So you've stumbled into the world of lolita fashion!
Most stumble upon lolita through any number of means, whether on a fashion site, by one of those misleading Milanoo ads promising lovely dresses, or in the lovely artwork of a favorite anime. Usually it's love at first sight, and that love can stick around for a lifetime. For some it can be an entire lifestyle, for others, another way to express their inner fashionista.
At its basic roots, lolita is a fashion style inspired by dolls and dresses of the Victorian and Rococo periods that began on the streets on Harajuku in the early nineties. It was quickly pushed along by the fashion of popular visual kei bands. Some say it was formed in an effort to provide a lovely and more modest fashion alternative to the overly sexy styles that are so popular.
Today, lolita has evolved into a vast subculture, spread far around the world. There are dozens of substyles that go much deeper than the basic classic, gothic, and sweet. The traditional knee-length cupcake skirt has even made the occasional change. Lolita stays true to its roots, though. The fluffy petticoats remain, as well as the appreciation for quality lace and fabrics, and fine detail and construction.
A word on the name "lolita" which many find questionable for its relationship to the novel by Vladimir Nabokov that sexualizes young girls...I will quote from the Lolita fashion Wiki page, as I think it gives good information:
"In the context of fashion, the term Lolita does not relate to sex. The usage of the word can be considered wasei-eigo or deriving from the female given name, Lolita relating back to Japan's relations to Portugal. Early Japanese lolitas thought it meant something cute in Portuguese and therefore adopted the wasei-eigo term lolita.
The fashion is thought to have been partly created to react against the growing exposure of the body and skin in modern society. Adherents fight this with modesty, presenting themselves as "cute" or "elegant" rather than "sexy".One follower of the Gothic Lolita fashion explained:
"We certainly do not do this for the attention of men. Frequently, female sexuality is portrayed in a way that is palatable and accessible to men, and anything outside of that is intimidating. Something so unabashedly female is ultimately kind of scary – in fact, I consider it to be pretty confrontational. Dressing this way takes a certain kind of ownership of one's own sexuality that wearing expected or regular things just does not. It doesn't take a lot of moxie to put on a pencil skirt and flats. It's not, as some commentators have suggested, some sort of appeal to men's expectation that women should be childlike, or an attempt to pander to pedophiles. Pedophiles like little girls. They don't like grown women who happen to like dresses with cakes on them. I've never been hit on by a pedophile while in Lolita. We don't get into it because it is some sort of misplaced pedo complex or anything, and the objective isn't simply to emulate little girls, despite the name Lolita.""