Saturday, March 14, 2015

Twin Meetup + Sweet Mildred Review

Last weekend, the Portland/Oregon Tea & Cake Society held a twin meetup! Everyone was encouraged to dress up with a "twin" (or triplet) in the same print/dress.

My friend Holly and I twinned in Angelic Pretty's Petit Patisserie print!



Photos by Tom Good

One of my favorite photos of the night was taken while our photographer, Tom, was testing the lighting - the best photos are usually the unplanned ones, since that's when you feel more comfortable in front of the camera!


I wore my new Lockshop Sweetheart wig for this meetup for the first time. I really like it, but it's not as nice as my other Lockshop wig (Sylph), to be honest. It's still one of my nicest wigs, though!


Coordinate Rundown:
Beret - handmade by my friend Paige
Barrette - Angelic Pretty
Other hair accessories - KOKOkim
Cutsew - DreamV
Jumperskirt - Angelic Pretty
Socks - Tutuanna
Shoes - Secret Shop
Bag - SWIMMER


Sweet Mildred Review

Next weekend, my husband and I are flying to Colorado for a party to celebrate our marriage. We didn't want a full-blown wedding, so we decided on this party instead!
I've been collecting pieces for my coordinate for this party and decided to order a custom headdress from Sweet Mildred to go along with it.

Timeline
November 29th - First contacted Millie about a custom order
December 4th - Millie first responds - we go back and forth for a few days about details
December 10th - I purchase the listing
February 5th - I contact her, as I have heard nothing regarding my order
February 11th - She responds, says she will send photos on Tuesday
February 26th - I contact her again, noting my concern about timing
February 28th - She finally sends WIP photos
March 4th - Order is completed
March 10th - Order is shipped
March 12th - I receive the order

As you can see, I had a lot of trouble with communication and timeliness. Regardless of the final product (which I will review in a moment), 3 months between ordering and shipment is not acceptable, particularly without any communication at all for two months.
I was very, very disappointed in this lack of professionalism. It put a lot of pressure on me to automatically ok the WIP photos, as I was quickly running out of time, regardless of whether I liked what I saw or not.
Had Millie contacted me and let me know if she was having issues, I could have searched for an alternative just in case (I had no idea if the final product would actually work until I received it, after all). However, I only received my order a mere 8 days before my flight - not even close to enough time to find a replacement if necessary.

The Product

Here is the end result.
Despite the headache with timing, I'm overall pleased with what I received. It is well-made and fits the specifications I provided and will match my coordinate well.


However, I'm not a huge fan of the fronds - I didn't like them much on the WIP photos either, but again, was reluctant to suggest any changes due to how long it took to even receive those photos in the first place.
I may cut them off myself - I haven't decided yet.


It's difficult to see in photos, but they're covered in a large grain silver glitter, which comes across as rather cheap, in my opinion.


The underside of the headband.


Millie also included a free gift of a headbow, which I appreciated.

Conclusion
While the product was absolutely worth what I paid and beautifully made, I don't think I can recommend Sweet Mildred (or at least custom orders), simply for the lack of communication and timeliness. Planning a wedding reception is a lot of work and very stressful - I shouldn't have needed to stress so much about one tiny aspect of my outfit.
Up until recently, I had only heard positive things about this shop, so it was quite a disappointment for me to experience. In the end, I was very lucky that it did end up matching well, as you can never know with a long-distance commission if it will.


With that being said, stay tuned for photos from our party!!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Birthday Weekend

Monday was my birthday, so this past weekend was very eventful!

On Friday, I had friends over for curry, cupcakes, and Cards Against Humanity. I wore my new Angelic Pretty Sweet Girl Room onepiece for the occasion.


Everything from Angelic Pretty except jewelry and shoes (Secret Shop).

I was able to find the matching socks from LolitaDesu, and Angelic Pretty USA still had the headbow in stock, so in the end, I could complete the full set! I spent a little more than I would have liked to, since I was buying little things from so many places, but I think it was worth it.



Then, on Saturday, the Portland/Oregon Tea & Cake Society held a belated Valentine's Day meetup.
For this event, I wore my new Innocent World jumperskirt.


Jumperskirt - Innocent World "Chiffon Stripe Rose"
Blouse - Angelic Pretty
Headbow - Liz Lisa
Tights - offbrand (a gift)
Shoes - offbrand (eBay)


My circle lenses had little hearts in them! Even though they didn't completely match my coordinate, I thought they were too appropriate for the event that I couldn't resist wearing them.
I also wore my new Lockshop wig - it's the Sylph style in Royal Brown. I was so pleased with this wig that I recently ordered a new one - I'll review it once it comes in!


This cake was really good, but had soo much icing!


I had a delicious drink called "Barbie Girl" - my friend got this cute hanging kitty while in Japan.


Finally, on Monday (my actual birthday), I went to a local patisserie called Pix Patisserie with my good friend Katie. This place is walking distance from my office, so on bad days I like to go get macarons on my break haha.




We haven't been able to see each other in a while due to our conflicting work schedules, so it was really good to be able to catch up over macarons and tea!



I didn't get a photo of my full outfit that day, but I wore the items I had just received from Dreamv:



I ordered a suspender skirt with a cute tea pot screen print and a collared cutsew.




As you can see, my weekend was really busy - and next weekend will be too, as it's Katie and another friend's birthday on Sunday!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Recent Mail + Maiden Clothing Review

I recently got my tax refund, and seeing as how my birthday is coming up soon, I treated myself to some new lolita pieces!

Maiden Clothing, a secondhand lolita shop based in Osaka, Japan, happened to have two of my wishlist items for sale - Angelic Pretty's Sweet Girl Room onepiece in ivory and Innocent World's Chiffon Stripe Rose jumperskirt in pink.
While I've never ordered from Maiden Clothing's webshop before, I have been to their shop in person. Their main storefront is shared with Pure Sound, a secondhand visual kei merchandise shop (they have a second that's only Maiden Clothing). If you're interested in visiting, it's right across from Big Step in Shinsaibashi/Amemura, down the street from Angelic Pretty.

(photo from my last visit to Osaka in September 2013 - featuring "Angeric Pretty" lol)


Timeline

Ordered: February 4th
Order confirmed: February 5th
Invoice received: later February 5th
Order shipped: February 6th
Order received: February 10th (although I missed delivery)

As you can see, everything went super quickly!! Maiden Clothing's communication was timely and efficient, and their English is very good. It's important to note that all communication comes from "Pure Sound", their visual kei store's name, but it's the same company. It also shows up on your credit card bill as being from Pure Sound.
I was very happy with my experience!


Purchases


Both pieces were ranked as a "4" on Maiden Clothing's site - essentially, used, but in very good condition. I haven't found any flaws on either piece.



I was pretty wary about the onepiece's sizing - I'm rather petite, so I was crossing my fingers that it would at least be a kawaii sack on me lol.
Thankfully, with the waist ties, it looks really cute worn!! I'm really happy, because this also opens up the doors for me to explore other pieces I've ignored in the past for fear of the sizing.
The fabric is a light chiffon and very comfortable! As usual with Angelic Pretty, the print is very detailed and a lot of fun to find new elements in. The bow at the neckline is detachable with a pin.




The jumperskirt from Innocent World is absolutely gorgeous! The fabric is a printed chiffon, with stripes woven in. The bow on the straps is detachable with a pin, which is a nice touch. Because there's corset lacing in the back, this piece fits like a dream! The ruched bodice adds to the nice fit as well.

I plan on wearing these dresses for events this weekend, so be on the lookout for further posts with coordinate details!


Review Conclusion

Obviously, I 100% recommend Maiden Clothing's online store! It's an often overlooked place when searching for dream dresses, but a definite treasure trove. The prices were competitive and the shipping reasonable. Communication was timely and smooth.
I plan on ordering from them again in the near future!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Kimura U in Portland

In January, Portland State University held their annual Japan Night - this year, Kimura U was the guest of honor!
Kimura U is the designer of kawaii brand KOKOkim, model for many brands such as Angelic Pretty and magazines such as Kera, and was appointed kawaii ambassador for Japan in 2009! In the world of kawaii fashion, she's a big influence.

They held auditions for models for the fashion show at Japan Night, and I was fortunate enough to have been chosen!
On Friday, we had model fittings, then (most of) the models, Kimura U, and her managers all went to dinner together. It was a great opportunity to get to know Kimura-san in a more intimate setting.

She was very insistent on eating meat lol.

This beer was sooo good!! It was a raspberry lambic - usually I hate beer, but I loved this!

We got home pretty late, but had to be at the campus really early - even Kimura-san had trouble waking up in time!
We spent a while helping set up the merchandise to sell, then we had to start getting ready for the fashion show.

This was my outfit!
I'm wearing the special "Happy Renewal Bear" sweatshirt, illustrated by Kimura-san herself for the opening of KOKOkim's shop on Takeshita Doori. It was really comfy! Originally I was supposed to wear something else, but then the shorts fit me the best of all the models.

Backstage with Kimura-san right before the show - she's wearing the "Fall in Chocolate" onepiece in pink.

The show went really well, but the lighting was pretty bad...unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any good photos of the show. ;_;
I was really nervous, as usual, but I think I pulled off KOKOkim's cute and energetic vibe ok!!

All the models after the show, doing Kimura-san's signature "U" pose.

As models, we got first dibs on merchandise, which was really nice since there was only one of some of the items!

I didn't buy a lot, but I did get the cake long-sleeve cutsew in ivory and the heart hairclips in pink x brown. I later bought my friend's Fall in Chocolate onepiece in brown, too!

The models were all given a copy of the winter catalogue, along with signed boxes of conversation hearts.

The booth did really well, and Kimura-san had a lot of fun in Portland, so we're working on getting her back to the area in the future, maybe for Newcon next January!
 It was also a really great experience for me - I was able to add another show to my resume and make some important connections in the Japanese fashion world. And as nerve wracking as it always is, I also got the practice my Japanese, which is starting to get rusty. I also was able to get closer to the models I already knew, and make a new friend with the model I didn't.

Thanks so much, PSU and Kimura U!!