Dozens of options and delivery to your door lower the entry barrier for first-timers.

Japan’s gothic lolita fashion is compelling and captivating, but all that lacy trim and expansive hoop skirts put it on the outside edge of the apparel bell curve. So while a lot of people are curious, not all of them are ready to take the plunge and go out and buy an entire lolita outfit.

But we recently learned that not only can you rent gothic lolita fashion, there’s a company that lets you do the entire process online! Maison Style offers clothing from leading lolita brands such as Alice and the Pirates and Baby the Stars Shine Bright.

Our Japanese-language reporter Natsuki Gojo had never tried lolita fashion for herself, but as she looked through Maison Style’s selection, she decided now was the time to change that.

▼ Natsuki is no stranger to transformative makeovers, whether she’s wearing an unimaginable inexpensive wedding dress, becoming a shojo manga heroine, or time-travelling back to the Japan of the 1980s.

Maison Style’s rental packages are four-piece sets, with over 50 different ensembles to choose from. Eventually, Natsuki settled on Alice and the Pirates Misses’ Mysterious Halloween Apple Dinner Party JSK Set. “JSK” is an abbreviation for “jumper skirt,” so of course that’s part of the set…

…as are a blouse, panniers (skirt side hoops), and a hair accessory.

Maison Style will deliver your selection to your chosen address, and on the scheduled date, Natsuki got a knock on her door and received her outfit, which ships in a cardboard box.

With lolita fashion being heavily focused on aesthetics, you might expect it to be pretty uncomfortable, but Natsuki was pleasantly surprised as she changed into her Alice and the Pirates set. All those ruffles and gathered material sections don’t just look cute, a lot of them are the result of elastic shirring, which makes for a secure but still very comfy fit.

With her foray into gothic lolita clothing going well, Natsuki decided to go all out with her hair and makeup as well. Rather than clip the hair accessory to her own locks, she grabbed a wig from her closet and donned that first.

Since the lolita look is more about impact than subtlety, Natsuki figured heavier makeup than she usually uses would be the best match, so she went to work using some of the knowledge she gained during her lesson at a Tokyo makeup studio.

Now all dressed up, Lolita Natsuki realized it would be a shame to have nowhere to go, so she ventured outside for a quick photo shoot.

▼ Unfortunately, her schedule didn’t have enough space for a return trip to the Ikebukuro butler cafe.

Maison Style’s four-piece sets, which can be found here, are all identically priced at 7,980 yen (US$75), and allow you to keep the clothes for four days/three nights. When your time is up, simply place them back in the same box they came in, seal it up with tape, and drop it off at the convenience store, since the return address paperwork comes pre-completed and the cost is included in the price of the set.

As Natsuki’s time with her lolita outfit came to a close, she smiled as she looked back on spending a few days feeling like a totally different person, and while she’s not quite ready to make this look a permanent part of her wardrobe, it’s a great way to dip your toes in the deep waters of this unique fashion culture.

Related: Maison Style
Maison Style screen capture: Maison Style
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he had no idea what panniers were before today.

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