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!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Bonbon Bunny by Angelic Pretty

Today I am looking at Bonbon Bunny by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, a hair accessory, tights, a blouse and a cutsew.

First is the OP. The bodice seems well fitted and the shape is very cute. It looks as though the waistline is a little lower down as well, which I know some will be pleased about! The sleeves look a decent length. They have a slight bit of puffiness to them, which really suits the style of the dress. The cuffs are kept neat with a line of gold braid, lace and some gold heart shaped buttons. I think this is the perfect amount of detail. There is a waist bow, but to be honest I don't know why AP even bothered putting it on. It is so small in size. I also feel the use of ribbon and the simple shape make the bow too casual looking. I really wish it was detachable, as I think removing it would really improve the dress. The bodice has a square shaped yoke with a collar over the top. I am not a fan of the yoke shape. I think the square shape which gets slightly wider at the top looks odd and the line of lace underneath looks awkward. Perhaps a more rounded shape could have looked cute? I like how the yoke is pleated and has a line of heart buttons though. This makes it look a lot more interesting and gives it a bit of extra texture. The collar shape is super cute and a decent size. It would have been interesting to see how this dress would have looked with just the collar there. The collar is lined really neatly with a thin line of lace too. These bodice details are topped with 2 small ribbon bows. I think these bows look a more suitable size for their location in comparison to the waist bow. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is severely limited. Judging by the photos, it at least seems as though the zip line is very nicely concealed and the stripy print lines up along it well. The stock photos show that the skirt is plump with volume and it flares outwards plenty. It should hold plenty of petticoat. 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 heart themed lace. I absolutely adore this lace!

Next is the JSK. The bodice seems decently fitted, but I am feeling a bit 'meh' about the bodice shape. It is okay, but a bit simple. The straps look a decent width and very supportive. These straps are lined with gold trim and a line of the heart themed lace, which then continue down the bodice to the waistline. The trim and lace then go along the neckline as well. I kind of feel as though the very straight lines are a little bit boring. The lace is so cute that it kind of makes up for it a little bit though! There is a waist bow, which seems a lot better proportioned compared to the one on the OP. This bow is shaped simply, but it sits well on the dress and at least it is an appropriate size. The bodice between the lines of lace is a solid coloured panel, which is neatly pleated. There is also a line of gold heart buttons going up the middle. These buttons have a lovely design and are well spaced out. The neckline is then finished with a small ribbon bow, which looks very sweet. I kind of feel as though the overall bodice design is a little bit 'lacking' though. It is like AP have played it a bit safe. The back is fully shirred, so there is loads of size flexibility, but it also means the shirring is left exposed. The stock photos show that the skirt looks very full and can flares outwards a lot. There is a lot of potential to create a great shape. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with the cute heart themed lace.

Finally, here is the print. This series comes in ivory, pink, wine and black. I personally am favouring the pink and the wine. I feel the ivory colour could have done with being a little bit darker, as the dresses feature a lot of white parts and the ivory kind of blends in to the details. The black is okay, but I would have thought that brown would have been a more obvious choice. As for the print, I think it is very adorable. It is definitely my favourite AP print in a while. All the boxes are full of interesting details. I especially love the tin with the bunnies on it! The chocolate bunnies add a much needed touch of cute and are a lovely contrast to the sharp straight lines of the boxes. I like the stripy background and the 'falling' sweets too. I sort of feel that this print would have been better suited to a release around Valentines Day though!

So overall I think this is a pretty decent series. I think the dress designs could have been a bit more interesting, but the designs are strong and solid. There is very little that I would change about them. The print is really cute as well! Would I buy this series? No, but only because it is not really my usual style. If I was a chocolate print fan though, I imagine I would be very pleased with this release. It is a bit cutesy, but I think it works. My top choice would be the JSK in wine. I think this print has a lot of potential for some cute matching jewelry, so it will be interesting to see if AP release some at a later date.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Recent Outfits Summer 2017

Life has been a bit hectic as of late, but it hasn't stopped me from dressing up from time to time. So I thought I would share my most recent looks with you all today. I didn't bother to include my birthday outfit, seeing as that was already featured in a post. But here are the outfits I have not posted on here yet.

First is a little casual affair with my Bodyline Rose Bouquet skirt. I really desperately felt like dressing up. The only trouble is, it was really humid for a long time here in the UK. So I am aware that my hair looks very plain here, but curls would not have lasted in this heat and it was too hot to wear a wig! You can't really see it that well, but I attached some rose clips to the blouse to make sure that the colours were a bit more evenly distributed. 

Then I finally got around to wearing my beloved Moon Cat set by Metamorphose. I wore this intending it to just be a casual street fashion look, rather than lolita. If you are wondering how I am keeping my RHS straps up, the secret is a pair of fishnet tights layered over the top of my normal tights (top tip!). The only thing I would potentially change is adding a red bow to the beret. I feel the hair accessories are a bit lacking here. But like I said, this was only intended to be a casual outfit anyway.

Next is... a happy accident. I am currently attempting to slowly downsize and I was sorting through piles of clothes that I wanted to get rid of. This floral Bodyline dress just happened to be sat on a pile on top of the purple blouse. I thought they looked really great together, and so this outfit was born! I am not really sure what I was going for here... girly style larme? Otome maybe? I chose the sheer polka dot socks because they matched the dot details on the dress bodice. The purple shoes were to balance out the purple blouse. I also used the Whale Fall bag I got off Taobao recently. I can confirm it is very roomy and so far it has been holding up well. Whatever this outfit is (I am not too fussed about labeling it) it is one that I really enjoyed wearing. I am still intending to sell the dress though!

I got the chance to see some of my friends and decided to try out some larme kei. I think my make up is just about visible. The sunshine made it difficult to photograph, but the under eye blush and nude eye shadow is there! I wore the H&M skirt with one of the lace tops from my recent Aliexpress order. Although I am still not 100% sure which direction I want to go in with larme kei, I am really pleased with how this outfit came together. So maybe this is the sort of larme style I am going to be aiming for in the future. I got a lot of positive feedback for this outfit, which was really encouraging.

And just when I go casual and tone things down, I then go all sugary sweet again! I wanted to wear some 2012 era sweet lolita, so that is exactly what I did! It had been a while since I last wore Sugary Carnival and it seemed like the perfect dress to suit my whims, seeing as it was released around that sort of time. The Shadow Carnival tights worked just as I had expected them to. I had forgotten how badly the applique on the tights stinks of cheap plastic though! Recently I have fallen back in love with this AP biscuit bag, so I was happy that it matched the theme of this outfit. It is an item that doesn't match that much of my wardrobe, but I can't bear to part with it. It is also a good size, perfect for when I am going on one of my cake eating adventures.

Here is an accessory close up. I was having mixed feelings about wearing this necklace. Sugary Carnival does have a tiny bit of yellow on it and there are stars in the print as well. I was worried it looked a little out of place next to all the sweet themed items though and wondered if the candy themed necklace I also had picked out would have been better. Still, I don't think this is the worst decision I have ever made outfit-wise. At least I had put some thought in to it.

And that brings us up to mid August (how is it mid August already!? It is almost time for the annual Tea Party Club event). Considering how unpredictable the weather has been and how busy I have been, I have managed to pack a fair few outfits in! So hopefully there will be many more outfits to share with you all soon!

Monday, 14 August 2017

Fondant Chocolat Nounours Collection by Baby the Stars Shine Bright

Today I am looking at Fondant Chocolat Nounours Collection by Baby the Stars Shine Bright. This series includes 4 dresses (one non-print), 5 hair accessories, a blouse, socks, a JSK for Usakumya and several pieces of jewelry.

First is the Babydoll JSK. The bodice shape is a little strange and it also looks as though there is a lot of loose, baggy material. I really don't like the neckline and I also feel the straps are too thin and plain. The straps could have definitely done with being a bit wider and at least being lined with some lace. There is a ribbon belt, which defines the waist nicely (I didn't choose the best picture for this, but the belt does look better when it isn't tied loosely like this). I love how the ribbon is printed with the brand name on it, although the ribbon itself is quite shiny and maybe a bit cheap looking. The neckline features 2 wide ruffles, which are lined with lace. I think the lace used is pretty (although I dislike how it has been used along the neckline as it seems to stick upwards awkwardly) and the ruffles have been layered well. It gives the neckline an interesting texture and plenty of movement. However, I do wish the ruffles had been tapered at the sides. The neckline is then topped with a bow using the same ribbon as the belt and a really cute bear themed charm. This bow is a suitable size and has a cute shape. The back is fully shirred, which means lots of size flexibility but also that the unattractive shirring is quite exposed. The stock photos show that the skirt is quite full and it flares outwards okay. I do feel the skirt could have been better, partly due to the tiered design creating a slightly odd silhouette. It should be possible to create a good amount of volume still though. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off with a gentle ruffle with a line of thin lace layered over the top. I think the bottom looks quite underwhelming. Perhaps a bit more lace or more gathering in the ruffle could have livened it up a bit.

Next is the Ribbon JSK. The bodice has a lovely shape, although I find the fit a bit confusing. It seems as though the center panel is very loose and baggy in comparison to the best of the bodice. The neckline shape is beautiful though, and I think the straps are a much more suitable width. I think the strap and neckline details on this dress are stunning. The gold trim and lace lining the straps sits so perfectly. I especially love all the details on the neckline bow. The bow is well shaped and I like how it has been folded for extra depth and detail. The gold trim lining the bow looks flawless and the bear charm in the middle is a lovely finishing touch. I have nothing but positive things to say about this neckline bow! The waist bow however, I find a bit less appealing. Although the edges are lined neatly with gold trim, I don't think this bow has the prettiest of shapes. In comparison to the neckline bow, the waist bow seems a bit lazy and simple. There are no other details on the bodice. I think some thin lines of lace could at least have broken up the empty space. The back offers a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt has a lot of volume and it flares outwards plenty. Out of all the dresses, I think this dress has the skirt with the most potential to create a great shape. The skirt is again kept simple, so the print is displayed wonderfully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a double chiffon ruffle. 

This is the OP. This is quite a sack-like dress, so there isn't a great deal of bodice to it. The arms look very long in length, almost too long. However, I guess with the fitted cuffs it is very simple to push the sleeves up so they don't hang beyond the wrists. A lot of attention to detail has gone in to the cuffs. They feature a line of teddy bear shaped buttons, which are so adorable. They are also finished off neatly with a line of lace. Although I personally think the line of lace could have been narrower, it is at least of a decent quality and looks quite tidy. The chest area features what looks like a slightly raised panel which is lined with gold trim and lace on either side. I think the shape of this panel and the placement is terrible. It means that this dress is probably going to look awkward on anybody who has even a slightly large bust. This panel is topped with a ribbon bow. Although the bow is pretty, the placement is also not that great. I think the bow only emphasizes how strange the raised panel looks. There is a collar, which has a fun 'dripping' shape. However, I think the collar is too wide and I don't like the way that it has lace on the sides which makes it look even wider. I also think the neck hole on the collar looks too basic and bare. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. The stock photos show that the skirt has a fair bit of volume and can flare outwards a lot. But I do think it is going to be difficult to create an ideal shape with this skirt. It even looks awkward in the pictures of Midori modelling it. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with a neat double ruffle of chiffon.

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

... and another. This series comes in ivory, pink, beige and mint. These are pretty safe choices for a chocolate themed print and they all work really well. As for the print, I want to like it, but something about it just doesn't feel right to me. The idea is cute, but in some areas I think it could have been drawn or coloured better. The chocolate parts look a bit two dimensional in places and I feel it needs a bit more 'sheen' on it to make it look a bit more realistic. I also think a few of the animals could have done with a bit more shading and detail. There are some parts of the print that I like though. The cherry cupcakes look very moreish and some of the bears look really cute. However, I really dislike how the bottom of the print has a band with the Baby name spelled out in chocolate letters. This area is quite sparse with detail, so it gives the illusion that the border print starts a bit higher up the skirt. 

Sadly, this series does not live up to my expectations. If you are going to do a frequently used theme, especially a popular one such as chocolate, then you really need to do something special with it and the dress designs need to impress. I don't think the dress designs are that great. It is a shame, as there are certain details (such as the neckline bow on the Ribbon JSK) which have been brilliantly executed. It is unfortunately let down by the weaker parts of the design. The print is cute, but you could get a print of equal quality on Taobao for a lot less money. So this is not a series that I personally would buy. It just doesn't feel worth it. My top choice would probably be the Ribbon JSK in beige.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Where My Inspiration Comes From

I was reading another lolita's blog post recently about where they got their inspiration from. It seemed like a really cool idea for a blog post, so I decided to have a go at the topic myself. I struggled with this post to begin with. Personally, I don't really see any one individual lolita as 'inspiration'. That is not to say that I don't find other lolitas inspirational, because I do. I am always saving pictures of accessories and ideas that I think are cool. If I have ever reblogged your photo online (via Tumblr or whatever) then it is because I really liked what I saw! It is just that when I am trying to come up with my own outfit ideas, I usually find my inspiration coming from the strangest of places or completely out of the blue. So I thought I would share specific examples of where my previous outfit ideas have come from.


I am not as big an anime fan as I once was, but I do still enjoy it. My weakness is any series done by CLAMP, especially Cardcaptor Sakura. I have always liked their art style and the imagery they conjure through their shows. My winged shoes from my Enchanted event outfit were inspired by the Jump Card from Cardcaptor Sakura, which when released would manifest by way of a pair of wings emerging from Sakura's shoes.

Japanese Illustrators

If you have any of the English Gothic Lolita Bibles, then you are probably familiar with the artist above! One of my most controversial outfits came about because of Looks Like a Teaspoon by Nakamura Asumiko. You can just about see a hint of pearly leg in the illustration above. I am also a big admirer of illustrators such as Sakizou. Sadly this particular idea did not translate so well in to real life and my execution could have been a whole lot better (I cringe when I see my full outfit now!). I think this is something to bear in mind. Just because something looks beautiful in a picture, it does not mean that it is going to work for an actual outfit.

British Comedy Characters

No, I am being deadly serious here! My love of my bowler hats stems from Hyacinth Bucket! Keeping up Appearances has always been one of my favourite shows, ever since I was little. But watching the series again since becoming a lolita, I have picked up on certain little details that I missed previously. Hyacinth's personality may be vile, but she sure does love a matching hat! She likes wearing statement jewellery and gloves too. There are also older comedy series which have some interesting fashions from the time. There is an episode of Fawlty Towers where Sybil wears a beautiful chiffon bed jacket which wouldn't look too out of place in Japanese fashion today. But Hyacinth remains my main inspiration. I can binge watch that show for days.

Royal Family and Royal Family Portraits

When attending an event called Regalia, the most natural place to look for inspiration is my country's very own royal family! I especially paid attention to the family portraits, as they tend to include a lot of fancy details which the royal family may not wear usually on a typical royal engagement. It was looking through these sort of pictures which encouraged me to have a go at making my own sash. I decided against the cape though. That was a bit too OTT for me! During the event I even had one of the photographers ask to take my photo in front of a picture because he said I matched it perfectly. I saw that as a huge compliment as I had achieved what I had set out to.

Cafe Workers and Shop Assistants

I have chosen a maid cafe uniform to demonstrate my point here as it seemed like the most obvious example. The maid cafe influence is pretty apparent in my outfit. But other work places can have cute uniforms as well. It is really inspiring seeing shop staff wearing the stock, especially with Japanese fashion brands. Seeing the clothing actually worn as opposed to on a computer screen can make a whole lot of difference. A piece you previously dismissed can suddenly become a lot more appealing when seen on an actual person.

Shop Displays

While we are on the subject of shops, I also happen to be a great admirer of a well thought out shop display. Years ago I made a giant lollipop after getting the idea from a sweet shop which had massive fake sweets displayed in their window. A good window display can entice you in. It is especially a good idea to look at ship displays in touristy places and also around certain holidays where you see a lot of effort put in to having a fancy display. I especially like walking around central London around Christmas time (provided it is not overly crowded!).


I don't have an example of my own to show here, but I wanted to add a final note about nature. I have had a couple of outfit ideas which I never got around to doing which were heavily inspired by nature. Just going for a walk can be very inspiring. You can get unusual colour combinations in nature which you wouldn't typically consider putting together. Nature also has a way of defying us humans sometimes. If left on its own, you will find all sorts of plants and trees growing wherever it can. It can take on unusual shapes. If you are going for a less polished look, maybe something forest inspired, where better to take inspiration from actual Mother Nature? Also, from owning birds I have learned a lot about their little quirks and movements. Seeing an animal move naturally up close has altered my opinions of a few animal themed lolita prints. It is interesting to see animals in movement rather than just standing around. 

So that list may give you all some clarity on how my mind ticks when I come up with my more crazy outfit ideas! I had a lot of fun doing the picture research for this post. It brought back a lot of memories. I suppose sometimes inspiration can come from just about anywhere. Next time an idea randomly pops in your head, write it down, no matter how crazy it seems. You never know, you may end up using it.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Peaceful Sleeping Toys by Angelic Pretty

Today I am looking at Peaceful Sleeping Toys by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, 3 hair accessories, socks, a bag, a sleeping Lyrical Bunny plush and tote bag for the plush.

First is the OP. The bodice looks a bit loose and baggy, but that could just be the fabric AP have chosen for the dress. The sleeves look a decent length though. I like how they are slightly puffy in shape and the contrast with the more fitted elasticated cuffs. The cuffs are kept nicely simple too, with a thin ribbon bow and some very cute star themed lace. The bodice features a massive yoke which takes up most of the space. Although I like the neat ruffle along the edge of the yoke, I feel it is far too big. I think the large size of the yoke makes it look exaggerated and almost childish. The yoke is topped with a ribbon bow which is a simple, yet well formed shape and a decent size. I like that the ribbon used has a hint of metallic in it and the star charms dangling from the ends of the bow tails. Thankfully, the yoke part is detachable! The bow is as well, but I would consider leaving it on. I think removing the yoke is a massive improvement. When it is removed, there is a simple line of star shaped buttons with a tidy ruffle of lace on either side. I think the collar looks a lot better with the yoke removed as well. It is a really cute shape and neatly lined with star lace. When I first saw the bodice without the yoke it really raised my hopes for this dress. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is sadly limited. I think the yoke looks big and bulky from the back view as well, which is another reason why I would remove it. The stock photos show that the skirt has a lot of volume and it can flare outwards plenty. I think there is the potential to create a really lovely shape. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with a smart ruffle with a line of lace layered over the top. This lace is AP logo themed and I was a little surprised that they didn't use the star lace here as well. At least the lace is still of a good quality though.

Next we have the JSK. The bodice looks a little bit wrinkled and baggy in some of the close ups but again, that could be because of the fabric AP have chosen. The overall bodice shape is quite cute. I like the soft neckline shape. My only complaint is that I wish the star lace on the neckline was a bit more tapered where it reaches the arm pits. The straps are a bit on the thin side and I think they look a bit flimsy. I suppose the thinner straps suit the style of the bodice but I would have preferred them to be just a little bit thicker. They are very neatly lined with the star lace on the outsides though. I like how this lace has been gathered slightly, giving it a more interesting shape and look. The bodice is mostly kept plain because of the massive bow on the neckline. This bow is fairly well shaped. I am surprised it isn't drooping more considering the size, although I suspect it has some discrete stitches to hold it in place. The fabric chosen for the bow is pretty and looks of a good quality. I do wonder though why AP have chosen a stripy fabric for this bow. It is not that I don't like it, I am just curious! If I am being honest, I think just placing a massive bow on the bodice is a bit lazy and knowing AP, they could have done a whole lot more with the design. I am not saying I don't like the bow, just that I don't feel this is AP at their full potential. The back is fully shirred which means lots of size flexibility, but also that the shirring is left exposed. The stock photos show that the skirt has a great deal of volume and it flares outwards enough. It should hold a fair bit of petticoat. The skirt is again kept simple, so the print is displayed brilliantly. The bottom hem is then finished off with a slightly gathered ruffle and lined neatly with lace.  

Finally, here we have a bit of the print. This series comes in white, pink, grey and dark blue. It is interesting to see the rarely seen grey make a comeback again. It offers a slightly more mature looking option and I am not surprised it seems to be the most popular colour. The other 3 colours do look adorable though! As for the print, I do think it is well drawn. We get to see some of our favourite AP characters throughout the all-over style print. I especially think it is cute how Lyrical Bunny is clinging on to the moon shaped cushion! (off topic, but I would love a moon shaped cushion like the one in the print) The cushion designs are nicely detailed with uses of gingham and fun shapes. The empty space between the mascots is filled in well with simple moons and stars. However, the overall look of the print does remind me of this wallpaper I used to have in my bedroom when I was a kid. It is super cute, but I am not sure I would want to wear it on a dress myself!

So overall I think this series has a bit of potential. I was initially a bit underwhelmed by the dress designs, but after seeing the OP without the yoke part I warmed to it a bit more. The print is adorable, but it is a bit too cutesy for my personal tastes. So this is not a series that I would buy. If you are a fan of any of the AP mascots, then I reckon this would be a good addition to your collection though. My top choice would be the OP in dark blue. I would pick the grey, but it is such an unusual colour that I am not sure I would feel confident co-ordinating it. I have fallen in love with the heart shaped cushion bag from this series though (it sold out in pink long before I had a chance to consider buying it) and as a further suggestion, I think making cushions like the ones in the print could be a fun novelty item for AP to put out!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

July 2017 Haul- Pre-Birthday Edition (picture heavy)

I always find the period just before my birthday a bit of a strange time with regards to shopping. As my mum was going away around the time of my birthday she gave me my birthday money a few weeks beforehand. But I had to be very careful what I brought in case anybody had gone ahead and brought things for me! There were a couple of things that cropped up that I knew I was unlikely to get as presents, so I had a bit of a shopping spree. I suppose I just wanted to use my birthday money to treat myself, so that is what I did. The majority of today's haul is Larme influenced, although there are a couple of Baby necklaces in the haul as well.

Firstly, I noticed that New Look was having a sale, so I decided that this would be the perfect time to order a couple of skirts that I had my eye on. I also got myself these really awesome lilac coloured jeans (not pictured, but you may have spotted them in my birthday blog post) in the sale too. I am sort of still trying to figure out what sort of Larme style I would like to wear and I liked the look of this skirt in the stock photo. As it was so cheap, I got 2 colours! They are made of a crepe style fabric, which gives them a very interesting texture. I really like how it feels. The colours of the skirts were exactly what I was expecting and looked similar enough to the photos on the website.

They have these little side strap details which I think help to stop them from looking too plain.

The zip line was done neatly and well concealed. I have to admit I did have a little trouble undoing the zip at first, as it was a bit stiff, but it seems to be getting easier with time.

I am really pleased to see that the skirts are lined. The stitching on the skirt is done neatly. I feel these skirts were definitely worth the price paid.

Here is a worn photo. There is just one slight issue with the skirt- where I have lost weight, my waist measurement is now considerably smaller than my hip measurement. So this means that I had to order the size based on my hips and the waist is a little bit baggy on me. I found the skirt looked better once I had fiddled about with re-positioning it, but you may be able to see in the photo that it is sitting lower than my waistline. I am not too concerned about this, but there is no way for me to wear a belt with the skirt. This is something I am going to have to consider when ordering in the future. Luckily, New Look offers free returns so I am still able to order with confidence.

Next is a BTSSB necklace that was on my wishlist. But before we get on to the necklace, look at how massive the box that Japonica shipped it in was! I am holding the necklace up to the box for a size comparison. It is no wonder Japonica charged me so much for shipping! I find it a bit wasteful, but there wasn't really anything else on auctions or Mercari that I particularly wanted. The awkward thing about having a smaller wishlist is that things can pop up out of nowhere but then it will be ages before you find anything else. So it makes shipping stuff a bit of a pain, because if you combine orders you have no idea how long it will be until the next item comes up.

Anyway, here is the necklace! I have wanted the Chained Berry Memoir necklace ever since the series came out. This is maybe the second time I have seen the necklace appear on the 2nd hand market, so it doesn't seem to be that common. 

I absolutely love the design. The antique silver colour is so lovely. It really suits the CBM print as well. The strawberry charm is so cute. It makes a slight jingle noise as well, which one of my budgies approved of! 

The chain is of a decent length and there is a bit of room to adjust the length as well. What I really like though, is the small Baby logo charm on the chain. I thought that was a really lovely finishing touch.

Next we have another Baby necklace, this time purchased from Closet Child. I had a bit of a dilemma about purchasing this. Those of you who are familiar with my wishlist on Facebook may be aware that I really wanted the Twinkle Constellation and the Stars of Confeito necklace. This necklace is similar, but it is not the same one (I think this one is called Kitty Constellation or something along those lines...). The main differences with this necklace is that there are fewer stars, the edges of the stars are more pointy and there is a big ribbon on it. So I had to decide if I was happy to settle for this necklace, or wait and try to get my wishlist necklace (which very rarely comes up and usually sells quick when it does). As you can see, I went ahead and got this necklace and I was really pleased that I did. The design is really cute in person. In actual fact, I have made getting the Twinkle Constellation necklace a very low priority now, as I am really content with this necklace.

Going by Closet Child's description, I would say the condition of the item was as expected, maybe even slightly better. My only complaint is that the ends of the ribbon are not properly sealed, so there is a slight bit of fraying. That is easy to seal up though. The stars are so cute and they look a whole lot better in person than they do in my photos. I love to multi-coloured beads as well. It looks really pretty when worn. I am so glad I took a chance on it.

In the same Closet Child order I got this Katie badge. It still had the original Katie packaging and price tag. Although the box was a bit battered, I was still pleased that CC included it when they sent it to me. The original price tag was a bit scary though! I love Katie, but I feel their prices can be a bit steep sometimes, so I am always keeping an eye out for good deals on the 2nd hand market.

The badge is absolutely perfect and looks brand new. There are no scratches or damage anywhere. The design is crisp.

The back has a simple pin. There is no glue residue visible anywhere. So I am pleased I was able to add this to my order. I am still reluctant to pay retail price for Katie though!

Next we have an Aliexpress order. It's been ages since I have ordered from there because I wasn't that impressed with the service last time. But I decided to give this shop a go (I think it is called Adomoe? I will try and find the link) as it has some pieces which can work very well for Larme. There are even a few Mon Lily replicas (including this skirt) on there. I don't really wish to promote buying replicas, but as Mon Lily is by DreamV and I have mixed feelings about their quality (especially for the prices they charge for some things) I didn't feel as guilty about buying this replica as I would usually. The skirt I got is very shiny, but you could see that from the stock photos anyway, so I knew what to expect. The materials are a decent quality for the price paid. However, the only issue is that the material creases really easily, as you will see in the worn photos.

The details on the side were executed reasonably well. They could have been better, but they also could have been a lot worse! I like the use of velveteen for the bows. It offers a fun contrast with the shiny main material.

There is a small shirring panel, which is really well hidden underneath a ribbon on the outside. This panel is not overly generous, but it is nice to have it there. I found the sizing guide on the product listing to be pretty accurate.

The stitching is quite neat. I could find no obvious flaws on the skirt.

And here is a worn photo. Do you see what I mean about the creasing? I haven't checked to see if you can iron this skirt, but my guess is you cannot. Creasing aside, I am otherwise impressed. The skirt was comfortable. It hugged my waist well without being too tight.

I think the ribbon topping the shirring emphasises the size of my bottom a bit more than I would like, but overall I am very happy with the skirt! I just need to get those creases out!

Finally, I got these 2 lacy tops from the same Aliexpress store. They have a cute heart cut out detail. I am not that blessed in the bust department, so I have always been a bit wary of the cut-out trend in Larme, but the hearts on these tops are small enough that it isn't really an issue.

The heart cut out was done quite well. The edge is neat and you can easily make out the heart shape. Although the lace quality is a bit questionable, it actually feels surprisingly soft. It is not itchy at all! 

There is a small ribbon loop on the back to make putting on the top a bit easier. I thought that was a nice touch.

The stitching is very neat and once again, I found no obvious flaws or mistakes.

The size guide on the product listing was spot on and I found the right size easily. The top is comfortable and feels nice against the skin. I like how the neck doesn't cling too much and the way the ruffle around the neck looks when worn. As you can see, the heart shape is easy to make out too. I love that it is subtle and sits well above my bust. The only thing I am going to do is cut out the labels inside. Having a see-through top means the labels stick out like a sore thumb.

And so that is my latest haul. I am really pleased with every single thing I got. My larme wardrobe is really starting to shape up now, and I have added some nice accessories for lolita as well. I am really looking forward to extending and experimenting with my style a bit more and these pieces are really going to help me achieve this. Plus I got some absolutely fantastic birthday presents from my friends as well (thank you!!!). I am feeling very spoilt right now, but also very loved. This has been a really positive time in my life and I can genuinely say I am feeling happy. This is mostly due to the wonderful experiences I have had lately, although a little bit of retail therapy can be good from time to time!

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