Thursday, 29 May 2014

Soft Sister?

Just recently, I have been seeing the term Soft Sister popping up online and I am curious to know what exactly Soft Sister is. A bit of digging gave me a few clues. It appears to be a bit like the clothing you would typically see Japanese model Amo wearing. Others have said it is a bit like Fairy-kei but with more Cult Party colours. It has even been used to describe general cutesy pastel fashion. The term seems to originate from China and you can search Taobao for Soft Sister using terms like- 软妹

If I were to guess, I would say the best place to get a Soft Sister inspired look would be places such as KOKOKim, Candy Stripper and Syrup. These shops would certainly be a good place to start.

And here are a few Taobao stores that seem to pop up a lot whilst I was searching Taobao. I personally really like Bobon21-

Whilst I am unsure whether I would wear these clothes myself, there are definitely some very cute items that pop up when using the Soft Sister search term. It is worth a quick browse to see what you can find. Soft Sister may be more of a search term rather than an actual fashion, but it brings up some interesting results!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Cosmic by Angelic Pretty

Today I am taking a look at Cosmic by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, a hair accessory, wrist cuffs and socks.

This is the OP. There isn't really a bodice to this dress as this is another one of what I like to call "AP's Sack Dresses". I am not really impressed by the overall shape of the OP. In the stock photos the silhouette looks a bit lumpy. The A-line shape just doesn't flow that neatly. Hopefully with the waist ties the wearer will be able to get a shape they are happy with, but I am not entirely convinced. The sleeves are very cute. They are a suitable length and look super puffy. It gives the sleeves a very cute appearance. They are elasticated too, which gives a bit of size flexibility. The bodice design is simple, which I think is for the best with this sort of series. I think the neckline is very pretty. There are 2 layers of lace. The lace is of a good quality and looks pretty. The lace is also layered very well and sits perfectly on the dress. The neckline is then finished off with a ribbon bow. The ribbon bow shape is simple, but suits the dress. The long ribbon tails add a bit of interest. The bow is also finished off with a cute star charm. My only complaint is that the ribbon used is very shiny. The back has no shirring, so there isn't much size flexibility. The lace from the neckline continues on beautifully on the back. There is another ribbon bow on the back which is identical to the one on the front of the dress. I don't feel this second ribbon bow is needed and is a little too OTT. The rest of the dress is kept quite plain, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with some good quality custom lace. I was a little surprised they used AP letter lace instead of something more star themed though.

Here we have the Sailor JSK. Again, there isn't really much of a defined bodice shape. I do feel the overall dress shape flows a lot smoother than the OP though. The back does have waist ties as well, and I can imagine the wearer being able to create a decent shape with this dress. It flares out nicely and there is plenty of volume. I suppose the proof will be in the wearing! Again, the dress details are kept fairly simple, and I feel this is the best option for this dress. As the name suggests, this JSK has a very cute sailor collar. The sailor collar shape is very cute. I think AP could have gotten away with making the collar a little bit bigger, but it is cute enough as it is. The collar has been done very neatly with crisp lines. The ribbon stripe on the collar is a lovely finishing touch, although once again I wish the ribbon used was a bit less shiny. This JSK has a bow very similar to the one on the OP neckline, but it doesn't have the cute star charm and the bow is a bit bigger in size. I think it is a shame that AP didn't use the star charm here as well and I am still not a fan of that very shiny ribbon. The stock photos suggest this bow is detachable, although I feel the dress would be a bit too plain without it. The back again doesn't have any shirring so there is limited size flexibility. The back of the sailor collar has two very shiny buttons to hold it in place, which I think look a bit gaudy. I would have used non-shiny buttons, possibly in white, to blend in a little better. However, the buttons are not in a noticeable place so this is only a minor inconvenience. The bottom part of the dress is kept relatively detail free, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom is then finished off with cute, good quality lace. I think the way the bottom has been done here is a lot neater in appearance compared to the OP as well.

This is the Standard JSK. The bodice is baggy and loosely fitted, but it suits this style of chiffon dress well. It has the right amount of bagginess I think. I really can't that that waist line though. There is something about the way the material looks around the waist line which doesn't look right to me. The waist line is also quite a peculiar shape. I also feel the neckline area isn't that appealing. The straps on this dress are very thin. I appreciate this dress suits thinner straps but I feel AP could have made them slightly thicker. They look so flimsy. The neckline shape is defined by a line of piping, which gives it a strange, angular shape. The lace along the straps that continues along the neckline is pretty and sits nicely on the dress. It makes the straps a little less boring too. However, I don't like the additional areas of lace inside the neckline. I feel without these extra bits of lace the dress may have looked a lot better. The neckline is then finished off with a bow made of thin ribbon. The thinner ribbon probably does suit this dress more than the ribbon used on the other two dresses, but I don't find the bow on this JSK very appealing. The star charms attached to it are cute though. The back is fully shirred and isn't covered with anything to conceal it. However, it does mean the size is more flexible and for some wearers, this JSK is probably going to be your best option. The skirt has a slightly more standard lolita shape to it. The stock photos show the skirt is very full with the potential to handle plenty of petticoat. It flares outwards well. It has a lovely subtly rounded shape to it. The simple style of skirt means the print is displayed well too. The bottom of the skirt features a tiered design. The tiers are soft and layered beautifully and they don't affect the overall skirt shape too much. Both tiers are finished off with a line of simple thin lace, which fits in well with the design.

And finally, here we have the print close up. As we can see, this series comes in ivory, pink, lavender, sax blue and navy. These are quite typical colours for a cosmic themed print, although the ivory offers a slightly more unusual option. My favourite has to be the navy, but I find the sax blue colour quite appealing as well. As for the print itself, it is quite simple but it has taken a popular theme and done it well. I knew as soon as I first saw the scans that this would be a popular print. I like the use of moons and it is nice that they are faded and not too solid looking. From afar, the constellations probably look like a lot of random squiggles, but up close it is a nice design. I was a little unsure about the writing on the print at first but now I feel it makes sense to include it. 

I think the hair accessory from this series is so cute! It is something a bit different from your standard hair bow or barrette. The moon shape is so cute and I adore the embroidery detail. Even the veil part is different to what we usually see. The chain finishes off the hair piece beautifully. I do feel AP should have offered something more simple like a hair clip or barrette as well, but I am also glad to see AP releasing more unique hair pieces. 

So overall, I have the odd little complaint about the dress designs, but I do really like the series. The designs are not exactly lolita, but they were probably not meant to be. I really love the print. Would I buy this series? Whilst I don't love it as much as I initially did, I still have this series on my wishlist. I would definitely love to own the Sailor JSK in navy. Then again, I may be a bit biased as I love anything star or cosmic themed! There is one thing that does concern me though, and that is that AP seem to be getting even shorter in length.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Picnic Meet Fun With the Oxfordshire Lolitas!

Last weekend, the Oxfordshire Lolitas had their latest meet up. We went for a picnic in the University Parks and thankfully, the weather was really great! Sammi and I co-hosted the event and I was happy to see a good turn-out.

I wore my Bodyline OP with the cosmetic print on it. I was debating how casual I should go because picnic meets tend to get a bit messy sometimes. In the end I went a bit dressed-up, but wore items I could remove if it got too hot or uncomfortable. My bolero certainly didn't last very long! Later on I even changed in to ankle socks. I wanted to match the pinks on the dress and it took a bit of time, because the dress has a very awkward shade of pink on it. I don't think I did too badly though. I even got the chance to wear my Red maria beret with the ribbon roses on it!

Everybody was asked to contribute at least one dish to the picnic and there was definitely plenty of food. For some reason, I always end up sat next to all the unhealthy stuff! This picture doesn't even show half of the goodies we had.

We had a little duck friend who stayed nearby during the picnic. She was so cute! I love her golden feathers and she kept fluffing them up. We fed her some food, which she seemed to appreciate.

We had a couple of games to play. First up was Burando Bingo! It worked like normal bingo, except instead of lines, players had to collect a dress by each of the 5 brands featured. I actually ended up winning my own prizes because I got 5 brands first. I also won the full house prize but I gave up my prize so one of the others could win it. In the end Sammi came second, so we split the prize and then finally Madeleine won the final prize.

We also had a pinata but unfortunately the glue hadn't dried fully. So all the prizes were wrapped up to protect them. It did however mean that the pinata was incredibly difficult to smash. James managed to get a couple of tree-vision photos of us bashing the pinata. A lot of people were pulling silly faces in the photos, so I decided to post one of Niamh which doesn't look too bad!

The end result was total carnage! Some of the prizes got broken because we had smashed the pinata so much and didn't break the pinata, just what was inside. We did have a couple of sweets and a lot of the lip balm prizes survived. There were also floral clips and scrunchies which survived too. Shame, because I had really been looking forward to eating some sweets! There was a strong scent of broken Parma Violet sweets in the air and a lot of stuff was covered in sweet dust. The moral of the story is- always make sure your glue is always fully dry when making a pinata!

I've never actually been to the University Parks before. It is slightly more of a trek than Christ Church but I think the extra walking was worth it. University Parks is a lot quieter, although that didn't stop the usual tourists taking our photo as they walked by. I will definitely be coming back here sometime. The park is so pretty and very big. After the picnic we went for a walk around, and it was very calming.

Nicola also made us a cake, which was very yummy. It was so chocolatey and moist. I wish I had taken a slice home with me! 

And as if that wasn't enough sugar, the group decided to go to G&D's for ice cream afterwards! I caught Sammi mid-eating I think! (sorry!) I had my favourite Oxford Blue, which is blueberry flavoured ice cream with little blueberry bits in it. They don't always have it in stock, so I knew I had to take my chance!

I am not posting a group photo today because I was unsure if the newer members would want to be posted on here. But what I will say is that everybody looked lovely. Madeleine and Hannah were so cute and I hope they come to future meets. Nicola's altered skirt was really well done and Shalisa, Sammi and Niamh looked wonderful. It was great to see so many lovely, Summery outfits!

I hope to see everybody again soon! I am so glad that everybody seemed to have a good time. Despite the pinata fail, I think a lot of fun was had. Here is hoping the next meet comes around quickly!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Tea Time by Metamorphose

Today I am looking at a recent release from Metamorphose. This series is called Tea Time and includes 3 dresses, 3 hair accessories, wrist cuffs and socks.

This is the Organdie Frill Pinafore JSK. The bodice seems to be well fitted but the shape leaves a lot to be desired. It is very square looking and it doesn't help that the neckline appears wonky in several of the stock photos. The actual straps are a good width but all the organdie ruffles on top makes them appear far too bulky. It would maybe have worked better if they had just left out the outer ruffle just to reduce the bulk a bit. As it is, it looks far too fussy and will draw more attention to wide shouldered wearers. One of the ruffles from the straps continues along the neckline and it just looks really messy. I also dislike how the ruffles have been topped with satin ribbon as well. The organdie bib is just overkill and the satin ribbon bow that tops it just looks too OTT. The ribbon used is also incredibly shiny and cheap looking. Overall, the bodice has far too much organdie details going on and it really needs to be toned down. It probably wouldn't look so bad if just some of the details were removed. The bottom of the bodice features 2 thin lines of lace and a pair of buttons, which seem to just blend in with the dress and don't really add much to the design. The organdie parts are far too distracting anyway. The back has a panel of shirring which is concealed by a ribbon corset. I don't know if it's just the way the organdie overlay is sitting on the skirt, but the skirt shape looks far too exaggerated to me. It sort of reminds me of one of those old-fashioned toilet roll covers! However, on a more positive note it does emphasise the smallness of the waist area. I am still not a fan though! I also feel the skirt length could do with being a bit longer. The skirt features an organdie overlay, which I am a bit disappointed with. I don't feel that it is the right sort of shape, size and I dislike how it has been finished with that white lace. There is just something about the use of lace which doesn't feel right to me. I would have made the bow clip that tops the overlay the same organdie material too. The skirt also has a tier design, which feels a bit too cluttered and fussy. The way the tiers are layered looks fine, but I don't like the size and spacing of the tiers. I am also not a fan of the lace used to finish them off. Overall, I find this dress far too cluttered and the dress could look a lot better if some of the details were toned down a bit.

This is the High Waist Pinafore JSK. The short bodice seems to be well fitted. The shape is okay, but I think the heart shaped neckline could have been a bit softer, because it looks quite pointed and sharp. I am not too fond of the strap placement either. The straps are a good width though and although the design is kept plain, I think the simpler straps really suit this dress. The bottom of the bodice is lined neatly with thin lace, which isn't too distracting. The bodice is then finished off with 2 bows which use the printed fabric. The bows are a bit on the big side, but don't look too OTT on the dress. The shape is kept simple, but looks cute. However, the 2 bows do blend in with the dress a little bit. The neckline is lined with thin lace, but it doesn't do much to soften the harsh neckline shape. The back has a panel of shirring which is concealed neatly by a ribbon corset. The skirt is a cute shape and has plenty of volume. There is plenty of room for petticoats. Overall though, I wonder how flattering the skirt shape is going to be on wearers. The model wearing the dress on the Meta website is quite petite, but the dress even makes her look bigger than she actually is. The all-over print is displayed quite well, despite the large number of tiers at the bottom. The bottom of the skirt has many ruffled tiers. The tiers are layered nicely and the end result is quite fluffy looking, which is quite cute. The only thing I dislike is the join between the main dress and the start of the ruffles. This join is topped with a line of shiny ribbon and a few small bows. I think the join line looks too harsh and needs to be a bit softer, maybe without the ribbon there at all. 

And this is the Circular Pinafore JSK. The bodice seems to be well fitted and the shape is cute. The straps underneath the collar are a decent width too. The waist is brilliantly nipped in by the belt. I do think the belt is a little bulky though, so I would have made it a bit narrower. The heart shaped buckle is adorable. I have mixed feelings about the collar. I like it paired with the belt for a cute retro look, but something about the collar shape seems a bit off to me. I can't quite put my finger on it, but something about the shape just doesn't look right to me. I wondered if maybe it was simply too big? But something seems a bit odd about the shape of the collar too. Thankfully though, it is detachable. Yes, the dress does look a bit plain with the collar detached, but that is probably how I would prefer to wear it. The bodice is also topped with 2 bow brooches. I think the bows are nicely shaped and a good size, but perhaps having both bows looks a bit too crowded. Thankfully, both bows are detachable, so you can play around with them and find a style you like. I definitely think that if you detach the collar, the bow brooches are needed to make sure the dress doesn't look too plain. The back has a panel of shirring which is concealed well by a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has plenty of volume. The shape is subtly rounded and I think in some photos the skirt looks a bit triangular and could do with being a bit more rounded. However, a lot of this would be down to the petticoat choice of the wearer, and I think a very cute shape could be created with this dress. The skirt is mainly kept simple and so the print is displayed brilliantly. The bottom hem is finished off with an organdie ruffle and then another ruffle of the main fabric is layered underneath. I personally really like the organdie part. It makes the design a bit different and it is executed well. It makes the bottom very soft and floaty looking.

And here we can see what the print looks like. This series comes in pink, sugar blue and black. All 3 colours seem to work well with the print but I feel the 2 pastel colours are more appealing than the black. As for the print itself, it looks very cute although I don't feel it is anything spectacular. All the different tea packets are drawn well with lots of cute detailing to them. It is also a nice way to subtly include their various logos and mascots without it being too obvious. Even the milky Metamorphose writing works well with the print. I think my favourite part of the print though, is the bunny head spoons. If Meta released them as a novelty item, I would definitely get one! The one thing I would remove would be the rabbit's speech bubble. The speech bubbles on Meta's apple print worked out really nicely, but I don't think it works as well here.

So overall, I do feel as though this series is a bit hit and miss. Some dress designs are stronger than others and although the print is very cute, I wouldn't go out of my way to get my hands on it. The Circular Pinafore JSK design has really grown on me though, so if I were to buy this series I would choose that dress in pink. Tea Time is nice enough, but I don't really have any strong views on it.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Bodyline Boots 225 Review

Today I am reviewing the new boots I have ordered from Bodyline. These boots are SHOE 225, or as I know them, the rose boots. I have wanted to own these boots ever since they first appeared on the Bodyline website so I am glad I finally own them. They had been restocked but had unfortunately had run out of my size, so I went half a CM up.

The boots arrived in one of Bodyline's plastic shipping bags and I was really concerned my boots had been packaged with no protection at all. 

However, when I opened up the parcel I did find the boots were wrapped in bubble wrap. Considering in the past I have received Bodyline shoes merely wrapped in tissue paper, I was quite relieved to see my boots did actually have a bit of protection during shipping.

Inside the boots were stuffed to help keep the shape.

The roses are held in place by simple clips. I am a little worried the roses are not very stable. When I opened the boots some of the roses had fallen off so I wonder how they will hold up when being worn. I have heard that some people received their boots with squished roses, but mine seemed to be in good shape.

There were some marks on the boots where the rose clips are attached. I suppose this is probably wear and tear from where the clips dig in. It does mean that I am hesitant to wear the boots without the clips though, because although the marks are small, I know they are there still.

The zips were very easy to undo and didn't get caught at all. I have experienced boots with tough zips before, so this was a very pleasant surprise.

The boot material is pretty much the same quality as my other Bodyline shoes. I imagine that for the price I paid, they will hold up well and I will get a decent amount of wear out of them. My main complaint about the boots is the calf circumference. I do not have large calves, but they are very toned and muscular. I did find that the boots zipped up a bit tight around my calves. These boots would certainly not be suitable for a plus sized wearer. Even some larger regular sized wearers may find that these are a bit of a tight fit. The other concern I have is the way the boot material creases when worn. I wore these boots for a short time and they started to crease around the ankle area. I am worried that over time these creases will leave permanent wrinkles. In the end, the extra half CM by going up a size didn't make a massive amount of difference because of the way my feet sit in the boots. When I felt the toes of the boots you could tell my toes didn't reach the end of the boots but I felt this wasn't a real issue. Aside from being slightly tight on the calf, the boots were otherwise comfortable. I wanted to get the boots in black too and I am tempted to go half a CM size up for those as well because at least I know this size feels comfortable.

So overall, I feel that although I am happy with my boots, they probably deserve a neutral rating. The boots are definitely for those with a small calf measurement, but I was still able to wear the boots and felt comfortable. I am more concerned that over time the boots will wrinkle and crease. I think the rose clips could do with being a bit more secure too, but maybe after a few wears I will have a better idea of how well they hold up. I am still looking to buy these boots in black too, and my experience with these boots has not put me off going ahead with that purchase.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Wonder Marine Treasure of Alice by Alice and the Pirates

Today I am taking a look at Wonder Marine Treasure of Alice by Alice and the Pirates. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, a blouse, 4 hair accessories, socks and a bag.

This is the JSK. The bodice looks fairly well fitted and the shape is simple, but cute. The straps are a good width and look very supportive. The strap design is a bit simple, but the stripy design helps to liven them up a little. I don't think adding lace or extra detail would work with this particular dress anyway. There is a small waist bow. The size of the bow is good, although I think the shape could have been executed a bit better. It looks a bit sloppily done. The heart buckle used is cute though. The bodice features 4 large buttons. The buttons are spaced out well but I think they would have looked better in a different colour. They sort of blend in to the background of the dress. The button design picked is a bit simple, but I don't think fancier buttons would have worked as well. The neckline has a folded over collar, which is lined neatly with lace. The stripe on the collar really fits in well with the nautical theme and the bow in the centre looks very cute. However, I do feel the collar is too big and bulky looking. It would have looked nicer if there was less material. The back has a panel of shirring which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The waist ties use the stripy material too, which keeps that style running nicely throughout the dress. The stock photos show the skirt is very full with the potential to flare out quite a lot. The skirt has a lovely rounded shape to it. The skirt is kept simple, so the print is displayed very well. The bottom hem is then finished off with some simple, but cute lace. This helps to finish off the dress neatly but without being too much of a distraction.

And here we have the OP. The bodice looks quite well fitted and the shape is nice. I do feel the sleeves could have been a bit shorter with maybe just slightly more puff to them. They look a bit flat and lifeless as they are. I do like the sailor style hem on the sleeves though. I adore the sailor collar. It is a good size and shape. The ruffled edge is so cute and the bow finishes things off nicely. The bow doesn't look to be too shiny and it is a good shape and size. I am usually a little unsure about aprons but I think the one that comes with this dress is a good effort. The striped pockets are adorable and the ruffled edge matches up perfectly with the collar. The dress does look a little more mature without the apron and I do worry that adding a maid style element on top of things is maybe a bit too much. I think I would wear it without the apron, but maybe use the apron for when I wanted a more elaborate outfit. The front of the bodice has a line of buttons. The buttons are spaced out nicely and there is a line of lace either side, which is kept neat and tidy. At first I found the buttons a bit boring, but on closer inspection I think they fit the dress well. They have a nice bit of detailing to them.

This picture shows what the back of the sailor collar looks like. It is so cute! It is a lovely shape and the bow on top is a nice finishing touch. It's a shame that the apron straps did not have a stripe of ribbon to liven them up though, like it does on the front. They do look slightly plain in comparison to the rest of the dress. As we can also see, this dress does not have any shirring, so it a bit limited size-wise.

The stock photos show the skirt has the potential to flare outwards beautifully and there is plenty of volume. The rounded shape is very cute and works well with the cute elements on the dress. With the apron removed, the skirt is pretty simple, and the print is displayed well. The apron does obscure the top of the print slightly, although I wouldn't change the size or shape of the apron. The bottom hem is finished off with a simple ruffle. Whilst the ruffle looks cute, it may not have been the best option considering the stripes are obviously misaligned. I don't think it looks too bad, but perhaps they should have done the ruffle differently or chosen a different way to finish the bottom.

And here we have one part of the print close-up. This series is available in ivory/bordeaux, sax blue/navy, navy/red and black/navy. All 4 colours work beautifully with the print but I think my personal favourite is navy/red. I love the contrast of the darker and lighter colours on that particular colour-way. As for the print, the stripes are very dominant. My eyes were more drawn to the stripes more than the actual Alice part of the print. I adore the bows and semi-circles of chains. A lot of detail has gone in to them. I also like the way the brand name has been put in the print but without looking too obvious. The Alice part of the print is very typical of AatP so it isn't really pushing any new ground. It has been drawn well though and it is nice to see other characters such as the dodo making an appearance. Overall, I think for a lot of people, the stripes will be the deciding factor with this series.

So I do think this is an interesting take on an overdone theme. I personally am more interested in the sailor theme than I am the Alice theme. But the Alice parts of the print are nice enough too. Would I buy this series? Possibly. It definitely wont be going on my wishlist but it looks nice enough. If I wanted to do sailor style though, this probably wouldn't be my top choice. If I did go for this series I would choose the navy/red JSK.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Take a Theme- Nautical

Today I am doing another Take a Theme post. This time I thought I would have a look at nautical themed items. I suppose most of these items would probably work best for Sailor Lolita, although I feel there are other possible nautical themed ideas out there. I especially like the tights from this post and would love to make a Pirate Lolita outfit with them!

Pieces of note- Any Metamorphose sailor series (they release one every year), Marine Rose (Alice and the Pirates), Fairy Marine (Angelic pretty), Treasure Hunt in the Mystic Island (AatP)

Potential sub themes- sailor, pirate, boats and boating equipment, marine animals, Cthulhu

Interestingly, I appear to have mainly stuck to sailor lolita items! I am interested in giving both sailor lolita and pirate lolita a go in the future. There are loads of cute items out there to choose from!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Ave Maria Heavenly Princess and Madonna Lily by Baby the Stars Shine Bright

Apologies for publishing a day early. I am out most of Monday and I wont be online.

Today I am taking a look at Ave Maria Heavenly Princess and Madonna Lily by Baby the Stars Shine Bright. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, 2 hair accessories, a blouse and socks. There is also a non-print series also called Ave Maria, which includes non-printed dresses and lots of pretty accessories, so that is worth checking out too.

This is the Lourdes JSK. The bodice looks a bit baggy and not that well fitted but the overall shape is nice enough. The straps are a good width and look very strong. They are lined with pretty lace on the outside too, which helps to liven them up. The waist bow is quite big, but suits the dress style. The bow shape is simple, but cute but did look slightly wonky in a few of the stock photos. The bow sits quite well on the dress. The bodice has a line of pearl buttons. The number of pearls and the spacing between the pearls is really good, but in some of the stock photos the line of pearls is wonky. Here is hoping this wont be a problem with the actual dresses. The neckline has many layers of layered wide lace. The lace design is very pretty and the lace has been layered well. I am really unsure about the bows at the bases of the straps. The bows themselves are made with lovely material and are a lovely shape, but I wonder if they maybe look a bit too cute for this dress and make the neckline look too OTT. However, the bows do match up with the colour at the bottom of the dress and if you take the bows away the colour might look unbalanced. Hanging from the bows is a pearl chain, which sits well on top of the dress and is finished off with a very pretty charm. The back has a panel of shirring which is topped with a ribbon corset. The skirt is a good shape, considering this is a longer dress. I would have maybe liked to have seen a little more volume though. The one thing that puts me off about the skirt shape is the way the bottom of the printed fabric is gathered and there appears to be a big droopy bit of fabric that falls down. Perhaps the bottom hem of the printed fabric is a bit too tight? I also dislike the way the printed fabric bottom hem is finished off with a line of bright white lace. The white colour is quite harsh and sticks out and I also don't think the lace used is that pretty. I don't think this line of lace is really needed. I do really love the layers of tulle and lace at the bottom though. All the layers are layered well and sit nicely on top of each other. It gives the dress a very OTT yet soft and floaty appearance. My only slight niggle is I wish the very bottom line of lace was just a tiny bit narrower.

This is the Medaille JSK. The bodice looks reasonably well fitted but the shape is a bit simple. This dress has 2 thin sets of straps with a line of lace on the outer pair of straps. I think I would have preferred one set of straps instead. Something about the straps looks a little too casual in my opinion. The waist has a lace belt which helps to define the waist a bit better. The belt also has a detachable bow made of the same material. This bow is a very pretty shape and sits nicely on top of the belt. It is nice that you can detach or re-position the bow too. The bodice has a lace yoke which is a nice shape, but I am unsure about the size. There seems to be a lot of plain, empty space on the bodice and I think the bodice needs something a bit more to finish it off. But the lace yoke itself is very pretty. The lace used is lovely and the edge is kept neat with a line of thin gold lace. The yoke is topped with a pretty, soft looking bow, which has a lovely charm dangling from it. The back has a panel of shirring which is concealed neatly by a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the long skirt has the potential to create a lovely shape. It has a good amount of flare and volume to it. The bell shape is lovely too. There is also a good balance between the printed fabric and the fancy bottom part. I think the gathering on this skirt looks a bit neater than the other JSK and the material sits a bit better. The bottom of the printed fabric is gathered well and gives a subtle scalloped effect. The lace used for the bottom hem of the printed fabric is lovely too. The bottom of the dress with the layers of chiffon and lace is beautiful. The layers all sit well on top of each other and the spacing looks pretty good. When I first saw this dress I thought the skirt part looked a bit like a lampshade, but I have definitely grown to like it more.

This is the OP. The bodice is a pretty shape. I like how the sleeves are covered with lace in a different colour to the main part of the dress. The sleeves are a cute length and have a complimentary shape. The sleeves are finished off with wide lace which is pretty and gives the sleeves a softer, floaty finish. I think the solid coloured belt with lace overlay is a pretty idea, but I am unsure about the placement. The bow tied part of the belt doesn't sit that well on the dress and the belt loops are quite chunky. It also seems like the belt is placed not on the actual waist of the dress, but a little bit downwards on the skirt. The bodice has a line of coloured organdie ribbon running across the bust area of the bodice which is then topped with a bow. It does look a bit slouchy and messy, but the looser organdie does mean that hopefully it wont sit tightly across a wearer with a large bust. I really dislike the spiky looking lace which lines the organdie though. I just don't feel it looks that appealing. The bow is a cute shape, although maybe a little big. The bow is then finished off with a pretty charm. The neckline is topped with pretty lace, which sits really well on the dress and the thin gold braid finish is lovely too. There are quite a few different types of lace on this bodice, but I think they work reasonably well all together. The back doesn't have any shirring. The back has more of the organdie ribbon, so at least it doesn't look too plain. The long skirt is a pretty shape with a reasonable amount of flare to it. I think it has a good amount of volume for the style of dress. What I really love about this dress is that is has a crepe chiffon overlay, which gives is a really soft, romantic feel. The print is still easily visible underneath too. The overlay sits brilliantly on top of the dress and blends in well and really flows with the rest of the dress.. It actually took me a few moments to work out that the overlay was there! The bottom hem is then finished off with further chiffon and a line of wide lace. I personally think the dress would look good without the bottom line of lace but it still works okay.

And finally, here is part of the print close up. This series is available in ivory, pink, sax blue and light green. Aside from the odd detail, there isn't actually that much difference between the 4 colours. I think my favourite is probably the pink though. As for the print itself, I really like the lacy main part of the print. All the lace is heavily detailed and you can see a lot of effort has gone in to it. I am personally not a fan of the religious imagery and some of the objects in the print look like they have been randomly slapped on top. The flowers add a pretty pop of colour. I like how the ribbon adds more colour to the print, but I think it looks oddly placed.

Overall I think the longer, classical dresses are really pretty. There are a few tiny things I would change, but I think the dress designs are generally very pretty. I am very undecided about the print though. I like parts of it but not others. Would I buy this series? Probably not, but I do like some of the Ave Maria series accessories. If I were to buy a printed dress I would probably go for the Medaille JSK in pink or maybe sax blue. I can see why this series has already had a re-release (that was quick!) and I don't doubt it will be very popular. It is just not for me.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Casual Fun With Friends

 Life has been very quiet post-Enchanted and it has been feeling very odd not having anything to plan for, so when it was suggested that a few of us meet up in Oxford, I jumped at the chance. It wasn't really a proper lolita meet, more about friends hanging out together and having a catch-up. That wasn't going to stop me from putting my frills on though!

I dressed relatively casually because the day was more about seeing friends. I wore my Twinkle Dreaming Princess JSK with a casual looking beret in the same colour. The rest of the outfit just sort of fitted around those pieces. I kept forgetting that I owned this dress so I am glad I have finally worn it! 

Oxford was as busy as ever. This time they were holding another morris dancing festival. I can't remember what exactly it is for, but it happens every year. Sadly, I was unable to get a picture of the nu-rave morris dancers that were wearing black with loads of bright neon ribbons (they were every bit as bonkers as it sounds!).

After getting some fast food, we did the usual thing of going around the centre, looking in the shops. We spent a bit longer browsing than usual and it felt nice knowing there was no need to rush about. In Primark Shalisa spotted this bag and when we opened it up we discovered that it wasn't actually a Primark bag. Somebody had left it there and it was full of stuff. We were having a real moral dilemma about this bag because it was so cute! But after having a mock fight over it, we decided to do the right thing and handed it in. Luckily, we have since found the bag online and I am considering buying it in pink.

After going shopping, we went to G&D's for ice cream. They do the best ice cream in Oxford. However, they are always running out of pecan pie and their Oxford Blue ice cream! Those are both favourites of mine. In the end, I settled for an Elderflower sorbet and to be fair it was delicious. The sorbet was really refreshing. I just hope that next time I get there early enough for their pecan pie, as I have been craving it!

We spent the evening in the Mitre, where most of our meets end up! We had a few drinks and shared some chips. We were surrounded by birthday and hen parties but after a while it quietened down. It was a really good chance to have a very long chat and gossip together.

I have to say, the day really did pull me out of my post-Enchanted blues. It was good to meet up, dress up and not have to worry about all the usual stuff that comes with more organised, structured meets. I had a really good time! I hope to do this again soon.

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