Monday, 28 September 2015

Review #39: The Floral Notebook

When The Floral Notebook announced she was opening for orders briefly again in August I was very, very excited. So excited that I ended up ordering three new blouses, her Princess of the Rose blouse in ivory, sax and black.

Like the first time I ordered from her she was lovely to deal with, though she didn't send me my tracking number until I asked if my blouses had shipped. She easily accommodated my request that my black blouse have black buttons. Her prices had gone up slightly since the last time I ordered from her, and at the time, including shipping it worked out to about $70AUD per blouse. And it was totally worth it.

One of my three new beauties.

Firstly, and of course your mileage may vary on this, the colours are perfect. I asked for "black, sax and ivory" and as we all know in lolita sax and ivory can vary quite dramatically. But I got exactly the shades I wanted; an ivory that is closer to white than beige and a sax that is light and bright but still slightly muted. Obviously, that's just luck or coincidence since I was very vague on colours but it made me so happy that they were so perfect.

How neat is that sleeve elastic?

Secondly and far more importantly, the quality has improved since the first blouse I ordered from her. I've only found one tiny flaw so far, which is where some stitching has been unpicked and left those tiny pin-prick marks, but other than that the sewing is impeccable and they are a very polished and professional product.

Pretty buttons and nice ruffles.

Lastly, the sizing is pretty spot on. I got the XL, which is a little smaller than I needed and it fits just like it theoretically should. That is, it fits well, but tightly with a tiny bit of gaping between the bust buttons. So if you are hovering slightly above one of her standard sizes you should be fine to size down, but if you're right between two sizes it'd be best to go up. Button gaping is fine for me because I am a. losing weight and b. mostly planning on wearing them with JSKs anyway.

The black blouse in a dark classic springtime outfit.

As far as timing went on my order I placed it on the 15th of August, and paid the PayPal invoice she sent on the 17th. On the 17th of September I asked when they would be done as I hadn't heard anything for a while and she replied on the 20th with my tracking number and saying they had been shipped the previous week. I received the package on the 25th of September. So all in all that's a pretty decent turnaround time.

Overall I am really glad I got to order from The Floral Notebook again, and am very pleased with what I got for the price I paid. If I am still wanting more blouses when she next opens for orders I will definitely be getting myself some more.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Lolita 52: Combining other fashions with lolita

This topic could be read two ways; what do you think of combining other fashions with lolita and also how would you combine other fashions with lolita?

For the first interpretation of the topic the short answer is I'm all for it! Getting creative with fashion, any fashion, is awesome and if you can combine two styles you love into one outfit then that's awesome. At the same time, however, sometimes things don't work well together so I also think that there's no need to force things together into an ungodly whole unless it's something you get pleasure out of doing. Often the styles that produce the best outfits when combined with lolita are fashions with more thematic elements than structural ones, such as fairy kei, Western Goth or creepy cute. It's fairly simple to carry a theme or colour scheme over into a lolita silhouette but harder to mesh the lolita shape with something that has an equally distinctive outline such as meshing traditional Japanese clothing with lolita for to create wa lolita; it can be done, but often isn't done too well.

Personally, the only real mash-up of another fashion I've done with lolita is steampunk. Now, before you imagine a horror of cogs and cheap corsets know that I am, as much as one can be, as very practical person when it comes to steampunk. I hate when people just stick a cog on something and all it done. Whenever I do steampunk, which to be completely honest is only really ever for photoshoots or events, I try to make sure that the outfits make at least a little sense and convey a certain sense of character. And as such, the Victorian-esque aesthetic some lolita clothes can have really lends itself well to combining with my personal steampunk aesthetic.

The photo above (which was taken, and harness made, by my lovely boyfriend James aka The Enthusiast) is my favourite lolita x steampunk look because I think it melds both together really well. It fits better into the steampunk aesthetic than the lolita one but I don't think it is un-lolita at all. The silhouette and modesty are both still there, just the accessories are different.

I also tend to use my lolita items, particularly blouses, in steampunk looks as well, like in the picture below, which is again credit to The Enthusiast. This is my dark green F+F blouse.

So that's how I combine other fashions with lolita. Do you ever merge another style into our lolita fashion or do you prefer to keep things separate?

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Strawberry jam outfits

New dress means new outfits for this blog. That's just how it works around here. So please welcome to the page, Jam Paradise by Rococo Soul!

This print is adorable and, as you can see, has a lot more colours to it thank just the obvious brown and red. However, I found the shade of brown tricky to match as it's quite light. All my brown blouses and boleros were too dark, as was my red blouse. However, I still managed to put together my standard three outfits exploring different looks and I also have some new blouses on their way to me which will increase my coording possibilities.

First up is a very straightforward look look. I'd probably do two braids with the blue bows on the bottom for a hairstyle for this. I like how this look is really towing the line between sweet and classic; the elements are sweet but the styling is more classic leaning.

And then there is this outfit, which I adore! I would wear this in a heartbeat. There isn't any pink in the print, but I still felt like it matched really well. This kind of casual lolita is totally my jam (haha, see what I did there?).

Lastly I wanted to take a more otome path. I'm not 100% sold on that cardigan: I bought it from an op shop and it's been sitting in my "to modify" pile since it's too long for my tastes. I pulled it out because I thought it'd go great with this dress (which, as far as colour goes, it does) but I'm honestly not sure how much I like it as a garment and I'm still debating whether it's worth the effort of shortening it. Have any of my readers ever shortened a cardigan and feel like giving me an opinion on it?

All in all this JSK has a lot of coording potential. There are so many colours in the print that it goes with pretty much anything and because of its cut it can run the range from full lolita to full otome. In all honesty I'm probably going to wear it in a casual way most often but it was fun to have a play around with it and explore a few possibilities.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Rococo Soul Jam Paradise JSK

I'm back! Work has been keeping me busy and going from lazy student to productive full-time worker, with a commute and everything, has been quite the lifestyle change and has left me with neither the time nor inclination to blog much. But I have a couple of posts scheduled after this so hopefully I won't vanish for six weeks again.  And one of the pluses of proper employment is increased disposable income, so there will be two new reviews soon as well as the other posts I have scheduled and even if they are short posts I'll try and share any purchases etc. so basically what I'm rambling about is that my hiatus is broken and I'm planning on keeping this blog going, even if I only post once every week or two.

Anyway, onwards to the actual post! Recently a girl in the Australian facebook lolita community posted the Rococo Soul JSK in brown for sale, amongst other things. And since I now have the aforementioned disposable income and liked that dress since I first saw it I decided to go for it. The transaction went smoothly and last Tuesday I came home to a package full of dress.

This isn't exactly a review, since I bought this secondhand and the previous owner has apparently worn it twice. But overall it's a really nice dress, and it fits and suits me well. The fabric is nice, the ribbon trim is nice and the construction seems both sturdy and neat. The waist-ties are thin and detachable and the straps are adjustable.  Style-wise, it's straddling the border between lolita and otome and I like that it can be toned down or dressed up. One thing that really doesn't come across in photos is that there are lots of colours in the print; red, blue and cream are the most obvious but there is also yellow and a couple of different green shades too. And for someone like me, who loves clothes with lots of colour coordinating options it's just perfect.

There are only two downsides to this dress for me. The first is just a personal taste thing and that's that the fabric has the print so that no matter which way you face it some of the label will be upside down, and I honestly would have preferred the fabric to face the other way up. The second issue is that due to the full back shirring the dress wrinkles at the side. The shirring makes the bodice bunch up, if you know what I mean? I'm not maxing out the measurements but I am at the larger end that this dress caters for, so I'm not sure if that's the reason but whatever the cause, it is a bit annoying.

Those two points aside I will re-iterate that it's a very nice dress overall and now that I know what Rococo Soul is like I will definitely contemplate getting their future releases. They are a pricier Taobao brand, which is why I'd never bought from them before (I like my Taobao cheap, thank you!) but I think the quality is definitely well in line with the pricing.

As a last note, I played with some outfits while after taking the shots for this post, but those will be in another post...