Thursday, 31 March 2016

Items I Probably Wouldn't Buy From Brands

My post on Buyer's Guilt last week got me thinking about how and where I choose to spend my money when I am buying lolita. Items from the big Japanese brands are generally seen as pieces to covet and spend our hard earned money on. That is not to say that Bodyline, Taobao and the like are not great, because they can be, and this post will probably help to demonstrate that. However, there is just something about buying brand that feels exciting. Yet there are times when brand is probably not the answer. Not all brand items get the same amount of hype and praise in the community. As time has gone on some Taobao brands have been greatly improving in quality. So is brand always best? In my opinion, the answer to that question is no! Here is a list of items which I feel just aren't worth buying from the big name brands.




Novelty Items- You see a lot of the free brand novelties being sold on various second-hand sites and some of them (like the Lyrical Bunny candle above) are very cute. However, once you have them they can become kind of pointless. I don't know anybody who has ever burnt their candles, you see people collect brand teacups who are too afraid to use them in case they chip them and people who wont use their stickers/calendars/diaries in case they ever want to sell them on. So these novelties sort of just sit there and end up gathering dust. They are cute little extras and it is fun when you receive one with an order. But actually spending money on them is completely different.


Bloomers- I think brand bloomers are pretty expensive considering the only person likely to see them is the wearer. I don't always wear bloomers when it gets really hot anyway. The way I see it, my money could be better spent on a cheap second hand brand skirt or some nice accessories- something I can actually show people. There are some beautiful off-brand and cheaper alternatives out there. Shalisa does some lovely ones for Sugar Trampoline which Sammi is always raving about!




Petticoats- It's not that there is anything wrong with brand petticoats, in fact I have heard positive comments made about AP's petticoats. It's just that there are so many well-loved petticoats by brands such as Classical Puppets, Dear Celine, VictorianGirlDress etc that have a much better reputation. It makes sense to me to go to a store that has had many glowing, positive reviews from lolitas who have worn these petticoats for years, without them losing poof. A lot of these petticoats are cheaper than brand petticoats and with such positive reviews, I think it makes sense to go for these cheaper alternatives than brand ones which haven't been so widely reviewed.


Shoes- I have been told right from when I first started wearing lolita that I shouldn't bother buying brand shoes. For ages I couldn't understand why, and then I went and got a pair of brand shoes and understood exactly why. Brand shoes are honestly no better than Bodyline shoes. For the price you pay, you expect the brand shoes to be made of better material, to last longer and generally be more sturdy. But a lot of brand shoes are made from cheap pleather and the basic designs are nothing to write home about. Some of you may remember the story on the EGL Livejournal community of the Baby shoes that apparently fell apart after hardly any wear. Luckily I haven't had such issue with my brand shoes so far, but stories like that are quite worrying. My AP tea parties are cute, but so not worth the price and I am glad I got them quite cheap second-hand. If I had paid retail price for them, I would have felt ripped off. 


Sceptres and other trending items- If you genuinely love the latest trendy items, then by all means go ahead and buy them. If on the other hand you want something because you have seen a bunch of lolitas using them on Tumblr, then perhaps you should hold off. Lolita trends come and go and there are plenty of lovers and haters of every trend out there. Sceptres are a trend I could never quite understand. They look great for fashion shows and professional photo shoots, but if they are just being carried around at a meet then in my opinion they are a bit pointless. And I am sorry to say it, but in my opinion the Baby butterfly sceptre looks like it came from Claire's Accessories (don't shoot me!). Do you remember the Chocomint and 6% doki doki star clips from a few years ago and how every lolita had one? You don't see those around much any more and they don't always get the best reaction when they do make an appearance (Although for the record, I still love my star clips!).

So having a look at my list, it seems that in most cases the brand items are not bad, but there are many cheaper alternatives out there that are possibly better. But that is not to say that loving and supporting a big name brand is a bad thing. I love brand but generally prefer to go about purchasing lolita with the attitude that a higher price does not always equal better items. I know a lot of you reading this post might have purchased some of the brand items above. Perhaps you may agree with me, or completely disagree. A lot depends on a lolita's income and their personal sense of what equals good value for money.




Monday, 28 March 2016

Yet Another Print Double

The prints are coming in thick and fast right now, so today is yet another print double. Scroll down further to see my views on AP's Charlotte's Bear.

First up today though, is Kira Kira Parfait by Baby the Stars Shine Bright. This series includes 4 dresses (1 non-print), a skirt, 5 hair accessories, socks, a blouse, a necklace, a ring and an outfit for Usakumya.




First up is JSK I. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape is cute. I like that the straps look a decent width and the line of lace topping the straps and ending on the chest area is lovely too. The lace is shaped in an interesting way. I do wonder if the modesty panel inside this lace could have been a bit simpler in design though. The bows on this chest panel are cute and I like that the ribbon used is not shiny at all. But I think the bows on this bit mean that the bodice is a bit overloaded with bows. Perhaps some simple pleats on this panel would have been just enough to ensure the area didn't look too flat and plain. I also feel the bow topping the lace line is cute with a lovely shape, but it needs to be a bit smaller in size. There is also a waist bow, which is a modest size, but I think it could have been shaped better. I don't like the lace lining the waist bow either and I think it could have been a bit more subtle. This waist bow is detachable, and I feel the dress looks a bit better with it detached. The back has a panel of shirring which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt has lots of volume and it flares outwards generously. I love the full, rounded shape in the stock photos. The skirt is kept simple in design and the print is displayed really well. I am not usually a fan of scalloping, but the scalloped bottom hem has such neatly shaped scallops and it actually looks quite cute. The heart shaped lace lining the scallops is a cute touch too. The bottom hem is then evened out nicely with a tulle ruffle.




Next we have JSK II. The bodice seems a little tube-like in shape, so it will be interesting to see how well it fits. I like the rounded neckline shape though and although the straps are a tiny bit on the thin side, I think the straps fit the style of the rest of the bodice. The way the lace has been used along the straps and the neckline is generally quite lovely too, but I wish the lace tapered off gently on either side of the neckline. There is a waist bow, which is a fairly good size and the shape is cute enough. I feel the dress design looks a lot better with the waist bow detached though, so I am glad the option of detaching it is there. The bodice also features a ribbon corset. The ribbon is neatly spaced out. I think it is a shame though that such pretty lace has been used to hold the ribbon in place though, as it is a bit overshadowed by the other details. It feels like a bit of a waste! Also, I don't like that the ribbon is threaded through the lace, as this can damage the lace over time. There is also a solid coloured bow topping the lace on the neckline. I do feel it looks a bit too big, but if you detach the waist bow I don't think it looks as bad. The back is fully shirred, so there is plenty of size flexibility, but it isn't too attractive to look at with all that exposed shirring. The stock photos show that the skirt has a good amount of volume and it flares out well. I personally would have liked the skirt to be just slightly more rounded, but I still think it looks quite nice. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of lace. The lace is okay, but I think lace with a more interesting design could have been used.




This is the OP. The bodice seems well fitted and the shape is generally quite nice, if a bit dated, but the sleeves are terrible. The sleeves just look a bit frumpy and unflattering. I also think the lace on the sleeves is nice, but needs to be more narrow. This lace needs to be a bit more like the thinner lace running along the square neckline. The bodice features a ribbon corset, with the ribbon neatly spaced out and a good choice of matte ribbon used. However, the ribbon is once again held in place by thin loops on the lines of lace, which is quite flimsy and fragile. I am also not a fan of this lace choice. What I really dislike about this bodice though, is the raised panel with the scalloped edge on the chest area. It looks really weird and I also feel it makes the bodice look a bit top-heavy. The scalloped panel is then topped with a bow, which looks really cute. I like the cherry lace used on this bow too. If the scalloped panel hadn't been there, I think the bodice details would have looked a lot better. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is quite limited. The stock photos show that the skirt has plenty of volume and it flares out well. I like the rounded shape a lot. The skirt is once again kept simple in design so the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of good quality lace, but once again I feel the choice of lace could have been more interesting.




And here we have the print. This series comes in pink, lemon yellow, red and sax blue. All the colours seem to work nicely wit the print. I suppose they are quite standard choices for a berry print. As for the print itself, it makes me feel really nostalgic. It reminds me of a lot of older Baby prints. The berries look cute and are drawn well. I like the little details, such as the heart shaped lemon slice as well. Berries and stars are usually some of my favourite themes but actually, I am not overly keen on the stars in this print. I don't think they fit in that well, so I am glad they are not too prominent in the print. Also, I dislike the way the background alternates between polka dots and stripes. I would have maybe just gone with the polka dots. The whipped cream lines are cute, but I would have spaced them a bit further apart from each other to give the print a less crowded feel. 

I can't help but wonder how well a series like this is going to do in 2016. I have noticed that a lot of people seem to be feeling nostalgic for that 2010 era of lolita, and I can see this series appealing to those people. I am one of those people who misses that era, although I do feel that some bits of this series look a bit too dated. The dress designs are nice enough, but there are a few tweaks I would make here and there. Would I buy this series? Probably not, as there are other berry prints I like a lot more than this one. My top choice would be JSK II in red. This series is nice enough though, and I do hope it does well.

Next up today is Charlotte's Bear by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, a head bow, tights, a brooch, a necklace and a ring. A special set for this series has also been released.




Here we have the OP. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape is quite smart. I like how the arms have a slight bit of puff to them, but not too much. The cuffs are a good shape too, although I wish some fancier looking buttons had been used on the cuffs. The polka dot lace on the cuffs is cute though. There is a waist bow, which has a really pretty shape and is a good size as well. It holds its shape well and sits nicely on the dress. The bodice features just a few lines of lace and some neat pleats. It could have looked a bit too plain, but the non-border part of the print and the tie stop the bodice from being too boring. The collar is cute and I like the shape. I like how the collar is lined with gold lace, which seems to go well with the details near the bottom of the print. There is also the tie I mentioned, which is a nice size and has a sweet bear emblem design on it. The tie part is detachable, but I am unsure if I think the dress looks too plain without it. I think this is something the wearer will probably have to try out when they wear the dress for themselves. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. The back is kept very neat and the zip line is quite well concealed. The stock photos show that the skirt has a generous amount of volume and it flares out beautifully. I love the shape in the stock photos and think there is a lot of potential to create a cute shape. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of polka dot lace layered over a tulle ruffle. I like how these trims have been layered and it gives the bottom hem a slightly fluffier appearance.




Next up is the JSK. The bodice seems well fitted, but I am not fond of the bodice shape. I think it is a bit too square and the neckline is far too straight. A slight heart shaped neckline would have looked softer. The straps are a good width. I like the lace used to line the outsides of the straps and I think it has been shaped really cutely. What I am unsure about is the bows topping the straps, near the base. I guess after seeing bows placed on the straps horizontally for so many years, it feels a little odd that these bows have been placed vertically. The bows are also quite big in size and I am unsure I like the shape of the slightly larger strap bow on one side. Overall, I find these bows too bulky and I think it makes the straps look too cluttered. There is a waist bow, which is again a lovely size and has a fantastic shape. It sits well on the dress with no signs of drooping. I really dislike the bodice details on this dress. The bodice has a gathered section which takes on the appearance of a shirring panel, which has then been topped with lines of gold lace and some mini bows. I dislike the way uncovered shirring looks on the back of the dress, so I am certainly not liking it being on the front! And the use of the lace and bows only emphasises the "shirring" and draws attention to it. The bodice details really put me off this dress. The back of the dress has a panel of shirring, which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt has a lot of volume and it flares outwards really well. I love the slightly rounded bell shape and the skirt should hold more than enough petticoat. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off the same way as the OP is, with a line of polka dot lace layered neatly over a tulle ruffle.




Finally, this is what the print looks like. This series comes in ivory, pink, sax blue and black. Whilst the colour choices are generally quite pretty, I personally would have liked to of seen a grey colour way instead of the black. I guess I find the black version a bit harsh looking? Although I suppose grey would be harder to co-ordinate. This print is an Imai Kira collaboration and although the print is cute, I can't imagine it becoming as popular as Cat's Tea Party. The teddy bears are very sweet and the print has a very whimsical feel to it. I love the rocking horse and the nicely detailed hat boxes. Weirdly, I find myself really drawn to the lampshade! I just think it looks really nice. The objects in the print are drawn well and they have been positioned in a way that is nicely set out, without looking overcrowded. That being said, I do think the bear emblems in the non-border part of the print could have been a bit smaller in size. Also, I thought for a moment that AP had managed to release a series without a cross in it, but it turns out there are crosses in the non-border part of the print. Seriously AP, not everything needs crosses! I am just glad they are not more prominent.

So overall, this is quite a pleasant looking series. I am really disliking the bodice of the JSK, but I guess the OP looks nice enough. The print is very cute too. There is definitely enough hear to keep the average AP fan happy. Would I buy this series? Probably not, because teddy bear prints have never really been my thing. Also, whilst this series may be alright looking, I am not overly impressed by it. My top choice would be the OP in sax blue. 




Thursday, 24 March 2016

Buyer's Guilt

I thought that things would be different now. When I first started out in lolita, I was not in a great place. I didn't have a job because of health reasons, a lot of my friends that used to live close by were suddenly spread all over the country after leaving university and my bank balance was still suffering after getting married and moving house. Everything seemed to be a massive drain on my limited income. Obviously things are a lot different for me now. I am self-employed and I have a lot more disposable income. I now have the funds to see my friends more often, but I have also made friends more locally, which means I am not forking out on expenses like travel as much. So overall, everything is pretty good now. I went from barely being able to afford Bodyline to being able to purchase brand almost whenever I wish, but at the same time I am able to have a life. So why is it that even now I still suffer from "Buyer's Guilt"?



I recently purchased IW's Astronomical Clock. I wouldn't say it was a dream dress of mine, but it is one I have always wanted to own. If I am being honest, I probably could have gotten a better price if I had just been a bit more patient. When it arrived, I was thrilled and I felt really excited about the outfits I could make with this dress. But there was also this sense of dread, and I notice I feel it with almost every large purchase I make, even now. Seeing a large chunk of money go out of my bank account for just one item always stings, even when I can afford it. And when a friend asked me how much I spent on it, I felt almost too embarrassed to say. I suppose I could say that I almost felt selfish for spending the money, especially when such a purchase would have been too irresponsible for me just a few years ago. 

But I keep trying to tell myself that I need to get over my Buyer's Guilt. I am not the same person I was a few years ago. I even try to justify my purchases now, in an attempt to feel a bit less guilty. Here is a list of stuff I try to ask myself-

1. Have I allowed for all of my monthly money outgoings such as bills, medication etc?
2. Am I still maintaining a good social life and seeing my friends, despite my purchases?
3. Have I allowed for any upcoming events, such as a friend's birthday or family occasion?
4. Have I left some money aside, in case of an emergency?
5. Did I get a good deal or did I just go for a higher priced listing for convenience?
6. Is it something I really wanted? Was it on my wishlist or something I just got on a whim?
7. Was the item as described and if it wasn't, did I attempt to get some of my money back?
8. Does the purchase fit my current wardrobe? Can I put outfits together with it using what I already have?
9. How did you feel about the item with it arrived?
10. Am I going to wear my new purchase often?
11. Could I get a decent price if I decided to re-sell it?

I know that deep down my new IW dress was worth it and I have been reasonably responsible. I will never be one of those lolitas who buys every bloodbath release and owns every dress in multiple colours, even if I could afford to. Once I get over the initial guilt, I find that I enjoy my wardrobe and I think that at the moment my wardrobe is a good size for how much I actually wear lolita. I have noticed that I am more picky about what goes on my wishlist too. I think a lot of this comes with time and the longer you are in to lolita, the more you get to know what you really like and want. The more I like something, the less I feel guilty about buying it. So expect to see me wearing my new dress with pride some time in the near future!

Monday, 21 March 2016

Priere D'espoir by Alice and the Pirates

Today I am looking at Priere D'espoir by Alice and the Pirates. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, 3 hair accessories, 2 blouses and a rosette.




First up we have JSK I. I am really not sure what to make of the bodice shape in the stock photos. To me, the bodice looks very tube-like and unflattering. Also, I feel the neckline of the dress sits too low. If you took out the straps, it would almost look like a very high-waist skirt. The straps themselves look very wide and supportive, although they look far too plain and I feel they look too casual for a lolita dress. The bodice features a ribbon corset, which has been well spaced out and the ribbon doesn't look too shiny. The lace used to hold the ribbon in place has a pretty and quirky design to it. which makes it look more interesting. I am actually quite liking the way the lace then carries on down the skirt, and with an all-over print, it doesn't really affect the print that much. The wide lace along the neckline has a pretty design to it, but I feel it could have been better shaped. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. I am also not fond of the way the bustle forms at the back, as the bottom hem of the main dress fabric is a strange shape and looks too angular. It looks a bit awkward. The bustle itself has soft layers though, which are well spaced out. The stock photos show that the skirt has a generous amount of volume and it flares outwards well. I like the full rounded shape. Aside from the lines of lace and bustle at the back, the print is displayed decently. I feel the bottom hem of the main dress fabric could have done with a thin line of lace though, just to add that nice finishing touch.




Next up is JSK II. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape is lovely. The straps are incredibly wide though. I would be tempted to almost treat this dress like an OP. The lace along the straps and the neckline is very pretty. Perhaps it is a bit too wide on the straps, but I love how it looks on the neckline. It really makes the slight heart shape of the neckline stand out. This dress has a ribbon belt. Although the ribbon is a bit too shiny for my tastes, I do appreciate the nice rose pattern on the ribbon. It makes it a bit more interesting than just having bog-standard plain ribbon. The bodice features a double pearl chain dangling from the neckline. The chains look a good length and I like the charm dangling from the top chain. I do wish the ends of the chain was a bit more hidden though. The back has a panel of shirring, which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt has plenty of volume and it flares outwards beautifully. There is the potential to create a fantastic shape and I really like the shape created in the stock photos. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off with a slightly gathered ruffle, which has been topped with lace on either side. I like that the ruffle has been done gently, so it doesn't stick out at an odd angle and the different laces used have a nice design.




Here we have JSK III. That's right- there is no OP this time. I personally feel the bodice on this dress again looks very tube-like and it lacks any real shape. It looks too plain. The straps are an okay width and I like that they are topped with ribbon, so they are not completely plain. I do feel they could have done with being lined with some thin lace though. There is a waist bow, which is far too large. It is also quite basic in shape and design. I am surprised that a bow of that size is holding its shape that well though. This waist bow is detachable. Although I despise the waist bow, I would probably leave it attached for the simple reason that the dress looks far too boring without it. Aside from the neckline, there is not really any details on the bodice and the skirt is also simple in design. So this dress is fantastic for showing off the print, but apart from that it is too simple. The neckline features a line of lace, and there are also 2 bows at the bases of the straps. I like the lace, but I am not a fan of the way it has been used. It seems to stick up at an odd angle. The strap bows are cute and at least they offer some much needed interest to this dress. The back of the dress is fully shirred, so there is plenty of stretch but it isn't too attractive to look at, as nothing is covering the shirring. At this point, it really feels as though no effort has been put in to this dress design at all. The stock photos show that the skirt has a good amount of volume and it flares outwards well, so that is something positive at least. The shape of the skirt looks decent. The bottom hem is then finished off with some gorgeous rose themed lace. It is such a shame to see such pretty lace wasted on a dull dress.




Finally, this is what the print looks like. This series comes in ivory, sax blue, green and black. I quite like all of the colour options on offer. None of them stick out as looking odd with the print or anything. As for the print itself, it reminds me of a lot of older AatP prints. The characters in the print are drawn nicely enough. I can't say that I find the print that exciting myself, but I have never really been a fan of Les Miserables, which this print seems to be taking inspiration from. The French flag coloured rosettes are pretty though and offer an interesting small pop of colour to the print.

So overall, I can't say I am overly impressed with this series. I can see it appealing to a certain crowd though. It is kind of interesting that this series gives off a 2009 AatP feel to it as well. It makes me wonder what direction AatP will go in next. But I do feel the dress designs are really lacking. It doesn't feel that a lot of thought has been put in to the dress designs, especially JSK III, which I think looks abysmal. So I think I can say with confidence that I wont be getting this series. My top choice would be JSK II in sax blue. I personally find that dress the most visually appealing.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

A New Look to Japonica

Today's post is just going to be a quick one, as I wanted to just share how much I am liking the new Japonica auction order form. It is now even easier to use this shopping service.




Whereas before you had to copy and paste the order form in to an email and then provide a lot more information, the new order form is a lot more straight-forward. You no longer have to copy the seller name and the auction name. All you have to do is copy the url in to the form, put in your price and then click the options you want. It is really nicely laid out and I found Japonica a lot more pleasant to use because of it. I thoroughly approve and I will be recommending Japonica more from now on!




And for those of you who are curious about what I was bidding on... I was feeding my thirst for all things Angelic Pretty and pink. I got a Glass Doll cutsew, which was listed for super cheap because it had the most tiny make up stain on it (which I managed to wash out). I also got a pair of Dream Sky tights and a Misty Sky ring, which was also cheap because the seller had to reattach the silver frame around the edge of the cloud. Seeing as I was ordering anyway, I also got Japonica to order from Angelic Pretty for me, as I wanted the Shadow Dream Carnival tights. I was a bit surprised that AP re-released that series, but it did mean I got the chance to delete another photo from my Facebook wishlist album! I don't often share my auction purchases on here any more as I never know whether people are interested in seeing my hauls or not. Do let me know if this is something that interests you!





Monday, 14 March 2016

Another Print Double

Today is going to be another print double. Scroll down further to see Cecelia Cross by Angelic Pretty.

First up today I shall be taking a look at Strawberry Garden by Metamorphose. This series includes 2 dresses (one comes in 2 lengths), a blouse, a hair accessory, tights, socks and a novelty shaped bag.




First up is the Stripe Ribbon Dress. The bodice looks well fitted, although the shape of the bodice is a bit simple. I like that the straps look a decent and supportive width, but perhaps they have could have been lined with some thin lace, just to stop them from looking so plain. The bows at the bases of the straps are a nice touch, but I am a little unsure I like the placement. There is a waist bow, which looks a suitable size for the dress. The shape of the waist bow is cute and it seems to hold its shape quite well, with no obvious signs of drooping. I think the lace on the waist bow looks a bit untidy though and I think a thinner lace would have looked better. The bodice has 2 lines of lace running up it, giving the bodice a paneled appearance. The centre panel is then topped with alternating bows and buttons. I think the pearly heart shaped buttons are really cute. However, despite being a cute shape, I think the bows are perhaps a bit too big. I am not a fan of the lace running along the neckline. I think it looks really messy in the stock photos. It is not helped by the fact that it hangs so limply and looks so lifeless. I also feel it could have done with a bit more shaping and could have gradually tailed off before the arm pits. The back has a panel of shirring. which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt has a fair amount of volume to it and it has a lovely full, rounded shape. I do think the skirt looks a bit short in the photos though. The majority of the skirt is kept very simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then slightly gathered upwards and finished with lace and a stripy ruffle underneath. I love how well the bottom hem has been shaped and the bows are a nice finishing touch. The lace has an interesting "M" design, although perhaps some strawberry themed lace would have been more fitting. The only part I am unsure about is the stripy chiffon used for the ruffle. It is an interesting design, but I don't think the colour of the stripes works.




Here we have the Standard Dress. Shown in the picture is the longer medium length. The bodice seems well fitted but again, the bodice design is quite basic. The straps are a decent width. Thankfully, this time the straps are lined with a thin line of gold braid and some lace, which also cuts across the neckline. The lace has a pretty design and it sits nicely on the dress too. There is a solid coloured waist bow, which seems a reasonable size. The bow is a bit floppy, but I think in this instance that is not a hindrance. It works quite nicely. The bodice features many pleats, which had been done neatly and add a bit of needed detail and texture to an otherwise simple bodice. There is also a line of the pearly heart buttons running up the middle, which look cute and have been well spaced out. The back is fully shirred, so the dress should have plenty of stretch, but sadly it isn't too attractive to look at. The stock photos show that the skirt has lots of volume and it flares out well. There is the potential to create a really cute shape. At 53cm, the mini length version still has a reasonable amount of length to it, although I think I prefer the 65cm medium length. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of lace.




And finally, the print close up. This series comes in off-white, navy and pink. I think the navy blue offers a refreshing alternative to the other 2 colours, which are pretty standard for a strawberry print. I think the details in the print show up better on the darker navy background as well. As for the print itself, it is quite cute, but I wouldn't call it anything remarkable. In fact, it reminds me of a Taobao strawberry print I saw once (I forget which store it was though). After releasing so many berry prints over the years, you expect Meta to be able to draw some fantastic looking berries. The berries in this print definitely meet my expectations! They look juicy and good enough to eat. The flowers are pretty too and really help to fill in the gaps between the strawberries. The bunny in the print is also adorable. My main criticism of this print is that I think the spacing looks a bit off. When you see the print on the dress, the border print looks quite small. I feel that because the print is quite simple and the background is not too cluttered, Meta could have gotten away with making the border print a bit bigger.

So overall I am a bit disappointed with this offering from Meta. Compared to other strawberry prints Meta have done in recent years, this series feels a bit underwhelming. It seems to be lacking that special touch. Would I buy this series? No, because there are many Meta berry prints I would prefer to get over this one. I also think the dress designs are very basic and, dare I say, lack imagination. My top pick for this series would be the Standard Dress in navy blue. I think the fact that Meta offered a navy blue colour, is probably my favourite thing about this whole series. I guess I will be waiting to see what berry prints the other brands offer this year.


Next up today is Cecelia Cross by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 3 dresses, 3 hair accessories, a cutsew, socks and wrist cuffs.




First up is the OP. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape is cute. The arms seem to have a decent amount of length to them and I love the puffy appearance of them. However, I am not so keen on the random bows placed down the sides of the arms. It feels so OTT and unnecessary, as if AP are adding bows just for the sake of adding bows. The cuffs are cute though, and the lace used for the cuffs has a pretty design. There is a waist bow, which has a bit of a sheen to it. Aside from the slight shininess, the bow is otherwise quite nice, with a good size and shape. It sits nicely on the dress too, and seems to hold its shape. The bodice is simply broken up with several lines of lace. It is simple, but I think it is the right amount of detail, considering how busy the print is. The neckline is a cute shape too, and I like the lace used along the neckline, which sits so nicely on the dress. The back offers no shirring, so sadly the size flexibility is quite limited. The back seems to have been done neatly though, with the zip line quite well hidden. The stock photos show that the skirt has a lot of volume to it and it flares out well too. There is more than enough room for petticoat and the skirt seems to be a good length too. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is shown very well. The bottom hem is then finished off with some beautiful cross themed lace.




Here we have the Long JSK. The bodice seems quite well fitted, although the shape of the bodice is a bit basic. I also feel the straps of the dress look quite thin and a bit flimsy, although bulkier straps would not have suited the style of dress. What I do really love about the straps though, is the pretty layering of the lace and the chiffon ruffle. It creates such a gorgeous shape and it looks so light and fluffy. The lace used is pretty too. The simple ruffle along the neckline really compliments the details on the straps too. There is a waist bow, which again is a tiny bit shiny but is a good shape and size. The bodice features many gathered lines of lace and chiffon ruffles. The gathering has been done so neatly and the details give the bodice such an interesting texture without looking too overpowering. The neckline is then finished off with a ribbon bow. I don't feel the long tails on this neckline bow are really needed, especially with the waist bow. This bow is otherwise very pleasant looking. The back has a panel of shirring which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full with lots of flare to it. I like the plump rounded shape achieved in the stock photos. The skirt will hold more than enough petticoat. The skirt is again kept quite simple, but this time there is a chiffon overlay on top of the skirt. So the print is still displayed reasonably well but the chiffon layer means it is not as clear and crisp as it appears on the other 2 dresses. I am also not that fond of the length of the chiffon overlay. Personally, I would have liked it to end at a similar point to the bottom hem of the main dress fabric instead of having a random inch at the bottom of just chiffon. Both the bottom hem of the main dress fabric and the chiffon is finished neatly with a neat line of thin lace.




This is the High Waist JSK. The bodice looks well fitted but again, I feel the shape of the bodice is a bit basic looking. The gathered straps are very thin and don't look too supportive either. The chiffon ruffle along the straps is cute though, and gives the straps a frothy appearance. I really hate the waist on this JSK. AP have chosen to add a gathered ruffle along the waistline, which gives the illusion of there being a separate skirt. I don't like the way it harshly breaks up the silhouette of the dress and I think it looks a bit clunky. The design just doesn't flow that well. The bodice has a few neat pleats and some thin lines of lace, which look very tidy. I am really unsure about the neckline details though. The chiffon ruffle with lace layered over the top is a nice idea, but I don't think the chiffon has been well shaped. They also seem to stick out oddly. These details are then topped with a ribbon bow which given how the details beneath it stick out, makes the bow sit a bit weirdly on the dress. It is a shame because the bow is otherwise very cute looking. I really don't understand what AP were thinking when they designed this dress. The back of the dress is fully shirred, so there is plenty of size flexibility, but it is not that attractive to look at. For some reason, I felt the shirring on this dress looked even more unattractive than it usually does. The stock photos show that the skirt is generous with volume and it flares outwards loads. I love the rounded shape of the skirt in the photos. The skirt is again kept simple, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a pretty chiffon ruffle.




And finally, here is the print close up. This series comes in pink, sax blue, navy blue and black. The colour choices seem to be quite standard options for this sort of print. I am personally not a fan of the black, as I feel that colour is a bit harsh, but the other 3 really compliment the print. As for the print itself, it feels like AP have mashed together a couple of their previous prints in the hope this series will be a hit. It reminds me a lot of Celestial and Milky Cross. Whilst I love the gems and the images inside the gems (the pony and the cross are so beautiful!) overall I think the religious elements in the print are too strong. I would have preferred it if Mary did not appear in the print and I feel that teamed with the crosses in the background, the religious tones are overpowering. There is enough in the background already, such as the floating feathers, clouds and stars, that I don't think the crosses are really needed in the background. Besides, crosses already feature in one of the gems. I just think it looks tacky.

So overall there are several elements which don't appeal to me personally. Even if I ignore what I dislike about the print, I don't think the dress designs are that great, especially the High Waist JSK design. The OP is probably the most appealing to me design-wise, but even then there are things I would want to change about it, like removing those awful arm bows. So I think it is safe to say I wont be buying this series. If I did, my top choice would be the OP in sax blue (yep, I am choosing sax blue over navy blue for once!). To be honest, I think Angelic Pretty have overdone this whole religious imagery and cross thing with a lot of their series over the past year or so, and they need to come up with something different. Crosses are not the answer to everything!



Thursday, 10 March 2016

Afternoon Tea in Oxford

I never thought I would see the day that I would be writing a post about going for afternoon tea in the centre of Oxford, but here we are! Some of you may remember a post I wrote last year about inconvenient locations and how I was saying that Oxford is not the greatest place for a lolita community. A lot of the venues are small and some places really overprice things, just because of the Oxford name. Well, it turns out you can have afternoon tea in Oxford, and it can cost under £10! Last year I became quite a fan on afternoon tea and I am still eagerly searching out new afternoon tea experiences around the country. It was when I was doing this searching that I came across a website for the Cotswold Lodge Hotel in Oxford, which had an afternoon tea priced at £8.95. I thought I was seeing things! So I suggested to Shalisa and Sammi that we investigate and give this afternoon tea a go. And that is what we ended up doing this past weekend.




It was very difficult to decide what to wear for this adventure. You never quite know how a venue is going to react to lolita. However, I felt such a strong desire to wear Chess Emblem, that I decided that this is what I would go with! I felt the colours were very smart and mature, plus I kept my accessories relatively toned down. I love this print so much and I am looking forward to planning lots of outfits for it. Incidentally, Shalisa was wearing Miracle Candy, which has been a dream dress of hers for a very long time. So there was quite a lot of enthusiastic dressing up that day! Thankfully everybody we encountered at the hotel was friendly, although we spent a lot of time getting asked questions throughout the day.




Our afternoon tea wasn't until mid-afternoon and as we were a bit hungry, we ended up purchasing some macarons in Marks and Spencer because they were on offer. I have to say, I am a bit disappointed that after several years, M&S still mis-spells them as macaroons on the packaging! We took pictures of Sammi holding a macaron because she was wearing a macaron print! She always knows how to dress for the occasion. 




Eventually, it was time for our afternoon tea. James and I decided to get one of the £8.95 teas and one of the £14.95 ones and then we split the difference. This was mainly because I wanted an extra scone, but the £14.95 option felt a bit much for myself! For the price, we got a fair amount of food. The £8.95 option came with a scone, a massive pot of clotted cream and jam, a mini brownie, a slice of cake and 4 finger sandwiches. Plus a pot of tea, of course! The scones tasted absolutely amazing. They were so fluffy and light, and mine was still warm. The icing sugar they were dusted with got everywhere though. The sandwiches were pleasant too, although I wasn't too fussed about the brownie.




The thick clotted cream was amazing, although very difficult to spread. If I hadn't already filled myself up, I could have quite easily eaten the rest of the cream out of the pot! I am getting hungry just remembering how nice the scones were.




We chose a window seat, which meant we had a not so inspiring view of the car park! The room itself was smart though. I have been to fancier locations than this one but the surroundings were still really nice. I did find the staff a little bit awkward though. I did notice that the woman who served us was a trainee, so perhaps that had something to do with it. Or maybe she was shocked about our clothing! We also felt as though we had to be very quiet, especially with another group of diners sitting nearby. We also got hassled quite frequently about whether we had paid our bill or not, which spoiled the atmosphere a bit. Overall I would say that the food was worth it, given the cheap price compared to the average afternoon tea. I do feel the staff could have been friendlier though.




A little print gathering photo I took when we went to the bathroom (we seem to have a thing for taking photos in bathrooms. They have the best mirrors!). 




This is what the exterior of the hotel looked like. It looked quite pretty in person. It is just far enough out of the city centre that the traffic noise is not too noticeable but it is still an okay distance that you can walk to the venue. Can you believe that about not long after this picture was taken it started absolutely chucking it down with rain?




As we were going past the University Parks anyway, we quickly popped in for some photos. There were some absolutely gorgeous wild flowers out, although you can't really see them that clearly in the photos we took. Shalisa got a lovely group shot of us on her Instax camera.




Afterwards we decided to be a bit less sophisticated and get a load of cocktails! We originally headed to this venue that boasted a large number of cocktails, but when we got there it was a grotty small bar with some of the locals playing pool and watching the football. Feeling well and truly out of place, we ended up at the Slug and Lettuce instead. After experiencing their cocktails at the anniversary meet, we knew we were on to a good thing. They have a decent selection on offer. The one that looks like a sluch puppy is a rumberry mojito and the one on the right is a long island iced tea (which I was surprised to discover, does not actually contain tea). We had such a good time and afterwards I was really sad leave.

So if this experience has taught me anything, it is that of you search hard enough, you can get a good value day out at even the most expensive of UK cities outside of London. You just need to do your research! It was a shame about the hotel staff though. I can't imagine the others wanting to go back there. This day has left me yearning for more afternoon tea days out and has also started a new quest to find the best cocktail venue. Although we were pretty content at the Slug! I am looking forward to seeing where we end up next.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Print Double

Today I am taking a look at 2 recent prints. Scroll down further to see my views on Classic Frame by Metamorphose.

First up today though, is The Wizarding Platform by Alice and the Pirates. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, 3 hair accessories, socks, a rosette, a bow tie and a brooch.




First up is JSK I. The bodice looks well fitted. Although the bodice shape is quite simple, it has smooth lines and looks very neat. My only slight concern is how low the scoop neckline is, as this wont suit everybody and maybe wont sit right on some either. The straps are a good width and look very supportive. I think the braid used for the insides of the straps and neckline is very bold with a striking design. It is a bit different to the bog standard braid we are used to seeing on a lot of lolita pieces. The bodice has a military design with 3 bands going across the bodice. The bands are well spaced out and the buttons topping them have a really pretty emblem design. The back has a panel of shirring, which has been neatly topped with a ribbon corset. Judging by the stock photos, the skirt has a reasonable amount of volume and it flares outwards plenty. I can't imagine being able to create a super full shape, but there is enough room to hold a decent amount of petticoat. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed really well. The bottom hem is then finished off with this slightly odd looking trim, which is barely visible. I appreciate lace is probably too frilly looking for this particular dress design, but I would have expected something a bit more interesting than the trim that has been used.




Here we have JSK II. The bodice looked a little bit baggy in some of the stock photos and I am unsure I like the shape either. The bodice shape is maybe a bit too mainstream fashion, rather than a typical lolita shape. However, I do appreciate that the low cut neckline does have a small lace modesty panel, making it a bit less daunting to wear. I suppose this is the perfect excuse to wear a blouse with plenty of chest details or a fancy looking jabot! The straps look very wide and supportive. There is a generously sized bow placed just above the waist line, which has a quirky and interesting shape to it. This bow sits nicely on the dress and adds some much needed detail to what is otherwise a quite simple dress. 



I decided to include a picture of the back of this dress in my post, as I find it really unusual. The back of the bodice is definitely different and I admire AatP for trying out new designs. However, I feel this sort of design doesn't work with the shirring. The bottom of the back is fully shirred but with the gathered top part, I wonder just how useful that shirring is going to be. Personally, I don't think the back design works, but I guess the proof is in the wearing.

The stock photos show that the skirt has a good amount of volume and it flares outwards nicely. I love the A-line shape created in the stock photos and I think it suits the bodice shape. The skirt is once again kept simple, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of thin lace, which keeps things looking smart.




This is the OP. The bodice seems a tiny bit baggy in the stock photos and I think the overall bodice shape is a bit frumpy. I feel it is the shape of the sleeves that contributes to the frumpy look. They lack any real shape. I also don't think the neckline shape suits the dress and is a bit too square. I do think the way the neckline has been lined with ribbon and thin lace looks really neat and tidy though. The ribbon only has a slight sheen to it, which is a bonus, and it is finished neatly with a ribbon bow in the middle as well. The waist has a ribbon belt, which at least helps to define the waist a bit better. I just wish the ribbon was just slightly shorter, so the bow tails didn't dangle so far down the dress. At least this is easy to adjust by tying the bow a bit differently and making the bow a bit bigger. The bodice is otherwise kept very plain and I think it looks too boring. At least the JSKs have some detail to them to stop them looking dull. The back offers no shirring so size flexibility is very limited. I like how well the zip has been concealed though and the back looks very clean and tidy. The stock photos show that the skirt has a fair amount of volume to it and it flares outwards well. There is enough room for petticoat, and the skirt seems a decent length too. The skirt is once again kept very simple in design and the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with a neat line of ribbon and some thin lace, which I think looks really smart.




And finally, here is what the print looks like. This series comes in orange, bordeaux, navy blue and black. I think all 4 colours work really well with the print and I love how each colour has a different feel to it. As for the print, it is bold with an interesting design. It instantly makes me think of Harry Potter, but at the same time the HP feel is not too overpowering, so it can appeal to a wider audience. I love the detail to the train and the platform. What I find really interesting about the print though, is the way the steam from the train has been done. I like the way it gradually fades away, making way for the non-border part of the print. The non-border part of the print is smart, with sharp lines and a tidy design.

So overall this is a very interesting series and I suspect it is going to be popular. The print is interesting and it is something we have not really seen in a lolita print before. However, I do wonder if maybe the dress designs are a bit too plain or mainstream looking. You could almost say they don't look lolita. Would I buy this series? Probably not, but only because I can't see it fitting in to my wardrobe that well. My top choice would be JSK I in navy, as I like the military feel of that dress design. I am a fan of the socks from this series though, so I may be trying to get a pair of them!


Next up today I am having a look at Classic Frame by Metamorphose. This series includes 2 dresses (the Ribbon JSK comes in 2 lengths), a blouse, socks and 2 hair accessories.





Here we have the Bustle JSK. The bodice seems well fitted but there is something about the bodice shape which looks a bit strange. I think maybe the straps are too wide and it also doesn't help that the bodice is divided up weirdly. The neckline shape is quite pretty though, The solid tulle part on the chest area is supposed to be a bow shape, but it doesn't look very bow-like in the stock photos. I think it needed to be gathered more and the frame charm, although very pretty in design, needs to be smaller. It also doesn't help that the bow shape is cut off by the printed fabric of the straps and the lace used to line the insides of the straps. Speaking of the strap lace, I really don't like the way it continues down underneath the arms. I just think it doesn't look too appealing, although I can't put my finger on the exact reason why. The bodice also features a row of pretty pearl buttons, with a generous ruffle of tulle and gathered lace on either side. I really like the button design, but I don't feel the lace and tulle is needed. I think the tulle and ruffle makes the bodice look too cluttered. There is a waist bow, which is perhaps a bit too big, but has a cute shape and pretty charms. The shape of the bow is quirky and I quite like how it is double layered. The bow holds its shape reasonably well. I couldn't gather from the product listing whether or not the waist bow is detachable, but I am hoping it is. Maybe if the bow was detached, the bodice details would look a bit less busy. The back of the bodice has a small panel of shirring, which doesn't look too generous. There is definitely a bit of room for a wider panel. The shirring is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt has a lot of volume and it flares outwards beautifully. I really love the full, rounded shape of the skirt in the stock photos. The front of the skirt is kept simple is design, so the print is displayed perfectly. As the dress name suggests, there is indeed a bustle on the back half of the skirt. This bustle is a good shape and size, with the tiers neatly spaced out. The bustle looks quite voluminous, but I am hoping with the soft materials used it wont stick outwards too much. The bottom hem of the dress is then finished off with a layer of swan themed lace layered neatly on top a tulle ruffle. I love that Meta have use custom swan themed lace! I think the swan design on the lace is maybe a bit too basic, but I am really pleased to see Meta at least giving custom lace a go. Maybe their lace choices will rival Angelic Pretty someday!




Next up we have the Ribbon JSK. This dress comes in 2 lengths, with the shorter mini length pictured above. The bodice seems well fitted and the shape looks interesting. I think the straps are on okay width, but they could have maybe been just a tiny bit wider, and it would have been nice to have some lace lining them. There is a bow, which has been placed a bit higher than the waist line. This bow is maybe a bit floppy, although a sturdy bow that stuck out a lot would maybe look too bulky placed here. The size of the bow is alright. Unlike the bow on the other dress, I don't like the choice of material used for this double layered bow. The ribbon used for the top layer has a pretty design, but I don't think it works with the printed fabric underneath. This bow is detachable but I think the dress looks a bit too plain without it, so I would leave it attached. The bodice has a thin line of braid and a line of lace, which is shaped to give the impression of a yoke. I quite like the shape this lace creates. It reminds me of a shield. Meta have used their custom swan lace for this bodice detail, which looks pretty. Inside the lines of braid and lace there is a chain with 3 charms dangling from it. Whilst the charms are pretty, I don't feel this was necessarily the best way to fill this space. The chain doesn't stand out that much and sort of blends in to the background. I would have liked to have seen tiny bows at the ends of the chain, just to make it look a bit less "stuck on" and more fancy looking. The back has a panel of shirring, which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt has a good amount of volume and it flares out well. Despite being called a 'mini-length', the skirt actually has a fair amount of length to it as well. I am about 5'4'' and I reckon it would reach my knees! The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off with the swan lace.




Finally, here is the print close up. This series comes in black. off-white and aqua blue. I personally feel the off-white could have been a more ivory colour, but the other 2 colours look decent enough. I do wonder if the aqua blue is going to be a bit too vibrant in person though. As for the print itself, it is set out quite well and the frame designs are nice enough. I feel that is lacks the 'wow' factor though. Maybe it needs a bit more colour to it? I am also disappointed to see that some of the pictures inside the frames appear to be upside down. It looks really odd having an upside down angel and crown. The infamous Meta swans and the feather cross look good though. 

So overall, I feel this series is nice enough but it feels like it is lacking something. I am not overly impressed by the dress designs. I also think there are similar frame prints that have been released recently which perhaps have a bit more depth and detail to them. I am not really sure this series can compete. Would I buy this series? No, I probably wouldn't. It looks good, but I think this series could have been a lot better. It lacks impact. My top choice would be the Ribbon JSK in mini-length in the black colour. 


Thursday, 3 March 2016

Lolita Event Vows

Over the past weekend the Tea Party Club held a welcome afternoon tea event in London. Sadly, I was unable to attend, but a lot of people from my Facebook feed did go. I am really glad to see that a lot of my friends seemed to have a good time, although it seems there are things they wished they had done, be it get around to talking to more people or doing something different with their outfit.




This got me thinking a bit about how I usually feel after attending some of the bigger lolita events- not just what I enjoyed, but how I feel things could have gone differently. Every time I go to an event I promise myself to do things a bit differently next time, only I never seem to quite achieve all of my goals! So here are the vows I hope to stick to the next time I attend a big lolita event.

I shall attempt to talk to at least 3 new people- I feel the social side of these events is something that I personally need to work on. As somebody who has issues with anxiety, I am really awkward when it comes to striking up a conversation with people I don't know! But chances are, there are a lot of people at these events who feel exactly the same way as I do. So sometimes you just have to make that initial push and fingers crossed, you may make a new friend. At least with lolita events you know you at least have the fashion in common, but maybe somebody has crafted something that you could ask about, or perhaps they have a keychain dangling from their purse of some anime character that you happen to like. Be observant, find an opening conversation starter and hope that things progress from there.

I shall not impulse buy- This has been a big problem for me at certain past events! I know what my problem is- I get frustrated that I am missing out on this chance to buy things without a shipping fee, that I feel I need to take advantage of the situation. So I end up impulse buying, which usually results in me trying to shoehorn some random accessory in to an outfit and then selling it after one use. Thankfully, this is one lesson I have learnt from. When I went to Regalia back in September, I was critiquing every thing I fancied buying. I asked how well it fitted in my wardrobe and if I really needed it. If all else fails, I ask a friend now if something is a good deal or not. I know my friends well enough to trust that they will give me good advice.

Be grateful to hosts- This shouldn't just apply to big events, but any sort of gathering. As somebody who has hosted loads of meets, I can not stress how glad I am when somebody thanks me for hosting or I can see that people are having a good time. Make a host feel loved, and they will be more likely to host bigger and better events next time. If you are enjoying yourself, make sure people know!

Respect people's belongings- I wont say which event I was at, but there was an occasion where I witnessed people trampling over stuff that guests were selling and just carelessly tossed things on the floor, making no effort to pick them up. I appreciate that bring and buy stalls can get a bit chaotic, especially when there are some good deals on offer, but it only takes a moment to pick up anything you may have dropped. I have lost count of the times I have had to pick things up because of other people not being a bit more thoughtful.

Make the most of the guests- It is really amazing getting to meet designers from some of the biggest lolita brands but to tell the truth, I have always been a bit shy about interacting with them. Q&A sessions are the perfect time to really get to know your favourite designers. Think up some questions you want to ask beforehand. I find that if you are not prepared for these occasions, a lot of the time the same sort of questions get asked and recycled at every event. If I ever get the chance, I am going to ask Baby about my blouse lucky pack idea! Other ways you can get involved include asking the guest for a photo (most guests will have a translator hovering nearby) or taking part in projects like the scrapbooks that sometimes get made for the guests. 

Leave time to come up with an outfit- When it comes to the big TPC events in September, I usually start planning my outfits in April. That may sound a bit extreme, but with work and life commitments, I am grateful for any free time to plan my outfit! This way I have enough time to make new accessories (last year I made my own sash and rosettes) and it also means I can plan something a bit more elaborate than my typical lolita outfits. Every time I come up with some idea for an outfit, I always try to write it down, so I have it saved. It also means I can do a trial run of my outfit long before the event, so I can break in any uncomfortable shoes and fix all the small issues that usually plague me during a very long day.

Don't compare your outfit to other people's outfits- I know it is difficult when you are in a room full of OTT outfits and imaginative ideas, but it is a lot easier to enjoy an event if you don't try to compete with other people. If you have come up with a good outfit, be proud of that achievement, even if you feel others look better than you. At the end of the day, stuff such as Tumblr notes or getting more photos taken of you don't really mean that much outside of the lolita community. I feel that lolita is a fashion that is meant to be enjoyed, rather than being some sort of competition.

Those are my personal vows. I don't always stick to them, but I try my hardest! Do you make any promises to yourself before big events? Do you stick to them? I would be really interested to hear other people's vows.

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