Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Traveling Lolita : a blurb about packing lolita style

Hey there! With October fast approcahing that also means Rufflecon is almost here! Rufflecon is an alternative fashion convention coming up October 3rd in New Haven Connecticut. And as well as writing about my adventures during this event, I felt that it might be also handy to write about how I've packed for said convention. 

For my trip north I will be bringing three lolita outfits, one going out evening outfit and then a couple of shirts and a couple pair of pants when not wearing lolita. I'll let you know now I'm a bit on the ocd side and organizing things is a must for me. So lets start with the lolita outfits!

Accessories are an essential part to every lolita outfit but sometimes they can get lost or misplaced or you just don't have a way to keep it organized and neat while on the go. For me I like to use little craft bead boxes. If you look at the image below you can see I've got my three main accessories for each lolita outfit at the top. Whats nice about these boxes is that they come with dividers which you can arrange the sizes of the compartment to fit your needs. I've also packed a tide  on the go stain remover stick ( You never know when there might be a stain crisis.), my lipsticks, a nail file, eye liner and any other pencil type makeups. I also like to bring along oil absorbing sheets, bobby pins both long and short, safety pins, hair ties, qtips and meggrubs for luck. ( I've brought it with me every time I leave home on a lolita event. It began it's humble life in Louisiana and came to live with me in Texas. So far we've gone to Japan, and now it will be going to New York! )

I am also a big fan of packing within packing. Here you see one of the bags I'm taking and in the first pouch I have my makeup bags and eyelashes. The second compartment I'm putting all of my accessories for my coords that are too big to fit into the above mentioned jewelry compartment  box. So rosettes, flower corsages, anything that is a part of my coordinate but isn't big enough to hang on a hanger. It takes up space and cushions fragile items as well as organizes!

 Another reason I like to do this  is because it ends up cushioning some of the more fragile accessories as well as making packing a little bit more organized for me. In the second bag I'm bringing,I placed all of my wigs in order from Saturday to Monday. I've written on the bags with a sharpie marker to indicate which wig I've picked for each day and placed them in the bag with Monday at the bottom to Saturday at the top which makes for easy retrival when unpacking at my destination.

So hopefully, even when you're bringing a lot, you can cut down on the space by packing this way. Now I'm sure you could also try vacuum sealing but I don't have those bags so maybe next time.

For my lolita outfits I usually keep quite a few of my dresses in garment bags. I took three garment bags ( my going out outfit is doubled up with my sunday coordinate ) and cheap plastic hangers to hang my outfits on.I always pack one or two extra just in case one should break or that you can always loan out as well. That way it holds everything together and if the hangers break they were maybe 10cents. Or if you're in a room with quite a few girls, you aren't fighting for hangers. ( hanger fight! )

So in the photo above you'll see my main piece, blouse, jacket, ties, and tights all together. The garment bag in the second photo keeps everything neat and together and easy to hang when you get to your destination. 

So once all of what I want is bound into their specific garment bag with hanger, I fold the bag over onto itself as close to the hanger as possible to ensure a tight and snug layer and then roll it again until the bag can't be anymore. It looks like a long folded towel really. I then tape the end of the bag to the overlapped side to keep it in place. Since these bags are nylon it won't harm the bag using a heavy duty tape like duct tape.

I do this to each garment bag until I have three neatly folded bags like you see below. Everything is together and that way you don't have to search to see where you left that waist tie or where did you tuck away your blouse.

In the last photos you can see all three bags neatly tucked into my carry on and in the top flap portion you can see my shoe bags with shoes for said coords. In the top pocket on the front of my bag holds my accessory case and thats my everything!  I'm really quite weirded out by the thought of losing my dresses in the sea of checked bags so they usually fly in my carry on to ensure if anything happens; my dresses stay intact and with me.

So now that all my coordinates are packed up, it just leaves my regular clothes and my petticoats! My regular clothes as well as the gold bag I packed previously, will be in my backpack that I'm also carrying on ( and those are boring so I'm not featuring that. ) I am however going to show how I packed my petticoats and other essentials. 

In the first photo I've packed two petticoats into a quart sized ziploc bag. Outside of that bag I wrap a nylon white bag which will ensure that if the ziploc bag breaks or is lost that I can still keep the size of my petticoats down in my luggage. I then wrap that bag again in a large black nylon bag. This bag will be used to house my dirty clothes and unmentionables while on my trip and as a bag for the trip home. My petticoat bag and my brown bag will go into my checked luggage as well as leave a lot of space in the case I buy items while out.

 You can also wear your petticoat but I feel that it takes up much too much space and especially if you're flying coah, sometimes that's not always the best nor most comfortable way to fly. And since I've got a pretty empty checked bag, I thought why not. So all in all here it is, five days worth of necessities, three lolita coordinates, and a partridge in a pear tree.

 I hope this has been a helpful and handy dandy look into how to pack lolita style. And for those of you not attending Rufflecon, I will be making a couple of journal entries about my experiences and time at this first year event. If you happen to be attending, please say Hi! I'm pretty opposite of shy and would love to meet you. Thanks for reading and pop by again soon!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review: Juliette et Justine : A Rabid Rabbit Collection

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to receive a bit of an items haul and with it my Juliette et Justine Cadre du Lapin in Bleu Fume. This is my third favorite dress I own by them [ Un manage robe and Robe de la Danse being first and second ] and I was pretty torn between the rose dragee and blue fume. I took a bit of a gamble on it seeing as how they had not released the colorway as a sample photo; but my friends that attended Anime North where JetJ had showcased these new colorways said that both were astounding. Juliette Justine also ended up releasing a skirt version in a slightly brighter pink. You can view all the colorways of the jsk releases here.

Here is the packaging which with every shipment they also include a little slip which has your order and additional information about the specific item you purchased. The dress itself is double wrapped. It is first encased in a sealed plastic bag and then again in tissue paper and pressed with a small seal sticker and ribbon to look like a little badge or rosette on the tissue paper. It's a nice additional touch that they've done with every release I have purchased with them and I'm a sucker for small details like that. 

 The fabric of the dress has the look of shantung or dupioni silk ( though its listed as polyester from the website ) so it has a bit of a textured look overall. The print is crisp and pretty colorful. I already own the black version of this dress so it was a bit surprising to see the trim after first laying it out. Instead of being a warm cream its more of an ecru / tea dye. The print looks really different in a lighter colorway, and in my opinion stands alone from the original albeit being the same print. In the last photo is both colorways side by side.

 There are a few breaks in the print alignment with the cameos but they try to keep it as minimal as possible. If you check in the front of the bodice you can also see that they lined the front with the material that matches the sash, another nice touch.

The dress is a back zip instead of a side zip and the print also continues over the back bodice. As you can also notice in the photo is that there is no shirring. To be truly honest one of the reasons its my favorite brand is because of this. On a personal level I really would prefer a dress to be fitted to me than to have shirring and they are one of the few brands that offer this. When reserving an item with Juliette et Justine they also offer limited custom alterations to your item give or take 3 to 4cm. I am fortunate enough to be within their fitting sizes but its nice to know that I can get a brand dress fitted to my specific measurements, that way I don't have to worry about corset lacing or waist ties.

 But for you ladies and gents that do not fit, there are also other options! Some of their dresses offer a design that includes partial shirring and fully shirred; there has even been a release that included a size 4 which goes up to 100cm bust and 80cm waist. The designer, Miss Nakamura, has expressed in quite a few of her interviews that she was interested in expanding and making more sizing options so I feel even in the near future more sizes will be made to accommodate which is awfully awesome.

I actually had a bit of a hard time finding the seam of this dress which makes me ridiculously happy. It follows down right through the middle of one of the cameos and they did a great job of lining up the print. You can also see how clean the lines are on the underside in the second photo with minimal stray threads. I think I found two? This sort of construction and attention to detail gives an overall seamless look which I always look for in a dress. Lack of print alignment can sometimes make a good cute dress look really sloppy when you see one half of a rabbit face poking out at one end and half of another on the other end. 

Now here are some photos of the slip as well as the bottom hem. There is an additional layer of nylon lining added right above the bottom hem of the dress almost like a built in petticoat but only sewn in along the bottom and not the whole dress. I think it was just made to have the bottom look a bit more full.

Last but not least are photos of the sash. It's the print repeated twice on both sides and can be used as an accessory or not at all with this piece. It also carries the same corresponding hem color as the dress. I sort of find the sash to be a bit much with the dress and have been trying to find new ways to incorporate it into the coord instead of wearing it as the actual sash.

Overall Construction : 5 Straight seams, clean lines through out, a lot of thought and detail is put forth and it shows.

Design: 4.5 I think this cut is a little on the plain side though still very flattering as with the previous release. I was a little put off by the tea dyed / Ecru trim since it didn't look this dark in the stock photos. I love the included sash accessory even though, I myself, suck at using it.
Quality: 5 Everything is very soft, and fabric used gives it a very luxurious oppulent look.
Print, crispness and placement: 5 On point all the way. Why doesn't one of the rabbit have a top hat? I would really like a top hat and monocle..haha

 All in all I'm actually pretty happy I ended up getting the blue since it suits my wardrobe palate more. I originally wanted the pink thinking the color hems would be pretty close to the original black colorways so I could use the black sash with the pink dress and  vice cersa and have them correspond with one another. Seeing the difference in person I'm glad I went with my gut. Maybe one day I'll try to hunt down the pink.

I hope you guys stay tuned, Rufflecon is mere weeks away and I can't wait to get started on my first experience to New York and visting BTSSBNYC. At Rufflecon I am going to see Triple Fortune again and Enchantlic Enchantilly! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cloaks, Jackets, and Tartan, oh my! New outerwear fall releases

With autumn slowly approaching, new accessories and fall staples come to mind when wearing lolita. New prints and color schemes will now be trending as the leaves turn and temperatures drop. Soon you'll be able to dress to match the changing seasons and change in weather. Most notably, you will see more tartans, checks, and jewel tones cropping up in new releases. And if we're lucky even some velvets, houndstooth, and tweed but that isn't usually until winter.

Loyal Rosette

And with the rise of fall.. means outerwear! Unfortunately as I am from Texas, it's still pretty full blown summer but I can't wait for jacket weather. And with every substyle comes a different jacket, mantle, or coat. Be it gothic, classic, sweet; the possibilities are endless! Here below is Atelier Boz's Nicoloa cape to get the ball rolling.

I have also compiled a list of some notable brands and hints to their new upcoming fall catalog: 

Victorian Maiden 2014 Coat reserve list as well as stock list 

I'm personally really excited to see how the viridian colorway for the Metamorphose coat looks when it's released. I have too many black jackets...hah. And as lovely the new slough of warm wintery outerwear comes forth, for some of us where jackets aren't such a staple, it also means new and inventive ways to layer for the changing weather. Boleros, cardigan and sweaters <3

Are there any new fall items you'r really looking forward to?


So this last weeked, one of our sister communities the New Orleans Lolitas tagged my community the ATX lolitas in the ALS ICE BUCKET Challenge. And of course being the best Austin lolita community that we can be, we rose to the challenge. You can view the video here: 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Who dropped the ball on this design? Lief Gardenberries : Review

Today I wanted to touch base about the brand Lief an indie lolita designer from Korea. You can view their facebook and actually order from them directly here. A while back a company by Lief / Mew ( which is not affiliated with the current Lief brand ) released a very popular print named Gardenberries. It was highly sought after and in this year it was redesigned and rereleased through the new company.

I'm not essentially writing up a comparison of the old print to the new, but more of a review /rant over the current dress stand alone with a bit of comparison from a previous release. For reference, I actually am right at  the edge of their sizing for the S/M and was suggested by them when I order to order the size up. So given that from my previous experience with them I ordered up. With that stated, lets get started. 

This was my original package when I received it from the post. I like the fact they use pink boxes as to remind me of getting pastries or sweets from a bakery. I'm not sure if that is intentional or not but I love it. This is my second order from the new company and I was so excited to get these gems. I'm a big lover of rabbit prints and my Lief Noble High Tea series is one of my favorite dresses so I had high expectations for these.

Here are both dresses taken out of the box as well as the fine cellophane packaging and gifts that were included. Opened up the print is super striking on both colorways and very vibrant. I actually had to take these photos a couple of times because my hands were so shaky I was so excited. 

Here is the print close up. Granted its a little wrinkled from being packed up, but the lines are clean and print is crisp. It's a plain cotton dress so wrinkling is pretty common. In the second photo you can see that they tried to match up the print pretty well and they didn't cut into a panel. I also wanted to point out that the hem is very plain which you can see in the second photo. No lace, no chiffon..no trim of any sort. I knew the dress wouldn't have any of these things from the reserve photos, but I was just a bit dissapointed that there were not a lot of extra details that you usually see with their other series put into this this one.

And this is about where I started having issues with these dresses. So it should also be noted that every dress will be different with the bodice and sometimes the little doily print will be cut or only be on one side.. and as worried as I was about this during reservation it was the least of my qualms when I actually started looking at this dress overall. The construction of the bodice is good. And with the carrot they even used a carrot colored matching thread which you can see under the bib up close, but is barely noticeable. 

 The straps are pretty thin and plain, which is fine, but I wish they would have used thicker straps as to not make the rest of the dress look so heavy in comparison. Also, I feel the yoke is pretty ugly with this cut in my opinion and would have preferred the plain original print fabric. They also made the yoke/bib white on the milky dress. And it clashes..terribly. It's almost kind of a deal breaker if you wanted to wear a warmer blouse with it because the bib clashes so much. There are a lot of warm colors..then stark white.

In the first photo you can see that they actually changed the lining around the bib to make sure it looks as white as possible.. It is a nice touch even if I do dislike the yoke. And here in the second photo is the half shirring. I want to notice how there is no corset lacing. I was really surprised by this because these dresses are made to accommodate a varying degree of sizes. I do not know why anyone would skip this unless they were making more fitted dresses like Juliette et Justine. There are no ribbon loops on either side of the dress either so I'm just not sure how you're supposed to take this dress in.

Here is a comparison photo of my Lief Noble High Tea series dress and Lief Gardenberries. They are both size L / Xl as stated previously, but you can see in the photo I use the corset lacing to help it fit me. I'm not sure what was going on when Gardenberries was being put together and designed, but it looks and feels rushed and maybe not a lot of time was put forth in the actual design as much as the print. And by this point, my joy had now turned to sadness. I was really excited about these new additions to my wardrobe but there were too many little things rubbing me the wrong way about this dress.

Then I put it on.

As you can see, it's huge. Very huge. So much that I didn't have to unzip it to put it on over the tank top and shorts I was wearing underneath. And since there is no corset lacing or waist ties or straps.. I looked like someone wearing a trashbag. It was very disheartening. I ended up having to take these to Jenny my seamstress at Fine Stitch where 12cm of fabric were removed from the bodice to help better fit. ( and I can still pull this over my head wihout unzipping it ) But sadly even with that, I will still have to add grommets and corset lacing to the back of both of these as well as probably make my own waist ties for this dress.

Here is a coord I put together since wearing it isn't really an option at this point, haha. I am also making a point to hide those ugly yokes whenever possible.

Overall Construction : 4  All the seams were straight, they took the time to make the linings match.
Design: 1 It doesn't have corset lacing. The straps are thin and look kind of chinsy. There are no waist ties or waist ribbon holes to attach to the dress to make the waist smaller. It is super plain in comparison to their other dresses by a lot.
Quality: 4.5 For a cotton dress it's okay but the lace could have been nicer.
Print, crispness and placement: 5 On point  for the most part and even matched it on the seams. The doiley placements were kinda.. meh. Mine personally were not enough to be salty about.

All in all I am severely dissapointed in this line. Originally I didn't want to write this review because I thought maybe I was overreacting.. but seriously these lack a lot of thought and details that are put into in a lolita dress. I hope Lief steps up their game, they lost a lot of faith from me with this series. I really hope to see better in the future with them.

I did want to say that even though these dresses are a fail, I did have the opportunity to design some new brooch rosettes to match this particular print and I'm tickled pink about them. Here is the base of one that I've started.

I hope you found this review / rant informitive and thank you for reading <3