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At its core, lolita fashion is a vast and unique Japanese street fashion style that began in Harajuku as early as the late 1970's. Taking inspiration from Rococo and Victorian era fashions, it aimed to give people the opportunity to dress in hyper-feminine ways in order to reject cultural fashion norms. The less sexy it was, the better. It is unrelated to the book by Vladimir Nobokov and following film adaptations of the same name.
Typically, a lolita coordinate or "coord" consists of three things: a poofy skirt, covered shoulders, and covered legs. These elements can be tweaked to a lolita's personal tastes and local climate, however are still typically considered standard to most.
Over many years the definition of lolita has evoled, and thus the modern lolita is a far cry from the original outfits worn in the 80s and 90s, but strong resemblances are still prevalent even if the details themselves have changed. Because of this many answers on "What is lolita fashion?" will change dependent on who one asks. Below are several archived websites that give further definitions.