Thursday, 29 June 2017

Haul May/June 2017- Oh Look, There is Some Lolita in There Edition

Today I bring you my latest haul and guess what? This one actually has some lolita in it! Although I couldn't resist a couple of Larme inspired and general J-fashion pieces, so they are included too. I also just got my latest Taobao order this morning, so there is a Taobao haul review coming soon.

The first of my recent purchases is the mook that Angelic Pretty recently released. I am going to be completely honest here- I got this purely for the bag. But I am pleased to report that the mook actually has some content to it, unlike previous mooks which were just like small leaflets (My Cinema Doll umbrella 'mook' was just a few pages). There is a Paris photoshoot featuring Risa Nakamura. I was especially impressed that all of the locations were listed. There is a hotel with incredible decor pictured in the mook which I am now keen to stay in! I ordered through Amazon Japan, which is really simple to do if you already have an account. The mook came shrink wrapped. I was a bit sad that the bar code sticker was placed slap bang in the middle of the mook (actually on the mook and not the shrink wrap) but thankfully it peeled off really easily without leaving a mark. Some of the pages of the mook were a little bent because of the way the bag had been inserted inside.

Here is the bag. It is so cute! As is the case with a lot of these cheap gifts in mooks, you should not expect the items to be up to the brand's usual standards. As you can see in the photo, this bag is very small! As a rough estimate, it is only about 15cm tall. But apart from the small size, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality. The materials are thick enough to rival my other AP bags. It feels pretty sturdy and I am also confident it will hold up in a typical rain shower. 

The depth of the bag is also very narrow. I found I was able to fit my phone inside with a smaller purse and some room for a few tissues as well. You might be able to cram some small make up bits like lip gloss in as well. So if you are the sort of person who carries a lot of stuff, then this bag is most definitely not for you. For small errands though, the bag could work out well. 

The clasp holding the bag shut is very good. I actually had trouble opening the bag at first! So I think it is quite secure. It has a long strap (not adjustable) which is long enough that most people will be able to comfortably wear this with the strap across their body. The stitching on the bag is pretty neat and I found no flaws anywhere. As you can see in the picture, the AP text is pretty crisp as well and has a nice font. So considering the price, I am really impressed with the bag. I wont be using it at any big lolita meets, but for casual everyday use it is ideal.

Next we go more Larme with this tulle skirt from H&M. It is a simple skirt with a tulle overlay and a ribbon-like waist. I really like the soft blush colour. It is the perfect shade. The skirt also has a good amount of length to it. I think the proportions of under-skirt and longer tulle skirt are spot on. 

Due to the type of material, it does raise a problem with what to do with the ends. Here H&M have decided to just leave the edge of the tulle as it is. I suppose there isn't a great deal they could have done to it without it affecting the soft, free-flowing feel of the skirt. At least the bottom has been cut relatively neatly. It does mean having to be a little bit careful when it comes to washing the skirt though. 

H&M has notoriously dodgy sizing, so I made sure to try the skirt on in store. I tried on my regular clothing size and found that the skirt did fit me correctly. However, if you are considering buying this skirt, or anything else from H&M, then still go and try it on! I found the zip was a little bit stiff, but it has gotten better after undoing the zip a couple of times. Maybe it has loosened up a bit now. It doesn't go all the way to the very top though. If I was being a bit nit-picky then that may have bothered me. I really love the ribbon style waistband. It fits in with the style of the rest of the skirt. Simple, yet effective. I will be keeping an eye on H&M for future Larme style purchases, but will be proceeding with caution.

Next is this bag that I got from DreamV. I had intended to order more stuff with this bag, but I have always been a bit sceptical of DreamV's quality. Some items turn out great, whereas others have the odd flaw or a general 'cheap' feeling. Not wanting to push my luck (I was going to get the bag in pink as well but decided to wait and see how the purple one turned out) I just stuck to the one bag. The purple colour turned out to be lovely. It is a nice, cool lavender shade. I'm not too worried about matching it to anything in my lolita wardrobe, as I loved the bag design anyway and just wanted it for everyday use.

There was a very small bit of damage where the colour had rubbed off a bit. I tried to point it out using my finger in the photograph, but it was very small. You may also have noticed that there is an obvious open end around the edge of the bag, where the white is. I was a bit annoyed that this hadn't been done a bit neater. I ended up painting the damage with some matching nail polish I had to hand.

Aside from that oversight on the front, the rest of the stitching had been done very neatly. I really like the gold heart shaped zip pull too. 

I love how the clear window has glitter in it! The Lovehearts style message is cute too. I am not really in to Ita Bags, but I suppose if you wanted a low-key Ita Bag then this bag could be an interesting option. I think what surprised me the most about this bag was that it didn't have that unpleasant strong plastic smell that you find with a lot of cheaply made bags.

The strap length was very easy to adjust. The length of the strap is reasonably generous too.

The bag has a decent amount of room inside. It certainly will hold the same amount as your typical lolita bag, maybe slightly more. Now that I have painted over the flaws, I am really pleased with my bag. It has put me off going and buying the same bag in pink though. I am just not sure it is really worth me getting it in another colour. Maybe I would consider it if I was placing a DreamV order anyway and the price of the bag dropped.

Finally, I have a new lolita skirt and it is one I am super excited about! I missed the reservation for this Le Miroir print last year by mere hours and have been hopelessly searching for it ever since. Well finally I managed to get the skirt in my top colour choice. I would have preferred the JSK, but I was so desperate for these cute birdies that I was happy to settle for the skirt. If anybody sees the dress for sale though, I may still be interested. 

The print is lovely and crisp. I really love the bold colours. These bright lovebirds are my favourite birds in the print! I am loving the dusky pink too, which I think is a good fit for the print instead of something more sugary pastel.

It has this gorgeous lace on the bottom hem. Considering this is a Taobao brand, I am very impressed with the lace quality. It even has the LM initials for the brand in it, so Le Miroir obviously went to some effort with their lace. The bow design may not be as original as some of AP's custom laces, but it is still pretty decent.

The stitching was generally very neat with the only exception being a lot of loose threads around the buttons. This did make undoing the buttons a bit harder, but I have cut some of the worst threads off now and it hasn't done the skirt any harm. The back of the skirt waistband is shirred. I was worried that the skirt would be too big for me, but the elastic is quite strong, so it hugged my waist okay. In fact, I would recommend being more than a few cm under the suggested measurement because although it will stretch to the given measurement, it might be uncomfortable. My waistline is 7cm under the given garment waist measurement and I found the skirt fitted me well. The one thing I find a little annoying about the skirt design is how the waist ties attach to the skirt. The waist ties do not have their own designated buttons, so the waist ties attach using the same buttons which you use to do up the skirt. So to take the skirt off, you need to take the waist ties off first. It is only a small criticism, I guess. I don't think I will be using the waist ties anyway, so it wont affect me. I was really pleased that my waist ties have the print on both sides. They even managed to fit a bird on to the ends of both ties. The buttons have a pretty pearl design as well.

I was very pleased to see that the skirt came with a lining. Although the printed fabric is opaque, I always feel that having a proper lining is a sign of more quality.

I also got the matching hair clip. The bird cage actually has a mini bird charm inside it! I thought that was pretty cool. The back has a simple alligator clip. An additional badge clip would have made it more versatile (if you wanted to use it as a brooch, for example) but for a hair accessory the simple clip is fine.

Here is a worn photo I took just quickly chucking the skirt on. It holds a fair bit of petticoat and only ends a tiny bit above my knees. It is no worse than some of my shorter AP pieces. The skirt materials felt nice and soft. Overall I found it very comfortable. I am very happy to be able to take another item off my shrinking lolita wishlist!

So this has been a very positive haul, although I have tried to be careful, which may have contributed to my happy vibe. In case you haven't guessed, the bird print skirt is my favourite item from this haul! I was devastated when I missed the reserve, so to get the skirt a year later has been a lovely start to my Summer. I am loving my new bags as well. The quirky designs are going to be fun to wear. And I will have a Taobao haul post on here very soon, so be prepared for more new purchases!

Monday, 26 June 2017

Sweet Bakery by Angelic Pretty

Today I am looking at Sweet Bakery by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, a mini skirt, a head bow and socks. There are also several complimenting items which have been released at the same time.

First is the OP. Here we see yet another sack dress, so there isn't really a defined bodice to this dress. The sleeves seem a decent looking length. The cuffs are finished off neatly with a line of cute lace. I like that they have been kept quite simple. The ''bodice'' is taken up by a massive bib and a collar. These details are far too big. Not only does it make the shoulder area look wide, but I also think this exaggerated bib with this shape of dress (and please don't hate me for saying this) looks a bit... childish. If both the bib and collar had been a bit smaller, it would be pretty decent looking. The bib has some really neat pleats and some neatly spaced out buttons, which have a lovely design. There is also some good quality polka dot lace lining both the bib and the collar, which sits neatly on the dress. These are finished off with a small bow at the base of the bib and a larger bow on the collar. Although the ribbon used is shiny, I like the stripy ribbon choice. I also think these bows are a decent shape and size. The stripy bow is detachable, but I think I would leave it on, as it is a lovely finishing touch to the collar. If it was me, I would have just had the collar and not bothered with the bib at all. I personally think that if the collar was a little smaller, it would have worked really well on the dress just on its own. The back offers no shirring, which given the lack of bodice is not that surprising. The stock photos show that the skirt has a lot of volume. Hopefully there is enough room for the wearer to create a shape they like, but as readers probably know, I am not a fan of sack dresses and I think they only suit a select few. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed wonderfully. The bottom hem is then finished off with a tidy line of AP logo themed lace.

This is the JSK. Unfortunately this dress is also quite shapeless, although the JSK has a bit more of a 'bodice' than the OP. What there is of a bodice seems well fitted, although I don't think this dress cut is going to suit somebody with a larger bust. The straps are an okay width. They have been loosely gathered, giving them a ruffly appearance, and then lined with lace on the outsides. I actually think these strap details look really cute. The bodice features a solid coloured panel which takes up all of the front of the bodice. It has been broken up with some pleats and lace, which stops it from looking too flat and plain. There are also 2 buttons in the middle, just beneath the bow. The bow is again shiny, but a decent size and nice enough shape. This bow is detachable, but I would leave it on. I was initially a bit skeptical of the solid coloured bodice, but I think it matches the line of white that appears at the bottom of the print quite well. The thing that I dislike about the bodice is the way that lace has been used to line the neckline and waistline. I think it sticks out weirdly and makes the area look too fussy. If the lace was reined in a bit, I think it could have been a bit better. As this is another sack style dress, there is again no dedicated shirring. The stock photos show that the skirt seems to have a lot of volume and it flares out quite a bit. I still think it is going to be difficult to create a cute shape with such a lifeless looking sack, but feel free to prove me wrong! The skirt is again kept simple, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of the AP logo lace.

Finally, here is the print. This series comes in ivory, pink, sax blue and black. Some of the colour choices were a bit of a surprise to me. They chose sax blue and black over mint and brown, which I think would have been more obvious choices. But sometimes it pays to try something a little different. I haven't been a fan of patisserie style prints on sax blue before but in this instance, I actually think the sax blue is the best colourway. I personally find the sax blue quite striking. As for the print itself, it is very neatly set out. It sort of has a slight otome/ETC vibe to it. The pastries are drawn so well. They look very inviting and there is a good selection of different styles of pastries. But despite the difference between the pastries, they all have similar strawberry themes. So the pastries really compliment each other, but at the same time look different enough from each other to keep the print looking interesting. However, this print does have a similar look to previous AP bakery themed prints and it looks strikingly similar to a Taobao print that was released last year (I forgot the name of the brand and print though). If I am being completely honest, if I didn't know this was an Angelic Pretty series I would have assumed it was Taobao. 

So overall, the print is lovely but not overly original. I am also disappointed that both dress cuts look so shapeless. If AP insist on doing these sack-like cuts, it would have been nice to have at least one dress cut which offers something a bit different. The skirt is too short for anything other than casual wear too. So this series is a big no-no to me. If I absolutely had to pick a dress, it would be the JSK in sax blue. But to be honest, I would rather wear the skirt. I think there are similar AP series which I would prioritise over this series. This series was featured in the recent lookbook AP put out, and I was equally underwhelmed by it there. Such a shame.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Our Kawaii Tokyo

I hope this post is okay! I am currently away from home and I haven't been able to put as much time in to my blog lately. I am hoping to get some quality blogging time a some point soon. There are lots of posts I have planned, but it is finding the time to sit down and actually write them!

Our Kawaii Tokyo is a project by Kaila, Ashley and Allie. It is basically an e-book with guides to popular areas in Tokyo and all the cute things you can do there. For quite a few years now, I have been following Kaila, who runs and her story about moving to Japan and all of her adventures there. As somebody who is unlikely to ever go to Japan myself (I have a really bad fear of flying which resulted in an incident which delayed take-off when I was a toddler. Even with sedatives, I think 12 hours is a bit much...) I find myself having to live vicariously through other traveller's blogs and photos. I especially love the level of detail Kaila goes in to when photographing everyday life, catching even the small little details you may otherwise miss. 

So when I heard they were doing an e-book called Our Kawaii Tokyo, I was curious to see how it turned out. I should point out that obviously I mainly got this for the photography, but I wanted to have a look and see what they had to offer for travellers.

I don't wish to put up too many photos, as I feel that people should support the e-book by buying it. I placed my order through the Rainbowholic store (you can find it on via the link I posted above) and checkout was super easy. I was able to download my e-book very quickly. The book is 60-something pages long and it is mostly photographs. However, there is advice on how best to enjoy the popular areas of Tokyo. I personally wouldn't have known to go to the tourist bureau by Takeshita Dori for a free map and advice in several languages. On the whole though, if you are more than a casual fan of Tokyo, chances are you will already know about most of the places recommended. There was some helpful information, but overall this is quite basic knowledge. Near the back there was some basic level Japanese phrases which will be very useful for any travellers who don't know Japanese.

I think a lot of where this book succeeds is with the presentation. The photos are of a good quality and it really shows off Tokyo in a good light. It really does make you want to go and visit the places in the pictures. The text that is there is very easy to read in small bite-size chunks. What I really like is that it is divided in to sections on different areas and at the end of each section you get a handy checklist of all the places that get shown in the photographs. Rather than being like a stuffy tourist guide, it is more like a scrapbook, but it is a very well organised scrapbook. A lot of thought has gone in to the layout.

To be honest, this e-book was probably a little bit expensive for what you get. This book only covers Harajuku, Shibuya and Shinjuku (I believe further guides are planned). But it is a really fantastic visual experience. You can really tell that this is a labor of love and the author's passion for all things kawaii really comes through. If you are planning a Tokyo trip, you are probably going to need a much more extensive guide, but if you like looking at pretty photos there is a lot here to gawp at. I don't think I will be buying any future guides, but I did enjoy looking at this book. If you are looking for ideas of things to do in Japan though, it would be worth checking out various Youtube channels (there are loads out there dedicated to all things Japan). I am really content to just continue reading Kaila's amazing blog.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Print Double

I am looking at 2 series today. Scroll down further for AP's Fancy Whip.

First today I am looking at Kitten's Sweet Cherries Cafe Diner by Baby the Stars Shine Bright. This series includes 3 dresses, a blouse, an apron, 3 hair accessories, socks, wrist cuffs, several items of jewelry and an outfit for Usakumya.

First is the Ribbon JSK. The bodice seems well fitted and the shape is interesting. I don't like how there are 2 sets of straps though. It feels so unnecessary and makes the area look crowded. The outer set of straps are lined with lace on the outsides. Given how bulky the 2 sets of straps are already, perhaps some thinner lines of lace would have been better. The waist area features a stripy belt, which is further topped with a bow made of different stripy fabric. I feel the belt looks really messy. It is a bit too slouchy and also looks bulky when paired with the bow. It doesn't help that you can see a join line where bits of the belt have been sewn together. This stands out quite a bit because of how the stripes around this part are distorted. The bow is also quite big. I especially hate the area with the long bow ties and the ends of the belt. It is too crowded and OTT. The bodice is broken up with several lines of lace, creating a nice paneled look. I like the use of thin, colourful lace here, as it really stands out. There is an additional line of lace going across the chest, which is pretty, but I am not sure it is needed. The bodice also has a ribbon corset. The ribbon is well spaced out and although the ribbon used is a bit shiny, it appears to be of a good quality. There are also 2 ribbon bows at the bases of the straps, which are a cute shape but a bit big. I personally feel these strap bows would look better if there was less clutter around the waist area. The back features a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt has a fair bit of volume to it. I think there is a lot of potential to create a lovely sweet shape. The skirt is thankfully kept simple in design, so the print is displayed wonderfully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with the same colourful trim that is on the bodice and a line of good quality lace.

Here we have the Frill JSK. The bodice looks really well fitted. I think the bodice shape is a bit boring, but the details on the bodice help to liven it up quite a bit. The straps seem to be a decent width and very supportive. These straps are topped with layered ruffles, which continue down to the waistline. I really love the way the ruffles taper out as they reach the waistline. The ruffle shape is very pretty and the multiple layers create added texture, which looks really cute. My only complaint is the use of ric-rac trim on the ruffles. This trim generally tends to look a bit cheap and tacky, although thankfully in this instance it is not overly obvious. There are 2 ribbon bows on the waistline which are placed where the ruffles finish. I think this placement of the bows makes sense and the sizing of the bows is spot on as well. The ribbon is still a bit shiny though. There is a line of lace going along the neckline, which is nicely gathered for a fluffier appearance. It seems to be good quality lace as well. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset again. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and flares outwards a lot. Judging by the worn photos, the skirt shape looks very promising. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. Unfortunately, I really hate the bottom hem! It features 2 over-stitched ruffles, where under-stitched ruffles would have probably looked better. But what really puts me off the bottom is the ric-rac trim making another appearance and this time it is more prominent. I hate it so much! I think it really cheapens the dress design. The bottom hem also features some ribbon bows, which compliment the waist bows. 

This is the OP. The bodice looks reasonably well fitted, but I dislike the bodice shape. It looks really frumpy, especially the sleeve shape. I think the shoulder area looks really wide and the sleeves are too long. The sleeves could also do with being a bit puffy, as they look really flat and lifeless. I feel something a bit more special could have been done to finish off the cuffs as well. There is a waist bow, which is sadly massive. I also don't think it has been shaped that well and sits poorly on the dress. Thankfully, this waist bow is detachable, and I would definitely remove it. The bodice has a small V shaped panel and a large collar. I do think the collar is too big and I dislike the use of ric-rac on it. The collar does make use of the stripy part of the print though, which is quite interesting. The V shaped panel is made of lacy fabric and topped with some small ribbon bows. There is also a larger ribbon bow finishing off the collar. I don't really like this panel, as it looks weirdly under-sized in comparison to all the other big bodice details. I don't think I would have bothered with this panel at all. It only adds more clutter to an already OTT design. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. I do love how the collar looks from the back view though. It is square shaped and I think it is cute! The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and flares outwards loads. It should hold plenty of petticoat. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with a ruffle layered over a line of lace. Although the ric-rac is present, it is used very subtly. The main colourful line you can see in the picture on the bottom part is not actually ric-rac. It is just a straight line of ribbon. If only they had done this on the Frill JSK as well! 

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

... and another part. This series comes in off-white, pink, yellow and sax blue. I think the colours mostly work well. The sax blue offers something a bit more quirky with its use of red. There isn't a great deal of difference between the off-white and yellow, apart from the off-white featuring red and the yellow featuring lots of green. I personally don't like the yellow as much as the other 3 colours. As for the print, it is really bold with a very whimsical design. I love trying to spot all of the cats in the cafe themed print. I am quite impressed with how the print features cats, but they are not overly dominant. And as far as I'm concerned, the sign saying to eat more ice cream is some pretty good advice! I love how the windows are filled with various pots and kitchenware. It helps to break up the more sparse areas of the print. The umbrellas also help to break up the more plain brickwork parts as well. The stripy canopy is also very striking. I think the use of stripes elsewhere on the dress designs is a bit hit and miss, but in the print the canopy looks really pretty.

So overall, this is a really lovely print. However, I feel the dress designs let the print down. The dresses look very cluttered in places and I hate the use of cheap ric-rac trim. It is especially jarring teamed with a very OTT print. So sadly this is not a series I would buy. My top choice would be the Frill JSK in sax blue. I think it is a shame, as this series could of had a lot of potential.

Today I am also looking at Fancy Whip by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, a blouse, socks and a head bow.

First is the OP. The bodice seems well fitted and the overall bodice shape is really cute. It is a bit 'young' for my personal tastes though. The sleeves are a nice length and suitably puffy. They have also been kept quite simple, just finished off with a thin line of lace, which I think works well. The bodice features a solid coloured yoke and collar. These details are lined with some really adorable heart themed lace around the yoke and bunny themed lace on the collar. Although the bunny lace is really pretty, I don't think it suits being used on the collar like this. It is quite bulky and I personally feel it would have looked better if the collar had the heart lace as well. I am also dismayed to see rick-rack trim on both the yoke and the collar. It looks so cheap, as if the dress has been invaded by some kid's craft project. I think the bodice would look a whole lot better without the rick-rack. Whilst I appreciate it is there to mimic the appearance of piped frosting and it fits the theme, I still don't like it being there at all. The lace and heart shaped buttons on the yoke are lovely though. I am also impressed with the pearls decorating the collar. They remind me of those little edible ball cake decorations you can get. The bodice is finished with 2 bows, one at the bottom of the yoke and another stripy bow finishing off the collar. These bows are of a reasonable size and are well shaped. They sit well on the dress too. The collar bow is detachable, but I think I would leave it attached. In fact, I would have preferred it if the waist bow was the bow which was detachable. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. I am also disappointed that the print doesn't line up that well along the zip line. The stock photos show that the skirt has a fair amount of volume and it flares outwards well. I think it has the potential to look really cute. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed wonderfully. The bottom hem is then finished off with a line of rick-rack (urgh...) and a line of the bunny lace. The bunny lace works so much better here on the bottom hem.

This is the JSK. The bodice seems fairly well fitted but I am a bit underwhelmed by the bodice shape. I think it looks a bit dull. The straps are a decent width and quite supportive. They are lined neatly with the bunny lace on the outside. I like that this lace has been tapered, giving it a better shape. Unfortunately the straps also feature some rick-rack, but thankfully it is not overly obvious here. There is a waist bow, which I think is a good size. The shape is pretty cute too and it is lined really neatly with thin lace. The bodice features several lines of lace and a criss-crossed ribbon pattern in the middle. Sadly the ribbon used is quite shiny, but it is well spaced out. I think the bows spoil the ribbon part though. There are 2 small bows among the crossed ribbon and then a massive bow sitting on the neckline. I feel this makes the bodice look too cluttered. I would get rid of the small bows and replace the neckline bow with a much smaller bow. I do like the choices of lace though and think they look very pretty. Sadly the neckline features more rick-rack, but also has some nice lace. In its defense, it does match up with the details elsewhere on the bodice. At least on the JSK the rick-rack is a bit more subtle. The back is fully shirred, which means lots of size flexibility, but also that the unattractive shirring is left very exposed. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and flares outwards a lot. I really like the shape created for the stock photos and think the skirt has a lot of potential. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off the same way with the rick-rack and bunny lace.

Here we can see a bit of the print. As we can see, this series comes in yellow, pink, mint and black. These colour choices remind me of AP releases from around 2011, although the mint is a bit darker now. I find the pink version a bit overwhelming. It is very sugary sweet! I like the other 3 colours though. As for the print, it also has that 2011 AP era feel to it. Lyrical Bunny and Shy Bear are looking as adorable as ever. I am very excited to see a new cat character introduced. I think the cat fits right in with the other critters in the print. Hopefully we will see more of the cat in the future. The print is very neatly set out and I love the lines of piped icing. However, if I am being honest I find the overall print a bit dull. The way the print is laid out feels a bit 'safe' and it would have been nice to have the animals doing something other than just sitting there. I know they are holding things, but they look very still. Some of the ways that the space between the animals has been filled feels a bit lazy as well. But it is quite reminiscent of AP prints from a couple of years ago and I expect this print will have its fair share of fans because of that.

Maybe it is because I find the series too cutesy for my tastes to want to wear it, but I wasn't overly wowed by this offering. The use of rick-rack throughout the series doesn't help. Although the print is very cute, I don't think it is that original and it could have been a lot better. So I think it is safe to say I wouldn't get this series. If I did, my top choice would be the JSK in mint. For some reason I find that dark mint colour very appealing. 

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Recent Outfits- Spring and Early Summer 2017 Edition

I am back with some more of my recent outfits today. I was wearing a couple of pieces one more time before selling them and other outfits were just about dressing up and having a bit of fun. Recently I have been increasingly feeling the need to de-clutter and down-size, which is why I have suddenly been selling more stuff. Also, I need to make room for the new stuff I am buying! I have a new lolita skirt coming soon, which I am very excited about. So it is very much a case of out with the old and in with the new. Do you have anything coming in the mail? I always get a sense of anxiety where I pray my stuff will arrive safely and hopefully not get hit by customs charges. But when it arrives, the rush of excitement makes up for that! So, on to my recent outfits...

First is this Candy Star Rabbit outfit. I have to admit, I don't regret selling this skirt at all. I fell out of love with the print. The skirt is a very difficult shade of blue as well, which means I always ended up pairing it with my AP Shooting Star necklace and some felt star clips I made. But I decided to give the skirt one last outing before selling it. For some reason my buns went a little floppy. I think that makes them look a little bit like puppy ears! It was not intentional! I didn't go too OTT this time because with the odd exception, I have been favouring less 'showy' outfits as of late. I have worn this skirt with both red and pink. This time I went back to pairing it with red. When I was looking up inspiration, I found myself quite drawn to this outfit that used red in it. It is strange, but I sort of feel this skirt looks better with red than pink, even though there is very minimal red on the skirt. Maybe it is because red is quite a bold colour and it fits with the bright blue? 

An accessory close up. I tried to put a little bit of effort in to which rings I wore and wrist wear as well. The good thing is, there are so many different colours in the skirt that choosing jewellery to match is pretty easy. Those little bursts of colour are bound to match the skirt somewhere!

Next I decided to finally wear Milky Swan. I got it last year and have been waiting for an appropriate time to wear it. This was another casual affair (if you can call the Milky Swan JSK casual...) because if you haven't gathered from the photo, it was very sunny! I had to keep ducking and diving in to shot whenever the sun went in enough and after all that effort, this was the best shot, which is still a bit washed out! I wore this for a little outing. As it was going to be hot, I went for light layers. I thought the Glass Doll cutsew worked quite well with the pink colour of my tea parties. Despite being a difficult shade of lavender and a bit short in length, I really love this dress. I was really glad that the Primark socks I brought on a whim turned out to be the right shade to match! Although you can't see them, I am wearing white polka dot tights as well. I thought it would be a good idea to acknowledge the small bits of white on the dress. I am looking forward to doing something a bit more extravagant with this dress in the future.

This next one is a bit of a sad tale. I really love Meta's Magical Moonlight but unfortunately I decided now was the time to part with it. It didn't fit me correctly before, but then I went and lost some weight and it fitted me even worse. There was just no point me keeping it. I don't like the other dress cuts as much as this one. I had a lot of plans for this dress which I never got to fulfill. It is the interesting bottom hemline which first drew me to this dress and I intended to use my red under-skirt with it. But the blouse that went colour-wise was not ideal, as it was chiffon and because of where this dress sits, chiffon blouses are a big no-no. I did try it out with a camisole underneath to protect my modesty but it just didn't look right. But there was no way I was buying a new non see-through red blouse just for one outfit. Feeling a little defeated, I paired the dress with my Ciciworks witch hat (which has the most ridiculous hat to veil ratio ever) and the moon themed bag I got from Swimmer recently (I really need to re-arrange my wardrobe because the bag got a bit squished in storage). On the subject of Swimmer, I just heard the news that they are closing. I am really devastated about this. They had some really cute accessories and there was a time when their biscuit bags were everywhere. It is a shame, because they are closing down because of rising production costs and not being able to maintain their low prices. To be honest, I found their prices cheap to begin with and would have been happy to pay a little more for their stuff.

Finally, another hot weather outfit! For the first time ever, I wore an outfit without a blouse. I was wearing a chiffon bolero though. Not that I personally find exposed shoulders especially scandalous! This is a really comfortable dress to wear in hot weather. The jellyfish print reminds me of Summer too. I had a more elaborate hair style and hair accessory planned for this outfit, but my hair was refusing to behave in the humid weather. Sigh. In the end I threw on my navy bowler hat and called it quits. Considering that this hat is my most worn hair accessory, it has actually been a really long time since I had last worn it. It is good to have 'old reliable' favourites, but it has also been fun to try out different things. I do want to get more adventurous with my hair, because whenever I curl it the curls fall out really quickly, especially in humid weather. As this was quite a busy day for me, my curls fell out super quick. But it is good to know my trusty hat is always available during these hair emergencies!

So I believe that is me all caught up with my outfit round-up for the moment. I am not intending to sell any more dresses or skirts for the moment, so after this post I will probably be wearing things more for fun and not because I wanted to give pieces one last outing. I am genuinely devastated about saying goodbye to Magical Moonlight (or Satan Summoning as I and a few others nicknamed it) but sometimes you just have to accept that a dress just doesn't work for your body shape. Despite a few hints of sadness, I have been feeling a lot more positive lately and I did enjoy dressing up in these outfits. I have been having quite a lot of non-lolita adventures recently, but I still love the fashion as much as ever and I hope to have more outfits to share with you all soon. It might not be for a while though, as it has gotten really hot here recently and it has been making me feel less enthusiastic about dressing up. I think I need to put on some of my lighter pieces and get myself back out there! I don't envy all of the people who live in countries which get hotter than here. How do you handle it? Feel free to share some of your thoughts and ideas. Fingers crossed I will get over this 'slump' soon.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Cherry Berry Song by Metamorphose

Today I am looking at Cherry Berry Song by Metamorphose. This series includes 3 dresses, 3 hair accessories, wrist cuffs, a straw tote and socks.

First is the Bustle Dress. The bodice material looks a bit baggy and not that well fitted. I think the bodice shape is simple, but cute though. The straps look a supportive width. They are lined neatly with thin lace on the insides and a ruffle on the outsides. I think the ruffle is well shaped and gathered, creating a very sweet appearance. The straps also feature criss-crossed ribbon, which is maybe a bit too OTT. There is a ruffle of polka dot tulle going along the waistline. Not only do I think this detail has an odd appearance (it is almost gathered a bit too much) but I also feel it makes the waist area look bulky. It is not very flattering. The bodice features some thin lines of lace, with 3 bows and a fancier bow on the neckline. The lower bows are quite well spaced out, but the neckline bow has long tails which hang awkwardly. This gives the bodice a slightly crowded, messy appearance. It doesn't help that there are an additional pair of bows at the bases of the straps. The ribbon used for the bow is a bit shiny and the shape of the bows is a bit basic. I also don't like how the bodice bows appear to have buttons decorating their middles. The buttons chosen are very plain shirt buttons, which look very cheap. I do like the more intricate neckline bow, or at least I may have done if all of the bow positions had been better planned. It is part shiny ribbon, but also part stripy ribbon. I like the stripy part and the fake daisy decorating the centre. The neckline is decorated with a wide line of tulle, which matches the waistline. Overall, I think the bodice is too crowded and fussy. It doesn't help as well that the lines of ribbon in the print don't line up that great with the bodice bows. The back is fully shirred, which means plenty of stretch, but also that the shirring is exposed. The stock photos show that the skirt is generous in volume and flares out well. I like how the model worn photos show that the skirt can go really big. The skirt is generally kept simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently from the front. As the dress name suggests, there is a bustle, which is on the back of the skirt. This bustle is a good shape and the tiers are well spaced out. It does appear to have a lot of volume to it though, which makes it stick backwards an awful lot. This maybe isn't the dress to go for if you are self-conscious about the size of your bottom half. The bottom hem is finished off neatly with a ruffle of polka dot tulle. At least these details have been pretty consistent throughout.

Here we have the Ribbon Dress. The bodice shape is a bit simple, but it appears very well fitted. The straps look a supportive width, although I personally think they look a little too wide. They are lined very neatly with some ruffles though, which has an interesting looking texture. There is a waist bow, which I think is a suitable size for the dress. The bow has a pretty, well-defined shape to it. It sits well on the dress with no signs of drooping. There is also a strawberry charm dangling from this bow, which looks really adorable. This waist bow is detachable, but I really like the bow and would leave it attached. The waist features a 'belt' lined with ribbon when the bow is detached. I think this detail looks too plain when the bow is detached. The bodice has some lines of lace, which help to break up the bodice and give it a paneled look. There are some ribbon bows on the bodice, which unfortunately look poorly shaped and cheap. I feel they could have looked better if they were smaller. The size emphasizes how poorly the simple bows have been shaped. This dress also features bows at the bases of the straps. I feel this detail works a lot better on this dress, because the bodice is not overloaded with bows. These bows are decorated with fake daisies, which look pretty. Every single bow on the dress is detachable, but the dress looks far too empty and basic with every bow removed. If it was me, I would consider removing the 2 ribbon bows, but I would keep all the other bows. The back is fully shirred again, which means lots of size flexibility, but also that the unattractive shirring is exposed. I think it would have been nice to have at least one dress which is just quarter shirred, with a ribbon corset to help conceal the shirring. The stock photos show that the skirt volume is pretty decent and it flares outwards plenty. I think the skirt shape looks very cute in the model worn photos. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of cute looking lace.

This is the A-line Dress. Alas, it is a shapeless sack. Even Misako Aoki struggles to make the dress shape look good (sorry Misako). It is frumpy, and there is almost no bodice at all. I also think the sleeves look quite limp and shapeless. Some lace would have been nice for the sleeves as well. They are fully elasticated and there is nothing decorating the sleeves, which is not the cutest of designs. There is a collar with a bow and a modesty panel. The collar shape is quite nice and it is almost sailor-like in appearance. I like the lace decoration on the collar. The double-layered bow looks cute too. Even though the ribbon used is shiny and a bit cheap looking, I think the overall bow design is quite bold. This bow should sit quite well on the wearer, provided they don't have a large chest. There is a sweet cherry charm dangling from this bow as well, which is a wonderful finishing touch. I wouldn't have bothered with the modesty panel though. It seem to me that the neckline wouldn't be too low without the modesty panel there. If it wasn't there, I think the collar could have created a lovely neckline shape. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. It seems this series swings from one extreme to the other with size flexibility. The stock photos show that the skirt seems to have enough volume, but I feel it would be difficult to create a flattering, cute shape with this skirt. At least it should hold a bit of petticoat, so there is room to experiment with the skirt shape. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed wonderfully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of pretty lace. I thought the lace looked a bit shiny in the stock photos, but I am hoping that is just the way it was photographed.

Finally, here we have one picture of the print...

... and another. I will edit with better pictures if they become available soon. This series comes in custard (ivory), blueberry (navy) and grape (purple). I really love all 3 colours and I think they all offer something a little bit different to each other. The blueberry colour is gorgeous, and I like how the grape offers something a little more unusual. The custard offers a slightly safer option, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. As for the print itself, I think it looks adorable. Considering how many berry prints (especially strawberry prints) get released every single year, it is unusual how the sweet lolita prints rarely feature straw baskets. I really like the baskets in this print. It also offers somewhere for the cute birds to perch. Some of the other birds in the print are sort of standing still and don't look as natural. I like to see my cute birdies frolicking and playing! Considering the print name, it is a bit surprising that strawberries seem to be the main fruit! Although there are a few cherries hiding in the print. I personally think the strawberries look a bit flat. They need a bit more definition. The result is that the berries look really unrealistic. So I think my overall impression is that some parts of the print really work, but other parts need improvement.

Out of all the berry prints released this season, this one probably is not one of the strongest designs in my opinion. The print had potential, but it could have been a lot better. I also feel that some of the dress designs need improvement as well. Sadly, I don't think this is a series I would go for. My top choice would be the Ribbon Dress in Grape. I think that particular dress and colour looks amazing. It is just a shame that the print doesn't live up to my expectations.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Harassment in Lolita

EDIT- So I wrote this post before the recent terrorist attacks, both here in the UK and other parts of the world. I suppose I just wanted to add a quick little note to say that although these attacks can be scary and devastating, I really hope that we can all continue to go about our lives as normally as possible. Don't let terror win. I guess I just wanted to acknowledge recent events and my heart goes out to all the victims.

I have seen a very worrying trend in my social media feed as of late and sadly, it is one I am all too familiar with. Stories of friends getting 'hit on', harassed and sometimes even attacked. This is not just about lolita fashion, although I think it is fair to say that wearing the fashion can draw a lot of attention from the general public- whether it is wanted or not. There are so many stories I could tell you about things I have experienced (mostly whilst wearing lolita) but I would be here all day. I think over the years I have heard it all and nothing really surprises me anymore. Sometimes it can be a very positive experience. Seeing a little kid getting excited about seeing a 'real life princess' can be super adorable! But sadly, it also goes the other way an awful lot. I have had drunks flirt with me, I have been grabbed by the wrist by a complete stranger, had a druggie confront me. It can be very difficult to just shake it off and forget about it, even if most of it is 'harmless'. I wont go in to detail, but there was an incident that happened during my childhood which is still affecting me today. One day I was cooking a meal when suddenly I remembered something negative which happened to me during a lolita meet. I ended up hyperventilating on the kitchen floor. But there is a part of me which simply refuses to stop wearing lolita, in spite of the negative moments. In an ideal world, we would be able to wear whatever we wanted without having to worry about reactions from other people. We should wear the clothing we love, but should also feel safe. I refuse to let them win. So I feel that as lolitas, we should acknowledge that actually, what we are doing is quite brave and inspiring in its own way. I remember as a new lolita being a bit terrified about wearing the fashion outside the house and it took me a bit of time. Now I wear my frills with pride!

But sometimes it doesn't hurt to be prepared. If you feel reassured that you are safe, I think you are more likely to enjoy yourselves when wearing lolita in public. Here is hoping that these hints are never needed, but do keep them in mind. A lot of these points will seem like common sense, but it is vital to emphasise these points. I tried to make some lolita-specific points as well. If you can think of any ideas to add, then please comment. Your input could make a huge difference.

Just a quick note- some of these are just general comments about dealing with the general public, whereas others are about being prepared for the more serious.

Block out the cat-calling with props- If you struggle with comments being shouted at you, sometimes the only thing you can do is ignore them, especially if it is a less serious comment. Sometimes it is hard to come up with a witty comeback and if you misread the situation, you can end up making things worse. I tend to use 'props' such as fiddling with my phone, sticking my headphones in (regardless of whether I am actually listening to music or not) or making an effort to make eye-contact with just the person I am walking with.

Attach a bell to your bag- Some bag charms come with bits and pieces which jingle when tampered with. The good thing is, there are loads which will fit in with a cute aesthetic! If somebody is getting a bit too close for comfort to your belongings, hopefully you will get some warning. Another suggestion would be to wear bag straps across your body.

Make use of concealed pockets- Another reason why Angelic Pretty is one of my favourite brands! Not only are the pockets useful, they are also not too visible. So sometimes I will put some essentials in there, just to keep them safe. Always remember to take them out before you wash your clothes though! An interesting idea I came across recently is to hide a small bit of money inside a sanitary pad napkin (hopefully nobody would go out of their way to touch that...).

Learn basic self defense techniques- I never thought I would ever need to use these in lolita, but I admit that when a stranger grabbed my wrist and clenched my wrist tightly, I completely froze. It made me realise just how open I had left myself. Knowing how to get out of that hold could have been very useful. Thankfully the guy let me go after a few seconds but I was still left shaken. I would never wish that sort of incident on anybody.

Take off some accessories in 'rougher' areas- Sometimes areas of your town, whether justified or not, gain a bit of notoriety for being dangerous. It is usually best to avoid these areas, but sometimes this is not possible if you have to be somewhere. If I am wearing something that is easy to take off, such as a head bow, I will sometimes take it off. I also try to wear my coat whenever it is not too hot. I once even mastered taking off my petticoat in a toilet cubicle without touching anything!

Everyday objects can help when you are at serious risk- Brushes, keys, pointy rings... there are loads of everyday objects you could potentially have to hand if somebody attacks you that could help you to escape. Just be careful, as laws can vary between countries. For example, I don't believe it is legal to carry mace spray in the UK? (somebody please correct me if I am wrong) but there is nothing stopping you from carrying a holiday sized travel mini of hairspray on you. It wont have the exact same effect, but it gives you the element of surprise.

Thank people who are polite- If somebody goes to the trouble of asking me for a photo instead of just taking one without asking, I will usually try to thank them. I feel it just emphasises that it is common courtesy to ask, rather than not getting permission. Sometimes I have even spoken a bit loudly whilst doing so, as another rogue snapper has been in earshot!

Stay in groups where you can- Safety in numbers! I always feel a lot more confident when I have other people around me. It makes me feel a bit less 'exposed'. Other lolitas usually have their own horror stories about dealing with the general public, so they tend to empathise more.

Download safety apps on to your phone- There are loads of them out there, just in case the worst does happen. You can get ones that alert people if you are taking an exceptionally long time to get somewhere or ones that act as alarms.

I really hope that this post is just me wanting to be extra cautious. I have sometimes mentioned in the past about my negative experiences on this blog. Unfortunately, negative scenarios are all too real and there are people reading this who will have experienced terrible things. It really upsets me to see others get treated in such a bad way as well. Like I said, ideally we would all be able to go out in whatever clothing we want and not get harassed. But real life is not like that, even outside of lolita fashion. I actually had one of my worst experiences when I wasn't wearing lolita at all. I don't really know what else to say... I hope this post comes across with good intention. Stay safe.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Dreamy Parfait by Angelic Pretty

Today I am looking at Dreamy Parfait by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, an apron skirt, a head bow, a blouse and 2 pairs of socks.

First is the OP. The bodice seems well fitted, but I am not overly keen on the overall bodice shape. I think this bodice shape can work, but I don't think I like it with this particular print, if that makes sense. I suppose I was expecting something a bit more cutesy, like an updated take on 2010 era sweet. The sleeve length doesn't look quite right to me and I think the neckline shape is a bit boring. I think the lace and bows on the sleeves is cute though. There is a waist bow, which is made with pretty stripy ribbon. The shape of this bow is simple, but cute. However, I feel the waist bow blends in to the background quite a lot. A contrasting colour is used for the white and mint versions, which stands out a little bit more than the matching coloured bows on the pink and blue. The bodice features a few lines of lace and a row of buttons going up the middle. This row of buttons is lined with a ruffle and has bows between the buttons. I think the lace and ruffle looks really pretty. The ruffle sits well on the dress. I feel a more interesting button design could have been chosen, but they are at least well spaced out. However, I am not fond of the bows between the buttons. I feel this is a detail too far. With the neckline and waist bows, I don't feel these extra bows are needed. The neckline is lined neatly with some ribbon-threaded lace and finished with a stripy bow. I really love the lace choice and I think the neckline bow is a suitable size as well. The back offers a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. This is a bit of a pleasant surprise, as for a while AP's OPs have not really featured any shirring. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and it flares outwards a lot. I really love the rounded shape created in the stock photos, although I think it highlights how out of place I think the bodice shape looks. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of adorable cherry themed lace layered on top of a ruffle of check printed fabric. I appreciate the main dress fabric has a check pattern, but I don't think the ruffle on the bottom hem is really necessary. It means the cherry lace is not as obvious.

Here we have the JSK. The bodice looks quite well fitted, but I think the bodice shape is a bit dull. Despite the curved neckline, the bodice shape looks quite square and 'boxy'. The straps look a decent width and pretty supportive. They are lined with lace on the outsides, which is really nicely shaped. I like the lace choice too. The waistline is lined with lace and then topped with 2 organza bows. The fabric used for these bows is really pretty. I would have maybe liked them to be positioned a bit further apart, but I appreciate how the bows line up with the bodice lace. I am not sure I like the bow tails being this long though, and I also worry that the waistline looks a bit fussy. The bodice is divided, with a small chest panel. This panel is lined neatly with lace. There are also additional lines of lace going up the bodice. This helps to break up the empty area. Given how detailed the waist area is, I find the simpler bodice quite refreshing. There is a bow on the neckline, which has a sweet shape and it looks well formed. It sits well on the dress too. I do think it is a bit too big though. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt has a good amount of volume and flares outwards lots. It should hold a fair amount of petticoat. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed wonderfully. The bottom hem is then finished off in the exact same way as the OP.

Finally, here is the print. As we can see, this series comes in sax blue, pink, mint and white. I personally don't think the white colour works. The details look a bit washed-out and I don't think the white suits the print. A soft yellow colour could have maybe looked cute? But the other 3 colours are lovely and well suited. As for the print itself, it has a bit of a Fruits Parlor vibe to it, but like an updated version. This could have been a good thing, but this actually makes me a bit sad. Fruits Parlor was one of the first prints that I truly fell in love with and I don't think this new print quite equals it. I think it is the check pattern which is putting me off. I am also not keen on the flat labels placed between the parfaits. The parfaits are lovely though. The fruit is glistening and well drawn. I like the lace at the bottom print too, as I think it sort of mimics the appearance of a table cloth. There is a good distribution of lemon slices and cherries in the background as well.

I think this series could have had a lot of potential but overall, I am quite underwhelmed. It just doesn't have that Fruits Parlor 'magic' in my opinion. It is a very 2010-like print, but the more modern dress designs don't quite 'gel' with the print. Fruits Parlor was super popular years ago, so I understand that AP would maybe want to try a more updated version of that series, but there are certain details which don't seem to work that well. I am especially unimpressed with the OP's bodice. I think this series is okay, but I can also see why it hasn't sold out (I am writing this almost a week after the release and almost everything is still available. The only thing that has sold out completely is the head bow, which I admit is really cute). So it is safe to say I would not buy this series. My top choice would be the JSK in mint. If I was in to the more cutesy style, I would probably pick the apron skirt. I do really like the transparent crew length socks that came out as part of this series though. I am also holding out hope that some lovely parfait or fruit themed accessories may get released at a later date.

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