From Japan's Sidewalks to NYC Streets: Sweet Lolita Fashion

Are you a grown woman - or man - who wants to dress like a doll-child? TONY talks about the Japanese trend and gives you the hometown how-to guide.

We love almost all Japanese imports with a deep fervor -- love the fact that St. Marks is turnng into Noodlehouse Row, love manga, love it all -- but this one leaves us a bit perplexed: The "Sweet Lolita" trend has Japanese teens through fiftysomethings dolling themselves up - literally - all Victorian-like with petticoats and parasols (this website is a good example), the result looking like something between that goth chick you went to high school with (where is she now?) and Ragamuffins, the collectible dolls Marie Osmond designed "exclusively" for QVC, each of which comes in its own ceramic muffin cup.

This weirdly infantilized trend hasn't taken root in New York City -- until now. In the issue hitting stands today, Time Out New York starts in with all things Lolita, noting that "Lolis engage in activities such as tea parties, ballroom dancing, and playing children's games like hopscotch, jump rope and hide-and-seek," and adding that "Lolitas seek to return to a bygone era when virginity and chastity were demanded of women." We just knew that posting pictures of your hoo-ha on Facebook would cause the pendulum to swing all the way back to prudishness, we just didn't think it would happen so fast. Or with so much lace.

Anyhoo, TONY - noting that many of the movement's followers order their goods directly from Japanese purveyors, whose micro-sizes "can prove challenging, especially for cross-dressers" - has lots of great suggestions for places you can go to spend your hard-earned recession dollars on a getup that will no doubt delight pedophiles in all five boroughs: They suggest places like H&M for cheap things in the girly/frilly department, and Patricia Field or Betsey Johnson for more high-end Lolitiana; those looking locally for "velvet capes" may be out of luck, though TONY says vintage stores are probably your best bet.

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