Of course you don't have to draw a line between the sub-styles, sometimes you even can't, but some people do and I want to help you to understand the differences. For me, it helps to create a good coordinated outfit if I can think of a particular sub-style while searching for accesoires, socks and so on.
My first style will be OTT-Lolita, the most used word to discribe an outfit which is not 'normal' Sweet Lolita.
OTT Lolita is not based on other japanese fashion styles. Of course they use some elements from other fashions, but in general it's just a crazier version of Sweet Lolita.
The hair is usually voluminous and/or in unusual colors. Curly fluffy pigtails with long hair is the most favourite hair style. The hair color can be everything, from blond and black to pastel colors to vibrant blue. Also mulitcolored hair is common. It's important that the hair color matches the outfit. To achieve this look, 99% of the OTT Lolitas wear wigs or half wigs.
Even if OTT means 'over the top' aka 'too much', OTT Lolitas don't overfill their outfits with accesoires like you do in Decora Fashion. OTT Lolitas just use many accesoires to create a very detailed outfit.
OTT Lolitas love if everything matches together, that means if you are wearing a dress with pony print, you most likely also wear a pony bag, pony necklace, pony socks...It cost a lot of time to collect all the matching accessoires, so it's like the cream of the top if you can wear them alltogether.
Print dresses are most used, because they give the outfit easily this busy, detailed 'over the top'-look. Also, the outfits are usually build around their print. But it is also possible to wear one-colored dresses and create the OTT-look through your hairstyle and accesoires.
Other Typical Elements:
These elements are not used by everyone and all at one time, but that are elements which are not used often in the other Lolita styles except Sweet Lolita.
~ leg warmers
~ two different colored shoes
~ shaped bags like strawberries, tea cups, shooting stars
~ plush bags like ponies, bears, bunnys
~ bunny ears, bear ears