Lolita fashion is one of Japan’s most famous cultural phenomena. And lolita style, characterised by intricate, lace-adorned dresses and a doll-like look, has an off-shoot sub-genre for almost every day of the year. There’s gothic lolita, punk lolita, ‘sweet’, classic, princess, even pirate…and coming full circle, “Japanese-style” wa lolita, which incorporates elements of traditional Japanese dress such as kimono fabric, long sleeves and obi sashes.

But what happens when you mix lolita with Chinese cheongsam dresses? You get ‘qi lolita‘, a sub-genre which looks not to Japan or Europe, but to China, for its inspiration. It’s bold, different, and seriously cute.

The ‘qi’ of qi lolita comes from ‘qipao’, traditional Chinese dresses that are also commonly called cheongsam. They’re long, form-fitting silk dresses that typically have high necklines and buttoned collars.

▼ Cheongsam

A qi lolita outfit combines the cheongsam‘s high neckline with a lolita “cupcake” skirt, creating a different silhouette altogether. Tassels and chinese button knots feature heavily, as do folding fans.


qi lolita2


The slit up one or both sides can make a conventional cheongsam quite revealing, but switching it for a tiered skirt and tights (pantyhose) keeps these qi lolita outfits in the covered-up realm of little girl aesthetics. (“Don’t show too much flesh” is a a common dictum in the world of lolita fashion blogs, which often feature lists of rules and dos and don’ts that seem a bit stern from a fashion subculture that’s supposed to be about personality and self-expression.)

Qi lolita remains pretty niche, but there is plenty of room for self-expression and styles vary quite a lot. In fact, the more we looked at photos of qi lolita, the more we began to think this cultural mash-up might be the answer to China and Japan’s long-standing political tensions! Qi lolita: fusion fashion sent to save the world!

▼ You see, girls the world over like hanging out in the park…


▼ Putting flowers in their hair…


▼ Playing with their new specs as if they’re Google Glass…

qi lolitataobao

▼ …and pretending to be animals!


▼ We’ve all done it, though: buy something, take it home, realise it looks like a pair of curtains and never wear it again.


(Just kidding. That’s my favourite one!)

Sources: Naver Matome, Breidholt, Lolita Poupée
Featured image: via Breidholt