I have learned from the mistakes I made when purchasing my first Lolita outfit ( Hopefully anyways! ). So I make this post in the hopes that Lolitas purchasing their first outfits can learn from my mistakes as well!
Mistake #1 Buying a colored blouse.
Colored blouses are cute. Colored blouses are fine. But when it is your first blouse, you really want a white one, unless perhaps you are a Gothic Lolita, then a black blouse might be your first choice, but even then a white blouse would go with more and be cooler in terms of temperature. So when buying your first blouse, I strongly recommend buying a white one, preferably with detachable sleeves.
Mistake #2 Buying a cheap blouse.
I absolutely love Bodyline. Most of their clothes I find adorable, and the prices are very decent, but one thing I am not so fond of from Bodyline is the quality of their blouses. They are alright, but definitely not as good as they could be, especially with the quality of the lace on my first Lolita blouse. The lace is scratchy and bothersome and as cute as the blouse is, it's somewhat uncomfortable to wear. There are blouses of higher quality such as brand blouses that can be purchased at a cheaper price from sources such as the comm sales on EGL or even found at thrift stores.
Mistake #3 Buying socks with cheap lace.
Purchasing socks with no lace at all is better than buying socks with cheap, scratchy lace. Of course, it was hard to tell the lace quality by the small picture on Bodyline's website, but with Bodyline one should always be wary of the lace. Actually, I think my first mistake was buying socks from anywhere but a normal store in the first place, for the simple fact that 'normal' socks can be just as cute and far cheaper. I have gotten socks from the mall that are far cuter and have far softer lace than the socks I got from Bodyline, and they were cheaper too!
Mistake #4 Neglecting to purchase a good petticoat.
As any good Lolita will soon realize, you need a good petticoat to complete your outfit. I strongly suggest you stay far away from the petticoats at Bodyline unless you plan on either buying a lot of them, or not having a ton of poof. Tulle petticoats are definitely not the best, they will lose their poof within a few wears. While it is possible to revive them using starch, it's definitely better to save up for a petticoat made with crinoline or organza. While I unfortunately do not own a petticoat made with either of these, I've heard that they never die! If you absolutely cannot buy them however, you can buy a couple decent tulle petticoats so that even if they were to die, the sheer number of them would add poof to your skirt.
Now that I have told you the mistakes I have made when purchasing my first outfit, here are some mistakes other people have made that every Lolita should try to avoid ( In no particular order. ).
Basically, any cheap looking fabric that would be used in a costume is not Lolita. The best choice is cotton. Shiny fabric, pressed velvet and the like are very hard to make look good in a true Lolita outfit.
Scratchy, ugly lace.
The best type of lace is soft and doesn't have an obvious, cheap netting. For a wonderful guide on how to tell good lace from bad lace by Miss Caro-chan, click here! Also, a good Lolita dress or skirt isn't a lace monster ( A dress absolutely covered in - usually bad - lace. ) and in fact, a dress or skirt doesn't even need lace to be Lolita.
If a dress has many odd colors, an unusual shape, or is based on anime, it is probably not Lolita. I'm not saying you can't be unique, but wait until you get the hang of Lolita! Even if a dress is extremely cheap, if it's clearly only meant for cosplay, it's not worth buying to wear as true Lolita, especially if it's your first outfit.
Lolita is not about sex, nor is it a fetish. Lolita is a modest fashion, skirts should be just about knee-length and blouses should not reveal a ton of cleavage. Showing a lot of leg is generally a taboo also, but short socks are just fine on a hot day ( I know I would melt where I live if I wore knee-high socks in the middle of summer! ) and so is going without a blouse while wearing a Jumperskirt.
Take these tips as you will, you are of course free to wear what you like and that is none of my business, these are simply some things I've learned that have helped me with wearing Lolita and maybe they will help you too. The main thing you should remember is that it is okay to break a few rules, but Lolita has rules for a reason, otherwise it wouldn't be Lolita!
Love, Amelia Jane.