Lolita Fashion in Anime vs. Real Life

Whether it’s talking dolls, fallen angel idols, or chuunibyou romance, you’ve probably seen a character wearing lolita fashion before. You may have even discovered the look through anime!

However, while these characters are extremely cute, you might find that their “lolita outfit” wouldn’t be considered lolita at a real-life meetup.


Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions


If you’ve fallen in love with the look and are considering getting into lolita yourself, it may be useful to learn more about what makes anime outfits different from those IRL.

Today we’ll be looking at two of the biggest differences between anime and IRL lolita fashion!


Anime version

IRL version


If you’re not sure what lolita fashion is, check out our Encyclopedia entry first.


A gothic lolita brand shop in Laforet, a famous mall in the Harajuku district of Tokyo.


1. Modesty

The biggest difference is the amount of skin shown. Lolita fashion in anime often uses short skirts, low-cut necklines, garter belts, and more to add a moe flavor. It suits the characters and looks great in cosplay!


This cute dress would be too short to pass at a real lolita meetup!


However, real-life Lolita fashion is based on Victorian/Rococo adult & children’s fashion, along with the vintage doll aesthetic. Lolita isn’t a “sexy fashion” and places emphasis on the shape of the outfit over that of the wearer. This is especially prevalent in two areas:


Skirt length

Lolita-wearing characters usually have voluminous and short skirts paired with long socks to emphasize their zettai ryouiki, or upper thighs.


While this outfit is clearly lolita-inspired, it’s definitely not modest!


In real life, lolitas will usually wear longer skirts (often knee or calf length) in order to hide their thighs. Some gothic brands will opt for short skirts because they lean closer to traditional goth than lolita, but typically, a lolita skirt will reach just above the knees.



While anime lolitas often wear dresses with low-cut necklines to show off their chest, real-life lolitas avoid this. While wearing a JSK (sleeveless lolita dress), blouses are usually worn to hide the chest and shoulders of the wearer. Pay attention to this aspect if you want to try it out for yourself!


Characters wearing lolita outfits designed by BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT, a well-known lolita brand. You can see how different the outfits are to those more commonly found in anime.


2. Gothic Isn’t Everything

Anime lolitas tend to wear gothic lolita, but in reality, there are a variety of styles. The big three are Gothic, Sweet, and Classic. Anime characters often wear the typical “black/white dress with contrasting accents” but to some IRL lolitas, these color schemes are too “anime-like” or “costumey” for comfort. Stripey socks are also less common than anime would have you believe, while lace tipped or printed socks are more popular. There are plenty of online resources, so it’s worth researching the style you want to try out. There are tons of brands out there, so you’re bound to find something that fits the look you’re dreaming of!

Lolitas usually respect the history of the fashion and recommend that you master the basics before trying out some experimental looks. This passion is what has kept the style alive for so long! Using the wrong fabrics or lace could make your outfit look more like an anime cosplay than a lolita coordinate, so be careful and make sure you do your research.

Now that you know the difference between anime and IRL lolita fashion, why not try it out for yourself?


About Manga Planet: Read manga, support artists

In 2012, Manga Planet started as a joint project between Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. and FANTASISTA, INC. to research and explore the ways manga is read throughout the world. Aiming to bring new manga to fans from all over the world and support artists and the industry, Manga Planet pushes for affordability and access to manga through a subscription-based service.

Readers who subscribe to Manga Planet and pay a flat monthly fee of $6.99 will have access to our expanding library of English-language manga. By the end of 2020, subscribers will have unlimited access to at least 500 titles. To subscribe, please go to read.mangaplanet.com and create an account. More information is in our guide.

Related Articles

Back to top button