First up today though, is Magic Amulet by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 3 dresses, a headdress and socks.
First up is the OP. The bodice looks a bit baggy and slouchy, but that may be because AP have gone with chiffon for the main fabric. The overall bodice shape is cute and I think the arms look a decent length. Despite the fancy buttons and lace, for some reason I find the cuffs a bit plain. I think maybe they remind me a bit of shirt sleeves. Perhaps the sleeves need to be a bit puffier and the cuffs a bit more gathered? The bodice doesn't really have that many details to it, because of the massive collar. There are at least some subtle lines of lace to break up the plain areas on the bodice. I personally am not fond of the collar. I think the shape is weird and it looks too big. There are so many ways that AP could have gone with the shape of the collar, and I am not impressed with the shape they have gone with. It is at least very neatly lined by the metallic lace though. There is a velvet bow attached to the collar, which is detachable. It is a cute size and shape, but it doesn't really stand out that much. I could take or leave it. The bottom part of the collar is detachable, and the collar shape looks a whole lot better with it removed. I would even be tempted to leave the bow on if this collar part was detached. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is limited. Given how most of the back is taken up by the collar, AP could have quite easily gotten away with adding a shirring panel and it would have mostly been covered up. Or maybe the way the collar has been done would have made it difficult to put shirring in anyway. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and nicely rounded. It flares outwards loads and will hold more than enough petticoat. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off with a line of lace layered neatly over a tulle ruffle. I like how soft and wispy the bottom looks.
Here we have the Long JSK. The bodice seems well fitted, but the shape is very basic. I don't like that the straps are very thin too, as they look quite flimsy. There are 2 lines of criss-crossed ribbon on either side of the bodice, which are well spaced out and positioned. I think the use of velvet ribbon is great too, as it adds an interesting texture. There is a line of wide lace going along the neckline, which has a gorgeous design to it. I don't feel the stock photos do it justice, as it is heavily detailed when you look closely at it. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped very neatly with a ribbon corset. It is a bit hard to tell what the skirt is like with the built-in over-skirt obscuring it, but it looks quite full and that it flares outwards a lot. I absolutely hate the over-skirt. Not only is it too long, it is too basic in design. Even though you can still see the print a bit through the fabric, I feel at the very least there should have been an opening at the front (a bit like the Milky Swan JSK) and some more interesting lace. There is some wide lace lining the main dress underneath, but it is scratchy and cheap looking. Maybe AP used this lace because they knew it wouldn't really be seen, but I feel this is a bit lazy.
Next up is the Standard JSK. The bodice fabric again looks a bit baggy in places, but the overall bodice shape looks quite reasonable. The main set of straps looks an okay width, and I love the use of tulle to line the outsides of these straps. The tulle has been well shaped, and it matches the use of tulle on the bottom hem. I think the cross-over straps are a nice addition too, although they are detachable if you don't like them. The bodice features some lines of thin lace running vertically, which breaks up the bodice and gives it a paneled look. Then we come to the lace cross in the middle. I personally am not a fan of the lace cross, but I will admit that I think the choice of lace for this cross is really good. For once, I am actually a fan of the matching choker! The star lace design is a suitable match for the print and the cross charm finishes it off nicely. I was a bit surprised that AP didn't do a strap design on the back in the shape of a star, but there are some crossed over straps if you leave the detachable straps on. The back is fully shirred, so there is plenty of stretch, but it also means there is nothing covering the shirring. The stock photos show that the skirt is plump and full of volume. There is lots of room to create a voluminous shape. The skirt is kept simple in design, so once again the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off with a thin line of lace, which keeps things neat, and a tulle ruffle.
Here we have the print. This series comes in lavender, green, wine and black. I think all 4 colours are very suitable for the print, although the print details really stand out on the lavender. As for the print itself, it is a bold and interesting design. I really like the stars filled with intricate designs. There are some interesting symbols in the design. I do question whether some of these symbols should actually go together, but in Japan I guess these symbols don't have the same meanings. At first I didn't realise there was a clock in the print. It seems that the more I look at it, the more I discover. I am not overly fond of the Angelic Pretty brand name being in the print though. I feel it looks a bit out of place.
So overall, it is quite a quirky print but I don't think it is really for me. I can see it having quite a large fan base though. It looks fun and magical, but I will be sticking with my Meta Magical Moonlight! As for the dresses, there are things I would change about each design. I think the Long JSK is very unfortunate. It had the potential, but the over-skirt just ruins it in my opinion. So I think my top choice would have to be the Standard JSK in lavender. But looking at the lace cross on the bodice, it kind of makes me wish that AP had done a skirt for this series too.
Today I am also looking at Starlit Sky Tent and the Secret Circus Troupe by Alice and the Pirates. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, 2 hair accessories and socks.
First up is JSK I. The bodice seems well fitted and the shape is pretty. I love how the bodice is set out like a waistcoat, but at the same time you have the chest panel so it isn't too low-cut if you are conscious about that sort of thing. The halter-neck straps are a good width and look very supportive. They help to form the lapels of the waistcoat, which are lined with gold braid and filled in beautifully with gold embroidery. I like the way the rest of the bodice is set out, but maybe there are too many buttons. There are 2 rows on either side, and then another row in the middle. The buttons are pretty with a nice design, but it is a bit overwhelming having so many. There is a tiny bow on the neckline too, which looks a bit out of place and isn't really needed. The chest panel is removable, which I feel makes the dress look a lot smarter and sleeker when it is detached. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped very neatly with a ribbon corset. It looks as though the skirt has plenty of volume and it flares out well. I really like the shape created in the stock photos, and think it is a good match for the bodice. The skirt is kept very simple in design, so the print is displayed brilliantly. The bottom hem is then finished off with a satin ruffle, which looks pretty but is also a bit shiny.
Here we have JSK II. The bodice is fairly well fitted, but could be better, and the overall bodice shape is a bit too simple. The straps look a good width and they are lined very neatly with lace on the outsides. For some reason, I am really put off by the way the waistline looks on this dress. I also feel the bodice needs some thin lines of lace to break it up. The neckline is lined with a line of gold and wide lace, which has a lovely rose pattern to it. I am not really sure roses fit in with the print theme, but it is still nice looking lace. This line of lace is topped with 2 bows. The bows are well formed, with a nice shape. I think the choice of ribbon is pretty too. The back is fully shirred, which means plenty of size flexibility, but also that the unattractive shirring is also exposed. The stock photos show the skirt has a bit of volume to it. I don't think the stock photos really show the skirt to its full potential and it will probably be better in person. It at least looks like the skirt is a good length. The skirt is once again kept simple, so the print is displayed really well. The bottom hem is then finished off with some polka dot lace. There are dots of lights in the print, so I guess this sort of fits the print? It doesn't really explain the rose lace though.
This is the OP. The bodice doesn't look particularly flattering and I don't like the shape. However, the chiffon sleeves are stunning. They have been gathered excellently, so they drape really well and create a great shape. It looks so soft and delicate. The waist area also has a chiffon belt, which provides a nice break in the print and helps to define the waist. There is a waist bow too, which is a good size and also has an interesting shape. The tails of the bow drape really nicely, creating more volume and making it a lot more appealing. My main complaint here is that the rest of the bodice has been left plain. There is no lace along the neckline or on the bodice, no bows or anything remotely interesting. I get that the focus is on the sleeves here, but the contrast between the ruffly sleeves and the stark bodice is harsh. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt appears to once again have good length. It seems there is a good amount of volume there. I think it should hold enough petticoat to create a shape suitable for the style of bodice. To be honest, I think Baby needs to take better photos. The skirt is once again kept simple, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a wide line of rose themed lace. I still don't get where roses fit in with the print, but at least it is of a good quality and looks pretty.
Finally, a somewhat poor picture of what the print looks like (sorry...). This series comes in pink, green, blue, red and black. The print has some quite dull and dreary colours in it, so I imagine it would be quite hard to pick colours to go with this print. In my opinion, the blue and the red are the only 2 colour ways that really stand out here. As for the print itself, it looks so murky and it is hard to make out the details in the print. This is in part due to Baby not taking great photos (somebody took a photo of the print in the store and it did look a lot better). There is a row of tents at the bottom, which are lined with dots of lights. They look quite pretty. But then we come to this weird, hazy area, which has a load of circus performers mysteriously floating around in the air. There doesn't seem to be much order to this, and the performers seem to be just chucked in to random spaces with not much thought put in to it. If you glance quickly, it looks like a non-distinct blob. The curtains frame this foggy area well, but I can't help but wonder why you would want to frame something that looks like this. I like the idea behind the print, but it could have been executed so much better.
I am of the opinion that if you have to squint super hard just to make out the print, then it probably isn't that great a print. Although the print does look better in person, if you only have Baby's pictures to go on, then it isn't really doing the series justice. Looking at the dress listings, I see that some of the dresses have sold out in certain colours. Interestingly, it is the colours I expected to do well that are selling great, but not the dress cuts I would have chosen. I personally like JSK I the best, although perhaps it is not to everybody's tastes, or maybe it is because it wouldn't suit certain body shapes. As for the colours, I am really pleased to see that people seem to agree with me that the red version is the best! I really like the use of colour on the red version and if the print had been a bit crisper in the middle, I probably would have considered this series, if my wardrobe wasn't already full. I get the feeling my opinions on this series may actually be in the minority here, but do feel free to let me know what you think.