Elegant gothic lolita or EGL is the gothic subtype of the Lolita fashion subculture for young girls in Japan. Among fans of Lolita in the west, it is often used as a catch-all term for all types of Lolita to distance it from the Nabokov novel
or the idea of sexed up young girls in general.
The term was coined by Mana, who describes it as something like a union between innocence and poison. His clothing line, Moi Meme Moitie, is basically the benchmark for that particular style of Lolita: mostly black and white are worn, nearly all items are monotone in color, and even the few printed items an EGL-style Lolita would wear would be very subdued and simple compared to something you'd find at say, Baby, the Stars Shine Bright or Angelic Pretty.
The Lolita look in general is designed to look like little girls and porcelain dolls from the Victorian period: empire or princess waistlines, full, gathered skirts, ribbons, bows, lace, frills, and puffed sleeves are very common.
Petticoats are always worn underneath a lolita's skirts, which generally come to the knee or just below or above. this is what gives the lolita her trademark poofy skirt. Bloomers are also generally worn, because a good Lolita is a modest young lady and does not want to show off her pantsu. That's actually very easy to do by accident in a poofy skirt. I know, I've worn them. sometimes the bloomers may show beneath the skirt, but this is not typical of the elegant Lolita, who is more ladylike and doesn't go in for looking like Little Bo Peep.
Tights or knee socks with lace tops are nearly always worn by all Lolita, and an elegant gothic Lolita's are generally plain white or black to coordinate with her outfit.
An elegant gothic Lolita tends to use lots of crosses and "gothic" motifs on her clothing. Her makeup is simple and natural, but she may wear darker colored lipstick, usually in a vampire red.
For her headwear the elegant gothic lolita prefers bows or mini-top hats, but she can also of course be seen in the lolita's trademark "headdress" which is a rounded or square strip trimmed in lace or ruffles that ties under the chin. The effect is similar to a maid's headpiece or a bonnet with no brim. In white, it bears an uncanny resemblance to a frilly maxi pad.
The lolita look is often used in anime and manga. The clothing of Polaris from X-day, Freya from Chobits and many of the characters drawn by Mitsukazu Mihara are very EGL.
Related looks and subtypes of Gothic Lolita:
Kuro-Loli (Black Lolita): just what it says. All black, no color.
Horror Lolita: bandages, fake blood, “wounds,” “scars,” etc.