This is no means meant to be an exhaustive list, but hopefully will serve as a useful reference to those unfamiliar with the fashion, as well as a fun read for us old-litas. First off, I couldn’t do this post without Lolibrary – even then it was an ordeal to grab all these example pics. Also, I’m excluding some headwear types that are well-attested in lolita on the basis of “Well other people wear those too”. A big example is Berets – these have become very popular in the fashion of late, but also I don’t see a beret and think “Oh! Lolita fashion!” Anyways, let’s get on with this month’s Bibliotheca theme post!
Reader, I don’t like these. I have a mini crown that I enjoy wearing. But I am just not into the whimsy of a mini hat. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them! But I feel this is definitely a polarizing accessory.
Some examples from classic lolita brand Victorian Maiden
Meta smartly mounted this mini-hat on a headband for ease of wear
Alice and the Pirates tends to have a “More is More” approach to headwear, including mini hats.
First off, let’s be clear – despite what some fashion cop might try to tell you on social media, animal ears are 100 percent legal lolita headwear. Multiple brands have released animal ears multiple times. You wanna wear cat ears with your coord? Go for it.
Some examples from sweet lolita powerhouse Angelic Pretty
Bear ear clips from Baby, and Goat ear clips from Meta. (No, really.)
The sweets are often all about these, but I find them So Boring.
“Get with it, Kelp. It’s all about the Print Headbow”
Putting aside the fact I can’t often wear rigid headbands due to Head Problems, these are often just…a print headbow.
Fun fact: most of these were released the same year, I think. Also that wig is…a wig alright.
Even worse, often these hair accessories look best with Big Hair, to balance them out. So while theoretically they could be worn casually, in practice I find they look best with heavily styled hair.
If you don’t have big hair, storebought is fine.
However, there are some headbows out there that aren’t just the same old same old made with the matching print fabric, which make much more sense for anyone not pursuing the Full-Set Lifestyle.
A nice example of a “head-eating bow” from Meta that could be coordinated with multiple main pieces.
Floral Hair Clips
“Um, what?” a person I just made up says internally. That’s right. Floral. Hair. Clips
The Classic Lolita Agenda is here and it’s “Please acknowledge our iconic hair accessories (even though these totally pop up in other fashions all the time)”. Victorian Maiden is the queen of floral hair clips, but they pop up in other brands too.
Some examples from Antique Beast, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, and Juliette et Justine
The greatest thing about these is you can just make them at home! A couple for casual coords, an elaborate bouquet for OTT – you decide your Floral Factorial.
Some floral bow combos from Hoshibako Works and Haenuli
Bonnets (but only the good ones)
Here’s maybe my hottest take – those floppy print bonnets often put out by sweet lolita brands are Weaksauce. No judgement if you enjoy them (the theme of this post is “Wear what you want”). But I struggle to understand the appeal of limp-brimmed bonnet.
When researching, I found Baby to be the biggest offender
Properly stiff bonnets have a lot of upsides:
- OTT headwear look without the need for fancy hair styling
- Can hide the ‘seam’ of hair extensions/half-wig
- Easy to make even fancier by adding small accessories, like fake flowers or rosettes
- Can tie in front of chin for more classic look, or in back to keep ties out of the way
From left to right: The Bonnet back in the day, Baby redeeming themselves, and Vierge Vampur with the cat eat combo.
Of course, their biggest pro is also their biggest con – you can’t really dress-down a bonnet. Which is why the winner is…
This really is, to me, The Lolita Hair Accessory. It works for every substyle. It can be worn casually or formally. And it doesn’t really overlap with other alternative fashion headwear.
“It’s headdresses or nothing, isn’t it?” “You’re so right, twin!” (2005 Innocent World catalog, courtesy of LolitaHistory.com)
I remember back in the day people in the Western lolita communities joking about “maxi pad headdresses”, which I always thought was a little weird. First off, saying that headdresses look like menstrual pads is a lot like saying a rocket ship looks like a penis. You’re not wrong! But there’s only so many shapes a thing can be. Second, there’s plenty of headdresses that don’t have rounded ends, so were they excluding those? (Honestly, I don’t care to know.)
Meta puts out a lot of the more rounded type. See also the headband variation on left.
An actual Mary Magdelene headdress I own, flanked by two Victorian Maiden promo pics
Of course, there is also its more rounded cousin, sometimes called a “canotier”. These are also good, but just not as iconic. (They also can be tricky to fix in place.)
Some ’round headdresses’ – these really benefit from a headband, but all three here seem to be “comb + ribbon” type.
Advice to Beginners
If you’re just starting out in the fashion, please know that you can wear whatever you want on your head. (Within reason. Please follow all posted safety guidelines.) But if you’re looking to expand your headwear options, here are some Kelp tips:
- Boater hats (and other sorts of hats) can be easily embellished with ribbon, fake flowers, and brooches. You can likely get everything you need at a well-stocked Daiso. Bonus: they provide good sun protection for outdoor meets, and are low-effort hairstyle friendly.
- Rectangular headdresses are a fairly easy craft project, even if you don’t know how to sew. (You can prolly just use fabric-safe adhesives to attach trim and fold under seam allowances – no one’s gonna see the underside of your headdress but you.) There are also patterns for crocheted headdresses, if you know how to do that.
- When purchasing expensive fancy headwear, select colorways based on what you already own to maximize wearability. When in doubt, neutrals are your friend, but you don’t have to stick to them. For example, when I purchased a new bonnet, I took into account that I already owned a muted dark green bonnet, which can be worn with similar colors like navy and black. I also figured in that I have several purple main pieces. So I decided on a lacy lavender bonnet.
One response to “Iconic Lolita Headwear, Ranked (Sorta)”
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