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.