Sunday, 28 September 2014

Review #32: Lady Sloth

I used to own a JSK from Lady Sloth, and rather liked it. So when I saw she was having a blouse sale around when I was thinking that a peach coloured chiffon blouse would make a great addition to my wardrobe, well, it seemed like fate.

On the 26th of August, after consulting with James about style and fabric choices, I facebook messaged to see if I could get the Round Collar Longsleeve Blouse made in a normal peach chiffon. I also mentioned that I was having problems with Storenvy not loading, so Lady Sloth asked me to email her. I did, she sent me the order form and a Paypal invoice, I paid and sent back the form and my order was under way! She is incredibly quick at reply to messages as that whole process only took one full day, though in my last message I did ask what the current turnaround times was and didn't get a reply. But I got an email on the 12th of September saying it had been shipped and sending me my tracking number, just a little over two weeks from me placing my order, which I thought was a pretty good turnaround time.

 This colour... in this style.

I received my blouse on the 23rd, as week and a half after it had been posted, which was great time-wise.

The first thing that I noticed when I opened the blouse was that it was darker than I thought... and shiny! I didn't realise it was a brocade chiffon with a shine when I ordered, so I was all like... whoa, glitter. But it is fairly subtle, and very nice all the same. However, it's a more salmon-y colour than the picture above indicates, rather than the pastel that shade was described as.

If anyone reading this has those ubiquitous suede bow heels from taobao, the blouse is almost a perfect match for the pink ones. Which is good, because it at least matches a pair of shoes I have since it doesn't actually match the skirt and the dress I bought it to go with! But since I have shoes I can make it work regardless. So I was a bit bummed about the colour, but that is a risk you take ordering online and since I bought this during her blouse sale it still worked out under $65AU including postage, so it's not too bad.

As far as construction goes it's very sturdily made and I'm super impressed by the symmetry of the detachable bow! It's also very accurate to the stock photo design wise. There's only one thing I don't like too much, which you can just see at the top of the photos above, and that is that the rolled hem on the ruffles on the neckline is a bit big and doesn't look too nice close up. Not a problem from a distance though, so it's okay. Also, the corset lacing ribbon is a paler peach colour than the blouse itself, but that can be easily changed. It also had an unpleasant factory/fabric smell out of the bag, but I steamed that out.

Size-wise I ordered her standard large size, and it fits me well, skin-tight in fact. Her site says it can go 10cm either way of the listed measurements, which I don't think it can, but I'd definitely say it has around 5cm of give either way.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the blouse but due to the colour difference and a few little details I'm not sure if I'd order another Lady Sloth blouse, unless there was another sale. I was happier with my blouse from The Floral Notebook. However, given that I haven't worn this one out yet that opinion may change with wear, so I'll update if I do change my mind. So in summary, it is a well made blouse at a reasonable price, but I'm not sure how highly I recommend it.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Review #31: Axes Femme

In the light of my non-lolita wardrobe overhaul I've started looking into some new brands online who have a similar aesthetic but simpler silhouette, and one of them is Axes Femme. Unfortunately, most of their lovely dresses come in only one size but we were still able pick out quite a few nice items. All the clothing [other than the fur vest] we bought with the intention that if it fits me, I take it, and if not it goes into the model wardrobe.

James got me this for my birthday! It's been hidden away from me...

Axes Femme does not take international orders, but since I had made a Tenso account to order from Angelic Pretty I was all set and ready to go. We placed our order on the 11th of September, and they posted it on the 12th. It arrived at Tenso on the 13th and I paid for shipping, which was really expensive, on the same day. I guess two bags and a pair of shoes makes for heavy shipping. Anyway, we got the package [a branded box, which was nice] on the 17th or 18th, I honestly can't remember which.  Either way EMS was quick, as usual.

Since there were several items I'm just going to make some general comments, rather than go into specifics on each item, but if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Overall... I'm impressed! Everything is well made, and accurate to the stock photos and listed measurements. The red blouse fit me perfectly, including shoulder width and the sleeves, which is amazing. The skirt and culottes do not, but that was expected, and the vest is a little small but I can wear it open. Mostly I was impressed by the little details - the shirt features a playing card motif in the stripes and the lace trim on the vest has clusters of pearls and diamantes in it.

How awesome is this fabric?

The boots are gorgeous and seem very well made, but are absolutely skin tight, which is fair enough since they're a 24.5 and I need a 25. Since shoe sizing can be all over the place I thought I'd give them a try and I need to wear them for a day to see if the tightness is okay or if it gets bad after wearing. As for my gobelin bag... I adore it. Adore it. It's just... perfect. And it's made me even more excited ot get the other bag on my birthday!

You may recognise this photo from instagram...

All in all I'm really impressed with Axes Femme. And I'm really a mixture of bummed and grateful that most of their stuff is one size... bummed because I am not that size yet grateful because if I was, I'd probably be broke, but with pretty clothes.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Wardrobe Overhaul Part 2

I realised, after I started planning out my wardrobe overhaul, that the one thing I really lack are flat shoes for everyday wear. I've been living in the same pair of black-and-white sneakers for about three years, and they're pretty limited style wise. Because I'm picky, I don't like ballet flats or sandals or loafers and when presented with a choice of shoes, I always go for heels. But heels aren't practical for everyday use, so I decided that step one of wardrobe overhaul needed to be finding a few pairs of cheap flat shoes to try out some new styles. Cheap being a keyword, because I'm not even sure what styles I'm going to like and use.

So today we went to Payless and thanks to end-of-season sales scored these three pairs for $39!

None of the shoes are the greatest quality or the most comfortable, but they'll be good for testing out all these different style.

I was hoping to find a slightly girlier pair of black boots, but these are still really cool. It's also good because I love the aesthetic of combining girly clothes with clunkier shoes, so these will let me experiment with that look. They'll also work for grungier steampunk looks, which make me happy ^__^

My phone didn't want to get the colour of these boots right, they're a really dark wine red, not this orange-y tone. These were an impluse buy because they were $9, so why not? But I'm actually really keen to start using these ones because I love coloured shoes!

Yeah, I know. These ones aren't flat. But I thought they were worth a try since it's yet another style and colour. Again, my phone took this photo lighter than how they actually are, they're really a much richer caramel. I've never actually owned shoes in this colour before, so it'll be interesting to see if I use them. In my wardrobe I'm planning on using darker, rather than lighter, browns so I'm not sure how much I'll use them but still, worth a shot.

So that's the first [physical, at least] step of my wardrobe overhaul. Well, I did go through my existing wardrobe and take out some things to get rid of, but this is the first addition!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Review #30: Innocent World Socks

Look at me, stepping up in the lolita world, buying brand. Well, if you've seen my Angelic Pretty review you'll know I've bought even more burando, but this sock saga [and yes, it is a saga] started back when Loyal Rosette was just a glimmer on the horizon... 

A while ago, when Innocent World updated their website and their banner mentioned a summer sale, I started getting excited. I had my eye on a few things and had decided that if certain things had a certain amount off, I would get them. Well, it turns out none of the things I wanted went on sale, except for some socks that I thought would help round out the classic side of my wardrobe. But I didn't just want to buy socks... until we celebrated Christmas in July, and James got me them as a gift ^__^

Left: Roman Mosaic Overknee Socks in Chocolat/Cafe au Lait
Right: Versailles Overknee Socks in Beige/Chocolat

I placed the order on the 25th of July and received the automated email reply. Ordering from their webstore was incredibly easy, and they have a great guide on how to do so on the site. Based on what I'd read online about IW's response time, especially during sales periods, I was pleased to get the follow-up email on the 31st. I had originally ordered three pairs of socks, but they told me one pair was out of stock and said I could cancel the order or add more items if I wished. I asked to just go ahead with the rest of the order.

On the 1st of August I received the PayPal invoice, which I was glad to see was itemised, and paid immediately. On the 7th I received an email which said it had been shipped on the 5th. They also apologised for the delay in giving me that information and gave me a tracking number.

I got my package on the 8th, which I consider an excellent turnaround time. However, when I opened the package I noticed that they had sent me Marionette Theater OTKs instead of the Versailles pair. I immediately sent an email letting them know, and double checked the PayPal invoice and the one in the package to make sure the order hadn't somehow gone through wrong but it hadn't. I had hoped to get an email back the same day since their English office was open that day but I didn't. On the 18th, after there had been two open office days, I sent a follow up and soon after got a reply to my original email.

Basically, they said that the warehouse had made a mistake but fortunately one of the store had a layby for the Versailles socks cancelled and they were being sent to the head office. They also apologised and asked if I could send the Marionette Theater socks back to them via COD or if not they would refund me postage via PayPal. So I went to the post office in the 19th, but unfortunately you can't send via COD outside Australia and postage was $13, and James and I deliberated, because we weren't sure if they'd be willing to pay so much for postage and I was unwilling to be out of pocket if that happened.

Initially, we decided that the easiest option would be for me to keep the extra socks and ask IW to invoice me for them. Yes, that meant I'm still paying for socks I didn't want but I actually have them and they may make a nice gift for a fellow lolita, or I can sell them. But then I had the bright idea to tell them COD wasn't an option and to check that they were okay to refund $13 for postage. So I emailed them saying that on the 21st and got a reply on the 28th again apologising for the delay and telling me they couldn't refund me for postage in advance but hopefully it would come with a postage sticker so they could refund me when it arrived.

At this point I decided to revert to the original plan: buy the additional socks. So on the 29th I emailed suggesting that and asking about the status of the original Versailles socks. I got a reply a few hours later saying that they would send them out when they received the Marionette Theater socks back. So I sent another email saying more definitely that I would like to buy them, so please send me a PayPal invoice so I can pay and then send the Versailles socks. I was a bit clearer and more polite than I was just then, though ^__^

I received the following on September 8th: "We must be proud if you like the Marionette Theater socks, but are you 100% alright about taking the socks which ought to get through to you originally?" This confused me, as I wasn't sure what would happen with the Versailles socks and after chatting with James I decided to just leave it and not send a reply. I know that's a bit bad of me, but it was stressing me out. So I'll be selling the Marionette Theater socks sometime soon.

Overall, I'm not too happy with their customer service. I am aware that IW have no way of knowing if I'm a scammer or anything and thus wouldn't want to just send me the Versailles socks, but it was their mistake and it annoyed me that it was complicated to fix to the point where I gave up. Having said that, I do know I could have been more trusting and jut sent the wrong socks back. Also, the delays in responses didn't help matters; I do know they are only in on a limited number of days but sometimes several of those days passed between responses. Yes, they probably have a lot of orders and correspondence to get through in those days of which mine is only one, but since I've heard other people mention waits in their processing of online orders I really feel like they should maybe add another day per week for customer service.

I'm leaving the Marionette Theater socks in their packaging, but quality-wise, based on the Roman Mosaic socks, my impression of IW socks is really positive. They are soft and stretchy, and are OTKs even on my tall-ish, chubby-ish legs. The design is really pretty and doesn't distort badly at all. I have to say, even though I baulk at the prices of brand socks both these ones and the ones from my Metamorphose lucky packs are definitely worth the price. Patterned socks I have from taobao or Bodyline are nowhere near as comfortable nor do they look as nice.

I tried to get the colours as true to life as possible, because they are lovely. The brown is very rich, and the soft colours of the flowers are really nice as well. The pattern is so pretty and detailed... I'm really happy with these socks.

So all in all despite the mistake with my order, and the difficulty of trying to get it rectified, all in all I'm quite happy with what I received. The quality is lovely, and since I'm sure this mistake was a very rare occurrence, I'm looking forward to maybe acquiring more Innocent World pieces in the future.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Review #29: F+F Chiffon Lovers

When FanPlusFriend came out with the Chiffon Lovers series, I fell in love with the skirt. But I'm trying not to buy new skirts, as JSKs are far more flattering on me. But I didn't love any of the colours the JSK came in, or more accurately, I loved but wouldn't wear the colour options [except black, but I already have a black JSK] until I remembered that F+F do custom colours. Lightbulb!

I do not have the complexion for pastels...

So I used their contact form to ask if the JSK could be made in the burgundy that the skirt came in and if so, what the price increase would be. Two days later I got a reply saying that they had added the option to the JSK listing, it would be an additional $5 and the lace may be different from the stock pictures. I sent in a thank you and placed my order on the 11th of August.

Since it was a make-to-order item, there was meant to be a turn around time of 2-3 weeks, which I was fine with, but for some reason my order was marked as "Awaiting Shipment" on the 12th, though it wasn't shipped until the 28th, which made me a bit impatient! But it was still in the 2-3 week time frame, so all good. I received the package on the 4th of September.

And inside the package, there was this little bag! That seems to be a new thing, as I've never gotten a F+F tote with a purchase before.

The dress came neatly wrapped in a branded bag...

And the dress itself! It's an absolutely gorgeous piece of work, fully lined, the chiffon is very soft and silky, the lace is of decent quality. It's accurate to the stock picture and the listed measurements and I really like it. There'a a side zip but I recommend just slipping it over your head if you can because I had a hell of a time getting the zip done back up [in the end I had to get James's help with it!] because of the full back shirring. The only flaw I found was a single thread that needed trimming near the zip.

So all in all, I am very happy with this new addition to my lolita wardrobe. I'm falling very in love with solid coloured pieces, and this is an absolutely beautiful one!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Wardrobe Overhaul Part 1

A non-lolita post for once, but still clothing related! I have no idea how many parts this series is going to have, so bear with me... we're going on an adventure!

Lately, I've found that despite having lots of clothes, I don't have that much to wear. Outside of lolita, my clothes are either jeans-and-tshirt casual or very dressy, without much in between. I've got some fabulous pieces, like really kick-ass jackets, that don't match anything and frequently find myself with nothing to wear. Especially when trying to put together smart casual outfits for castings... I have one red dress with a few jacket options which is my go-to and that's it. But I've never really thought about doing a dramatic overhaul until two thing happened recently. The first is that lolita has made me a lot more fashion conscious, especially in regards to colour palettes, and secondly on EGL in a FFA [at least, I think that's where it was] someone shared a link to the website Into Mind, who focus on helping you create a versatile and cohesive capsule wardrobe. And gradually, I've become enamoured with the idea of turning my "normal people" wardrobe upside down.

Already I've made two decisions about how I want my new wardrobe to be: what my colour palette should be and what my "uniform", or standard go-to outfit style, is. Want to see the colour palette?

Black and chocolate brown are my neutral colours while deep red, vibrant purple and soft peach are my main colours. The ivory, pastel pink, burnt orange and spruce green are my accent colours. These are colours that I love an that suit me pretty well, except perhaps the green, but I love it and won't incorporate too much of it.

Deciding a uniform was easy, because it's what I already do: mini skirt/mini dress with a jacket, and my second go-to is either full pants or mini skirt with an interesting top. So far my take on "interesting top" has been a nerdy t-shirt and I still want to keep my geek game strong, but I want some options that are just plain patterns instead.

My next step [and next post!] is to come up with a list of items to look out for that I need for my new wardrobe. I know, roughly, that I'm okay for black tops and all heavier outerwear but I do need some light jackets, non-black tops, pants and new skirts and dresses. So I have a lot or planning and a lot of shopping to do!