Updated: Feb 13
I'm a firm believer that Lolita fashion is for everyone, period. The colour of your skin, sexual/gender identity and dimensions of your body are irrelevant; there is space in our community for you.* The shape of your meat cage does not dictate whether you can participate in this hobby.
*Unless you sexualize children then GTFO
There is a lot of resources for sweet lolita style but less is known about gothic and classic. It can be discouraging to people wanting to try these substyles, but all that is really known is that there are a few major Japanese brands that only cater to a small size range. I've written this guide to spread information and encourage more people to try different styles.
Today I'm talking about EGL. As a disclaimer, I identify more in the Gothic/Classic spectrum so my choices may be a little softer than traditional elegant gothic style. I'll do my best to try and include as many brands and examples as I can.
So you want to be a Gothic Lolita? The Staple Japanese Brands
Chances are, you're interested in Gothic Lolita and have probably already heard about Moi-meme-Moitie and possibly the smaller Japanese brand Antique Beast. The pioneer of EGL style and handcrafted by Mana (lol), Moi-meme-Moitie is by far one of the most popular gothic brands presently on the market. Nearly on the verge of death a few years ago, Moitie has made a powerful comeback with new ownership and improved relationship with the western market and in turn opened up the gates to new fans of the fashion. Antique Beast is also a staple brand, however they're not so much known for their clothing as much as their iconic headdresses.
A Lesson in Fit
The listed measurements of the above dresses is 88cm and 85cm respectively. It should be noted that these are the garment measurements. The rule of thumb is that you leave 2-4cm for fit and comfort. Meaning that it's recommended that you're measurements be 2-4cm under what's listed, this makes the suggested body measurements of the wearers 84-86cm and 81-83cm. Antique Beast does offer a tailoring service where they were adjust measurements by 5cm, so if you were to add 5cm to the bust, it would allow a person of 86-88cm bust to wear it.
An important note is that these are LISTED measurements and a huge problem with buying from gothic lolita brands is that measurements can be very off. Both Moitie and Antique Beast suffer from this problem. I've actually been told by a few customers that Antique Beast clothing can sometimes be a little bigger than the listed measurements and Moitie before the rebranding was known for putting 88cm for all their dresses whether there was shirring or not. Thus making looking up measurements on lolibrary a crapshoot. Of course, every release and cut is slightly different. Both of the previously mentioned brands do offer shirring with select releases so please don't be discouraged with these brands!
This guide is made with people with >100cm bust measurements in mind. I wanted to focus on brands that consistently make releases that encompass this size while still holding the structure and motifs of EGL as a style (not a motif). Thank you to everyone with their help and suggestions so far! If you mentioned a brand and it wasn't added; I didn't feel like they fit these criteria. This doesn't mean that I think they're a bad brand or anything, just not what I'm trying to accomplish with this particular article.
If you love ruffles; Atelier Pierrot has you covered. I highly recommend following this brand on social media. Their staff comes up with the most amazing coords and the shop girls are so fashionable. They release their solids fairly frequently so don't fret if you miss out on one and a majority of their blouses offer plentiful shirring. I didn't include any prints because they typically look like some kind of terrible nightmare recreated in clipart but no judgment if that's what you're into.
Lief is one of my favourite Korean brands. They were my go-to when I started actually wearing lolita fashion out more and my measurements were a little softer. They're very versatile and offer sizing up to 120cm for select releases. Their staple style is a sweet-classic; I would describe it as if mori-kei and lolita fashion had a baby, but they do occasionally make pieces that work in gothic as well. Their latest reservation is a collaboration with Dark Oz Kingdom and it's called the Frosty Moon series. I'm personally not a fan of the extra tier of lace at the bottom since it pulls the OP into a sweet direction but I'm not mad since I doubt being Gothic was the goal of this release but the details and silhouette of this piece make it passable for Gothic with appropriate accessories. I'm in awe of the back lacing! It's so gorgeous.
You can check out the rest of the collection here. They offer a M and XL size that runs up to 125cm. They recommend having a bust of max 105cm since the fit is intended to be looser but I wouldn't discourage someone with larger measurements wearing it. The series also has a JSK with an XL size that is listed at 116cm bust. Lief is definitely a brand worth watching!
Souffle Song is a mainly sweet lolita brand and this shows in their attempts in gothic as well. For this reason, I don't recommend anything outside of this series for beginners to gothic. Their other 'gothic' pieces require a lot of coording and alterations in order to nail that EGL aesthetic, at that point can you even consider them gothic? That's a discussion for another day. However they did release a few pieces that align very well within the structure of EGL. This brand offers custom plus sizing!
A great way to expand your wardrobe is to include outerwear, luckily this brand Ichigo15 is perfect and dabbles in many styles; including punk, ouji and classic! They so offer a great selection of blouses and a majority of it is available for custom sizing. As someone who has personally bought one their coats many years ago, I highly recommend their work. Their products are also resold through Wunderwelt Fleur for convenience.
Surface Spell Gothic is a long standing taobao brand that provide historically inspired fashion as well as bespoke Classic and Gothic Lolita fashion. On top of custom sizing, they also offer a range of different colours and embroidery options! Great if you appreciate a touch of colour in your wardrobe.
Marble is a long standing Japanese brand who offer a L and LL section, they carry a large catalogue but a lot of it can be questionable so proceed with caution. I personally love sifting through their website and these are my personal picks of pieces that would seamlessly blend into a EGL wardrobe. Marble is also available on Atelier-Pierrot for convenience.
That's all I have for now! This guide is currently under construction and will be updated as I find more shops! I was hoping to have more but a lot indie brands are on hiatus due to COVID. Check back for updates,
Jan ???, 2021 - Tweaked Lesson in fit, added Ichigo15, Surface Spell Gothic and MARBLE