Tuesday, 24 March 2015

How I would build up my Lolita Wardrobe

After looking at a post recently going around Tumblr called “How Much Does Lolita Really Cost?” by LemonTree11, I decided to write about some of the major ways one can obtain Lolita pieces and how I would approach them.
The first method is making your own Lolita pieces by sewing or through other methods, which can be one of the cheapest methods of increasing your Lolita wardrobe. This is because it has no shipping costs if everything is bought locally and you can work within your budget.  Personally, I have only one Lolita item that is handmade, which is a skirt. I would like to make more items but haven’t got around to it due to time constraints/lack of motivation. Another reason to have more handmade items is because you can make items that would work with your current Lolita items and there are a lot of Lolita sewing patterns available online and in sewing books. 
Above: The first (and only) hand made Lolita skirt I own.

Another way to get more Lolita items is to buy second hand, which can save money as long as the items bought are not rare items/heavily marked up. It can also allow you to find items that were released in previous years. Two ways to buy second hand that I would consider are buying from an Australian seller on Lacemarket/Facebook in order to avoid high shipping costs from overseas. The other way is to buy from Closet Child but the only problem is that the shipping costs are expensive and they do not allow for the option to lower it (the website states in the Japanese shopping info page that forwarding companies are not allowed, which would exclude Tenso).  I would buy second hand if I wanted the item and it was not too expensive (shipping included). So far, the only two things I have bought second hand are two AP rings that I feel fit into my current wardrobe.
Buying Brand that is not second hand is not something I would consider for a Lolita piece unless there was a very good reason. For example, I bought my Cream Cookie collection JSK because the JSK suited my body type well and the AP brand event I attended was in less than a week.  The only exception to this rule would be accessories as they are usually not too expensive and I did buy an AP necklace in this way. One of the downsides to this is the cost of shipping. While Baby effectively bans the use of forwarding addresses by requiring a Japanese bank account for domestic orders, AP does not send to overseas addresses and requires a forwarding address for overseas customers. This impacts shipping because Baby only allows EMS while the use of a forwarding address gives the option to reduce shipping costs. One brand that I would buy brand new if it could be called that is Body Line but I would look closely at the items before buying and would mainly use it for items such as shoes. However, they allow for an option of EMS or Airmail, which is good.

The final way of building a Lolita wardrobe would be with Taobao because it is cheap and is good for buying items such as replica shoes and other “basics”. The only downside is that shipping from China is expensive, which is why I would consider only buying through Taobao in the future with a group order. From personal experience, I found Taobao items to be of good quality for a decent price as I bought from shops that are well known among Lolitas but the shipping was expensive and ironically the cheapest for my order was EMS. If there was an original print that I wanted, I would buy it from Taobao provided that I could do so with a group order as well as any other items that I wanted. However, I would not buy brand replicas because they may be of lower quality and would get you kicked out of brand events.
Above: A photo of the Creamy Cat JSK I own. Sorry about the quality of the photo but it is the only one I have at the moment.

To summarise, the main methods of building my Lolita wardrobe that I would use in the future include sewing and buying second hand with Body Line/Taobao for shoes if the quality and price are reasonable.