post she did on the subject.
Tips for hourglass shaped Lolitas
Don't worry so much about your hips and bum. Lolita skirts and dresses are meant to flare out at your natural waist, so even if you've got a bit more going on in your hips and bum than you would like, the poofy Lolita skirt, even if they are A-lined or don't have a lot of poof, is going to hide that.
Avoid underbust dresses and empire waists. Underbust dresses and JSKs are just going to over-emphasize your bust, and empire waists simply will hide your hourglass figure completely.
Avoid an overly ruffly top. Lots of ruffles on your chest is just going to make it look larger than it really is.
Don't overstretch shirring. If you are going for brand dresses, and you're very busty, you're probably only going to be able to fit into a fully shirred dress. But don't think that just because a dress can stretch to nearly 50 inches that it's going to look good on you. It's called a boobloaf, ladies, avoid it. Avoid wearing things that gives you anything that can be described with the word "loaf" XD
Make sure things fit nicely around your waist. Make sure that the waist on a dress does not fall above your natural waist, is too tight, or loose and wrinkly. If you're a bit iffy about the shape of your waist, and want a Lolita/Victorian feel right down to your underwear, you might want to invest in a steel boned corset, check out my old post on corsets. Or, if you're looking for something less expensive and less extreme, look for modern alternatives, such as shapewear designed to smooth out your tummy.
Not all Lolita dresses have to look like a lace and bow and tulle encrusted pink cupcake. There are many Lolita dresses that are more inspired by Victorian elegance than hyperactive kawaiiness. The following dresses are from a variety of brands, Innocent World, Mary Magdalene, Victorian Maiden, and a few other classic brands. If you are of a larger size, you're most likely not going to fit into the actual brand dresses, as Classic Lolita brands tend to be absolutely tiny, but they are great inspiration for when it comes time to commission something, or simply to keep in mind when window shopping.