1. Details details details
Much like Hime lolita, this elegant sweet style is detail oriented. Sweet dresses without prints work better for this. Instead, choose a plainer dress with sweet details like lots of ruffles, scalloped hems, or bows!The details in the dress will make the look sweet without being overly so, but too many details will make it busy and not very cute at all. Pastels are traditionally sweet, but you can also use white or off-white. Also, don't be afraid to use jewel tones! Especially in winter time, jewel toned dresses with sweet details (lots of bows and frills) can be elegant and sweet too. If you have to have a print though, I think one that's more simple works best for this style. Border prints, like Aqua Princess above, ones that are just at the bottom and the rest of the item doesn't have bits of print all over, are best for this look. I especially like prints that look like they are cameo pins with little scenes inside, like Aqua Princess by AP above!
2. Color Coordination is Key
In the regular sweet style, it's common to see three or even four colors in a coordinate. Most of the time, this is because these colors all appear in the print on the dress. So without a print, your color choices become more limited. Stick to two, maaaybe three colors tops. If you have just two core colors evenly dispersed throughout the outfit, it will create a much more polished and easy to read outfit. To keep it simple, I suggest using white or ivory as one of the colors.
No lolita coordinate is complete without matching accessories, and this goes double for sweet styles. But for elegant sweet lolita, skip the sparkles and plastic rings. Instead, opt for things that you might see in a classic outfit, but in sweet colors. Pearls are a must! Fake pearls come in all sorts of colors and sizes, and can be purchased inexpensively from many stores. I personally like the pink and antique colors best, but whatever you like/matches is fine~ Cameo pins are always in style, and also come in a variety of colors and motifs. If you just can't shake the acrylic addiction, choose one or two smaller pieces, like a brooch or a ring, and work them in with other pieces. The juxtaposition between the super sweet acrylic piece and a simpler, more classic item is what elegant sweet style is all about!
What I mean by "texture" here is the actual complexity of the fabric. Mixing and matching different types of fabric will give you a luxe look that is perfect for this style. Look for items with embroidery, flocking, or a subtle background print. By layering these items with one and other, you can create very complex and elegant outfits!
Do you wear ESL ever? It's a pretty neat little style! I hope you try it out some time, let me know if you do~ I'd love to see pictures!