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From the Littlest Frill to the Rest of the World

I'll give you a guess which one is me, given this post. Taken by doctorginger
One of the reasons I was into Lolita fashion was that I could fit into the clothes. I’m well under 5 feet and not growing anymore anytime soon. Being extremely petite makes find any clothes in XS or shoes in size 5 is like mining a beach with a metal detector. So noticing that most of the Japanese sizes were more to my measurements I was very thrilled.

However I slowly learned this was not always the case.

There are cries from people that Lolita fashion designers should make things larger to accommodate fuller figures and larger sizes. There are also people who try to drastically lose weight to fit into the clothes so they can actually have room to breathe. There are plenty of posts about which pieces and Lolita brands that can fit almost any size.

But what about the other side of the spectrum?

Personally, I can tell you it’s not all that great either and there’s no reason to be jealous. You chances of looking more childlike increases by alot. A lot. You have to pay more attention to minimum measurements than the maximum. Ribbon-laced corsets can only do so much (and forget about shirring).

A lot of items will fit but not all; and it might even be your dream dress. As a result I’ve come to accept and learn a few things.

You won’t always fit into everything. My first brand dress was an Alice and the Pirates sailor jumperskirt. I bought it online directly from the shop and was ecstatic when it arrived. However the dress was still big when loosely cinched with the belt. It was closer to my ankles than I would’ve liked. I looked a five-year-old ready to head to the beach. Look at the all measurement closely and also look at the range (if there is some shirring or too much room for a blouse). Make sure you fall midway or a well above the minimum. And make sure all the measurements are closer to your own. A waist might be fine but then the bust might be too big. Or the bust is perfectly but the rest is a tent.

Brands that are forgiving and not. I feel this is an obligatory section since some people may need specifics. Victorian Maiden pays attention to one size and one size only; so exact measurements are important. Unfortunately this is probably the reason it is my favorite designer. I do know Angelic Pretty runs smaller alot of the times, but only if you like Sweeter or do retro-pop styles. Metamorphose is more generous to those who are fuller so should be considered if you like that looser fit. Baby the Stars Shine Bright and Innocent World are brands that I turn to more often and fill majority of my closet. However regardless of designer brand, I hold the measurement of the garment above all.

It’s going to be a little long. Most people when they seen Lolita coordinates and press images, the dress or skirt is usually above knee-length. But if you are classified as petite (under 5’5”) then it will most likely be a little below the knee. Sometimes a lot, in my case. However this works to your advantage as the length will appear more Mad-Men era style - a little above your ankle and well past your knee. Check the overall length since sometimes long can be too long, making you too short.

Shirring does not work in reverse. Someone said this at a panel about Lolita Style and Coordination. And it’s true. While this feature is a godsend for fuller figured people, clothes that have full-shirring (as in all the way round) should largely be avoided if you petite (and not necessarily busty). Clothes with half or a small amount of shirring is alright if there needs to be a small amount of stretch.

Ribbon-laced corsets are the exact same. There is such a thing as too cinched. When you can’t see a corset style at all and there’s still room then it wasn’t made to fit you. While this could be covered up with a cardigan or jacket, you can’t hide the extra long ribbons. (I still love my Chained Berry Memoir though)

The problem with flats. No one likes being vertically challenged, no matter how short/tall you are. With flats and rounded toes you can sometimes appear more childlike than you want. Heels not only make you slightly taller but give you a nice age-appropriate look. Chunky, wine-glass shaped heels are better than stiletto thin and have a more retro-look about them. However I don’t recommend wearing heels if you are not comfortable in them. They do take a lot of practice and you can seriously injure yourself if you don’t wear them all the time. Kitten heels work just as well and serve as a nice in between option. But if you like wear flats and tea-parties that's just as fine. (They're just not for me.)

Objects may look taller than they appear. For a petite person, you have to break up the your silhouette form. Style blogs often say wear skirts or natural waist items for an even-proportioned look. Unless you are going for boystyle you can’t change the skirt/dress portion by making it shorter. For a Lolita this means making parts look short and longer than they appear to be. A high-waisted skirt and ankle boots help people see you have legs and give a slight illusion you are a little taller. Cropped jackets bring more attention to the upper half and elongating the rest. A high-collared shirt can also force you to stand a little straighter and your head a little higher.

Give it up or coordinate really well. Let’s say you own a dress and you don’t want to sell it - but the fit is too big in some areas. And you don’t want to tailor it. For a skirt that is slightly too loose add a cute belt to cinch it in place. If the armholes or the chest is too large, cover-up with a nice cardigan or a suit jacket. Misako sometimes does this with coordinates. This makes a look more fitted. Another thing is if you are willing to do it is to tailor it yourself or take it to a tailor. If you plan to put it to good use and wear it a lot then by all means tailor.

But if you are unwilling to do any of these things, unfortunately you will have part with it. And I’ve parted with quite a few things both Lolita and regular clothes and shoes.

Majority of this is based on my own experiences and I’m only my own below-average size. As such I can’t relate to a lot of people, but I do hope that you can relate to me if you have the same or similar issues.

I'm also not asking designers to make more items for smaller sizes.

I'm just saying to not forget that small people have problems too.


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