20 Sep 2016

Trend Alert: Overblouses



Trends sort of come and go, but I feel like I was too late for most of the ones that I know of, like peignoirs, halos, deer horns, twin tail wigs etc. It’s not like they don’t exist anymore or like it’s forbidden to wear them, because you can wear whatever you like and if you can make it look great or if it suits you then don’t let anyone stop you. At the same time, it’d be exciting to witness a birth of a new trend – and I think we’re at that time now.




A while back I was made aware of such a thing as overblouses. Overblouse?, you say. Don’t you mean overskirt or overdress? No, I mean overblouse. I agree that especially outside of the context of Lolita this seems like a redundant modifier because blouses are just there and you can wear them however you want, no need to specify if they’re under or over something.

Yet within the context of Lolita fashion that little bit is needed. For a while now we’ve lived with the awareness of the blouse “rule”, that you must wear one for modesty else you’re committing a horrible Lolita fashion crime. But if I’m not mistaken, things changed a lot when Infanta did this:

Photograph from Infanta's Taobao page


It seems so simple, just put your blouse on top of your dress rather than under it, and yet it isn’t. Most blouses don’t have decorative enough hems to work as an overblouse, meaning that they can cut off rather abruptly and not in a particularly attractive way. And so Infanta designed a blouse in a way that would allow it to be worn over a dress: you have a decorative ruffled hem, with the back being longer than the front, stretchy waist to allow for various sizes as well as dress bodices, and even the top is stretchy, allowing you to wear it as is or off shoulder.

However, when I first saw it (and even when I ordered mine) I simply thought that it was Infanta being Infanta: a Taobao brand creating something different that big Japanese brands won’t do. But at some point I stumbled upon this little number on Angelic Pretty’s website:

Photograph from Lolibrary.org


The design is slightly different, more open, but the intention is the same, as suggested by the name “over blouse”. And if a brand on the scale of Angelic Pretty is picking up on this, then could this really mean a beginning of a trend?

A quick search on Lolibrary actually yielded more results for the phrase “over blouse” than I anticipated. In fact, Metamorphose temps de fille tried to make overblouses a thing as far back as 2007, if not earlier, however, their design resembled more of a bolero than an overblouse, even the chiffon version – even Angelic Pretty named an item in 2002 an “overblouse”. The other brand using that term was Atelier Boz, but theirs seem to be aimed at Ouji-kei, where “over” implies that it’s meant to be worn over trousers rather than tucked inside them. Also theirs don’t tend to come in sheer materials, which would make them less suitable to wear over dresses unless very carefully styled.

Photographs from Lolibrary.org

From the point of view of the fashion, overblouses make a lot of sense. Modesty is a big point in the fashion and these lightweight items could cover one’s shoulders as well as add an extra layer for days that are between comfortably warm and that tiny bit chilly. Furthermore, most dresses tend to stick all their focus points on the skirts, which can result in plainer bodice – alternatively, you may like the skirt design, but not be fond of the bodice. In both cases throwing on an overblouse solves the problem by either creating a nicer secondary focus point to your top half or by hiding it altogether with something more pleasing to the eye. To me, as much as I like overskirts, that’s an advantage that overblouses have as I don’t want to hide the prints that attracted me to a dress in the first place, however gorgeous an overskirt may be. There’s definitely something to be said about wearing expensive brand dresses without a blouse underneath acting as a garment shield, but I don’t think that should discredit them entirely.

Is this actually a trend? Not at the moment. It’s too soon to say either way because only two brands – and from two very different backgrounds no less – have attempted something like this and both have done so very recently. As time goes on we’ll see both whether other brands (Japanese, Chinese or otherwise) will decide to join the bandwagon, as well as how many Lolitas will subscribe to this idea and wear something like that. Personally, I find this whole thing very interesting and given the popularity of overskirts and peignoirs that still continues, I think that overblouses may catch on, especially as Infanta’s ones are affordable yet cute and well made (mine certainly feels lovely and I’ve actually worn it in my Wicked and Whimsy haul video). But for now they remain something to keep an eye on, which may or may not develop into an actual trend. I for one will be watching Closet of Frills closely for overblouses.

What do you think? Would you wear one? Do you like the idea, but don’t see it working for yourself? Or maybe you think this is a pretty pointless endeavour? Let me know in the comments, I’m very interested to hear your opinion on the subject!


7 comments:

  1. I think crop blouses is more a trend at moment. I think the overblouse could work as well as normal blouse under jsk or over a skirt. Personal I wouldn't do it, those elastics tends to not sit in waist anyway.

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    1. I know what you mean, I thought of the crop blouses too. I haven't mentioned them purely because I haven't seen any of the big Japanese brands do one - and while I wouldn't want to discredit Taobao brands as trendsetters, I think that people are still more likely to follow a trend if they see a Japanese brand endorse it. Plus, it's hard to tell if someone is wearing a crop blouse or not :P I'm trying to remember how the elastic sat on my waist when I wore it, but I honestly can't remember. I don't think it was too bad, but a lot will definitely depend on what sort of bodice and waist the dress you're wearing has.

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    2. My waist is just small, which easily making it look like I am wearing a jellyfish.
      Even the Big brands hasn'r done crop tops yet, Lady Sloth has released one.
      I have noticed before taobao and/or small indie brands doing something, brands would follow.

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    3. That's why I think this one is unique. It's hard to say whether AP has followed Infanta in this case, but it certainly looks this way.

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    4. Or maybe they both hope it gonna be next thing. Most clothing companys work one to two year on planing and designing their seasons. If they got same information on overblouses gonna be next, they might made their design idenpently. Unless Infanta has hired some ninjas to spy on AP.

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    5. True, most of th stuff that's being released this year would've been planned and in the making last year. But that also means that if this does catch on, then we'll see them next year in spring/summer collections.

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    6. I think maybe we are lucky to see in the winter collection. But otherwise next year.

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