Monday, 22 July 2013

A Complete Sailor Lolita Wardrobe for [just over] $500.

I am really getting a little too into my hypothetical budget lolita wardrobes, but I suppose there’s nothing wrong with a bit of obsessive behaviour every now and again. Having completed wardrobes for sweet, classic and gothic, the three main styles, I’ve decided to branch into the sub-styles, themes maybe even colour schemes, and what better way to start that than with sailor lolita? As always, if there’s a particular lolita style you’d like to see my budget version of, please leave a comment letting me know.

As always, I’ve left out a purse and accessories from this wardrobe because of two reasons. Firstly, I think the choice of both things is personal, and I don’t want to dictate styles or amounts as some ladies like just wearing a necklace and some like a million bibs and bobs, and both choices are perfectly valid. Secondly, as this is designed with a budget in mins you could probably use your existing handbags and jewellery – maybe not perfectly loli, but definitely good enough. With that said, onto the hypothetical!

The wardrobe consists of the following items:

1 OP, 1 JSK and 1 Skirt:
Normally my mantra is one plain, two patterned. However, I haven’t yet seen a nautical themed print that I’ve liked that would fit within the budget, so all these pieces feature various striped detailing rather than any of them being of printed fabric. The OP is from Infanta [$55] and both the skirt [$32] and the JSK [$75] are from F+F.
2 Blouses:
My usual choices are to have one with detachable sleeves, and something that can provide versatility. But sticking to a style like sailor lolita doesn’t really lend itself to versatility so here we just have two F+F sailor blouses, a plainer one in white with black trim [$38] and the other in black with ivory trim [$40] is a bit fancier with ruffles and a large neckbow.
2 Outerwear:
Again I chose to conform to my mantra of having something “structured” and something “pretty”.  The “structured” is the Bodyline sailor jacket [$27] and the “pretty” is the Infanta cape [$57] which is one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.
2 Headpieces:
A white headbow from F+F [$6] is the typically lolita headwear of choice in this wardrobe, and also from F+F I’ve chosen to run with the theme even more with the adorable little sailor hat [$15].
2 Pairs of Shoes:
If only we could all have a hundred pairs of shoes, then we could match every outfit with the perfect pair. But who has the space? I went with a pair of white boots [$47] and a pair of black shoe [$40], both from Bodyline, so there were two colour options as well as styles.
5 Items of Legwear:
You can never have too much legwear. Ever. But for the purposes of keeping versatility while limiting amounts I think you need solid colour tights and a patterned or printed pair, as well as three pairs of socks – a plain neutral knee high or over the knees pair, a more interesting pair of knees highs and a pair of ankle socks. For tights I chose a plain white pair from eBay [$4] and a fabulous screenprinted Teja Jamilla pair [$30] in black and gold. As for socks, the black OTKS [$9] and white ankle socks [$1] are both from Bodyline and the stripy ones [$3] are from eBay.
1 Petticoat:
I didn’t include a petticoat in the collage because it’s underwear and, you know, it goes under things. As petticoats vary in size, price and quality I’m factoring it into the equation as costing $50 which I think is a fair enough average.
Total Cost: $529
Okay, okay. So, like with the classic lolita wardrobe, I’ve ended up slightly over the limit. Finding bargain footwear locally rather than online or perhaps dropping the Teja Jamilla tights [though who would want to!] for something simpler would be easy ways to bring this back under budget. I could also stop including petticoat costs, but it’s such a necessary lolita item it’s really not reasonable to leave it out.

Now that you’ve read though my rambling and reasoning, here are seven sample outfits.

Basic, cute and a little bit old-school.

Protect your adorableness from the cold with this layered outfit! 

A very dramatic outfit with the stripy skirt set off by black-and-gold accents.

The little bit of blue in the socks is matched by the hat in and otherwise B&W outfit.

A very simple outfit, perfect for staying cool in the summertime.
Just letting the dress take focus, accented by the jaunty hat.

Alright, not really "gloomy" but I was liking my alliterative theme!

Two quick endnotes on pricing:

One; listed prices are exclusive of shipping costs, because they vary. Also, Bodyline tends to change prices for no apparent reason, so today’s cheap shoes may be tomorrow’s expensive dream. 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Books that really, really, really should be made into movies.

Have you ever had that moment when you're reading an awesome book and you can just see the scenes and characters play out in your head, sometimes complete with epic soundtrack? Yup. These are some of the books that do that to me, and that I seriously cannot believe haven't been snatched up for movie production.

Sabriel by Garth Nix.
When I was I think eleven years old, one of the librarians misplaced this book in the children's section and thus began my love affair with fantasy. It's a great book and a fairly easy read and I would love to see a movie version...provided it's done well. It has zombies and a courageous heroine in a fantasy world with crossovers to a version of the early 20th century... and aren't those sort of blockbuster keywords at the moment? There's a small amount of phenomenal fanart of the book [and it's two sequels] out there, including an almost steampunkesque rendition by this artist, but personally I've always found the work of Laura Tolton to be true to what I see when I read this book.

Sabriel in the river of Death, by Laura Tolton.

Elemental Masters by Mercedes Lackey.
Okay, okay, so this is a series and not an individual book. Shoot me. But as well as the resurgence in fantasy, there seems to be a rise in period pieces and a growing interest in fairytale retellings. So how is modified versions of fairytales set in Victorian and Edwardian London [and one in San Francisco] where Elemental Magic exists in both good and evil forms not a major win? I adore this book series, they are all fun, light reads that are always less predictable than you think they are gong to be. And I really think they'd make for equally fun movies.

The Tortall Books by Tamora Pierce.
Yes, stop glaring at me, I know it's another series. In fact, it's a series of series's because I couldn't pick which one would be the best to adapt to the screen. And speaking of which, these books would probably be best suited to being made into a televisions series like with Game of Thrones, perhaps a twelve episode series for a quartet of books, rather than a movie. These are young adult fantasy books, and as I've already said, fantasy is the in thing at the moment and seeing any Tamora Pierce works adapted for the teenage audience would be a refreshing change from all the paranormal bullshit that's floating around. These are good, solid fantasies that are really simple in the best sense of the word - there's a lot of depth and likeable characters, but no necessary complication for the sake of complication. Even though I'm older than the intended age bracket, I would watch with enthusiasm anything made from Tamora Pierce's works, and probably buy the matching t-shirt.

Other books I can think of that I think would make rad movies [or tv shows] include A Confusion of Princes [Garth Nix again, sensing a theme yet?], The Thirteen and a Half Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers [it would have to be a tv series though, a very surreal tv series] and The Wind on Fire series by William Nicholoson, which were some of my favourites books as a kid... they always seemed colourful, somehow.

Is there anything you'd love to see in cinematic form?

Monday, 1 July 2013

Review #16: Ophanim

Art tights, how I love thee. I was really excited when I checked the Ophanim store in March because when I'd last looked there were less designs and they only came in one size and though I would fit, it would be a tight fit and I know myself well enough to never buy stockings that will be slightly too small, or I'll never wear them. But now there's a "large" size, and that makes me a happy panda. A happy panda who ordered the "Friendly Pigeon" tights in red. I'm trying to be good with new wardrobe additions and much as I adore the green I know I'd get more wear from a red pair, so red it is.

Are these not awesome?

There are lots of designs to choose from at Ophanim, most of them more suited for classic lolita or dolly kei and a handful of pastel sweet goodness. The store works on a pre-order basis with orders going to the printer on the first Monday of the month [so my order being placed on the last Tuesday of the month was good timing!] provided at least six orders have been placed. From then until the orders are shipped is expected to be about a month. Caro posted a picture of March's orders on facebook and tumblr on May 9th, so if that's average the turnaround time is slightly longer than a month bur still closer to one than two. 

However, we hit a snag with my order and towards the end of May when I was starting to check the mailbox religiously I got an email from Caro on the 29th saying that my tights had a printing flaw that meant the design was cut off at the side seam, and there were also gaps in the red print around the crotch that left white patches. She offered me three options: a full refund including shipping, getting my tights at half price or to have the tights reprinted in the next lot. After a bit of thought I asked for the half refund, because, having had time to think about it I'd become uncertain that printed tights would work on me. I'll always love them on other people, but maybe not on me so I figured it was better to have an imperfect but cheaper pair to test the waters with.

After that snag my tights came on the 26th of June and I adore them. The design is cut off slightly, but it's hardly noticeable. The more obvious flaw is the white at the crotch, but it's the crotch and not visible so I don't care but I would if I had been paying full price. The design is nice and crisp and the colours are really vibrant. As they are printed on white tights the colours do fade when worn but they still look good. However, if you're looking to buy these be aware that you end up with more a dark pink than a rich red when worn. But it's a very, very awesome dark pink. As far as fit and quality of the tights themselves, they are great. They feel very sturdy and very soft and are really comfortable to wear. The waistband is not as forgiving as those on other plus-size tights I own, so they may be uncomfortable if you're at the upper end of the weight scale provided. All in all they are great tights, and even though prices were recently upped to $27 a pair they are definitely worth it.

Colours are slightly more vibrant in real life, phone camera flash blew this out a bit ^__^

Now, I tend to be a bit impatient with waiting for things ordered online, so the fact that even though my tights came from the printers at the beginning of May but I didn't hear about the flaws in mine until the end of the month was a little disappointing, but I think it's convention season over in the states so it's an understandable delay. After hearing my response they were shipped pretty quickly - according to the postage sticker they were sent off on the 6th of June. However, the delay in my tights because of the printing flaw aside, all in all it's an extremely good turnaround time when you consider that it operates on a pre-order basis, which really is the only feasible way to do this kind of thing until you reach a certain level of sales. 

So, long story short the tights are great and I would definitely recommend buying some. It'll take a couple of months to get them [probably quicker if you're in the USA] but they are worth the wait. The only "flaw" is something with all printed tights - the design will stretch when worn on even the thinnest of legs. But on certain pairs of tights [the Prayer tights instantly come to mind] that won't be an issue at all because of the design. Also, the Ophanim tights are the cheapest printed tights I've come across so really, I can't recommend them enough.