Thursday, May 1, 2014

Flowers Blooming in the Black: Spring Touches for Dark Wardrobes

A few days ago one of the ladies from my state Lolita community posed a question: how can she add a touch of spring to her “dark but perky” wardrobe?

Meanwhile, my lovely blog-friend Shannon is in the process of shifting her wardrobe from goth looks to something a little more girly and romantic.

Being someone who favors black in her wardrobe, I sympathize with this struggle. I want to get into the spring spirit, but my wardrobe gravitates so heavily toward jewel tones and black that it’s difficult to get the brightness I want without buying a whole new outfit to do it.

So, what’s a black-clad girl to do?

Floral Prints in Black

I have a small (but growing) stock of floral prints with black backgrounds. Yes, black floral colorways, the bittersweet of the classic world. My favorite pieces are this lovely high-waisted skirt from Bodyline and this skirt from FanPlusFriend that I purchased secondhand.

These are, of course, new Lolita pieces that you would need to purchase, and as such they're going to be more expensive than bolstering your wardrobe with offbrand fare, but I find that they are versatile enough to warrant it. They are also a good way to start adding lighter pieces to your wardrobe; they can be worn with black but look equally good with ivory, white, or any of the colors featured in the floral print itself, so they give you a base for building up colors other than black in your wardrobe.

Black With Spring V: Black in Bloom

Bodyline Rose Bouquet I: Lavender

Layering with Pastels

I love how layering in Lolita gives more possibilities, and this is no exception. Adding a few colored pieces to a skirt or JSK is a good way to make the look a bit more spring-y and, as an added bonus, it's pretty easy to use offbrand pieces to do it.

With feminine frills coming back almost every spring, it’s a good time to go looking for offbrand pieces to add to your wardrobe. Cardigans and blouses especially are going to be popping up, and it’s a good time to go looking for spring colors.

Underskirts are another one of my favorite things in Lolita, so of course I have to make mention of them here as well.

Spring with Black I: Mint
Spring With Black II: Lilac

Tiny Springtime Touches

If you’re trying to add a touch of spring on the cheap, accessories are the way to go. The big thing to remember with accessories is to achieve balance, which can be a touch trickier than you might expect. Ramble Rori wrote about color balance when talking about how to create a Lolita coordinate, and her advice on how to achieve balance with your colors is something you should take a look at. Essentially, make sure the color you’re adding is present in the top, middle, and bottom “zones” of your outfit.


Hair accessories and hats are, obviously, the best way to add color to the top of a black outfit. A sash or belt at the waist is a good way to add color to the body of your outfit. You can also toss a shawl over your shoulders to add color to the body of the outfit.

Tights and socks are an ideal way to add color to the lower half of your outfit. If you’re worried about color balance with solid pastel tights, you can easily layer black lace tights over them to tone down the color and add some visual texture to your outfit.

Shoe clips are a favorite of mine, as I’ve mentioned before, and they can be made to match almost anything. They are also incredibly inexpensive to make yourself, making them ideal for budget-conscious ladies.

Spring With Black: Lavender

Spring With Black IV: Luna


  1. Am I the Shannon you're talking about XD? :D
    You know, last week I went to a sort of "lolita conference" and I learnt that those pink prints on black lolita clothes are actually called "bittersweet", it's the style's name (although it's been coined in the Western world, japanese lolita tend to not use this word). One can find plenty of those prints on Bodyline, as you said, and they're not even that expensive.
    Anyways: the outfits you pull off on Polyvore are always the best :D you really have amazing taste, especially for lolita and vintage clothes ;)

    1. Yes. :)

      I have a hard time calling floral prints "bittersweet" because many of them fit more into classic lolita than they do into sweet. But that's just me. ^_^"

      Also, thank you! It's a great compliment.