Thursday, 8 December 2016

Thoughts on Getting Older in Lolita

Apologies about the quality of this post. It is the first more 'personal' post I have written since my current health problems started. I tried my best and I hope you all enjoy it. Unfortunately my health has deteriorated further and it could be that I need to stop blogging for a while. Perhaps I will start my Christmas break a bit early. So hopefully you will all be hearing from me again soon but if you don't, I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas. The rest of this paragraph should probably come with a bit of a Trigger Warning and if you don't wish to hear about my health problems just skip on to the next paragraph. It is only just dawning on me just how sick I have been, not just recently, but for a long time. I tried to put on a brave face and I pushed people away because I hate being a burden. The problem is, I need to find a balance. When I get stressed, my body basically goes in to meltdown, like it is doing right now. I did a test run of a lolita outfit a few days ago and it was physically painful even having a petticoat on for a short amount of time. And all I could focus on was how my rib cage and pelvis was sticking out because I have lost so much weight. That 'magic' I feel when I wear lolita wasn't there and all I could see was this shell of a person. Unfortunately I haven't even been able to support my closest of friends when they have been having problems, as the second I feel overwhelmed it is as if my emotions switch off to spare me the physical pain. This is incredibly selfish of me but I haven't figured out yet how to stop that 'switch' from clicking. I realise now that I didn't allow myself the space I needed to grieve when my nan died earlier this year (see, I don't think I even mentioned this on here because I was so determined to put on my "everything is fine" face) or have the courage to tell people that I was feeling too upset/depressed to do things, which has been going on for a lot longer. I put so much pressure on myself that wasn't necessary and I needed to tell myself that it is okay to cry, it is okay to not have all the answers and importantly, it is okay to be a bit selfish from time to time and just take time out for yourself. I am sorry for this emotional outburst and I will focus on getting better (and I mean properly better, not pretend better). And now, on to the post I attempted to write...

I was in my local drugstore recently, trying to find my usual anti-aging serum and was utterly dismayed to find that my local branch had decided to stop stocking it. It means I now need to order online (when I get given loyalty card coupons which don't work online) or travelling to the nearest bigger store. Maybe it is the stress I have been under lately, but I could feel the rage building and in my mind I was firing up a long-winded complaint letter to be posted publicly on their Facebook page. I felt absolutely distraught that I couldn't get hold of this serum and frantically trying to remember how much I still had left in my current tube. It was a bit of an eye-opener really, because I had always felt that I was okay with getting older, but my actions seem to tell a different story. I am spotting the early signs of getting older around my eyes and on my hands (which never seem to get softer, no matter how much hand cream I put on!). There are a lot of people my age who are starting to get grey hairs. This is yet to happen to me, and I don't think I know how I am going to feel about it until it actually happens. I would like to hope that I would spot that first grey, give a little shrug and then continue going about my day. It is not as if I wish to be a slave to this "ideal" that the beauty industry shoves down our throats, but at the same time it is not as if I haven't noticed the changes I am going through either. I guess it comes down to personal preference.

I have been thinking more and more lately about how I feel about becoming an 'Older Lolita', not that I am there quite yet. If you were to ask most lolitas, I think the majority would probably say that an 'Older Lolita' would probably be somebody in their 30's. That is not to say that people in their 30's or above are old, but that if you look at the age of the typical lolita, it would probably be somewhere in the early to mid 20's. Age is a bit of a sensitive topic in this fashion. A youthful appearance is something that is not necessary to enjoy the fashion, but certainly 'desired'. Whilst there are many older lolitas who get admiration, there are unfortunately some who make negative comments about age. Words such as "Grandma" get thrown about casually, when some of the lolitas these comments are aimed at are not even old enough to be a grandma.

I will admit that when I first started wearing lolita, I had this set idea in my mind. I was going to limit myself to a maximum of 10 dresses (I currently own about 40 main pieces), I was only going to wear lolita to conventions (I ended up writing this blog, being a part of a lolita community and wearing the clothes casually on my own) and I would probably stop wearing the fashion when I hit 30 (It is looking increasingly less likely that this will happen). But what my younger self didn't realise was that it wasn't my age that was important, but my self-confidence. I may be in my late 20's, but I certainly don't feel 'past it'. Do I still feel comfortable wearing lolita? Yes, I do. And it is less to do with the opinions of other lolitas, and more to do with how I feel within myself. I have had all sorts of insults hurled at me over the years, but getting older is a fact of life that none of us can change.

As I have gotten older, I have found that wearing lolita has become a whole lot more enjoyable. Most lolitas will find that they can afford to buy more dresses and attend more meets because as we get older, typically we find we have more disposable income. I have had younger lolitas say to me before that they wish they could afford as many dresses at me and my response to that is usually to tell them that when I was their age, I was in a similar position myself. I understand that frustration of seeing all these new releases coming out and feeling overwhelmed by the size of my wishlist because I experienced these feelings when I was younger. It feels a lot easier to wear lolita when you don't have the guilt of working out how you are going to be able to afford things.

I also don't feel that older lolitas should feel the need to change to a more 'mature' lolita style as they get older. Let's be honest here- if you were to ask a member of the general public, chances are they will still think that you are a weirdo regardless of whether you are wearing sweet, classic or gothic. I have found that I have developed this built-in 'cutesy scale'. When it comes to dressing up in sweet lolita, it is almost as if this 'cutesy scale' instinctively tells me when something is too cute for comfort. Whilst I may still wear sweet lolita, I have in the past sold items which I don't feel comfortable wearing any more. Again, this has less to do with the opinions of others, and more to do with how I feel within myself. I think as well that as time has gone on, my style has evolved. I wear sweet in a more mature way now because that is simply what I prefer to wear now. Sweet lolita is the style I fell in love with and what took me from a casual lolita to a more regular lolita wearer.

I think another factor that has become more apparent as I have gotten older is the age difference between me and other comm members. There have been meets where I have been more than a decade older than some of the other lolitas. It feels really strange to hear conversations about school when you have been out of education for so long! But I feel it is important to give everybody a chance. I have met very mature 20 year-olds but also some very immature 30 year-olds. At the very least, you should have lolita fashion as a common interest if you go to a lolita meet.

So I guess to summarise this post, getting older in lolita is less to do with wrinkles and grey hairs and more to do with how you view yourself and confidence. If you want to wear a more sugary cutesy outfit as you get older, then that is your choice. When I was going through my initial ita phase, I came to realise that despite not looking my 'best', I was still enjoying the meets I was going to. And I feel a similar thing could be applied to age as well. If you are happy and enjoying yourself, then you are never too old for lolita, regardless of your actual age. A good outfit is still a good outfit, no matter who is wearing it.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Rosette Collection by Angelic Pretty

Apologies for the lack of post on Thursday. Today I am looking at Rosette Collection by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, a beret and socks.

First up is the OP. The bodice looks quite well fitted and the overall bodice shape is generally very smart. I am a little unsure about how the sleeves look shape-wise, but I wonder if it is just the way they have been positioned in the stock photo. The cuffs at least look very cute, with an interesting shaped edge. I really like the emblem gold buttons and braid on the cuffs too. The braid on the cuffs matches the lines of braid on the collar. There is a stripy ribbon belt, which appears to be the same red and blue on each colour-way. This choice of colour for the belt seems to work better on some of the main dress colours than it does on others. However, the belt does help to neatly define the waistline, even when the sash is left on. The bodice features several lines of lace, which sit neatly on the dress. I especially love the choice of lace for the front middle ruffles. As well as being of good quality, it also has a lovely design which fits in with the overall feel of the series. There is then a line of buttons in the middle. The buttons are spaced out quite well, but I think AP could have gotten away with adding one more button. It is also a shame that the 'Angelic Pretty' text part of the print was used behind these buttons because you can't read the writing between the spacing of the buttons anyway. The collar is a very cute shape and a decent size. It is set out very neatly with the gold braid. This collar is topped with a detachable stripy bow, which I think is a good shape and size. It helps to balance out the colours on the belt as well, so I personally would leave it attached. As mentioned, there is also a sash. The 'Angelic Pretty' text on the sash is a good size, so that you get to see the whole of the brand name. The gold braid and buttons on the sash are lovely too and are a nice finishing touch. I like the choice of font for the writing too. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. However, the stripy fabric means that the zip is very well concealed. The stock photos show that the skirt is generous in volume and flares outwards plenty. It should hold a good amount of petticoat. The skirt is then kept simple in design, so the print is displayed wonderfully. The bottom hem is then finished off with a pleat. Whilst the pleat has been done really neatly, I think it is perhaps a bit too wide. Due to its width, it feels like there is a wide strip of solid colour at the bottom.

Here we have the JSK. The bodice looks very well fitted and I adore the shape. The halter neck straps (and additional set of straps hidden at the back) look very supportive. I like the folded down collar too. It has sharp, clean lines, which are emphasised by the use of gold braid. The collar and the straps underneath are lined so neatly with lace too. This same lace is used subtly in lines going down the bodice as well, which helps to break up the empty space at the sides. There is a waist bow, which is a bit too big but is otherwise well executed. I like the way how the bow tails have been folded. It gives the bow extra depth and makes it look more interesting. The use of gold braid on the bow also matches the braid on the collar. It appears as though the waist bow is not detachable, which is a shame. It is always nice to have the option. The bodice has 4 gold buttons with an emblem design. These buttons are well set out and positioned. There is a gold chain between both pairs of buttons too. These gold chains are a good length too. To finish, there is a rosette attached to the collar. I think the pleat on the rosette is lovely, but the stripy tails could do with being a bit longer in length. I feel that if these tails had been longer, the rosette would have looked a bit more balanced. Although it isn't shown on the dress listing, I would assume this rosette is detachable. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and it flares outwards lots. I think there is a lot of potential to create a fantastic shape. The skirt is then kept simple in design, and the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a pleat, which I feel is a suitable width, unlike the one on the OP.

Finally, here we have the print. As we can see, this series comes in ivory, green, wine and black. As a lover of navy blue, I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a navy option! I am not sure why, but the black version just doesn't appeal to me. The other 3 colours look great though. As for the print, I am getting a strong sense of deja vu. It is like Chocolate Rosette minus the chocolate and Loyal Rosette minus the fluffy dotty bit at the bottom. I never liked that part of Loyal Rosette though, so in my opinion this print is an improvement! The rosettes are well spaced out and I like how it alternates between rosettes and tassels. I have always had mixed feelings about tassels in prints, but these ones a nicely adorned. I love how they have crowns and moons. The rosettes are gorgeous too with interesting details. There is plenty of variety in their design as well. The stripy regimental background is smart as well, and I like that the Angelic Pretty text is not too prominent.

This is a good release from Angelic Pretty, but it is nothing original and it feels as though they are just recycling previously popular designs. To be honest, I would rather get Chocolate Rosette over this series, but that isn't to say this print isn't pleasant enough to look at. There are a few things I would tweak about both dress designs, but they are quite solid efforts which are bound to have wide appeal. I do wish the JSK came with a sash option as well though. Would I buy this series? Possibly, but it is not something I would go out of my way to get. It has a lovely mature feel to it though. My top choice would be the JSK in ivory. I am not 100% sold on the OP. I think it would be great though, if AP decided to release some of the rosettes in the print as accessories. Even though the JSK has one, it would be lovely to just be able to buy a rosette if you feel a bit unsure about the main pieces.

Monday, 28 November 2016

A Print Double

Today I am looking at 2 different series. Scroll down for Meta's Tailor's Bear.

First up today though, I am looking at True Rose Story by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, 2 hair accessories and socks.

First up is the OP. The bodice seems well fitted and the shape of the bodice is suitably princessy. It is not to my tastes, but I know the shape will appeal to some. I do feel that the sleeves are a pretty overall shape, but there is so much detail going on. It is far too much, especially for a printed dress.

I decided to include a picture of the side of the sleeves so you can all get a better idea of just how OTT they are. As you can see, the main dress fabric opens up to expose lacy material underneath. On the main length of the sleeve, I don't think this idea is too bad. But on the cuffs, I don't think the opening has been well shaped and I personally feel it looks a bit messy. In the first photo AP have fanned the sleeves out to their maximum, but this second picture probably gives a more realistic idea of how the sleeves will actually look when worn. In this photo the bell shape is a bit shapeless. But my main complaint is that the sleeves are further topped with velvet bows, with some even having fake flowers on top. It is detail, on top of detail, on top of even more detail and it is too much. As I was hinting above, these sleeves could have possibly looked okay if this was a solid coloured dress, where the OTT details would have been the only focal point. On this printed dress though, the sleeves are competing with the over-skirt and the print.

I think the neckline shape is very pretty. The gold braid really helps to define the neckline shape and the lace lining it sits very neatly. I really like the rose themed lace that was chosen. There is also a detachable modesty panel made up of lace, although with the pretty neckline I think I would be tempted to detach it. The bodice then features a small ribbon corset, but the interesting thing here is that AP have put the lace and braid continuing on down from the neckline underneath the ribbon, instead of to the sides. I am really unsure about this design. It means that you get bits where the ribbon is poking out of the lace and the ribbon has no defined lines. It is hard to put in to words, but it just doesn't look right. There is a matching choker too, which goes well with the neckline lace. I like that velveteen has been used for the bow on the choker as well, for a nice bit of continuity. I wouldn't have bothered with the pearl chain on the choker though. There is also a waist bow, which is a cute, well defined shape, but is also a bit too big. It seems to sit well on the dress though. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. The stock photos show that the skirt has plenty of volume and it flares outwards generously. It will hold more than enough petticoat to create an OTT sweet shape to match the overall feel of the dress. There is an over-skirt, which in my opinion is one of the worst over-skirts I have ever seen. It looks like lacy net curtains. The choice of material seems a bit cheap looking for the regal princess feel of the series. I also hate the way it has been gathered at the front, which only adds to the curtain-like appearance. Whilst I appreciate there are curtains in the print, it does not translate well on to the actual over-skirt. Thankfully, this over-skirt is detachable! I think the dress looks loads better when it is removed. When the over-skirt is detached, the skirt is quite simple, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with a line of the rose lace layered over a ruffle of the lacy floral fabric.

Here we have the JSK. The bodice looks well fitted and the bodice shape is simple, but lovely. I think the straps are a suitable width. They look quite plain from a distance, but the straps are actually lined neatly with some subtle lines of lace. I feel this enough, just to stop them from looking too plain. The bodice features some criss-crossed gold braid, which is lined neatly with lace on either side. I think the gold braid looks bold, and the use of gold really brings out the gold parts of the print. The gold braid is also neatly spaced out. I think the choice of lace looks okay, and it is of a good quality. There are also 2 velveteen bows at the waist area, which are a cute shape and a suitable size. I think the positioning of these 2 bows looks pretty decent as well. The neckline features a line of wide lace with rose shaped lace layered in top. I think this is quite pretty, although I wish it tapered off gently at the sides. There is also a bow on the neckline, which is a cute shape and very sturdy, but it is also massive. But despite its size, I think it works really well on the dress. I like the use of gold braid and the fake rose on the bow too. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and flares outwards plenty. I really like the full, rounded shape created in the stock photos. The skirt is kept quite simple in design, so the print is displayed brilliantly. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of rose themed lace.

Finally, this is the print. This series comes in pink, wine, blue and black. The colours on the black version don't particularly appeal to my personal taste, but I think all 4 colours work nicely with the print. As for the print itself, it is bold and interesting. I think the curtains are well set out. It is really sweet how the curtains have a line of rose embroidery and gold on them. It makes the curtains look a lot more interesting and stops there being large areas of the print with just plain, solid colour. The crowns topping the curtains are a nice touch too. The areas inside the curtains are well filled in. I like the bird cages and the spinning wheel is a lovely subtle nod to Sleeping Beauty. The Sleeping Beauty theme is not overwhelming, so it is not as if you have to like that fairy tale to be a fan of the print. The non-border part of the print is very striking with the swirls of gold and roses. It is a bit busy, but this is clearly a series with a lot to say.

I have very conflicting feelings towards this series. Personally, I feel the OP pushes the OTT too far and it comes across as a costume rather than a fashion dress. The JSK is a lot more restrained in comparison. The print is really pretty, and nothing in the print looks out of place. I think the colours are a good mix of cutesy sweet and more mature colours. Would I buy this series? No, because I don't think the print is my style. I think it is pretty obvious I would go for the JSK, and my top choice would be the blue colour. The blue, red and gold colour combination looks very regal in my opinion.

Today I am also looking at Tailor's Bear by Metamorphose. This series includes 2 dresses, 2 skirts, a blouse, a vest, shorts, a cape and 2 hair accessories.

Firstly we have the Stand Collar OP. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape is very smart. I think it looks very mature. The arms appear to have a good amount of length to them. Although the cuffs look quite plain and a bit like work shirt sleeves, in this instance I quite like them. Meta could have added a ruffle to the cuffs, but I don't think it is needed. The bodice features a button up design, which ends mid-skirt. Seeing as this line of buttons is how you appear to get in to the dress, it was probably necessary for the buttons to go a bit further down, so that the wearer could comfortably get the dress on. But purely based on appearance, it would have been better if the buttons stopped at the waistline. It would have been easy to have a zip at the back instead. The buttons and lace used are very cute though. I really like the pleats and ruffles to the sides of the button line too. It is all set out very neatly. The buttons are then topped with a ribbon bow at the collar and another bow at the waistline. The waist bow is a cute shape and I think the size is spot on. It holds its shape decently as well, with no obvious signs of drooping. The ribbon bow is okay too, although I could take or leave it. The back offers a bit of shirring, which does not have anything covering it. Although the shirring is exposed, it kind of blends in to the print. I don't feel the shirring looks that obvious. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and it flares outwards enough. I absolutely adore the shape created for the stock photos. Aside from the button line, the skirt is otherwise very simple, so the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a double ruffle, which looks very cute.

This is the Collared JSK. The bodice seems quite well fitted, but the shape of the bodice is very square. I don't like that very straight neckline either. The straps look a suitable width and quite supportive. I don't think the shoulder details really add anything to the straps and some subtle lines of lace could have livened them up a bit. Or perhaps the straps could have been lined with braid like the folded down collar has. This collar is very neat, but I feel the overall collar shape could have been cuter. Maybe a more rounded shape could have worked? In the middle, there is a bow on the neckline. This bow is a lovely shape and size, although I am note sure I like how it looks with the collar. But I still feel it is the collar that needs changing and not the bow.  This bow is detachable, but I would leave it on. I think the dress looks too plain with it removed. There are also 6 buttons on the bodice. These buttons have a pretty emblem design and are well positioned. However, some of the buttons seem to be drooping and pointing downwards in some of the stock photos. I hope they are sewn on well on the actual dresses, although resewing the buttons would only need a quick fix. The back is fully shirred which means lots of size flexibility, but it also means the shirring is very exposed. The stock photos show that the skirt has a good amount of volume and it flares outwards generously. There should be plenty of room for petticoat. The skirt is once again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed wonderfully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of gold lace.

Finally, this is the print. This series comes in burgandy, deep blue and brown. All 3 colours look amazing with the print. I don't think Meta could have picked better colours. As for the print itself, the bears look adorable. I really love their facial expressions and how some of the bears have mustaches! The cotton reels and buttons are nicely drawn. The ribbon swirls in a fancy way around the bears. If I was being picky, there is maybe a bit too much empty space in the border print. Although maybe this is better than having an overcrowded print. The check background is perfect and I think it is a great choice to go with the border print. The little items floating around the background are nice and subtle too, so they are not distracting. 

So overall I think this is a really cute series. The print is lovely and I quite like both dress designs, even if there are a few small things I would tweak here and there. Would I buy this series? Probably not, because teddy bears are not really my thing. But if I were to go for a teddy print, this would definitely be one of my top choices. My top choice would be the OP in burgandy, despite the buttons continuing down the skirt on the OP. Although I may not be going for this print, I was a bit tempted by the check pattern only shorts and vest. I think those pieces look really smart, but look a bit cuter than some of the boy-style pieces from other brands. I would really love to see these pieces worn, so do let me know if you brought them!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Taobao Haul November 2016- Photo Heavy

I decided to get one last Taobao order in before Christmas, so today I will be reviewing what I got (minus Christmas presents!). First though, I would like to apologise for the quality of a few of the photographs in this post. With limited daylight and a cheap camera, getting decent photographs proved difficult!

First up is this Haruhi Clover beret. The beret is soft and a good size for an adult head. I really like the colour, which I felt was represented well in the stock photos.

The bow is made of good materials. I love the rose themed ribbon, although it is slightly shiny. My only real complaint is that the bow seems to be upside down. The way the pearls were attached to the bow suggested that it is meant to be the way up I have displayed it in the photo above. But to me, this looks incorrect, as I feel the smaller bow parts should be at the top. I reattached the bow the other way up and managed to get the pearl chain to sit in a way that I liked, but it still feel that something about the way the pearls have been attached isn't quite right.

The back of the bow has a simple pin clip and the way the pin was placed suggests that the bigger bow bits should be at the top. But the clip feels quite secure when done up, so I am sure it will be fine to wear it either way up. There was a small loose thread on the back, but it was too tiny to get in the photograph. At least it was hidden at the back, and I was able to just snip it off.

These shoe clips are also from Haruhi Clover. I am not really sure how I feel about these, but as I was ordering from this store anyway I decided to chuck them in with my order. The bows are made from standard shiny ribbon which you can get at any craft store. It does mean that you would have to be careful wearing these in wet weather, or they will get stained easily. The star charms keep tucking themselves away and are a bit hidden when worn (worn photos are at the bottom of the post). Also, everything about these clips are too big. The bows need to be smaller and maybe the pearl chain needs to be a little shorter too.

The metal clip is simple and I like that a bit of ribbon has been placed inside to reduce rubbing. It is a shame a little bit of ribbon wasn't put on the outside of the clip as well. The metal clip is hidden reasonably well when worn, with only a very small bit of metal visible at the top.

Next up is this necklace and bracelets from My Little Song. The necklace is 'light purple' and the bracelets are 'light purple' and 'transparent'. I think the general quality of the jewelry is reasonable. It is a similar level of quality to a lot of plastic Japanese brand jewelry to be honest. The beads are cute, especially the star beads. There is a bit of size flexibility too, which is useful.

This is a close up of the light purple bracelet pegasus charm. As you can see, it is quite a delicate shade of purple. I would have maybe liked a bit less of the star shaped glitter inside the charm, as it looks a bit crowded. But overall, I am very impressed with the quality of the bracelets.

The 'light purple' colour of the necklace is darker than I was expecting though. I wont be able to use it the dresses I wanted to, although I still think it looks quite cool. The glitter inside is at least a bit more evenly dispersed. The chain on the necklace is super long, and features a cross charm, so you can double layer the chain. I completely forgot to photograph the cross charm, but it looks of a decent quality. Although it wasn't quite was I was expecting (I was expecting the colour to be more like the purple bracelet) I still really like it. So it has not completely put me off buying from this Taobao store again. The quality is good, and they arrived at my shopping service quickly. It can be difficult to find decent jewelry on Taobao sometimes, especially resin jewelry. Their store is definitely worth checking out.

I also got these shoe clips from here. The star parts are the exact same padded stars you see used for star clips from loads of different Taobao stores. The edges of the stars are neat. As for the wings, I like how the individual feathers are well defined. The shape is cute. They are a bit more flimsy than I was expecting. If they had been firmer, they would probably be less likely to bend and flap about.

The backs are identical to those used on the Haruhi Clover shoe clips. This time there is no ribbon to decrease rubbing at all. I also spotted that the wings were obviously originally a pair, that had been cut in half. The edges of the wings could have done with a bit of sealing to prevent them getting damaged. Worn photos are near the bottom of the post.

Next up is this cape from To Alice. The main cape material feels a bit cheap in quality. As you can see from the photo, it wrinkles pretty easily as well. The ribbon tie neck means that the sizing is a bit flexible. I think I was perhaps expecting there to be a bit more lace on this cape. The lace looks a bit more prominent in the stock photos.

The lace is of a so-so quality. It could have been a lot worse, but it is not spectacular. The ruffles are lovely though.

The stitching generally looks pretty neat. I saw no big flaws. However, there were a lot of loose threads coming off this cape. I feel the materials are what really lets this cape down. They are fair for the price, but I know I could have gotten much better quality products for just a little bit more money.

I got this top also from To Alice. My intention was to wear it as sleepwear and given how thin the material is, I am glad I had no ideas about wearing it outside the house. The thin material is perfect for wearing during Spring/Summer nights, but when I tried it on I could see the outline of my bra. So there is no way I would wear this as an actual top! The material at least feels really soft, so it will be pleasant to wear in bed.

The ruffles are done neatly and are a lovely way to finish off the cuffs and bottom of the top.

The duck face applique has crisp edges and I think it looks very cute.

When I turned the top inside out, the stitching looked very neat. I couldn't find any mistakes. Unlike the cape, there wasn't a load of loose threads. So I am more impressed by this top than I am the cape. I think in the future I will be a bit more hesitant about buying from To Alice. Their stuff seems to be of low-average quality and a bit hit-and-miss.

Finally, I got this cropped blouse from Infanta. Sorry for photographing a lavender blouse on a purple duvet! I wanted to give this blouse a go because the sleeves (see below) reminded me of my favourite blouse design by Baby the Stars Shine Bright, but at the same time it was different enough to not be a direct replica. And the Baby blouse does not come in this lavender colour either. The material is of a reasonable quality. I think the lace used throughout was excellent quality for a blouse of this price. The elastic has plenty of stretch and the blouse is very comfortable to wear. 

The princess sleeves flare outwards plenty and are a nice shape when worn (worn photos are further down). I think the seam has been done quite neatly too.

The only thing I find a bit confusing about the lace is the use of star themed lace and floral lace. I don't think the 2 themes really gel well together. Although at a quick glance, the lace is not that noticeable.

The sleeves are attached using a button system, which is fairly straight-forward. The loops could do with being a bit bigger though.

And now I shall show some worn photos of everything.

These are both sets of shoe clips. I found the bow ones dug just slightly in to my feet. I wouldn't recommend using these with your favourite socks of tights. The wing clips rubbed much less, although that could be down to them being placed in a different location. 

As you can see, the Infanta blouse sleeves flare out generously. I really like how the neckline sits on me too. It reaches under my bust comfortably, although it wont suit a much larger bust.

Here is the To Alice duck top. It feels very comfortable.

However, as you can see there is no waist definition. There was a load of loose material at the sides. My hand shows where my waist is and you can see there is a lot of baggy excess material.

Finally, the cape. I found it was a good length on me and sat nicely. The cape is one-size but as I mentioned, the ribbon tie neck means the size is a bit flexible.

So overall, this has been a bit of a mixed bag. Haruhi Clover still remains one of my favourite stores for accessories on Taobao. I am also impressed with My Little Song. To Alice however, was a bit disappointing quality wise. It is fair for the price, but there are so many other options out there for general cute clothing like this. I am not sure if I would buy from them again. As for the other stores, I will be keeping all of them in mind when I place future orders.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Aurora Soiree By Baby the Stars Shine Bright

Today I am looking at Aurora Soiree By Baby the Stars Shine Bright. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, a blouse, 4 hair accessories, tights and a few pieces of jewelry.

First up we have the Lind JSK. The bodice looks fairly well fitted and the bodice shape is interesting to look at. I really like that neckline. The straps look a suitable width and quite supportive. The neckline and straps are lined with this really pretty lace. Although I like the lace choice, I do wish the lace on the outsides of the straps tapered off gently before reaching the arm pit area. I personally think that would have looked neater. There is a waist bow, but I think the bow shape is a bit basic and uninspiring. The lace lining the waist bow doesn't really add much, apart from making the bow edges very rounded, which I am not fond of. However, I fear that with the waist bow detached, the dress looks too plain. I would be tempted to add my own ribbon belt if I had this dress. The bodice is kept quite simple, with some darts, but not a lot in the way of trims. The neckline at least has a thin line of gold lace, which emphasises the neckline shape nicely. There is also a glittery ribbon bow with a flower in the middle which, like the waist bow, is detachable. I would probably leave this bow attached, but not because I think the bow looks great, but because the bow stops the bodice looking too plain. The bow is a nice shape and size, but the 'flower' in the middle is a gathered bit of material with no defined shape to it. It doesn't look as though a lot of effort went in to forming the shape. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt has a decent amount of volume. It should hold a fair amount of petticoat. The skirt is kept very simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with some good quality lace. This dress offers a simpler option, but I do wonder if maybe it is a bit too plain, especially with both bows detached.

This is the Princess JSK. The bodice seems well fitted and the shape is quite cute. The straps look a good, supportive width too. However, I am really not keen on the excessive use of lace and bows, tulle and wide lace along the neckline and the straps. I like the tulle on the straps and I think it is well gathered, but I don't feel it works with all the neckline details. The wide lace on the neckline is of a good quality, but it just hangs there limply and there is no gradual tapering at the sides. This means there is a lot of material flapping about at the arm pits. The bow in the middle of the neckline and 2 bows at the bases of the straps are a cute shape, but the tails need to be cut shorter. In fact, I don't like the tails of the middle bow hanging down the bodice at all. The strap bows just need to be smaller in general. Overall, the details are pretty, but they need to be a bit more refined. Underneath the neckline there are no details on the bodice, which could have been broken up with some discrete thin lines of lace. There is a waist bow, which is a bit on the big side, and I am not sure about the shape. I do love that this bow is lined super neatly with thin gold lace though, which is a nice touch. This bow is detachable, which I think I would do. The back offers a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt seems to have plenty of volume and it flares outwards generously. I have high hopes that the wearer could create a gorgeous shape with this skirt. The skirt features an open front design with lots of ruffles at the bottom. I think the soft looking chiffon material is perfect for doing the ruffles and I am generally very impressed with the way the skirt is set out. I really love how soft and fluffy all of those ruffles look! I think the ruffle going along the edge of the main dress fabric and the small bows are a nice touch. Despite the open front, you can still see the print quite clearly at the sides. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with another chiffon ruffle.

Here we have the OP. The bodice looks reasonably well fitted, but the fabric is a bit loose in places. I think the bodice shape is lovely though. The soft chiffon sleeves look light and dreamy. They seem to be a decent length and I love the layered lace on the cuffs. I could take or leave the bows on the sleeves though, and feel they could at least have been a bit smaller. The neckline also features many ruffles and lines of lace. Generally, these neckline ruffles look really pretty, and I think they go well with the cuffs. The only bit I am a bit unsure of is the rolled up, rounded puffy layer. I just don't feel it fits in with the rest of the design. To finish, the neckline has a golden ribbon bow with flower, just like the Lind JSK. Sadly, I don't think this bow looks much better here. The flower still looks poorly done. There is a waist bow, which is an okay size. It is a bit big for my personal tastes. In some of the photos, the waist bow looks a bit droopy, and I am not overly fond of the shape either. Gold lace lining the bow could have been a nice touch too, but this time the bow has been left quite plain. Once again, the bodice is quite plain in design, and some thin lines of lace could have broken up the empty space. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. The stock photos show that the skirt has lots of volume to it and it flares outwards quite well. It has a good amount of length to it too, for a slightly longer dress design. The skirt is generally kept simple, so the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off with 2 wide chiffon ruffles and some metallic ribbon bows. I think the ruffles are layered reasonably well, but I really wish they had been under-stitched instead of over-stitched.

Finally, this is one part of the print...

... and another part. This essentially covers what the border print looks like, and then above the trees you can see, there is the Aurora Borealis. This series comes in pink, orange, sax blue and navy. I think the colour options are generally lovely and work well with the print. However, I feel a better shade of orange could have been chosen. The combination of orange and pink flowers in the print could of had a lot of potential, but I personally am not impressed. As for the print itself, I think it is really pretty. The leaves don't have a massive amount of detail to them, but I think that kind of adds to the overall effect. The roses look pretty, with lots of detailed petals. I love the fairies too, which flutter so effortlessly around the pools of water. The trees make for a good, strong background. I like the aurora too, which creates some interesting shades in the sky. The one thing I am not so keen on is the Baby logo in the water, which I don't feel is needed.

My feelings towards this series are generally quite positive. There are a few small things I would change, but the dress designs are quite pretty. The print is pretty too, with a lovely dreamy feel to it. Would I buy this series? Possibly. Although I think it is pleasant to look at and can already think up ways to wear this series, I don't think this is a series I would go out of my way to get. I do like this series a lot more than a lot of recent Baby prints though. My top choice would be the Princess JSK in pink. I am not sure why, but I find the pink colour of this series very appealing. Although I wont be getting this series, I do really hope it does well for Baby. It has a similar look to it that Baby's Labyrinth has, and that series sold well. I think this series will have its fans. I am looking forward to seeing lots of pretty flower fairy lolitas!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Latest Haul- Late October Edition

I haven't really been buying that much the past month or so (some of these purchases were actually made before October but due to circumstances I have only recently obtained) but I managed to get a few pieces, including something which I am absolutely ecstatic to finally cross of my wishlist.

Not long after finding the Little Bird's Symphonia skirt, I managed to find the matching ivory socks. Sadly it wasn't on the same second hand site, otherwise I could have saved on the shipping! I got the socks from Lolita Desu and they very kindly chucked in a small handful of Halloween marshmallows, shaped like ghosts. I am absolutely amazed at the condition these socks are in.They can't have been worn that much. I am also pleased to say I detected the faint smell of washing detergent, so I am satisfied that they have been cleaned well.

Here is a little close up of the bird cages on the socks. Given how many bird themed items I now own, I reckon I will get a decent amount of use out of these socks. The brand name writing is really clear and easy to read in person and the AP logo on the sole was also still in perfect condition.

But what has really got me excited is I have finally obtained Moon Cat by Metamorphose! I only really wanted the hoody, but the seller was selling the hoody and skirt as a set, and I may as well talk about the skirt a bit too. It has got an interesting asymmetrical design and comes with a small detachable bow. I admit I didn't hold up much hope for the skirt, but it is actually a lot cuter than I was expecting. I found the skirt fitted comfortably, although the shirring was a bit on the stiff side. I am glad I am not big enough to stretch it to the maximum, as I feel that would be too uncomfortable.

The cute moon cat applique! I love how crisp the design is. And after all these years, both the skirt and hoody are in fantastic condition still.

The ruffles are really cute and nicely finished off. I love how neat and tidy the finish is.

Here is something that really made me laugh- there is a butt pocket! I suppose with the way the skirt is designed, it wasn't really possible to put a pocket by the side. I was just amazed that there were any pockets at all. I don't usually like pockets at the back though, so I highly doubt I will be using it. At least it is there as an option.

And finally, the matching hoody! I cannot even begin to tell you how badly I have wanted this hoody for many years. Angelic Pretty put out a similar design, but Meta's Moon Cat has always been my ultimate goal. This has been on my wishlist almost since I first got in to lolita. As far as thickness goes, it is quite a thin hoody. It is definitely more suited to Spring/Summer than this time of year. When I was checking the measurements I thought they sounded a bit small, but after getting it I can confirm that it is quite small in size with only a small amount of stretch. I am so glad I have a small bust!

There is that Moon Cat that I fell in love with once again! Please excuse my blurry photo, the design does look clearer in person.

This is what the back design looks like. 

And here is a worn photo. As you can see, this is definitely more casual wear. I intended to get the hoody for my everyday wardrobe anyway and I am looking forward to getting Winter out of the way so I can wear it more. I am very pleased that the hoody does reach the whole of my torso. I have found with my Angelic Pretty hoodies that they are not quite long enough in length, but this Meta one is fine. As for the skirt, I am pleased it is long enough to cover all the essential areas. I am very torn about using a small petticoat with it though. I feel a petticoat may help make the ruffles look a bit perkier, but I am worried it would then be too short at the back. But seeing as I only wanted the hoody anyway, I think the skirt was a pleasant surprise. I was expecting it to be too short on me, even without a petticoat. 

So the skirt was better than expected and I am pleased to say that the hoody totally lived up to my dreams. Outside of dresses, this hoody was by far my biggest dream item. It has taken 7 years, but it is finally mine. Maybe I will keep an eye out and see if I can obtain the hoody in black someday. And I am very pleased I was able to get the socks as well. I think in the run-up to Christmas I probably wont be looking out for potential buys as much, but I have done very well shopping-wise lately. I am curious to know if there are any long-term lolitas reading this who have waited years to find a dream item. What is the longest you have taken to track an item down? As I started wearing lolita mid-2009, 7 years is the longest I have gone so far. Can anybody reading this beat that, I wonder?

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