I've been an admirer of the Lolita fashion for a very, very long time and recently I purchased my first coords! I'm very excited to finally join the community and I have been talking about it a lot to friends. Recently, a dear friend of mine has been asking me a lot of questions about it. I'm very happy that she's taking interest, but I think my answers confuse her more than help her. I've never explained the fashion to anyone before. How can I explain it to my friend without confusing her?

The best way is to give her a quick rundown for starters. Something to the effect of “It’s a Japanese fashion. It’s a lot about being modest and elegant while retaining a cute, girlish look and while there are a lot of styles and sub-styles of Lolita, they all have basic elements such as the silhouette of the skirt, that bring everything together and make it Lolita.” After you get the basics like that, open her up to asking questions. When you answer her questions, try to show her examples too. Having pictures handy (be they in magazines, on your phone, online, etc.) will make explaining easier.

Anonymous:
This might sound like a weird question... recently I was telling my friend about how I wanted to become a lolita (she's wears classic). I like sweet and told her that I liked Metamorphose because of their "creative, wacky designs" and she said that I was an ita because of that and is mad at me for "joining on the sweet trend". I don't understand what's so bad about metamorphose or being a sweet lolita, but I want to mend our friendship. Can you help?

Your friend is being a jerk and there’s really nothing you can do but let her know how you feel and hope for the best. She’s the one in the wrong so it’s her job to mend the friendship. You can like Sweet Lolita if you like it and you can like Meta if you like them. There’s nothing wrong with either thing and she needs to realize that. You don’t have to have the exact same taste in everything to be good friends.

Anonymous:
Hi, I don't know if you can help me with this problem, but I have a friend who has convinced herself that white lolitas must be VERY pale, so she has started avoiding the sun, using baby powder on her face and arms and, the worst, drinking vinegar, because she knows victorian ladies used it. I've tried telling her how bad this is for her health, that vinegar kills blood cells and may give her anemia, but she won't listen, Her family doesn't seem to care, either. Do you have any advice? Thanks.

I think the first thing she needs to know is how incredibly ridiculous the idea of having so be super pale is. I spend most days working outside in the sun in Florida of all places for long hours. If I had to be super pale to wear Lolita I would be in big trouble. Secondly she needs to realize that Victorian ladies weren’t the smartest when it comes to beauty treatments. There are accounts of them putting lemon juice and venom in their eyes to make them sparkle but I can’t think of any modern person who would see either of those things as a good idea. The next thing she needs to consider is, what’s the point of being pale if she’s too sick to even have the strength to get dressed in the morning? I know people with anemia and they would never wish it on anyone and tell her that she’s being really stupid for even trying anything so absurd just for the sake of an outdated idea that Lolitas have to be pale. If she refuses to listen to any of this, try actually talking to her family about it because maybe they just don’t realize how serious of a problem it is. If they don’t care, you should take matters into her own hands and maybe take her to a doctor who can tell her just how dangerous this is. It’s one thing to avoid the sun, that’s what parasols are for, but baby powder is just going to make her look like she’s wearing bad vampire makeup and vinegar is just going to make her sick.

Anonymous:
My friend, who I haven't seen in forever, is going to anime expo this year. I'm going in ott sweet and she's cosplaying but she told me last night one of the days she's going in lolita and posted the design she is making… It is so extremely Ita. I don't know what to do. I already mentioned that the skirt should go to the knees but thats not the only thing wrong with it. What should I do?

Rather than saying that it’s ita which will always come off as an insult and there’s really no way around it, tell her that it’s just not exactly Lolita. Point out the things that are wrong, explain the problems with them, and offer suggestions as to how she could improve on the issues. Explain to her that there are important elements that make something Lolita and if they’re not present it stops being Lolita and maybe use the cake example (You can substitute, add, and remove certain ingredients but if you take away important things like flour and eggs it just stops being cake.) If she decides she likes it the way it is and doesn’t want to change it then that’s up to her, but explain these things to her and request that she not say the outfit is Lolita. There’s no reason to say it’s Lolita when it clearly isn’t and if she’s not claiming that it is there’s not really any harm to be done.

I wish I was strong like you to say it when people are hurting me. To protect myself... I admire that in you... Just saying...

It’s just something that I’ve learned after years of being a doormat. Most of the time if someone is doing something or saying something to me and it’s obvious they’re just trying to get a reaction I just won’t give it to them. Other times I’ve found that something as simple as telling someone in a firm voice that they’re being rude and they need to stop is enough to get them to knock it off. The trick is to not stoop to their level. Point out to them that they’re being stupid whether it be blunt (“You’re being immature and you need stop”) or something with a snarky hint to it (“Where’s my sheep? Oh you’re so clever! I’ve never heard that before! Bravo!”) and leave it at that. 
It can be hard sometimes but if someone is hurting you it’s important to make it known to them and whether they were aware of it or not you should do what you can to get it to stop. 

Anonymous:
this isn't really a question but my friend keeps saying i cant be lolita because i wear glasses?? i know its not true but she always makes comments about how my glasses ruin my coords and how i should get contacts (i have astigmatism + i'm just squeamish about putting something in my eye..) or get lasik it's really getting to me do you have any advice on how to get her to stop?? she's been doing this for a couple of years now

To be honest I probably would have just snapped at her at this point. Just tell her to shut up and drop the subject. You’re happy with your glasses and you don’t want to have to deal with her crap anymore and you shouldn’t have to. She’s been saying it for years and you haven’t changed so what makes her think you’re going to now? Be blunt and straight forward with her about it.

Ah! Sorry, typo on the boyfriend one... It was my current boyfriend who said I would look beautiful in lolita, not my guyfriend... Thanks so much for the advice though! :) Also, what is the least I can expect to pay for a legitimate lolita dress?

Oh well if your boyfriend thinks you look beautiful your guy friend can go screw himself his opinion doesn’t matter one bit. You’re very welcome dear.
As for the least you can expect to pay, that depends a lot on what you’re looking for and what you want to buy, as well as any sizing needs if you would happen to need something custom or not. When you take into account the cost of shipping and things like that though, Bodyline is probably the cheapest legitimate place you can buy from and a dress from them will run around $40-$50.

Anonymous:
Hey! My guy friend tells me that if I wear lolita to school (I will be a freshman next year) then I will never get a boy friend, or my boyfriend will not want to be seen with me... I recently sent him a picture of what the style is and he thought I would look beautiful in it, but I am still a little bit worried... Also, any tips on making my nose look smaller?

It sounds like one of two things is going on. It’s possible that your friend is just trying to scare you out of getting close to any other boys because he wants you for himself. Like, he’s trying to pull this “All other guys are assholes and I’m the only guy who thinks you’re beautiful in Lolita and the only guy who ever will” crap. Or it’s also possible that your friend is a douchebag (actually if he’s trying to pull the crap from the first scenario he’s probably a bit of a douchebag either way.)
Whichever one it is though, forget him. There are plenty of Lolitas who have perfectly happy relationships. There are Lolitas with boyfriends and Lolitas with girlfriends and Lolitas who are married happily and have been for years. The idea that you’ll never get a boyfriend because you dress in a way that makes you happy is silly anyway because why would you want to date someone who is that shallow anyway?
As for your nose, there are things you can do with makeup but it will differ depending on what exactly you aren’t happy about. If you search “how to make your nose look smaller” on youtube though you’ll get a ton of results.

Anonymous:
Is it ok to bring a non-lolita friend to a meetup for support, or would it be weird to bring someone not dressed in lolita? I'm considering going to my first meetup soon, but I'm very shy and even if I tried meeting people online first I'd still be very scared and nervous.

I think it’s a very good idea but you should bring it up with your comm first. Usually they’ll say it’s perfectly fine but for some meetups, like if it’s a tea party and there are only a certain amount of seats reserved, they’ll want to save those spaces for people who are actually a part of the community. 

Anonymous:
good afternoon! can you give me some advice? I have super bad social anxiety. Do you think it's a bad idea to goto a lolita tea party? I have no idea what to expect. I really don't want to speak in front of everyone by myself or anything like that.

I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad idea to go, I think you should just really prepare yourself. Something I’ve done because I get very shy and nervous around new people is before going to a meetup I asked it if was okay to bring a friend along. Even if your friend isn’t a Lolita (which you should mention to the group) having someone there that you know and can easily talk openly to can help you feel more comfortable and serve as an icebreaker, especially if your friend is an outgoing person. Just make sure to clear it with the people hosting the meetup first because there may be limited space at the tea party and you want to make sure there is plenty of room for the people who are actually part of the community before you bring someone else with.
Another option would be to try to make friends with just one member of the community before going to a big meetup. Getting to know one person can be much less stressful than trying to get to know a whole bunch of people at once and having had previous contact with someone in the group will help you feel more comfortable at the meetup because you already know someone and they can help to introduce you to everyone and you won’t feel so alone.