Monday, 25 September 2017

Holiday Collection by Angelic Pretty

Today I am looking at Holiday Collection by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, 3 hair accessories, a blouse and socks.

First is the OP. Considering the fabric choice, the bodice looks quite shapely and well fitted. The arms have a suitable level of puffiness to them and I really like the fitted cuffs. The cuffs are neatly decorated with emblem themed buttons, braid and some crown themed lace. Although I personally think the lace is too wide, I do appreciate how wonderful the crown lace looks. It is so apt for the overall theme as well. There is a ribbon belt, which helps to define the waist a little bit. I like that the ribbon chosen is matte, but if I am being honest the ribbon looks like bog-standard ribbon you would find in any craft store. For a brand release, the belt just doesn't feel that special. The bodice has a large square shaped yoke. I think this looks a little flat and boring. Some pleats could have been nice here. I do like the braid and lace lining the edge though, as it keeps it looking smart. There is also 2 small star charms with a chain dangling between them. I really dislike this detail and I don't think it is necessary at all. It doesn't really add anything to the design and it gets a bit 'lost' with all the other bodice details going on around it. There is also a ribbon bow topping the yoke. I like that the AP ribbon matches the brand name at the bottom of the print. The bow shape is simple, but well constructed and a decent size. The only thing I dislike about this bow is the teddy charm in the middle. I find it a bit too 'cutesy' looking. This bow id detachable, but I feel the dress looks far too plain with it removed, so I would leave it on. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. I am impressed with how well the print has been lined up along the zip line in the stock photos though. Fingers crossed it is this well executed on every dress. The stock photos show that the skirt has a decent amount of volume and it flares outwards plenty. I think there is a lot of potential to create a fantastic shape. 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 the crown themed lace.

Next we have the JSK. The bodice material is a bit loose and baggy and I am not completely sold on the bodice shape either. I think the neckline shape could have been a bit softer and that overall, the bodice looks too 'square' in shape. The straps are a little on the thin side, but the style of the straps fits well with the rest of the dress. They are lined with the crown lace on the outsides. I like how this lace has been gathered and shaped, making it look a bit more interesting. This dress also has a ribbon belt and my feelings about it are exactly the same as the belt on the OP. The bodice features lines of metallic lace running vertically upwards. This helps to break up the empty space without looking too OTT. The neckline features a 'collar' which has an unusual shape. I quite like it though! The shape is further emphasized by the neat lines of braid and lace lining it. The neckline is then topped off with a bow identical to the one on the OP. I know there is a teddy bear in the print, but I still dislike that charm on the bow. This bow is again detachable but I would leave it attached. Out of the 2 dress designs though, I think the JSK pulls off the bow-less look better than the OP. The back is fully shirred, which means loads of size flexibility but also that the shirring is left exposed. However, because of the style of print, the shirring sort of blends in a bit and isn't as noticeable. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and flares outwards wonderfully. It should hold plenty of petticoat to create a full, sweet shape. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of the crown lace.

Finally, this is the print. This series comes in ivory, red, green and grey. I think the ivory, red and green colours look very traditional. The grey is a bit more unusual and I am a bit unsure about it. I do wonder if black would have been better, as black would have been bolder (or at least easier to co-ordinate). As for the print itself, I really like how you could get away with wearing this for a Christmas themed outfit, but it is not specifically a Christmas print. Tartan is very popular around Christmas time but with the exception of the pile of presents, the print is generic enough to be worn outside of the holiday period. I really love the tartan and I think the frames are well set out and decently positioned. The frames themselves are very intricate with fun designs. The items inside the frames have been drawn well. I don't really have anything negative to say about the print at all. I think it has been really well executed.

So this series has proven that the old days of the AP bloodbath are not gone forever (this series sold out a lot quicker in comparison to a lot of other recent AP releases) and I can see why this particular print has done so well. Although I would change a couple of things about the dress designs, these changes are only minor and overall the dress designs are very strong. Would I buy this series? Possibly. I wont be adding this to my wishlist but that is not to say that I wouldn't consider it if the price was right. My top choice would be the JSK in green. I think the fact that I would even be considering getting a series with a strong hint of Christmas is a sign that I think AP have done very well!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

September 2017 Haul- Unexpected Dream Item Edition

Today I have another haul to share with you all, which is mostly accessory based with a bit of artwork thrown in for good measure. This was not meant to be a 'Big Spending' month for me, especially after DMC, but fate decided to chuck a wishlist item in my direction. I also really like Halloween, which as you will see below heavily influenced my spending.

First is a pair of postcards I got from Polyrillustration on Etsy. I have a bad habit of buying anything remotely bird themed lately, but these are no ordinary birds! They have been drawn by a lolita called Elizabeth and their wings feature a lace pattern. So I guess you could say they have been slightly lolitafied! But I wanted to include these in my haul post because I really think Elizabeth is talented and as an added bonus, she is really lovely! Please go and check out her Etsy.

As well as an envelope covered in the most amazing bird stickers (which I have cut out and kept, even though they are no longer sticky) Elizabeth wrote me a thank you note. Apparently I am her very first customer! I really loved the bird drawing she did for the note. I would be interested to see where she takes her art in the future. Perhaps she could offer to draw customer's birds? (hint hint...)

Next is a Spooktacular haul from H&M. I went looking for Larme-able stuff, and ended up raiding the kid's section. Aside from the moon and star clips, everything came from the kid's section. I have to admit that so far this Autumn I have not been impressed with the very slow trickle of Halloween merchandise available here in the UK. It is not really that big a holiday over here and I was sad that H&M relegated Halloween to the kid's section. 

But I was very glad I took a chance and went to check the kid's bit out (I do this every time I go to H&M) because these accessories are so adorable! I absolutely love the bat clip. All the clips are quite firmly glued on. I am also pleased to say that the chokers stretch enough for an adult to comfortably wear them. The skeleton hands do indeed glow in the dark, but they are not that vibrant. I mainly got these for their spooky vibe. Also, these hand clips are quite popular in Japanese fashion but they can be very expensive. So being able to get them on the high street was a big bonus.

I also got these fluffy scrunchies because I thought they looked cute, but also because I could incorporate them in to my larme wardrobe. Despite being in the kid's section, they have a reasonable amount of stretch to them. My only complaint is I had to buy 2 lots so I could have matching colours if I did twin tails. Who am I kidding, I would have brought them in both colours anyway!

Finally, I got both the necklace and bracelet from Baby's Twinkle Constellation series! You may have seen me use this necklace in a load of outfit collages on here, and now I actually own it! These have both been on my wishlist ever since the series first came out, but they very rarely crop up on the second hand market. Then Closet Child Harajuku got both of them. I had to use a shopping service for the necklace, so I used Muuh Tokyo SS. She replied super quick and within minutes we had arranged for her to go to Closet Child the following day and pick up the necklace for me. I was sent photographic proof of the necklace and receipt. The necklace was also very well packed. I would wholeheartedly recommend her service if you need a speedy shopping service.

Both the bracelet and the necklace were in like new condition. The design which I have coveted for so many years was definitely worth it. The rounded star shape is so cute. It does remind me of candy, as do the frosted beads. The star chains interwoven in to the design are a nice touch as well. I did notice that the star charms were a little stiff and don't have much movement to them, but this is only a minor complaint. The necklace has lots of space on the chain to adjust the length, but the bracelet is firmly one size only. I did find this meant the bracelet slipped quite far down my arm. I suppose because of the bracelet design it would have been difficult to make it adjustable without compromising on appearance. But overall, I am super happy to finally tick these off my wishlist. I don't have that many items left to go now, which is exciting! I do wonder how (or if) my wardrobe will expand after I get everything else.

So those are my new items! Despite the necklace really taking me by surprise and screwing up my socialising funds for this month, I don't regret getting it at all. It is a really cool design and now I am probably going to bore you all by wearing it constantly! The other items were all cheap and well worth the money. I really like it when you find little surprises on the high street. Primark, didn't have the fluffy bag I wanted, but otherwise my shopping trip left me satisfied. There is more stuff on the way to me in the mail so hopefully there will be another haul post in the near future.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Rose Palace by Metamorphose

Today I am looking at Rose Palace by Metamorphose. This series includes 3 dresses (the OP was not available at time of writing, so I will add it later if it comes out before publishing), a blouse, tights, a hair clip, a lace peplum and several corsets. EDIT- Okay, the OP has now come out but I will admit I completely forgot about adding it to the post. Sorry!

First is the Ribbon JSK. The bodice seems fairly well fitted. I think the shape of the bodice is simple, but elegant. The only thing about the shape I am unsure about is the very square neckline. The straps look a decent width and quite supportive. They are lined with a line of gold braid (which also goes along the neckline) and some pretty lace on the outsides. The way the lace has been shaped and gathered makes it look quite frilly, and I did wonder if perhaps it looked a little too cute looking for the gothic print? The waist line is topped with 2 bows made of the main dress fabric and a line of lace. I don't feel the lace sits particularly well on the waistline and it gets a bit 'lost' underneath the bows anyway. The bows are a lovely shape and I like the detailing on them, like the gold braid and lace. However, I think the bows are a bit big in size and are placed a bit too close together. The bodice has a chiffon ruffle topped with gold braid going up the middle. I don't think this detail works that well. I think it is the gold braid which makes this detail look odd and Meta should have just had the chiffon ruffle by itself. Some thin lines of lace could have subtly broken up the empty areas on the sides of the bodice without drawing attention away from the bigger features. There is a big bow on the neckline. This bow has a simple shape, but it has been well formed and works well. I love the cross cameo in the middle! None of the bows on the bodice appear to be detachable, which is a shame because it would definitely be great to be able to re-position the waist bows. The back is fully shirred which means loads of size flexibility, but also that the shirring is left exposed with nothing covering it. The stock photos show that the skirt has a decent amount of volume. It flares outwards well too and I think there is loads of potential to create a fantastic shape. The skirt is kept simple, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of Meta logo themed lace layered on top of a chiffon ruffle.

Next we have the High Waist JSK. The bodice material looks quite loose and baggy. I think this is because of the way the material has been gathered and is deliberate. I am quite underwhelmed about the bodice shape though. It is so square and basic. The straps also look a bit thin, although the do suit the style of the bodice. Wide straps would probably not suit this dress. The straps are topped with gold braid and a chiffon ruffle. These same details also appear along the neckline. I like how this makes the area look a lot softer and romantic, but without looking too cute. It also goes well with the use of chiffon at the bottom of the dress. The waist has a solid coloured panel, which sort of looks a bit like a belt. It is good how it helps to break up the printed dress material and does define the waist a little bit. This is topped with a waist bow. I think the bow is a good size, but I am not a fan of the bow shape. I feel as though it is lacking something. Maybe some lace and a more intricate shape could have helped to liven it up. But there is a gorgeous cross charm dangling from the middle and despite its size, it holds its shape well. It is a shame that the charm doesn't stand out more. This waist bow is detachable but given how plain the bodice is, I would leave it on, even though I don't like it that much. Or maybe I would consider moving it to the neckline instead? The back is fully shirred again, so there is lots of size flexibility but the shirring is still left exposed. The skirt looks full of volume and it flares outwards a lot. I like how the skirt is a bit longer in length, to help compensate for the high waist design. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off with 2 wide chiffon ruffles and some small ribbon bows. I like the ruffles but think they could have done with being just a little less wide. The bows are a lovely finishing touch, despite being a little bit shiny.

Finally, this is the print. This series comes in black, dark blue and lavender. I think all 3 colours look beautiful. It is difficult to pick a favourite! As for the print, I am pleased to see Meta going a bit gothic again. Although these window prints are quite overdone (it is not even new ground for Meta) this offering has been well executed. The lines are neat and the way the print is set out is very tidy. The churches inside the windows are heavily detailed as well. The roses offer a refreshing pop of colour. In fact, I think the border part of the print could have done with a few more roses. The brand name features in a strip at the bottom, but this is kept nicely understated. I suppose people's feelings towards this series will depend on how you feel about originality, but this print does measure up well next to similar prints.

So if you are a fan of these kind of prints, then this is a decent series to add to your collection. The print is lovely, but there are a few small changes I would make to the dress designs. I think the colour choices are what makes this series. The black is quite a classic colour for the print, but the navy blue and lavender offer something a bit more unusual. Would I buy this series? Possibly, but it wont be going on my wishlist. My top choice would be the Ribbon JSK in lavender. I look forward to seeing some fantastic gothic outfits with this series

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Community Politics

The idea of lolita communities, whether they are more local or larger national communities, has been in my thoughts a great deal lately. I suppose with the disbanding of the Tea Party Club and the online reactions in response to this, there has been a lot of talk about what happens now. I wont be mentioning any names or specific comments (and most of the comments are anonymous anyway) but I am absolutely gobsmacked at some of the things being said. Sorry to say it, but some people are coming across as very entitled. The Tea Party Club events took so much time and effort. I don't think some people realise just how much the organisers put in to these huge events. But even at a local level there are some of the negative effects trickling down. For a while now I have backed away from being a part of a local community. It is not anything specific that one individual person has done, but because I was wondering if the smaller comm meets are really how I wish to pursue my love of lolita fashion. I try not to blog about the negative impact too much, but I will be honest and admit that there have been times where I have been hosting a meet where it has made me severely ill (both physically and mentally). A lot of that is down to me as an individual, but it did result in me backing away from my local community a lot. I came to realise that I am at my happiest when I am in just a small group of lolitas or even doing something with just my husband James. I am wearing lolita for myself a lot more and not because I feel the pressure to make a super amazing outfit for a community meet up. Communities can be great, but they are not the be-all and end-all of wearing lolita. But I thought today I would tackle community politics and how maybe we can all go about creating a bit of harmony in our communities.

A small disclaimer- none of the comments in this post are aimed at any specific community or individual. I appreciate that this could be a sensitive subject and I want you all to know that I am not making any thinly veiled digs at anybody. These are just general observations I have made from being part of several different communities (not all of them lolita communities) and also from stuff I have heard from others both online and in real life.

Firstly, majority rules, or at least it should be taken in to account when planning an event. Voting on dates and venues mean you can get a better picture of your community's needs. If the majority have selected one particular option and they host goes ahead and agrees with the vote, then in theory you are going to have a larger number of attendees and happier guests. But ultimately, it is the host's choice. I feel that if somebody is going to the effort of hosting a meet, they should have the largest say in what happens because it is the host who will have to deal with bookings, any problems etc. Try not to get upset if a vote does not go your way. The idea of these events is to cater towards the whole group, not one individual. You don't have to be at every single meet. Sometimes you just have to accept that things have not gone your way.

We should also try to take other member's needs in to consideration. For example, if you are hosting an event which would be suitable for adults only, maybe consider doing something more inclusive for all ages for the following meet. If somebody has a food allergy or specific diet, see if you can compromise and go to a similar venue where they are more likely to find food they can eat. Not everybody is able-bodied or as healthy, so consider if there is going to be a lot of walking or physical exertion involved. Try to make sure that everybody feels included and welcome to take part.

I also think it is important not to let one person take on all of the work. This is something I can relate to, as I have gotten myself in a rut of being the only one hosting meets before. Doing all of the organising can be super stressful and it takes its toll. I think in the wake of what has happened with the Tea Party Club, it is only now that we are realising what people like Kyra did for the UK community. She organised so many of the big events that I feel some of us took it for granted. Now we are at a loss about how to continue in the future. Fantastic meets can only go ahead if somebody is there to put the work in. If you have a service to offer which you think may be useful (translating, photography etc) then make yourself known. Also, if you want to step up and host a meet but don't know what to do, don't be afraid to ask event hosts for advice. I think that if people are willing to ask the needed questions, people will be able to offer advice. Do remember that 5 years ago, Kyra only got Juliette et Justine to come over because she actually asked them. And please, make sure that your hosts feel valued. Thank them!

Another thing to consider is making sure the community does not have any unrealistic rules. As an example, I know there are some communities which have a rule against going or posting on places like 4chan. How exactly do you enforce a rule like this? As these sites are anonymous, it is rare that you can prove who is posting what without going to a lot of effort. This can cause a lot of unnecessary finger pointing and accusations. Also, a lot of community members are adults or at least old enough to be making their own choices. We can't realistically police everything and in trying to do so, you can actually cause more problems than you are trying to prevent. Lolita is a fashion and having long lists of rules to join a community can scare people away.

Speaking of moderation, community moderators should be approachable and somebody you can go to if a problem arises. Members of a community want to know that they will be treated well. Not being able to get a hold of somebody when you have questions can be very frustrating. If as a moderator you feel as though you have taken too much on, consider adding additional moderators. Share the burden out fairly.

It is also important to try and keep personal drama out of lolita communities. Have an issue with another lolita? That should be between the two of you and nobody else. Don't force people to choose sides. It can really cause a horrible atmosphere if you bring your drama to a meet. Sometimes it is very tricky to deal with people you don't like or have fallen out with, but hopefully you can keep things civil. Rather than focusing on the drama, try talking to another lolita. Focus on other things. I personally find that this has a positive effect rather than brooding on things.

Finally, members should be free to meet up with each other away from the community. Sometimes you find you really click with somebody and you develop a friendship beyond the fashion. So it is only natural that you may decide to meet up with those few people outside of lolita meets, regardless of whether or not you wear lolita when you see each other. If you connect with somebody, don't be afraid to make the first move. Try messaging them and if things go well, maybe you could suggest meeting at a cafe for a drink. As you get older, it is a lot harder to make new friends compared to when you were a child. You may find you have to make a bit more effort, but sow the seeds and hopefully a beautiful friendship will bloom.

So those are just some thoughts that I have come up with. Can you think of anything that I have missed out? Do feel free to comment your suggestions. Over the past year I have been thrown in to a lot of situations where I have needed to consider my interactions a lot more and I think as a result my behaviour and actions have changed (hopefully for the better!). With everything that has happened recently, perhaps we need to think a bit more about how we can evolve as a community. You can't make everybody happy all the time, but sometimes just knowing that our thoughts and feelings have been acknowledged can make all the difference. My wish for the future is that we can all continue to have fun adventures together as a happy and content community.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Print Double

Today I am looking at 2 different prints, so scroll down for a look at a new print from Baby.

First today though, is Lovely Shopping by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 3 dresses (one is a more casual cutsew dress), 4 hair accessories and socks.

First we have the OP. The bodice shape is quite cute, although I am not sure I like the waistline being that high up. That waistline is bound to sit strangely on those with a larger bust. The arms look a generous length though. They have a suitable amount of puff to them and the cuffs finish them off smartly. I absolutely love the use of heart buttons on the cuffs! The bodice is mostly kept simple, but given how short it is I suppose this makes sense. There is a ruffle going along the waistline and sides of the bodice. This ruffle looks very cutesy and it is well gathered. I quite like it, although I imagine there will be some who find it a bit childish. The collar is nicely shaped, albeit a bit small. I do wonder if perhaps it is the bow attached to the collar which is throwing me off. The bow has really long tails and I think it looks too 'heavy' for the collar. Thankfully, the bow is detachable and I would be tempted to do this because I think it makes the collar look more in proportion. There is a line of cute heart shaped buttons underneath the bow on the bodice as well, which stops it from looking too plain. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is limited. I really dislike the way the print is misaligned along the zip line as well. It looks a bit messy. The stock photos show that the sack-like skirt has plenty of volume and it flares outwards decently. I think the level of puff that AP have done in the stock photos suits the bodice, but it looks as though it will hold plenty more petticoat if need be. The stock is kept simple in design, so the all-over print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off with a solid line of ribbon and some polka dot themed AP logo lace. I like the lace, but I think that solid line of ribbon is quite jarring, especially the black on the red version.

Next we have the JSK. The bodice seems quite well fitted and the bodice shape is simple, but lovely. I think the straps are a tiny bit on the thin side, but they suit the style of the bodice. They are very neatly lined with some scalloped lace. This lace is very bold and striking. It is also used down the bodice too, which helps break up the empty space. There is a waist bow, which I think is a bit too big. Its simple shape works quite well though and it is well formed. The only real issue I have with the waist bow is that it blends in to the background quite a lot. The waistline features a 'belt' which is marked out by 2 lines of piping. I don't think this feature adds much to the dress. Perhaps a solid coloured belt would have not only broken up the print a bit, but also helped to define the waistline. There are 3 small bows on the bodice, which look very cute. They are well spaced out too. There is also a line of lace along the neckline, which helps to soften it. The back is fully shirred, so there is lots of size flexibility but it also means the shirring is left exposed. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and it flares outwards generously. I am not 100% sold on the shape in the stock photos, but at least it looks as though the skirt has plenty of room. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed wonderfully. The bottom hem then features a wide ruffle with thin lines of lace lining both the top and bottom of the ruffle. This is the same lace used on the straps, so that is a good bit of continuity.

Here we have the print. As we can see, this series comes in white, lavender, red and grey. Some of the colours chosen are a bit more predictable than others, but I am glad to see there is a bit of variety in there. Grey really seems to be popular with the AP designers at the moment! As for the print itself, I am not quite sure what to make of it. When I initially saw a small photo of it, I thought that from a distance it looked like one of Metamorphose's camouflage prints! I was really surprised when I found out it was actually AP. If I am being completely honest, I think this looks like a load of clip-art pictures carelessly thrown together, especially the hearts. The mirror and shopping bag are lovely though. I like the little details on them. I don't think that is enough to convince me though!

So I can't say that I am overly impressed with this series. Dare I say, it even looks a bit tacky? It could have been a really cute design, but it misses the mark. I think it is safe to say that I wont be buying this series! I guess my top choice would be the JSK in lavender but I am struggling to find anything positive to say about any of the cuts or colours. However, I do really like the short crew socks with the heart pattern on them. I would want them for larme kei rather than lolita though!

Today I am also looking at Kumya's Snowy Kingdom (already on to the Winter prints!). This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, a dress for an Usakumya doll, 2 hair accessories, socks, a blouse, a tote bag and a blanket cape.

First is JSK I. The bodice looks well fitted and the bodice shape is generally quite cute. I like the scalloped neckline, but I don't think the scallops work as well on the straps. There is not enough room on the straps to get any decent scalloped shapes. The straps are a suitable width though and look very supportive. There is a waist bow, which looks and okay size and shape. It sits well on the dress. I think I would have liked the waist bow a bit more if it was more in proportion to the neckline bow. Or maybe the waist bow should have been detachable so we could see how the dress looks with just the neckline bow. The waist bow features some small pom poms and is also lined with pom pom trim. Now, my long-term readers may be aware that I have a real hatred towards pom pom trim, but in this instance I do like it! I like it because it fits in well with the snowy theme (the trim looks a bit like snowballs). The pom pom trim has also been used in several lines going up the bodice and along the edge of a raised chest panel, which has a scalloped edge. I think this detail has been really well executed. The pom poms are appropriate and used neatly. It really helps to emphasize the scalloped edge of the chest panel. My only complaint is that I wish the pom poms stopped before reaching the arm pit area. Otherwise, I am really impressed. The neckline bow is made from this lovely matte ribbon. It has polka dots on it, which go well with the snow theme. I am still not sure I like the sizes of both bows together, but I don't know what Baby could do to improve it either. The back offers a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is nicely rounded and very full. There is lots of potential to create a very cute shape. The skirt is kept simple in design so the print is displayed wonderfully. The bottom hem is then finished off with a neat line of good quality lace. I am surprised Baby didn't try doing something with the pom pom trim on the bottom hem, but the lace looks decent enough.

Next we have JSK II. I think the bodice looks very tube-like and the shape is very boring. It is very simple and quite square. A softer neckline shape would have perhaps been more pleasant too. The straps are a decent width and look very supportive. They are lined very neatly with thin lines of lace, which stop them from looking too plain. There is a waist bow, which I think is an okay size. However, I am not so keen on the bow shape. It looks slightly saggy as well. I am impressed that Baby used the Usakumya part of the print on the bow though, and managed to line it up so well. Fingers crossed you can see Usakumya on each dress and this isn't a one-off fluke! The bodice is broken up by some vertical lines of lace. This lace is of a reasonable quality, as is the lace on the waist bow and neckline. There is a yoke on the bodice, but I really dislike the shape of it. It looks too square and I think a more rounded shape would have been cuter. Even the lace lining the yoke doesn't contribute much to the shape. The yoke also appears to be very flat with little detail to it. It is topped with a ribbon bow though, done in much the same style as it is on the other JSK. This bow is a decent size and well formed. The back is fully shirred, so there is loads of size flexibility but it means the shirring is left exposed. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and flares outwards plenty. It will hold lots of petticoat underneath. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of good quality lace. It is decent enough, but nothing to write home about.

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

... and another part. This series is available in pink, sax blue, lavender and navy. These seem like pretty safe colour options for a snowy print like this. I think the sax blue and navy versions especially stand out. As for the print itself, I am not really an Usakumya print person, but I do think this print is adorable. There are so many cute little details to the print. My favourite part is the Kumyas making a Snow Kumya. I like how they are wearing cute fur-lined capes and Usakumya's facial expression is so full of joy. The heart buttons on the Snow Kumya are a nice touch too. The rest of the print is filled nicely. The snow covered trees help to fill in any gaps, as do the falling snowflakes. The aurora in the sky is a nice touch too. There is only one bit of this print which I don't understand- the strawberries. It is not the first time Baby have done a Wintry print with strawberries in it, but this time I feel as though nothing has been done to fit the strawberries in with the rest of the print. They look so out of place. I associate strawberries with Summer!

So I think this is a cute series. There are some parts of this series which seem stronger than others. It is probably quite obvious that I favour one JSK design over the other. The print is really cute if I ignore the random strawberries. Would I buy this series? No, because it is not my style. But for an Usakumya print, I think this is a really good offering. I am sure it will have plenty of fans. My top choice would be JSK I in either the sax blue or navy (probably the navy!). I am sure this print is going to look super cute, especially nearer the Winter time.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Dream Masquerade Carnival!

So I am still feeling ill, but I am going to try and soldier on with this post. Please bear with me!

So on the 27th of August I headed to London for the Tea Party Club event Dream Masquerade Carnival. I was only able to attend the tea party on the Sunday this year, as I had other commitments on the Saturday. I would like to say that my bank account thanked me for avoiding the inevitable shopping spree, but I ended up spending my money elsewhere anyway! I think I have a serious shopping problem! The truth is, I almost didn't even make it to the tea party. I had received some really bad news just a week before, which has totally thrown me and is going to affect me for years to come. So that has been playing on my mind quite a lot and as a result, I was feeling super anxious. It just didn't seem right going to London and eating cake, but I told myself that this would probably be my only chance to see Maki and Asuka from Angelic Pretty. I had so much support from friends throughout the day and they made my decision to stay a whole lot easier. Seriously, I cannot thank you all enough (you know who you are!). 

I didn't do anything too OTT outfit-wise this time. I didn't have as much time to plan an outfit as I had hoped, as I have been exploring other hobbies outside of lolita a lot more this year. In the end, I decided to pick a dress that A) was Angelic Pretty B) went with my pink AP Tea Parties and C) I didn't think was going to get worn by a large number of other attendees. I came so close to wearing Daydream Carnival, but in the end Milky Swan won out. It would appear that I have recycled a fair bit from previous outfits this time! The shoe feathers made a return and I feel as though I have worn these gloves to death. But I wasn't really focusing on having a super unique outfit. My priorities have changed a whole lot lately. In fact, I didn't realise how profound an effect this one day was going to have on me.

The hair and accessories were inspired by Odette from the ballet Swan Lake. As this was a ballerina themed outfit, I also took some inspiration from my favourite artist Degas. The feather clips refused to stay in the correct position and the purple roses were not quite the right shade, but overall I was really happy with my choices.

The first room we were all gathered in was very small and tightly packed. It made finding people very difficult. I didn't see some of my friends until later on in the day because there was just no way of mingling without barging in to scepters, hair accessories and all the usual stuff that comes with dressing up super fancy! But I did manage to get a few pictures of other people's outfits and eventually I found Michelle sat at a table. We had a good talk and she really put me at ease. She was dressed as a beautiful fairy. Ayumi from Rose Marie Seoir picked Michelle as her best dressed and I think Michelle was the only person on the whole table who didn't see that coming! 

I didn't get many pictures of the venue itself, but here is a blurry photo of a unicorn tapestry I took! I am a huge fan of the series of unicorn tapestries and get very excited when I see any of them hanging at places I visit. They seem to be very popular in fancy hotels because I see them quite frequently. This year the venue for the tea party was the Royal Horseguards Hotel. It was this venue where the Tea Party Club hosted the 5th TPC anniversary featuring Juliette et Justine and my first time back here since that event. It did bring up quite a few memories. There was even another proposal this year, which was so sweet.

The tables had some lovely goodies available. My favourite was the AP themed temporary tattoos. I got a proper tattoo done a few months ago (I was going through a 'f*ck it' phase and just went for it) and I keep having to resist the urge to get more done! But I am not sure if I would want to get a lolita themed tattoo, just in case I regretted in later on. So having a temporary option is fantastic! There were recent prints featured as well as some carnival themed ones.

I was left feeling a bit 'meh' about the food. It was lovely, but I have to admit that it is not the best afternoon tea I have had. I think there could have been more cakes provided. We ended up with about one each. I opted for the fruit tart. The fruit was lovely and refreshing. It complimented the sweet custard filling well. There were lots of sandwiches though and the usual scones. I felt a little bit sorry for our waitress, because we kept asking for refills of the cream and jam!

The Triple Fortune designers Babi and Kaie went around each table to greet us and take pictures. I thought this was really lovely. They made such an effort and I really hope they will consider coming back to the UK again. There was a translator as well, so we got to tell them just how much the UK adores their products, especially their beautiful bonnets. 

Later on, I got a chance to have my photo taken with them. They told me they loved my hair accessories and how they reminded them of Odette. So that was definitely a highlight of my day!

But that is not all the happened... Unfortunately this is the end of the Tea Party Club. Kyra has decided to step down and it seems Mica and the others on the team are in agreement. It was a huge shock, but I think ultimately, Kyra has made the right decision and I can empathise with some of the things she has said about her decision. I will be forever grateful to the Tea Party club for the most fantastic events they have put on over the years. They have achieved so much. But this does not have to be the end of the UK lolita scene's bigger events. It may take a few years to build up to this level again, but it is not impossible. I wonder who will be generous enough to step up? Whoever decides to put on the next big event, I do hope that the community will help out and support them.

I also ended up having a very in-depth discussion with this lovely lady called Charlotte. She has made me rethink a lot of things and I loved talking to her, as she is very passionate about what she does. I don't want to say too much about it right now, but I am very excited about the future!

So if I didn't buy lolita stuff, what did make my wallet weep in London? Well after feeling so terrible in the run up to the event, I promised myself that if I made it to the tea party, I would finally treat myself to a bottle of Luna by perfume company Penhaligon's. Thinking back, I can't remember if I shared the story about this perfume on my blog or not. Basically, when I had afternoon tea for my birthday last year in London, I went in to Penhaligon's afterwards and a sales assistant got talking to me. I told him what I liked and he picked out a perfume called Luna. With a name like that, it felt like fate! It turned out to be the most beautiful rose scented perfume I have ever smelt and the shop guy sprayed it all over my arm. Then he told me the price (it costs A LOT) and I had to try so hard to not show my horror on my face! As he had sprayed so much on me, I spent the rest of the day getting painful reminders of the perfume that felt way out of my league. So this year I put the money aside and I found the perfect excuse to finally get it! I also got some Tarot themed Dunnys. Those are the little vinyl figures at the bottom of the picture. I used to collect them years ago and the tarot series reeled me right back in again. The bird themed stickers are from Artbox and the snacks are from both the Japan Centre and Artbox/Tofu Cute. I got myself quite a few DIY candy kits because I am going to be making them and uploading the videos to Youtube. This is a little side project I am doing because I thought it would be a good way to combat my anxiety and get used to talking more confidently. So if the videos do well then that is great, but if they are not a success that means less people will see me making a fool of myself on camera! I will be happy either way! The idea came to me because I am having therapy at the moment and this felt like a good step to take to improve my interactions with people online. This is just one of many lifestyle changes I am making at the moment. The channel is not up yet, so I am not able to link it. But if you are that desperate to see me being an anxious idiot, then I am sure you will be able to find me!

A quick picture of some of the items that were given away at the tea party. I adore the fans! There were also some chiffon bows, but there were limited supplies of them and they didn't match anything I had anyway. Long Ears and Sharp Ears Studio made a lot of effort with their gifts and donated so much to the raffle as well. And speaking of Long Ears and Sharp Ears...

... I won one of their skirts in the raffle! This really made me smile because do you remember the post I posted literally just the other week about difficult colours? I commented about how I don't own any brown in my wardrobe and I ended up winning a skirt with lots of brown in it! But there is also red tones and some muted gold, so I am going to focus on those colours in the print. It just made me smile that a post I posted just 2 weeks ago has become so incredibly relevant to my current situation!

So I guess this is the last Tea Party Club themed post I am going to be doing on here. It has been a wild ride, and I feel as though there are a lot of things which I have forgotten to mention. Thank you Kyra and the Tea Party Club team. I set out to meet the AP designers and I made it! That is another goal to tick off the list. I hope everybody else had a great time and hopefully I will get to see some of you at another big event soon. This might give me the incentive to attend the next Street Fashion Europe event or search further afield. Who knows what the future holds!

Monday, 4 September 2017

Halloween Treats by Angelic Pretty

Today I am looking at Halloween Treats by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, 2 hair accessories, socks, a blouse and a bag. There are also some additional Angelic Bat items which were released at the same time.

First is the OP. Being a sack dress, it does not have a defined bodice and waistline. This is one of the few instances where I think a sack style cut sort of works though. The sleeves look a suitable length and have a good amount of puffiness to them. I like that the cuffs are more fitted as well, which is a nice contrast to the loosely fitted sleeves. The cuffs have a really cool shaped hemline as well, which go brilliantly with the Halloween and bat theme. There is a yoke, which also has a fantastically appropriate shape to it. I like the size of the yoke too. The yoke features several lines of lace and some pleats, which stop the area from looking too flat and boring. There is also a line of buttons, which are well spaced out. The only thing I am not sure on is how they alternate between star shaped and circular buttons. I would have stuck with one or the other. The collar is lined neatly with lace and doesn't look too tight or stuffy. There is then a large bow topping the yoke. Although the bow is big, I think the size of it really suits the dress. I also like how the bow is made of stripy material, although it is a bit on the shiny side. The bat shaped detail topping the bow is the most wonderful finishing touch. I really love it! This bow is detachable, but I would leave it on as I feel it really pulls the design together. The back offers no shirring, so the size flexibility is limited. Shirring probably wouldn't suit a sack-like dress like this anyway. At least the yoke looks equally well shaped on the back and the zip is reasonably well concealed. The stock photos show that the 'skirt' has a lot of volume and flares outwards well. Not that you would want to over-do petticoat with this style of dress! The dress is otherwise kept simple in design, so the all-over print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with the most amazing bat themed lace. I really like it!

Next is the JSK. The bodice looks quite well fitted, although the bodice shape is simple. The bat collar however, more than makes up for the simple bodice shape. It is bold with good lines and I find it very striking. It makes what would otherwise be a dull dress in to something much more exciting. I love the bat clip finishing off the collar as well. There is a waist bow, which I think is a suitable size. I feel it is very in proportion with the other details on the dress. This bow is a simple shape, but well formed. I wish the ribbon used was a bit less shiny, but this is only a very minor complaint. The bodice is broken up by several lines of star themed lace. This lace looks really cute and I like how it breaks up the otherwise empty space. The back offers a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is generous in volume. I think it should hold plenty of petticoat and is a good option if the sack cut of the OP feels a bit too intimidating. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off tidily with a line of the awesome bat lace.

Finally, this is the print. This series comes in ivory, black and lavender. I do wonder if AP will release more colours later when they see how well this series has done, but for now these 3 colours look really great with the print. As for the print itself, it is the perfect mix of spooky and cute. The fact that the coffins and tombstones are cakes and other sweets makes it look adorable rather than creepy. I especially love the bat shaped cookies and the ghostly marshmallows! The items in the print are evenly distributed. The stars and moons in the background help to fill in any empty spaces. The only thing I felt a little unsure of is that the grey and brown colours used on the ivory and lavender for the cakes looks as though it may appear a bit 'washed out'. I think on these 2 versions the print details do not stand out as clearly as they do on the black.

I am not in the slightest bit surprised to see that this series has been a success. Angelic Pretty really excel at this creepy cute Halloween theme. There isn't much I would tweak about the dress designs, even though I am not a huge fan of sack dresses. I especially love the bat shaped clips and hemlines. That was a really clever idea. Would I buy this series? No, but that is because as my longer-term readers will know, I don't do seasonal prints. If there was a series to tempt me to get a Halloween print though, this print would be a strong contender!

Thursday, 31 August 2017

A Lolita Reads Lolita

Okay, today was meant to be my DMC post but unfortunately I have had a stinking cold the past few days. So I am doing a bit of self care and posting a post I already had written up. I am hoping to have the chance to go through all my stuff later, so the DMC post should be up next Thursday. Apologies for the delay. So much crazy stuff has been going on! Anyway, here is a post about the Lolita novel...

As wearers of lolita fashion, how many times has the phrase "It's not like the book" come out of our mouths as we explain to others what the fashion is about? It has almost become a bit of a running joke in the fashion community. There is this great fear of the clothing we love getting compared to the main subject of the book- pedophilia. But how many of us have actually read the book? I got asked recently if I had read Lolita and I had to admit that I hadn't. So I decided that something needed to be done about this and went and got myself a copy. Be warned- MASSIVE SPOILERS are going to follow.

The book is told from the point of view of Humbert Humbert, the nymphet loving pedophile who falls in love with Dolores (also known as Lolita). He has been imprisoned for murder and the book sort of reads as his confession. Before reading the book, I was expecting to view Humbert as simply being a dirty old pervert. In the beginning, that is indeed how I viewed him. Despite hearing his tales of his early love life pre-Lolita, all I could see was the pedophile. In fact, hearing his tales sounded awfully as if he was trying to justify what he was about to tell us all about his misdemeanors with Lolita. Humbert obviously knows what he did is wrong and has the audacity to try and pleas with the reader to understand him!

But as I got further in to the book, it became more confusing to me. The Humbert near the start of the book is very focused on his lust and his careful pursuit of Lolita. He catches little glances of her and satisfies himself with brief moments, such as having Lolita sit on his knee. I never had the impression that he was genuinely in love with Lolita. I don't believe that Humbert feels he is in love with Lolita either. He talks about how when she gets older, she will eventually lose her 'nymphet qualities' and how he wishes to enjoy her whilst she is still young. Later on, it becomes apparent that there is another Humbert. This other Humbert is hopelessly in love with Lolita. When he sees her as a pregnant, married 17-year-old, Humbert tells us that he is still in love with Lolita, even though she is no longer a child. His feelings towards his former lover seem to genuine. The romantic poetry and flowery descriptions throughout the book feel more heartfelt. I never once felt sorry for Humbert, and it remains the case that his sexual tendencies are illegal, but I found myself feeling a lot less hostile towards him as I finished the novel.

Initially, I was not a fan of the character Lolita. Her character felt very two-dimensional and written to sound like a 'typical' teenager, obsessed with movies, clothing and all the usual stuff. Humbert is not a reliable narrator, which means we are only seeing her through his eyes. He is focused solely on the sexual elements of their relationship for most of the book. It is only later on that he realises how damaging his actions have been and how maybe Lolita may have been thinking. To truly build a picture of Lolita's character, I had to remind myself how I was when I was her age. When I was 12, I was curious about sex but not so much in forming meaningful relationships. I see that same curiosity in Lolita. It is almost as if sex is a game. Only as time goes on, and Lolita's vulnerabilities come through, it becomes more apparent that she is maybe not as willing a sexual partner as Humbert first thinks.

When I finished the book I was pleased to see that it really wasn't anywhere near as smutty as I thought it was going to be. Humbert is clearly a very troubled character, as evidenced by his time in a mental institution and the mourning of a childhood lover. Lolita is equally troubled, and you do have to wonder how a typical 12 year-old would react if they were to go through the same events as Lolita. I found myself finding that the way the events pan out in the book are maybe not as unrealistic as I first thought. It is the tragedy of the situation that I have found has stayed in my mind after finishing the book.

Although the book left some confusing feelings inside me afterwards (there are lots of little subtleties I missed at first until they were pointed out in the afterword and reviews of the novel) I am still glad that I read it. I do think the book fully deserves its reputation as a Modern Classic and it was interesting seeing what other people thought of it. Perhaps on a second reading, it will gradually begin to make more sense to me. From a lolita fashion point of view, the book has absolutely nothing to do with the fashion. But rather than dismissing the book as some kind of dirty piece of erotica, I would invite others to actually pick up and read the book. It is also fair to say that there is a sexual fetish named after Lolita, but usually it is simply enough to explain to members of the public that it is not connected to the book. At least now, I can say with confidence that I have indeed read the book. I may still dislike Humbert's appalling actions and his pathetic attempts to justify them to both the reader and himself, but the book is written in such a way that you can almost get a better idea of how his mind works. His realizations towards the end help to make him seem a lot more'human'. Lolita is maybe not a good book for a more casual reader, but if you are a book fan then I would recommend giving it a go.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Chateau de Nounours ~ Angel's Secret Winery by Alice and the Pirates

Today I am looking at Chateau de Nounours ~ Angel's Secret Winery by Alice and the Pirates. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, a blouse, 3 hair accessories and socks.

First is JSK I. The bodice seems quite well fitted and although the shape is quite simple, I think it works really well. The straps look a decent width and very supportive. There is a line of embroidered ribbon going along the inside of the straps and along the neckline. This ribbon is absolutely gorgeous and gives a slight 'folk' feel to the dress. There is an apron, which is obviously detachable if you are not a fan. I personally really like the apron though. It is a good length that doesn't obscure the border print and I think it has just the right level of cuteness to suit the style of the dress. The apron also features a line of the embroidered ribbon, which is a nice bit of continuity. There is a small solid coloured panel on the bodice, which is then topped with a ribbon corset. It is also lined with more of the embroidered ribbon on either side, which keeps the edges looking neat. I like that the panel gets more narrow towards the bottom, which is quite flattering. The ribbon is well spaced out, although I wish a slightly less shiny ribbon had been used. AatP have used some unusual ribbon colours, so perhaps they were harder to find in a matte finish. There is then a small bow on the neckline. I think this bow is a good size and shape. It adds a little bit of extra detail too, which stops the area from looking too plain. The back offers a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is very plump with volume and it flares outwards a fair bit. I absolutely love the full, rounded shape created for the stock photos and have high hopes for it. Aside from the apron, the skirt is simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem then features a lint of embroidered ribbon and a thin line of subtle lace. I think the level of detail here is spot on.

This is JSK II. The bodice looks fairly well fitted. Again, the bodice shape is quite simple, but I don't think it has quite the same 'wow' factor as JSK I, despite JSK II having more details on the bodice. The straps look like quite a supportive width and suit the style of bodice. These straps are lined very neatly with a pretty line of braid. The braid is really lovely, but I prefer the embroidered ribbon of JSK I! This braid is also used on the neckline along with a line of lace. The lace is of a good quality, but it doesn't look like anything particularly special. There is a waist bow, which I think is a bit too big. I also wonder if maybe the shape is a bit too sweet and cutesy? The edges of this bow are lined with a matte ribbon. Despite the bow being quite big, it seems to hold its shape really well. There are no obvious signs of drooping. However, it would have been nice to have the option to detach the waist bow. The bodice features a wide neckline ruffle which is lined with the same ribbon used on the waist bow. I don't think this ruffle has been particularly well gathered and it looks a bit flat. I also feel that if they are going to do a ruffle like this on the bodice, it would have been good to have a similar ruffle on the bottom hem to give the dress a bit of balance. At the base of both straps, we have some further bows. There is a matte bow featuring a bunch of fake grapes on one side, and 2 shiny ribbon bows on the other side. I like the bow with the grapes, but overall I can't help but feel that these bows look a bit unbalanced. The design just doesn't seem to 'gel' if that makes sense? I would have maybe not bothered with the 2 bows on the other side or would consider putting something else there. I am not sure what else you could replace those bows with though. The back is fully shirred, which means there is loads of size flexibility but also that the shirring is left exposed. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and it flares outwards plenty. It should hold plenty of petticoat. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed wonderfully. The bottom hem is then finished off with a line of the matte ribbon and a thin line of lace.

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

... and another. This series comes in ivory, wine (how apt...), navy and black. I think the 3 dark colours work really well. The navy works well with the purple colours in the print, as does the black with the dark red. I like that there is a lighter colour option. It looks completely different to the 3 darker colours! However, I think the ivory colour could have done with being a bit darker in tone and less white. As for the print, I think this is a really cool idea for a print, and I am not just saying that because I came up with a vineyard print idea for a design contest years ago! (I didn't complete it in time for the deadline unfortunately...). The brickwork arches and barrels do remind me of a vineyard I visited in France years ago. I like how the grapes effortlessly drape around the other print details. The grapes feature a decent amount of highlighting and shading as well, which makes them look more three dimensional. I can take or leave the bows that appear near the bottom of the print. I don't think they add much. The mice add a touch of cuteness, but it is just the right amount of cute for the print. There are a few things that confused me about this print though. What do the random angels have to do with anything in the print? I think they look a bit out of place. Although it did make me laugh to think of a bunch of angels getting drunk! I also thought the chandelier above the mice is a bit strange, as I assumed they were outside! Overall though, I think my misgivings with the print are quite minor. It is quite a fun and interesting print.

So I like that this series explores a theme which is not really seen that often in lolita (I think there has been wine themed prints before, but they are not common, especially not by the big Japanese brands). With regards to the dress designs, I think it is obvious I prefer one dress design over the other! The print is also packed with detail. I feel as though every time I look at it, I am finding new details I missed before. Would I buy this series? Possibly, yes. My top choice is JSK I in black. I would have picked the navy, but I am a sucker for that black and wine red colour combination. I think this could be a series which would be really fun to co-ordinate. There are so many different directions you could go in. I hope we see more of these kind of releases from Alice and the Pirates in the future.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Co-ordinating Difficult Colours

A thought occurred to me as I was discussing the recent Angelic Pretty print Peacefully Sleeping Toys. My thinking was that if I were to get this series, my top colour choice would have been the navy blue. That is not because the navy blue colour was necessarily my favourite, but because I found the idea of trying to make an outfit with the grey colour incredibly daunting. I have noticed that there are certain colours which over the years I have gone out of my way to avoid. This is partly because I already have loads of different colours in my wardrobe and don't want to add even more, but also because I think I would find them a challenge to add successfully to my wardrobe. Brown, for example, is a colour which has never really made it in to my wardrobe. Outside of chocolate prints, I don't think I would have much of a clue how to wear that colour. I know I am not the only one who struggles with these difficult colours that pop up from time to time. But colours such as grey are popping up more frequently as of late, and in a lot of instances it has become the most popular colour. The trouble is, a lot of the brands have not extended their wardrobe basics to this colour, which means finding stuff to go with our dresses is very hard! So I tried to come up with a few ideas on how to combat this issue. 

Firstly, it is not exactly very original, but where possible it is worth trying to get the matching set rather than just the dress. If you were to aim to get another item, such as the head bow, then at least it is almost guaranteed that you are going to have at least one item in your wardrobe which is the exact same colour. 

Another idea would be to focus on other main colours on the dress. Is there a particular colour which stands out? Sometimes I find you are able to build an outfit just by using this other colour. This doesn't tend to work as well if you have opted for a skirt rather than a dress, as there is less distribution of the main colour. Keeping your colours balanced is always a goal to aim for.

If that fails, then the next way to go is attempting to find accessories in the same colour, possibly from non-lolita brands. But when doing this, try to think about what accessories would be easiest to find in that colour. For example, you will probably have more success finding a hair accessory in many different colours compared to shoes, which can be a real pain to find in a particular shade. If an accessory from a non-lolita brand is the right shade, but not exactly very 'lolita' looking, is there a way you can customise it? I did a post recently on shoe customising which featured little clips you can add on. Simple things like that can turn a basic item in to something more cute and appropriate to the fashion.

Sadly, that was about as far as I got with ideas. So here is a random outfit I chucked together using the grey Peaceful Sleeping Toys OP! Just so you are aware, on my monitor the shoe colour looks similar to the print close up in the corner. If it looks like different shades to you, then I apologise! I was really trying hard to find matching grey shoes to try and challenge myself. I think the lesson here is to wait until you have the dress in person so you can clearly see what colour it is before attempting to add in accessories from non-lolita brands. However, the majority of this outfit is from brands. The only exception are the shoes and the bag, which I think is from DreamV (don't quote me on that...). 

But as frustrating as these different colours can be, I am actually really glad to see colours like grey become more common. I really do feel that Peaceful Sleeping Toys works the best in the grey version. Today I have just focused on grey, but try considering other difficult or rarely seen colours. Orange, non-lavender purples, olive green, teal and turquoise are colours which are not overly common, but they do pop up from time to time. How could you go about adding those to your wardrobe? Or would you be like me, and play it safe with a safer colour choice, even if it is not your favourite? I had fun creating this outfit, but whether I would be brave enough to actually buy a grey coloured dress remains to be seen!

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