Thursday, 29 January 2015

Yes Asia Review- Neutral

Today I shall be reviewing Yes Asia, which is the website I ordered the latest Gothic Lolita Bible from back in November. I could have ordered from Amazon Japan again, but I was curious to know what Yes Asia's service was like because they had some of the older GLBs in stock and listed for a reasonable price.

Ordering Process

The Yes Asia website is pretty straight-forward to use and all I had to do was search for the Gothic Lolita Bible in the search box. The website is a little crowded looking, but easy to navigate. The site lists the price in USD and then an estimate of the price in GBP. The reason that Yes Asia are being given a neutral review instead of a positive one is because I feel that they are not upfront with how much the final total will really be. Their site proudly displays the words "Free International Shipping" but it is only when you hover over the text that you will see that restrictions apply. The prices listed also don't include tax. Apparently my order did not qualify for free shipping and so the GLB I thought was going to cost about £12.50 actually ended up costing over £19 after tax and shipping. If I had ordered from Amazon Japan it would have been around £15 and judging by my Facebook feed, the people who ordered though Amazon got their copies a lot quicker than I did. However, it is worth noting that I opted for the slowest shipping option because the more expensive option would have costed me a ridiculous amount more.


I placed my order on the 24th of November and using the estimated delivery time given, I worked out I should receive my GLB by the 17th of December. Unfortunately the UK postal service was having some severe issues in the run up to Christmas with long delays. In the end, my parcel actually arrived on the 23rd of December. Given the issue was with the UK post, Yes Asia cannot be blamed for the lateness of my parcel in this case. But considering the slower shipping didn't come with tracking, it was a bit tense waiting to see if my GLB would arrive safely!

When it did arrive on the 23rd, the box arrived a bit battered. This was probably because it was sitting in a UK depot for ages. I felt the taping of the box could have been done better.

Inside the box my GLB was wrapped up in bubble wrap. There wasn't too much chance of it getting damaged, but I feel the choice of box could have been better.

And here is the GLB! It came shrink-wrapped because it was brand new. The GLB was in perfect condition.

I am not saying to completely rule out buying from Yes Asia, but there are better options such as Amazon Japan, which are a bit more reliable. I think Yes Asia need to be more honest and straight-forward about their charges, because what can seem like a bargain can slowly become not such a great deal when you get to the checkout. Given the postal delays here in the UK, it is hard to judge just how quick the parcel would have come if it hadn't been held up. I would possibly use Yes Asia again if I saw they had something which Amazon Japan didn't but from now on I will be sticking with Amazon.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Baby the Stars Shine Bright Print Double

Today I shall be looking at 2 prints from Baby. Scroll down to see my discussion on Cherry Rendezvous.

First up is Story of Thumbelina. This series includes 3 dresses (one non-print), a skirt, 4 hair accessories, wrist cuffs, socks and a blouse.

 This is JSK I. The bodice looks a little bit tube-like in shape, although the neckline helps to perk it up a little. I just wonder what the fit will be like. The straps are quite thin and look a bit flimsy, but the thinner straps go well with the dress design. They are lined with pretty lace, which has been shaped well and sits nicely. The waist line and bodice are lined with lace, which is further topped with some thin gold braid. It has been done in a pretty way which breaks up the bodice in to interesting shapes. The gold braid really adds a touch of luxury and helps define the lace lines. The bodice features a ribbon corset, which sits neatly between the 2 lines of lace and braid running up the bodice. The ribbon used has a very slight sheen to it but it doesn't stand out too much. The ribbon has been spaced out very well and never looks too bunched together. The lines of lace help to conceal the edges of the ribbon corset. The neckline features more gold braid but this time the lace used is much wider. The lace used features a pretty rose design and it sits quite well on the neckline. The neckline is then topped off with a bow made from the printed fabric and a double rose corsage. The bow is a cute shape and the size is quite good, although with the roses as well I think it is a little too much. The double rose is beautiful though. Both the bow and roses are detachable from the dress and each other. I personally would wear the dress with the rose corsage attached and maybe leave the bow off. The back has a panel of shirring which has been concealed very well with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt has a very pretty shape and really flares out quite a lot. It will hold more than enough petticoat. The skirt has a bustle on the front. The tiers are well spaced out. I just wish that the bustle was a little bit wider. I also think the material used for the bustle is a bit simple looking. Perhaps some thin lace on the hems or some more textured material could have looked better. Despite the bustle, the print is still displayed fairly well. The bottom hem is then finished off with a simple chiffon ruffle.

This is JSK II. The bodice is quite well fitted and the shape is simple, but pretty looking. I like the slight heart shaped neckline. The straps are a little bit thin and I would have liked them a little bit thicker, but they are lined with pretty lace, which sits quite neatly. The waist area features a belted design which helps to define the waist area. The belt is made from the printed fabric with a line of thin lace on either side. I think a solid coloured belt could have been nice here, but the printed one looks okay. The belt is topped with a bow which I think is a bit too big. It is the lace that really adds to the bulk of the bow though. I would maybe just get rid of the lace. Aside from not liking the lace, I feel the bow is a cute shape and sits fairly nicely on the dress. The bodice between the waist area and neckline is kept quite plain, although there is enough detail here already to make the dress interesting. The neckline features a line of lace topped with gold braid, which looks very pretty and matches up well with the lacy straps. This line of lace is topped with 3 large ribbon bows. The bows on the neckline are very pretty, but they look a bit too OTT when teamed with the waist bow. I wish the waist bow was detachable, as I feel the dress would look a lot better without it. The ribbon used for the 3 bows is very pretty and the bows all have a lovely shape and placement. The back is fully shirred, which means the shirring is very exposed and not that attractive to look at. The stock photos show the skirt has a very pretty shape. It has a decent amount of flare to it and will hold plenty of petticoat. The skirt design is very simple and the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is scalloped with lace layered underneath to create an even hemline. The scallops are shaped well and evenly spaced. I like how the lace softens the scallops too, as I am not usually a scalloping fan!

And here we can see the print close up. This series is available in ivory, pink, mint and navy blue. All 4 colours are quite dreamy looking and suit the print. The navy offers a deeper, more mature option but I think this time the mint is my favourite. As for the print, I think the flowers are very beautiful. The colours are bright and the petals are well shaped. It is the perfect setting to put the Thumbelina characters and scenes with. The print has lots of little details to it, like the butterflies, fairies and birds. There are lots of different themes to make a potential co-ordinate with but everything still compliments each other. The print has a nice balance to it. My only criticism is I think the clouds could have been drawn a bit better.

So overall, this is quite a pretty series with a lovely print. The dress designs are quite lovely and there is only the odd thing here and there that I would change. Would I buy this series? I wouldn't personally, but only because this series isn't my sort of thing. I can still appreciate how pretty it looks though. If I was picking, I would go for JSK I in mint, as I like the mint combined with the pinks in the print. I feel this series deserves to do quite well.

Next up I shall be looking at Cherry Rendezvous, also by Baby the Stars Shine Bright. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, a salopette, 2 bags, a handkerchief, 6 hair accessories, a bracelet, a ring, a blouse and 2 pairs of socks.

This is JSK I. The bodice seems fairly well fitted and the shape is simple, but nice enough. I think the wide straps look very sturdy and supportive, but doesn't look too appealing and could do with being slightly narrower. The straps are lined neatly with lace on both the inside and the outside, which keeps them looking neat but isn't too distracting. The neckline is very heavily detailed, but it does feel as though the rest of the bodice is very plain and could do with just some small bits of added detail to liven it up a little. The neckline features a lace yoke. I think the yoke needs to be a bit smaller as it is quite domineering, especially with the wide line of lace running along the outside. I am not too fond of the choice of lace used, with the exception of the cherry shaped lace which the ribbon is threaded through. I thought the cherry design looked quite interesting and it is a shame it hasn't been used in the best possible way. The ribbon and ribbon bow are a brilliant bold colour, although it is a bit shiny. The bow is a cute shape and the size is okay. It looks quite perky and sits well on the dress as well. I do wonder how all this detail would look on a larger busted wearer though. The back features a panel of shirring which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has enough volume and flares out really well. There is the potential to create a really cute shape. The skirt design is kept simple and so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with some very cute cherry themed lace.

Next up is JSK II. The bodice seems fairly well fitted. I am not too fond of the bodice shape though, especially the neckline and the way the straps attach to the bodice. The straps are a little bit thin but they suit the dress and wider straps wouldn't look as good here. The straps are lined with lace on the outside, which stops them looking too plain. I think the lace used is a bit boring though. The waist area has a large waist bow, which I don't like the shape of. The lace around the edges of the bow just enhances the weird shape as well. Thankfully, this waist bow is detachable, although the dress looks a bit plain without it. If I had this dress I would definitely be adding a belt or something to help liven it up a bit. The neckline has a wide line of lace which has been laid very flat against the dress. The cherry shaped lace is quite pretty but overall, it looks very dull and I think Baby have played it far too safe. The bow topping the neckline helps to liven things up a bit. The ribbon used for the bow has a very pretty stripy design to it and I think the bow size and shape is a good choice. The back of the dress is fully shirred, although due to the style of print the shirring isn't too obvious and does blend in a bit. The stock photos show the skirt has plenty of volume and it flares out beautifully. The skirt has a very pretty and sweet shape to it. The skirt design is kept simple, with just a very subtle line of lace running around the skirt about halfway down. The lace blends in so well that I didn't even notice it at first glance. The print is therefore displayed very well. The bottom hem is then finished off with some good quality but slightly boring looking lace.

This is the OP. The main part of the bodice seems reasonably well fitted and an okay shape, but what on earth is going on with those sleeves? They have an extra line of gathering, which gives them a peculiar bumpy shape. They look really frumpy and unflattering. The sleeves are finished off with some good quality, but slightly boring lace. I think the lace needs to be a bit thinner. The waist area has a bow, which is a bit big. The shape is quite basic and I think the lace along the edge spoils it a bit. It does sit well on the dress though and looks quite perky. It doesn't appear to be detachable, which is a shame. The neckline features a tiny little lace bib and is also lined with some okay looking lace along it too. There is some of the cherry shaped lace, but the end result is quite basic looking. The lace is topped with a ribbon bow, which is probably the most interesting part of the dress. This little bow is detachable, although I personally wouldn't detach it. The neckline looks very bunched up, probably because of the large amount of elastic. It reminds me a little of those dodgy lolita 'costumes' that you see being sold sometimes. It looks very cheaply made. The back doesn't have any shirring and the waist ties are quite thin, so this dress doesn't offer much size flexibility. The zip is quite well concealed and the print lines up quite discreetly along the zip line. The stock photos show the skirt has quite a cute shape to it and suits the sweet print well. It has plenty of volume and flares outwards well. The skirt design is kept simple and the print is displayed brilliantly. The bottom hem is then finished off with some simple but good quality lace.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get a proper print close up so I am using this picture for the moment. But it does show the print quite well. This series is available in ivory, pink, mint and black. These are quite standard colours for a fruity print, although I am not fond of the mint version. The ivory offers an interesting option because it has the splashes of blue which works surprisingly well with the red. As for the print itself, it is pretty standard for a fruit themed print. The cherries have been drawn very well. They look very juicy and shiny and ready to eat. The bows in the print are well placed and the daisies are a nice addition. The lace doilies in the background are well drawn with some interesting detail. Overall though, there is nothing about this print that really stands out. There is nothing here that we haven't seen before.

If I am being honest, this series feels a bit like a 'filler series' that Baby put out because they hadn't done a fruit print in a while and felt they should probably put one out. The dress designs are very basic and nothing about them really stands out. I expect something more from a popular Japanese brand. The print is also nothing that exciting. I would not buy this series, as I feel there are more interesting fruit themed prints out there. If I absolutely had to I suppose I would choose JSK I in ivory. I am very underwhelmed by the entire series though and I can't see it being hugely popular.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

First Lolita Outing Of 2015!

On Saturday I wore my first lolita outfit of the year to meet up with Shalisa and Sammi. We had a casual get-together in Oxford to catch up. After the long drag of the holiday period, it felt good to dress up and see friends.

I used this meet as an excuse to finally wear Candy Star Rabbit. It took me a while to wear this skirt because in all honesty, I was at a bit of a loss about how to co-ordinate it. The blue shade is an unusual shade but it matches my AP Dream Star necklace really well. A lot of people tend to just used black with this colour of Candy Star Rabbit. I decided to add some red to the mix. I think it works. Our little mini meets tend to be very casual and laid-back so I stuck to solid coloured pieces to tone down the skirt a bit. I think the colour combination is already quite a strong feature so it wasn't necessary to go too OTT. 

We decided to go to Bamboo for lunch. It was meant to be one of the suggested Ox Loli Anniversary meet food options but they don't really offer vegetarian options, so we decided to go when there were no vegetarians with us. I picked this really tasty pork in a rich soy sauce. It arrived at the table spitting and sizzling and it was definitely worth the wait for it to cool down. I still managed to burn my tongue on it though! I would definitely come here again and it is a shame we can't really go there with the Oxford group.

Afterwards we decided to do a bit of shopping and we stumbled upon this peculiar jacket in H&M. It was like we had gone in to the future! We didn't really have that much success shopping but that is probably for the best, seeing as my over-stuffed wardrobe collapsed on Christmas Day.

Once we had finished shopping we headed over to the Mitre for drinks. I ordered myself a chocolate fudge cake again! I had it at the last Oxford meet and it was amazing. This cake has quickly become one of my favourite things. It is so heavy and rich.

And finally, a blurry group photo. Given how tired we felt by this point, it is probably for the best this photo is blurry! We chatted for hours and had a couple of drinks. It is always good when we have these little meets as it means we can catch up with each other properly and there is less planning involved. Overall, it was a very fun day and it was great to see Sammi and Shalisa again.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Espirit de la Belle by Baby the Stars Shine Bright

Today I shall be taking a look at Espirit de la Belle Epoque a Paris. This series includes 4 dresses (2 printed), a skirt, 5 hair accessories, a blouse, socks, a lace collar and wrist cuffs.

This is the Sarah JSK. The bodice looks fairly well fitted and the shape is quite interesting. I think the straps are a very good width and look quite supportive, whilst also suiting the dress style. The outsides of the straps have been lined with tulle and the tulle has been used really well. The tulle is well shaped, with plenty of gathering and matches up brilliantly with the use of tulle elsewhere on the dress. I think the waist bow could have been smaller, but doesn't look too large. I do feel the bow shape could have been prettier though, and I don't think the lace looks great around the bow edges. The bodice features a ribbon corset, although it is too bunched together. The ribbon needs to be spaced out further, as it looks a bit messy as it is. The ribbon used is a lovely design, but it is very shiny. Above the ribbon corset there is a line of ribbon running across the bodice. I like how it is lined with gold braid and the bow in the middle is a pretty shape. However, I am concerned how that ribbon line is going to sit on most wearers. It cuts right across the wearer's bust and it isn't the easiest of details to wear. I also think that there is far too much detail going on with the bodice. I personally would lose the waist bow and the line of ribbon running across, just leaving the neckline details and the ribbon corset. The neckline is lined with layers of wide lace and tulle topped subtly with gold. The lace design chosen is very pretty and I think the different layers sit really well on top of each other. My only criticism would be the mix of ivory and white colours used. I am not entirely convinced that the white lace colour really works with the warmer, softer ivory colours. It is a bit of a contrast. The back has a panel of shirring which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The skirt shape looks quite pretty in the stock photos. The photos show that the skirt has plenty of volume and flares outwards well. The main part of the skirt is kept quite simple and the all-over print is displayed beautifully.

Here we can see a close up of the bottom of the Sarah JSK. I generally quite like the design of the bottom of this dress. The tulle layers give the bottom a very soft finish and the gold braid along the bottom of the main dress fabric is beautiful. What I am not so sure of is these little raised bits on either side of the dress. My issue is with the use of white lace. Again, I am not sure I like the harshness of the white teamed with the ivory, but the lace also seems to be weirdly positioned. It just looks like a slightly odd shape. This picture also shows that the print doesn't line up too neatly along the seam. The ribbon bow is quite pretty though, and it does help to obscure the white lace a little bit.

Here we have the Manon JSK. The bodice looks very well fitted and I really love the overall bodice shape. I really like the shape of the neckline and the gold braid helps to emphasise that shape in a very neat way. The straps are a decent width and really suit the style of dress as well. The straps and neckline are topped with wide lace. The lace is really well gathered and sits perfectly on the shape. The lace used has a beautiful design as well. However, once again I am conflicted by the use of white lace. I do feel the use of the different lace and tulle colours works a bit better on this JSK than it does on the Sarah JSK though. The bodice features 2 ribbon corsets on either side. The bows at the waist area could have made the waist area look very bulky, but the ribbon used is very soft and delicate so I don't think this is really an issue. The ribbon for the corsets is very beautiful and I think the ribbon has been spaced out well. My only concern is the use of flimsy looking lace to hold the ribbon is place. The lace is very thin and it looks like it could break quite easily. The middle of the bodice has a line of pearl buttons. The buttons have a pretty design, although I think Baby could have gotten away with one or two fewer buttons. The neckline is finished off with a ribbon bow. The bow is a good size and the shape is pretty. It sits fairly well on the dress too. The back has a panel of shirring which is topped with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has a lot of potential shape-wise. It flares out generously and has more than enough volume. The skirt design is kept simple and the print is displayed brilliantly. The bottom hem is finished with alternating layers of tulle and lace. The layers sit well on top of each other. I only wish these details had been under-stitched instead of over-stitched. These details are finished off in a lovely way with gold braid and nicely positioned ribbon bows. 

This is the OP. The bodice material looks a little bit loose and baggy. The sleeves are an interesting design. I feel the print material part of the sleeves needs to be a bit shorter, as it seems like it would end in a strange place on the arms of most wearers. I also feel that the sleeve design would look a bit more balanced if this part of the sleeves was shorter, as I think the chiffon part of the sleeves don't have enough room to properly flare out to their full potential. The join between the 2 different sleeve parts also looks very frumpy and too fussy, and I dislike the use of bows here because it looks too OTT. The chiffon parts of the sleeves is beautiful though, and I think it is a shame they haven't been used in the best way. The waist area has a bow. The size of the bow is okay, but I really dislike the shape and how it sits on the dress. I personally feel there is enough detail on the dress and a waist bow isn't needed anyway. Thankfully, it seems to be detachable. The bodice features a ribbon corset. The ribbon is reasonably well spaced out, although I feel the corset could have been a little wider. The rose lace on either side keeps the edges looking neat but looks a little bit flimsy to be holding the ribbon in place and could get damaged if the wearer isn't careful. The tails of the ribbon drop down the skirt, which in my opinion is a little bit messy looking. Even in the model pictures Baby have chosen to hide the ribbon tails. There is a wide bib on this dress which reaches the shoulder area. I personally would have preferred it if this was a bit narrower, as it looks quite dominant. The bib itself is quite pretty though. I like the use of lace, as it gives the bib an interesting appearance and texture. The bib has a line of lace underneath it as well which I am not so keen on, but it does match up with the style of the bottom of the dress. The bib features some pearl buttons and I think they are too bunched together. Maybe only one or two buttons would have looked better. The collar design looks quite simple and doesn't look too stuffy or uncomfortable. The back of the dress offers no shirring at all and is quite plain in design. I do dislike the way the print lines up along the zip line. The stock photos show the skirt has plenty of volume and will hold a decent amount of petticoat. The overall skirt shape is quite pretty. The skirt design features a gathered front with many layers of chiffon underneath. It is a pretty idea, although I feel the gathering could have been executed neater and the bows used by the gathered areas look saggy and poorly positioned. There are also further bows along the bottom hem, around to the sides which are made from the printed fabric, which are far too big and I don't think are really needed. Just above where the printed fabric ends, there is a line of lace topped with gold braid, which I thinks looks a bit messy and fussy. With an all-over print it doesn't matter so much if the skirt has such obscuring details, because you can see the print elsewhere, but in my opinion the print has not been displayed as well as it could have been on this particular dress. As for the lace and chiffon bottom of the skirt, I do think the layers have been layered on top of each other brilliantly. The difference between the patterned lace and the smooth chiffon gives a nice variety of different textures and the final result is quite pretty. 

And finally, here we have the print close up. This series is available in ivory, lavender, green and brown. In my opinion both the lavender and green colours are beautiful. I also like the choices for the ribbon colours that Baby have used with all 4 colours. The red ribbon with the green colour way is especially striking. As for the print itself, it is quite romantic looking. I like how despite being quite a floral print, the flowers are not overly dominating. I especially love the envelopes and perfume bottles in the print, as they have been drawn so well. There are lots of lovely little details hiding away in this print. As for the pictures in the frames, they feature pretty standard images such as vanity tables and buildings. They all look quite appealing. There is nothing that particularly stands out and everything in the print works together really well.

So overall this series has a really lovely print, although I feel a little uncertain about some of the dress details. There are other details on the dress designs which I do really like though, and I think the choice of ribbon colour is especially interesting. Would I buy this series? Probably not, but it is one that I shall be admiring from a distance. If I did buy this series I would go for the Manon JSK in green. I can't see this series being a big seller, but it is nice enough and I am sure we are bound to see people coming up with some lovely outfits with it.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

November 2014 Taobao Haul Part 2- Akilya Review- Negative (picture heavy)

Do you remember that Taobao order review I did late last year? Well today I am finally able to bring you part 2 of that order review, because that single shop that was holding up my order has finally sent me the items. And I will now reveal that the shop in question was Akilya, who are an accessory and jewellery Taobao store. 

I had actually already had a fairly negative experience with Akilya before. I previously placed an order with Akilya but after a few weeks decided to cancel my order with them because it was holding up the rest of my order and I was getting a bit impatient. But I foolishly decided to give Akilya a second chance.

The order in question was placed on the 18th of October (the other stuff I ordered can be seen in my review here) and the main intention of this order was to get some Christmas presents. Knowing that Akilya could be slow, I thought I would order really early so that there was no real excuse for the items not to arrive in time. I had seen the passive aggressive message on Akilya's home page (google translate tells me that basically she is moaning about how she is only one person, life is hard etc... Kind of makes you wonder why she is running a Taobao store in the first place!) but I know that when I place an order, my Taobao Spree agent Ray will give me a time estimate for each item ordered. So I got the first email back from Ray and he tells me that the Akilya items would take a total of 7 days to complete. 

Now, 7 days is not a grand amount of time and it was based on this time frame I was given- which Akilya's owner herself had estimated- I decided to go ahead and order. After all, I still had a decent amount of time before I started needing to worry and it wouldn't matter if Akilya took a bit longer than stated. What I wasn't prepared for was just how slow Akilya would be. About 2 weeks after I placed my order, I asked Ray how things were coming along and he told me that he had every item, apart from the stuff from Akilya. I asked Ray if he could get an update from Akilya, so I had a rough idea of when to expect my items and the response was "the end of November" or to put things in to perspective, 6 weeks after I initially placed my order. I was starting to get a bit worried because 1 week had already turned in to 6 times that. In the end, I made the decision that I would split my order so Ray could send me the stuff he already had. So now I had to pay out for 2 lots of shipping, just because 1 shop was holding everything up. Suddenly, those reasonably priced accessories were costing a whole lot more.

I emailed Ray at the end of November to see if there was any sign of my accessories and the answer was no! I was told it would take about another 2 weeks and by now I was really panicking. Even with fast shipping, it wasn't guaranteed that my items would arrive in time for Christmas. After 2 weeks I emailed once again and Ray said it would take another few days. And then because of Christmas slowing down the mail, it took a while to arrive at Taobao Spree's office. The items finally arrived on Christmas Eve, which was over 2 months after placing my initial order. How on earth does 1 single week suddenly turn in to over 2 months!? After paying out for the more expensive shipping option (Ray warned me slower mail was more likely to get lost at this time of year), my items were finally shipped out on Christmas Day. The parcel arrived on the 30th of December. I suppose you are wondering why I didn't bother to cancel my order with Akilya and the answer is that I was constantly being promised by Ray that the items were coming and I had been unable to find suitable alternatives for the items I ordered. As time went on, I grew more and more stressed and had to resort to giving my friends I.O.U cards in place of their Christmas presents. But what really bugged me was the attitude of the shop owner. She clearly does not care at all about her poor customer service (just reading her home page confirms this) and it was left to Ray to apologise on her behalf.

My order was placed inside plastic wrapping and then wrapped up in bubble wrap and a bubble envelope. Taobao Spree chucked in a free pearl bracelet as well, although I doubt I will use it. The packaging was done well and up to Taobao Spree's usual standards.

So... after having so much time to make 4 accessories, you would think that the quality would be amazing. Well, despite seeing worse quality, the items I got were very disappointing. I have looked over the items and I really don't understand how it could have taken so long to make these items and I am convinced Akilya rushed to make the items at the last minute.

First up is this headpiece that I got to match Sweetie Violet. 

The hair band is big enough to fit comfortably on an adult's head. However, I did feel the white hair band looked a bit dingy and dull, as if it wasn't brand new. I can't really fault the lace that makes the base of the hair accessory. It isn't the greatest of quality, but the lace is super soft and had no fraying. The pattern on the lace was crisp. 

I am really not impressed by this pink bow. The ribbon is super shiny and by feeling it, you can tell the material is very cheap. The heart in the middle of the bow are bog-standard ones that I have seen sold super cheap. The bow is also slightly wonky and no matter how hard I try, I am unable to mold it back in to shape. The fake flowers are also of a low quality. A lot of the petals were misshapen and one petal was almost falling off, so I am going to have to glue or sew that back in place.

The bottom bow is slightly better. The ribbon is still shiny, but you can tell it is of a better quality than the other ribbon bow. The pearls are a nice touch too. The ribbon ends were sealed off well, so there was no fraying.

To be fair, I did think the hair accessory looked a lot better when I tried it on and I was happy with the way it looked. But when you look really close, you can see it is cheaply made.

Next up is the hat I also got to match Sweetie Violet. The straw hat is of a pretty standard quality. It is nothing special but serves quite nicely as a base hat for this accessory. Going over the top of the hat is 2 thick lines of ribbon. The ribbon is a little shiny and I wish it had been a bit narrower, but it is of a reasonable quality. However, I did notice that the ribbon is not spaced out in a neat cross and hadn't been secured to the base hat that well. It doesn't look too bad in this photo, but the cross really isn't neat and evenly spaced out in real life. I wasn't expecting Akilya to get out their protractors and rulers to make sure it is 100% straight, but you would think she would pay a little bit more attention to detail, especially given how long they had to perfect this hat.

The fake flowers are the same as the ones on the headdress so of the same low quality. The bow underneath is very cute though. However, the other little bow on the side has a frayed end.

I like the use of ribbon and pearls around the base of the hat but it has been done in such a messy way. You can clearly see a crease where the ribbon ends. Would it have really been so difficult to cover the ends somehow?

The ribbon is also quite loose and poorly attached to the hat, so there are loose puckered bits. 

The lace is of a reasonable quality but I think it is a bit of a strange choice to use star themed lace. It doesn't match the rest of the hat at all.

The hat has 2 alligator clips underneath to help secure it in place. I found it held the hat reasonably well on my head and the clips were well placed. 

I randomly found this in the bag in the headdress bag and it is at least decent of Akilya to offer spare pearls. I am not sure what the other thing is for though? It looks like it might be wax, so I am guessing it is to seal the ribbon ends.

And as a bonus, this is what the accessories look like against my Sweetie Violet JSK. Ignore the shoes, I just wanted to see how they looked next to the dress and I didn't realise just how different the colour was.

So overall, the items I got were okay and would have been worth the price if I hadn't had to pay extra for the shipping. But the super long wait I had after being told it would take one week and the stress involved was not worth it. I am never ordering from Akilya ever again and I have deleted all my Akilya links in my Taobao folder. It is a shame because Akilya has lots of pretty accessories which compliment Angelic Pretty pieces brilliantly. But if anybody was thinking of taking a chance on Akilya I would say prepare to be kept waiting. Seriously, don't do it.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Alice Contraption Watch Orchestra by Alice and the Pirates

Today I shall be taking a look at Alice Contraption Watch Orchestra by Alice and the Pirates. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, a blouse, 3 hair accessories, a brooch and socks.

First up is JSK I. The bodice shape is a bit simple and I think it is lacking something. The straps are quite thin, but they suit the dress. I like that the straps are lined with lace on the outside and it adds a subtle bit of extra detail, although I think the choice of lace is quite average. The waist bow is a bit large and I think it definitely needs to be smaller. Maybe it is because it is teamed with 2 other quite large bows. The shape of the waist bow is quite cute though and it sits well on the dress. The ribbon and lace help to give the bow a bit of interest, but at the same time it adds extra bulk to an already large bow. If it had been done exactly the same way, just smaller, I would have liked it more. The 2 bows on the bodice are also quite large. I think these 2 bows also need to be smaller and maybe have 2 thin lines of lace running up the sides of the bodice to help break up the empty space. The ribbon used for these 2 bows is also quite shiny. The ribbon used is that check pattern ribbon that you see used by a lot of Taobao stores. I suppose the ribbon choice does go with the dress but I would expect something of a bit better quality from a big brand. The neckline features layered lines of lace. The lace has been layered neatly and it sits well on the neckline. But again, I feel the lace choice is a bit boring. The back has a panel of shirring which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. I was a bit surprised by the choice of colour used for the ribbon on the back (this is based on the stock pictures of the sax blue version) because it stands out and draws attention to the shirring. The stock photos show the skirt has a reasonable amount of volume and should hold plenty of petticoat. It seems to flare outwards well, although it is a bit hard to tell with Baby's dodgy stock photos. The print is displayed really beautifully at the front. On the back of the skirt there is a bustle. I don't think the bustle has a pretty overall shape and the lines are too straight. The tiers are spaced out and layered well on top of each other though. The bottom hem is then finished off with good quality lace.

This is JSK II. The bodice looks fairly well fitted and I think the overall bodice shape is very cute. I think the straps are a decent width and really suit the style of dress. I love the way the lace sits on the neckline and then on top of the straps too. The choice of lace is quite average, although it does look very pretty and has been used in a really good way. The waist has a sort of belted design, which helps to give the waist a little bit of definition. Although the 'belt' is made from the same material as the main dress fabric, so it does blend in quite a lot. It does keep things looking neat though. I quite like the size of the waist bow as it fits in well with the rest of the dress design. The bow design itself is quite simple and boring, but it has a good shape to it and it sits really well on the dress. The bodice features a line of lace which goes from the waist and meets the lace and bow at the neckline. The lace is very pretty and I love how the end result looks. I am not so fond of the pearl buttons on top of it though. I feel the buttons are just slightly too big and I hate the way they alternate between ivory and white colours. The neckline is topped with a ribbon bow which is very shiny and I think needs to be a little bit smaller. It is very cute looking though. The back has a panel of shirring which is concealed neatly by a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt seems to have a good amount of length to it. It flares out a reasonable amount and has enough volume to create a decent shape. The skirt design is kept quite simple and so, the print is displayed really well. The bottom hem is finished off with ribbon threaded lace and thin ribbon bows. It looks very pretty and has a touch of the old-school about it.

Here we have the OP. The main part of the bodice seems fairly well fitted, although the overall bodice shape feels a bit frumpy and awkward. I really hate the sleeves. The main fabric part of the sleeves is too long and lacks any real shape. The connection between the main dress fabric and the white fabric also looks awful and unflattering. It is quite dull and flat. The white part of the sleeves is detachable and I do feel this looks a bit better, although the remaining sleeves are still unappealing. They need more gathering and puffiness to them, as they look like bog-standard shirt sleeves. The main bodice has been kept quite simple, although with the apron and neck details you don't really need any detail here anyway. The dress has a bib which is neatly pleated and lined well with lace around the edge. Again, there are alternating buttons. This time it alternates between gold heart buttons and pearl buttons. I think it looks a bit messy and they should have just used one type of button. The collar part is quite nicely ruffled and doesn't look too stuffy of uncomfortable. The bib is topped off with a large bow tie, which is detachable. The material used for the tie is lined with pretty lace and the pointy ends are well shaped. I personally prefer the dress with the bow tie on. The back offers no shirring so size flexibility is limited. The zip is quite well concealed, although I don't like the way the print lines up on the back of the dress in the stock photos. The stock photos show the skirt has plenty of volume and flares out well. There is plenty of room for petticoat underneath and there is the potential to create a really cute shape. The skirt is topped with an apron and I am really in two minds about whether I like it attached or not. The apron design itself is quite cute and it really matches the rest of the dress well. However, the problem with the apron is that it obscures a lot of the print. On the other hand, when the apron is detached I feel the gold buttons used to hold it in place stick out too much, because the dress colours are quite muted in comparison. You can clearly spot that something has been detached. I think I would leave the apron on, but only because I think the dress looks too dull without it. When the apron is not used, the print is displayed very well. The bottom hem is finished with a ruffle of the main dress fabric.

And finally, here is one part of the print close up. This series is available in pink beige, sax blue, emerald and black. All 4 colours are quite pretty. I was quite surprised to see myself most drawn to the pink beige colour. It is not a colour I would usually go for but I like how it looks in this series. As for the print itself, my first reaction was to sigh when I saw it was yet another Alice in Wonderland print! The clocks in the print are drawn really beautifully and I really like the clocks teamed with the floating piano. The clocks feature some really ornate details and you can tell a lot of effort has gone in to them. The piano keys are quite quirky and I like how the keys go in a wavy line. I feel that if the Alice characters were not in the print, I would like it a lot more. I do feel that some sort of character is needed in the print though, but I would just replace the Alice characters with something else. But despite not liking the Alice theme, I do admit the characters have been drawn well and look very cute. The swirls of musical bars and notes in the background is a nice finishing touch.

So overall, I feel the dress designs could have been better and the print could have been a lot better. I understand Alice in Wonderland is seen as a key theme in lolita, but it is so overdone. The print really didn't need to have an Alice theme and it could have had a lot more potential. For me it is the dress designs that really let the series down though. I wouldn't buy this series but if I did, I would go for JSK II in pink beige. I feel this dress design does actually work and looks a whole lot better than the other 2 options. But in all honesty, I think I would rather go for the skirt than any of the dresses. Skirts are a lot harder to screw up! Here is hoping that the next AatP series is a bit more exciting.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Things I Would Like to See in 2015

Is it just me, or does this post keep coming around quicker every year? So, here we are with a brand new year and what is hopefully going to be an exciting year for lolita fashion. 2014 was a bit of a mixed year for me with many highs and lows, but after looking at my 2014 list, it appears quite a few of my lolita-related wishes came true! But what exactly would I like to see in 2015? Here is my list-

A more structured and united sales community- It feels like every time I want to go buy something lolita related now, I have to trawl through endless sales pages, often with the same people posting in every available sales community! Facebook alone has lolita sales pages for different countries, languages, brand specific, style specific, off-brand... The list goes on. As great as Lacemarket can be, there are times when the website glitches or can't handle the volume of traffic. It also seems as though the EGL Comm Sales on Livejournal is slowly dying. Sometimes I just wish we could go back to the days when there was quite a centralised sales community and I hate to think I have missed an item because it has been pushed underneath the people constantly bumping their Facebook posts. I feel it makes selling stuff a lot more stressful.

A BTSSB duck print- I wanted an Angelic Pretty duck print for so long and when they finally delivered one, I hated it! I really wanted to love Melody Toys, but as time went on I went from thinking it was cute to slowly finding more and more things I disliked. So, let's see if Baby the Stars Shine Bright can do any better! Or maybe I will have more luck wishing that AP can do another and better duck print, maybe with the duck as the main feature.

A better Bodyline warehouse and better quality control- Lately, it feels like every time I order from Bodyline, my items will arrive with make up stains, mould or just generally in a not-so-brand-new condition. I don't feel this is in any way acceptable. When you order from Bodyline, you are paying for items that are brand new and should be in new condition. However, it seems I have gotten off lightly, as I have friends who have had to open Paypal cases against Bodyline after receiving items in shocking conditions. Bodyline are not the most helpful when it comes to refunds either but ideally, it shouldn't get to the refunds stage in the first place.

More basic and wardrobe building items from brands- I have noticed that certain colours have seen a surge in popularity as of late (I am very pleased to see people are discovering the joy of navy blue!) but it still feels that sometimes I am lacking the necessary matching accessories to make a wide variety of outfits. It is all very well and good to make a hair accessory which perfectly compliments its series, but when it only matches that one series it is very frustrating. I would like to see more basic items that can be dressed up or down and can be worn with multiple pieces. Sometimes I don't want to buy the matching hair accessory for a dress and just want a solid coloured piece that I know I will get a lot of wear out of.

Less Chocolate and Alice in Wonderland prints- I am not against these sort of prints but they have been so overdone that I think we need to see something a bit more original. There has been some progress with series like Wonder Queen (which focused on the Red Queen instead of Alice) and Quartet Chocolat (which had the addition of musical instruments). However, it feels like a lot of the time we are seeing the same stuff repeated over and over again. I am not saying they should stop making them all together and I quite like that there is a new Royal Chocolate series each year, but I like it when brands bring out more unusual or lesser seen themes.

More accessory lucky packs- Am I the only lolita out there who has completely run out of hanging space for new dresses? I know I need to sell some stuff soon but in all honesty, I don't feel my wardrobe needs more dresses anyway. Dress and skirt lucky packs are great for new lolitas who are starting out and could do with all the outfit basics, but I would really like to see more accessory packs out there. There are lots of indie brands out there who offer accessory lucky packs, but a lot of the time these sell out super quick. Lucky packs can be very exciting to open, as you don't know what you are going to get. An accessory pack offers a smaller option for those who don't want dresses or don't have the money for a larger lucky pack. I know AP and Baby have offered accessory lucky packs in the past and I would love to see them offer these again. And on a similar note, I would really like to see Baby do a blouse lucky pack. Their blouse designs are so beautiful and a lolita can never have enough blouses.

More silver- I love the colour gold and have plenty of it in my wardrobe but silver still seems a relatively rare colour in lolita. Some skin tones look a lot better with silver than gold. Is this a new area to explore? Aside from the silver Bodyline shoes and a few bag designs, I rarely see the colour outside of jewellery. Maybe it would work or maybe it wouldn't. I would quite like to find out!

Slower AP releases- There are certain times of the year where it feels like Angelic Pretty is releasing a lot of series in a very short space of time. It is really difficult to keep up! I usually try my hardest to avoid the worst of the AP release bloodbaths, but it is very frustrating when you go for a while without liking anything and then suddenly you fall in love with 3 different Angelic Pretty releases all at once. And then, you find out those 3 AP releases are being released just a few days apart! I just think AP need to spread their series out so there isn't this frenzied rushed release period, especially at Christmas when people have other stuff like presents to spend out on.

Less Nun Lolita- I don't mind the odd religious element in lolita and quite enjoyed the recent Nun Lolita trend. But I feel enough is enough. It is getting a bit boring and repetitive now, seeing people wearing that Sister Maria nun OP in the exact same way all the time. I think there are only so many ways you can wear that sort of dress. Maybe it is time to give the trend a rest before it starts to feel overdone.

So that is my list of wishes for this year. I was very pleased to see some of my 2014 wishes come true, although some were more successful than others. I feel there will be many who agree and disagree with my wish list this year. I would be interested to hear what my readers would like to see in 2015. As for my personal goals for 2015, I want to focus less on cutesy sweet lolita and attempt to wear sweet in a mature way, I want to expand my hair accessory collection so I can rely less on wearing matching head bows from the same series and try to focus on building my lolita friendships.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Mercator Antique Shop by Angelic Pretty

I hope everybody had a great time over the holidays! My posting schedule is back to normal as of today and I am back to trying to catch up with the latest prints. Today's post is about an AP print that came out last month and I apologise for the lateness of this post.

Today I shall be taking a look at Mercator Antique Shop by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 4 dresses, a skirt, 2 hair accessories and tights.

First up is the OP. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape it quite pretty. The bodice is divided with the main print fabric and then a chiffon panel making up the top half. I feel the "neckline" where the printed fabric ends is an interesting shape. It has been lined neatly with gold braid and the little dangling stars have been placed so effectively. The only thing I dislike about the use of gold braid here is the way the line ends so harshly when it reaches the arms. I think the sleeves look quite generous in length. However, I really hate the way the wrist area and cuffs have been gathered. It creates these really weird pleats going up the arms, which I think looks peculiar. Also, the way the main arm connects to the shirred part and to the lacy cuffs looks awkward and clumpy. The design doesn't really 'flow' and the bows on the shirred part just add to the awkward appearance. The waist area has a velveteen bow which is a nice, simple shape and a suitable size for the dress. I am a little unsure about the use of velveteen though, because although the sleeve bows are also velveteen, I think the velveteen looks a little out of place. The main part of the bodice is pleated which adds a little extra depth without adding an overload of detail. The dress already has plenty of detail elsewhere. I love the lace used for the neckline on this dress. It has been layered and gathered in a lovely way and sits so well on the dress. The neckline is topped with a generous sized bow. I think it is a little big, but it does suit the dress. The shape of the bow is pretty and I love the use of gold braid on the bow. I am a little unsure about the fringe used on the bow tails though. This bow is detachable and I think I actually prefer the dress with the bow detached, as then you can really see the lace and dangling stars that are hiding underneath. The back offers no shirring, so the size is quite limited. The zip is very well hidden, although I don't feel the little velveteen bows on top of the zip and back of the collar are really necessary. The stock photos show the skirt has a lot of volume and it flares out fairly well. I like the shape, although it is somewhat obscured by the over-skirt. I am not really feeling the over-skirt on this dress though. I don't think the overall shape of the over-skirt is that pretty and is a bit lacking. I also hate the ruffle around the edge of the over-skirt. The over-skirt still leaves a reasonable amount of the print well displayed at the front but I would have liked to have seen a bit more. The bottom hem is finished off with chandelier themed lace. The lace is very pretty but given what we have seen from AP before, I am surprised they didn't pick a lace which fits in with the print theme a bit better.

Here we have the Bustier JSK. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape is quite interesting. I feel the straps are a bit thin and despite the use of lace on them, I feel they also look very plain. In fact, I am not sure I would have bothered with straps at all and just had it as a strapless dress. The waist area is topped with 2 bows. The fabric used for the bows is shiny, but I actually quite like the way it looks here. The bows are quite simple in design but still have an okay shape to them and they sit fairly nicely on the dress. My only real complaint is I think the 2 bows need to be spaced a bit further apart. The bodice features a velveteen ribbon corset. The ribbon has been really well spaced out. I like the pleated panels on either side as well as it adds extra texture to an otherwise simple bodice design. Although most of the bodice is quite simple, I feel with the heavy detail at the neckline it is better to keep the rest of the bodice details more subtle anyway. The neckline has a couple of layers of lace. The lace has been layered in a way that gives lots of volume. This might be a good option for a smaller busted wearer. I think the lace here looks quite pretty. The neckline is then topped with another bow made of the same material as the waist bows. Again, the bow shape is quite simple but still quite nice to look at. It sits well on the neckline and has a good size, which suits the dress. The back has a panel of shirring, which has been concealed very neatly with a ribbon corset. For some reason, AP have decided to add bows to the bases of the straps on the back of the dress. I feel this adds unnecessary bulk and also looks a bit messy. The stock photos show the skirt is quite full and it has plenty of flare to it. I think the bell shape is very pretty and there is the potential to create a really lovely silhouette. The skirt design is kept simple and the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with the same chandelier lace.

This is the Regular JSK. The bodice looks well fitted. I think the bodice shape is a bit too square though. The straps are a good width and look quite supportive. I do wonder if they will be prone to slipping off the shoulders though, as they are pointing outwards. The straps are topped with generous ruffles, which run down the bodice and meet as a V shape at the waist. The ruffles are so well gathered and shaped brilliantly. The ruffles are lined with gold braid on the inside, which creates a triangle shape where it runs along the neckline. I do feel the lines are a little too harsh and straight. Maybe it will look better when actually worn. The triangle part of the bodice is pleated for extra texture and detail. The centre has pearl buttons, which are well spaced out. These details are subtle enough that it doesn't take attention away from the large ruffles. The neckline is topped with a cute shaped bow, which is a good size and placed well. It is made of velveteen and it doesn't seem like there is velveteen anywhere else on the dress, so it does look slightly out of place. The bow is detachable, but I am undecided about whether I would detach it or not. The back is fully shirred, which means there is nothing to conceal it and looks quite exposed. The stock photos show the skirt has a reasonable amount of volume and has a fair amount of flare to it. The overall skirt shape is quite cute. The bottom hem is then finished off with lace layered over a chiffon ruffle. It gives the bottom a very cutesy look and matches up well with the bodice ruffles.

And here we have the Long JSK. The bodice looks a pretty shape, although there appears to be some baggy material around the waist area. The straps are a good width and suits the style of dress. They are lined with pretty lace on the outside which stops them looking so plain. The waist area is a bit plain and empty, although I suppose the neckline is interesting enough that lots of detail isn't necessary. There are lines of lace running up the bodice which blends in nicely. There are also lines of gold braid which help break up the solid colour of the rest of the bodice adds a bit of interest. The neckline is also lined with gold braid which helps to continue the detail and make it more balanced. The neckline is topped with a large bow. Despite its size, I think it is a very pretty bow and works well on the dress. The shape is gorgeous and it sits well on the dress. It is perfectly formed. There are also further bits of gold braid on the bow as well for continuity. Underneath the bow is a lace jabot. The lace is layered really nicely and helps make the bodice look more interesting. The back has a panel of shirring which is topped very neatly by a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt flares out really well and is very full. The shape is very rounded. I probably would use a little less petticoat than AP have used in the photos but it is good to know it will hold plenty of petticoat. The main part of the skirt is quite simple, so the print is displayed really well. The bottom hem features a line of lace and then 2 layers of chiffon underneath to create a long underskirt effect. I don't think the layers sit too well on top of each other. There is a bit of a strange gap between the lace and the chiffon layers which doesn't flow that well. I also feel the chiffon is a bit too gathered. The bottom hem is topped with ribbon bows. The ribbon used is quite shiny and I would have preferred it to be a bit more matte. They are nicely positioned and an okay size though.

Finally, here is the print. This series is available in lavender, wine, navy and black. I personally dislike the wine colour as it is a bit unusual and I think the other 3 colours fit the theme of the print better. The navy and black are absolutely gorgeous. As for the print itself, it is a very pretty idea, although it is quite clustered and some of the items in the print seem a bit random. I don't really get the point of the crosses and the ponies. It feels like the crosses are just there to be "trendy" and the ponies do not fit in with any of the other part of the print at all. It is as if AP have attempted to include every one of their popular regular themes. The jars at the bottom are a cool idea for a print though. I think the teddy bears are a bit too cute and AP could have included something a bit more magical looking. I absolutely love the globe and stars in the print and I think they are my favourite part. Overall though, I think this print is a bit unbalanced and too clustered.

I think the pattern on the bonnet from this series is very pretty and interesting. But am I the only one who feels the shape looks a little odd? I don't feel the line of lace around the bottom is too appealing either. Luckily, the head bow for this series is quite pretty. It is a shame though, as I think the bonnet could have looked very pretty if executed just a little bit differently.

So overall, I think this is quite a pretty series but it does have its faults. I think the dress designs do fit in with the print theme though. The OP definitely reminds me of a magician's costume. I think I prefer the less costume-looking Bustier JSK and that is what I would go for if I got this series. As for the colour, it is a close call between the navy and black. But I think there are parts of the print which stick out and should not have been included. So this is probably not a series that I will be going for.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...