How do you start off when you're making a coord based on a character? What kind of process does someone go through to do that?
To help explain my process I’ll put a coord together for Legolas since I’ve been in a LotR mood lately. I start off by searching for references photos for the character I’m interested in. Since Legolas has multiple outfits between LotR and The Hobbit I have to first decide which one I want to do. I think I’m doing to go with his usual LotR outfit which isn’t difficult to find references for.
So after you find some good reference pictures you have to examine and dissect their outfit, keeping Lolita in the back of your mind. Does their color scheme work for Lolita? What style does this color scheme work for? Do they wear any accessories? Can their accessories work for Lolita? What can I do with my hair that suggests the character while still being Lolita and not looking like cosplay? Etc. Etc.
At this point, if you haven’t done this already, it’s time to decide if you’re going to design and make this coord on your own (or with the help of an artist/tailor/etc.) or if you’re going to make as much as you can out of pre-existing pieces. In my case I’m going to use pre-existing pieces. If you’re designing the coord and making it from scratch the method is basically the same, but you have more freedom to create specific pieces that you may need and don’t run into the problem of trying to find them. Your big issue in that case is making sure you keep everything Lolita and don’t just replicate their costume and try shoving a petti under.
So Legolas wears earthtones, mostly greens, a little brown, a bit muted, I would say his color scheme best fits Classic Lolita. His hairstyle, or something close to it, is easy enough to replicate and still look Lolita. I actually wear my hair in a pretty similar way daily except I have bangs which I think actually gives it an even more Lolita look. It looks like it was inspired by him but it’s still my own personal interpretation so it doesn’t look like a costume so if I were wearing this coord that’s how I would do my hair.
So in my head I’m breaking down the pieces of his outfit and deciding what Lolita pieces I should be using. A lot of the time the method I use is to first look at if the main part of the character’s outfit is one piece or two pieces and that’s how I decide if I’m using a dress or a skirt. With Legolas he has one main piece tied at the middle with a belt and some color change on the top half. Because of this I think I’m going to use a JSK with a blouse. He has a bit of a high collar so I’m going to see about keeping that in mind but it’s a more minor detail that I’m only going to keep if I can find one in the color that I want which I think is more important to get the character across. So I find a blouse and JSK that I think will work as a pretty solid base:
Then I’m going to move on to secondary pieces (shoes, legwear, etc.) and accessories/jewelry. I’ve decided that since I really like the blouse I’m going to skip the cape, but I still want the brooch so I’ll find a place to add that in. Green boots were surprisingly easy to find and I’m going to go with green for legwear as well. I’ll want to do a belt and probably other bits of brown leather. For accessories it’s also sometimes fun to think of other elements of the character other than their outfit for inspiration. For example, I might use archery themed jewelry for Legolas. I put it all together, fishing through etsy and other sources, and I think I’ve put together a pretty successful coord.