Lolita Fashion on Taobao (Part 2)

Here’s Part 2 to my guide to Lolita Fashion on Taobao! It’s going to be really simple: a list of lolita fashion shops I own items from. Check out Part 1 for tips for shopping on Taobao and keywords you can use when you’re browsing and searching.

Here are brands I’ve purchased from (please note most of these I didn’t buy from Taobao, since I purchased them secondhand, and for the ones I purchased directly from Taobao, I used a shopping service):

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The tights (and bottom of the dress) I modeled

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This Dear Celine cutsew matches my Angelic Pretty skirt & half-bonnet so well!

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Blouse from Yilia

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JSK and Headbow from Magic Tea Party

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Bonnet from Elpress L

  • FoxCherry – They have really cute accessories! I purchased some wrist cuffs from them recently, and also have a hair clip I got secondhand years ago.
  • Flower Field – I purchased a hoop skirt from them last year.

I think that’s it for Taobao lolita brands I’ve purchased from, although I’m pretty sure some of the accessories I bought secondhand came from Taobao (but when I purchased them, the original owner wasn’t sure of the brand, and without tags, no idea where they came from). I’ve also purchased socks from Secret Shop and shoes from Secret Shop secondhand, but I can’t seem to locate their shop on Taobao anymore.

I was going to add in wig shops here too, but I think I’ll make a different post about wigs and keep it separate from this section.

Do you have a favorite Taobao brand? I’d love to hear about it!

 

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Lolita Fashion on Taobao (Part 1)

Hey everyone! One of my friends recently got into lolita fashion and wanted a guide to affordable lolita items. I still have my MBOK guide up, I wrote up my first experience with Taobao, and I wrote a post for a Lolita Blog Carnival prompt about Favorite Taobao Shops & Pieces, but I never created a guide to great places to get lolita items on Taobao.

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So, what is Taobao?

Taobao is like a Chinese eBay or Amazon. There are tons of different stores and sellers!

Since the pricing is all in Chinese Renminbi (also known as Chinese Yuan), you’ll need to check conversion rates to see how much it’ll cost in your own currency. Definitely keep in mind shipping fees and shopping service fees, if you choose to use a shopping service. I heard there’s a way you can purchase from Taobao directly now and have them forward packages to you, but I’m still most comfortable with a shopping service since they can help answer my questions about products and give me peace of mind.

In my own experience, I’ve purchased clothes (lolita as well as non-lolita), shoes, wigs, false lashes, cosplays, and accessories from Taobao. I’ve also purchased a bag from Taobao too (my beloved Japanese-style school bag that was my go-to convention bag for over a year)!

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Wig from Taobao (fashion wig I used for my Sara Crispino [Yuri on Ice] cosplay)

Taobao is a lot of fun to browse, but can get overwhelming. I’ve definitely spent way too much time browsing Taobao… For example, being on Taobao and looking at all the things I want to add to my wishlist, and then I glance at the clock and wonder how the heck it is already past 2am?!

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Wig from Taobao (photo by theamazingknight)

Another thing that took a lot of time to figure out is… navigating! I speak Teochew/Chao Zhou, but not Mandarin (and I never learned how to read or write Chinese; I only know how to read numbers and a few characters). It was really difficult at first and I literally put things through Google Translate. Of course, Google Translate only works so far (like how it translates “product” as “baby” since the character for “precious item” is also “baby,” and products are listed as such). And Google Translate does not work on text within images. Most of the time, sizing is displayed in an image, so here are some sizing-related translations to help (Chinese (simplified) is on the left, and English is on the right):

  • 尺码 — sizing
  • 高 — height
  • 胸 — bust/chest
  • 腰 — waist
  • 臀 — hips
  • 长 — length
  • 宽 — width
  • 围 — circumference
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Skirt from SurfaceSpell

Something else that confused me when I first browsed Taobao was the number of “deposit” or “reservation” items there were. I didn’t realize this meant they weren’t currently in stock. 定金 (deposit) and 预约 and 预定 (reservation) mean you have to pay a deposit to be able to eventually get the item. From my understanding, you need to purchase the item from the reservation page before you’ll be able to purchase the item on the 尾款 (post-reservation, I guess? the actual item) page. I’ve never purchased something from Taobao that was a reservation since I was always paranoid about not paying the shopping service in time for the post-reservation item page. If anyone has experience with reservation items on Taobao, let me know! I’m curious to hear what the actual process is like. I remember once I tried to buy an item from the 尾款 page and my shopping service said I can’t since I didn’t participate in the reservation.

Here are some useful terms you can use while searching for clothing and accessory items relevant to lolita fashion on Taobao:

  • Dress (OP): 连衣裙
  • JSK: 無袖洋裝
  • Salopette: 背心裙 or 背带裙
  • Skirt:  裙 or 裙子 or 半身裙
  • Blouse: 衬衫 or 女衬衫
  • Petticoat: 襯裙
  • Bloomers:安全裤 or 南瓜裤 or 燈籠褲 or 灯笼裤
  • Cardigan: 小外套
  • Bolero: 短外套
  • Capelet/short cloak: 短斗篷
  • Lolita shoes:  洋装鞋
  • Round headdress: 丸 型发饰
  • Bonnet: 系带帽子
  • Gothic headdress (usually with veils!): 哥特头饰
  • Flower crown: 花环 头饰
  • Beret: 贝雷帽
  • Straw hat:  草帽
  • Lace socks: 复古蕾丝短袜
  • Lace gloves: 蕾丝手套
  • Wrist cuffs: 蕾丝手镯
  • Parasol: 洋傘

When I search, I also add in “lolita” sometimes to see what shows up.

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Cutsew from Dear Celine

Here are some style terms that were fun to use for Taobao searches too:

  • Gothic: 哥特
  • Victorian: 維多利亞
  • Rococo: 洛可可
  • Country: 田园
  • Punk: 朋克
  • Steampunk: 蒸汽朋克
  • Retro/Vintage: 复古
  • Sailor:  水手服
  • Floral: 碎花
  • Oil painting style (those classical painting prints!): 油画风
  • Lace: 蕾丝
  • Tartan/Plaid: 苏格兰格子
  • Cross/Crucifix: 十字架 粉

If anyone wants stuff added to this list, just let me know! I’m happy to update this. Over the years, everything I learned about Taobao were from a trial and error through Google Translate and Chinese dictionaries, lurking on LiveJournal, reading blogs, and browsing Taobao-related things on Tumblr. I did pop over to CGL on 4Chan for a bit to see if I could learn about Taobao but 4Chan really scares me and the posting format confuses me so I spent barely any time on there.

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One of my fave purchases from Taobao: a JSK from Chess Story!

I will definitely write another guide after this one, so stay tuned! My next one will be simple: a list of my favorite Taobao shops that are relevant to lolita. I’ll note if I’ve purchased from them before, or not yet. Stay tuned!

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Born Pretty Store: Cat Ear Headband and Chain Hair Comb

Hi everyone! Today, I bring to you a review of products from this great online store: Born Pretty Store. They have so many great items at low prices!

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Born Pretty Store sent me these two products for review:

They have tons of cute and stylish jewelry, accessories, and hair trinkets! Be sure to check out their Jewelry & Accessories department. All of their products are priced very reasonably! There are so many good deals… For example, the two products they sent me are each priced at under $5! You can find so many cool accessories from Born Pretty Store that only cost $1 or $2. I highly recommend this site for people on a budget who still want stylish items! Born Pretty Store even offers free shipping. 😀 Worldwide free shipping, at that~! (Do you understand how much I love free shipping…? Free shipping is epic!) If you want to buy something from Born Pretty Store, be sure to use the coupon code “WUT10” for 10% off!  Here is the package I got in the mail: DSC_0084 They wrapped everything in a thin layer of foam, secured with tape, for protection: DSC_0085 Inside the foam, each product was packaged in a plastic bag. The items look just like the stock photos! I am very pleased with their appearance. DSC_0086_Fotor_Collage First, I will review the Pearl Cat Ear Headband. Be sure to read the whole review to see what I say about both products! DSC_0089 The detailing on this headband is so pretty, and the faux pearls don’t look cheap. I think this headband would be super cute with casual fashion, as well as more over-the-top looks. BeautyPlus_20150121171226_save I decided to style this cute kitty headband with a wig from Penny Dreads and a vintage embroidered blouse. Here, my makeup look is gyaru-inspired, so it looks over-the-top, but the headband would still be cute with a minimal makeup look. My review for Penny Dreads’ Miss Tea wig will be up soon, so keep your eyes out for that! BeautyPlus_20150121171337_save

I decided to style the Multi-Layer Floral Decor Hair Comb into a cosplay… a closet-cosplay of a cute character, that is! Can you guess which character it is?

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If you guessed Mirai Kuriyama from Beyond the Boundary (Kyoukai no Kanata) … you’re right!

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These combs are really easy to use, and they stayed really well in my wig! The combs never felt loose and they never fell out. I love the triple-chain detailing on this hairpiece… It’s so elegant and pretty! The floral design of the top chain is also a great touch. I love the faux pearls and gemstones; they don’t look fake at all, and in fact, they add to the beauty of this accessory.

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This chain hair accessory makes me feel like a princess! Could Mirai be a princess? ❤ If you want to be a princess too, be sure to take a look at the Multi-Layer Floral Decor Hair Comb.

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In conclusion, I was surprised by the quality of these items. Despite their cheap prices, they do not look cheap at all. The quality seems very high, and they are both comfortable and easy to wear. I would highly recommend Born Pretty Store‘s Jewelry & Accessories department! Even the shipping is reasonable. They provide free international shipping, and their shipping time was prompt. I received the package well within the estimated arrival date. The packaging was great as well; it kept everything safe and sound. Born Pretty Store labeled the package as “Gift” in the Customs Declaration, so there were no problems with customs at all. I’m not sure why the category is “Electronics,” but it did not delay the shipment or cause any problems, so I don’t have a problem with it. What do you think of these accessories? When do you think you would wear them? I would love to wear the Pearl Cat Ear Headband casually as a fun touch to an outfit, and I think the Multi-Layer Floral Decor Hair Comb would be perfect as an addition to a formal dress for a ball.

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Here’s a little reminder: you should check out Born Pretty Store‘s Jewelry & Accessories department. Seriously, there are so many things there! I wish I could buy them all! Be sure to use the 10% off coupon code “WUT10” if you make a purchase from Born Pretty Store! Happy shopping, everyone~!

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The Wonderful World of MBOK

You can find some great deals on Mbok! Mbok is a Japanese online auction site that has a wide variety of items. There are lots of great J-Fashion (including lolita!) items there: you can find dresses, shirts, skirts, pants, jewelry, hair accessories, bags, novelties, and more. If you are not a resident of Japan, you need to use a shopping service to bid on Mbok items. The shopping service I used is Japonica, but there are other shopping services out there.

Searching for specific items on Mbok can be time-consuming, since you have to scroll through different pages, but it is pretty easy to find good deals on brand (and offbrand) items.

I would recommend using the Google Translate extension if you have the Google Chrome web browser. If you do not have Chrome, copying and pasting the Mbok URL into Google Translate works too. Google Translate is not perfect, but it works well enough to help with Mbok navigation.

Check out Mbok’s Alternative/Punk section for lots of lolita items! This is where you will find Angelic Pretty, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, h.NAOTO, Emily Temple Cute, Jane Marple, and more. This section houses lolita, gothic, punk, and other alternative styles.

You can also search for items from a specific brand on Mbok by looking at the brand category. Here are some great links to lolita brand items on Mbok:

Innocent World

Baby the Stars Shine Bright

Angelic Pretty

Metamorphose

Putumayo

Here are links to some great brands that may carry loliable items on Mbok:

Axes Femme – This brand has great cutsews and cute blouses! There are some nice skirts, JSKs, and OPs too (but not all items will accommodate a petticoat). An Axes Femme item was one of my first Mbok purchases!

Liz Lisa – This is a popular Gyaru brand that has some loliable blouses, cardigans, and cutsews.

Tralala – I’m not too familiar with Tralala, but it is one of Liz Lisa’s sister brands. You may be able to find loliable stuff here too!

Jesus Diamante – I’m not too familiar with this brand either, but it’s a popular Hime Gyaru brand and I’ve seen lots of cute loliable coats from them! They also have really cute parkas/sweatshirts.

If you are interested in Gyaru fashion, check out the whole Mbok 109/GAL section. I have not extensively explored this section yet, but there are tons of brands and lots of cute and cool clothes!

If you want to use Mbok’s search feature, here are a few terms you can try:

ロリータ or ロリィタ-  Lolita

姫  –  Princess (Hime)

ワンピース – One Piece (OP)

福袋 – Lucky Pack (Fukubukuro)

Find many more helpful search terms from this EGL post by Kyomu.

If you have any questions, feel free to let me know! I am not an expert, but I can try my best to answer your questions. I hope someone finds this post helpful!

Have fun browsing and shopping~!

Taobao Experience

I just received my Taobao package!

I’ll be posting reviews of the items soon. Maybe I’ll even post a video of me opening the package? >w<

In any case, I used Taobaospree as the shopping service to order from Taobao. I did a lot of research on various shopping services and Taobao stores before placing my order. The agent who worked with me spoke fluent English and was very helpful. She answered my questions clearly and promptly. At first, communication seemed slow, but it was because of the time difference. I started checking my email around 11 pm to 1 am, and usually I would receive responses around that time. (Night time here is day time over in China, I presume.) Taobaospree was a great shopping service, and I will definitely use it again if I ever make another Taobao purchase. If anyone is curious, the shipping I used was EMS. I had no problems with it – no issues, it didn’t take too long, no customs fees. I know some people use DHL, but I’ve never used DHL before. This was my  first overseas purchase, so I’m in no way, shape, or form an experienced shopper, however, I thought maybe someone will find this useful.

My Taobao shopping experience was pleasant. Although also difficult because there are so many wonderful items on Taobao that I wanted to purchase.

My Taobao shopping process:

  1. I browsed through Lolita Taobao shops. Here’s a list that I found really useful: http://egl.livejournal.com/15204857.html
    (Also, feel free to check out these Lolita items from Taobao; I posted items that I found cool/cute/nice but not all of them are still in stock: http://xiaorawr.tumblr.com/tagged/taobao%20wishlist)
  2. I emailed myself a list of products I liked. I narrowed it down to things I thought were great deals (cheap, but seem to be good quality). I added a staple (a Classical Puppets petticoat). Then I decided to browse cosplay-related items to see if I could find some deals (since I’m a cosplayer too) and decided to purchase two sets of false eyelashes (they’re so much cheaper on Taobao than in the US!) and a few wigs (also so much cheaper than wigs from the US!).
  3. I researched the companies that these products came from. I read reviews, both specific product reviews and general company reviews.
  4. I narrowed down the list further.
  5. I emailed my order form (an Excel spreadsheet) to Taobaospree.
  6. I received a response. (Sadly, some items were out of stock by this point. But the agent gave me recommendations and I looked into them.)
  7. I confirmed the order. Taobaospree accepts payment through Paypal, which makes things a lot easier. 🙂
  8. And today, I received the package! 😀

To be honest, I’d love to order from Taobao again… but I don’t think I will any time soon because I currently can’t afford it. Maybe in 2 years? (I love how cheap items are on Taobao, but the international shipping fees are REALLY expensive… I still think my order was worth it though. But I won’t be making another overseas order anytime soon)

I hope someone will find this helpful! Feel free to ask me any questions.

Slowly building my Lolita wardrobe… and saving money for Lolita.

My strategy right now is:

  • constantly staying on the lookout for cheap loliable items (mainly at thrift stores)
  • stalking the EGL Comm Sales and the Lolita sales on Facebook in case I see a wishlist item or great deals
  • checking for brand sales in case something is worth getting
  • thinking about what kind of wardrobe I want and trying to find cheap basics that I can build on
  • saving money and reminding myself to THINK OF THE LOLITA

Speaking of saving money…

I’ve been avoiding smoothies and milkshakes. Unless there are free ones. I used to buy Coolattas from Dunkin Donuts or Frappucinos from Starbucks (or milkshakes; I love sweet drinks) maybe once every two to three weeks, but I stopped because I realized that these drinks add up. $2-$5 per drink, right? If you avoid buying these drinks for a few months, you’ll be saving some money. If you buy them, that’s less money you could be using for more important things (bills, textbooks) and also less money to save for Lolita fashion.

Whenever I feel the urge to buy something, I resist because I think of what I could do if I save the money… For example, I have not purchased any manga or non-academic books in over a year; every time I want to buy a book, I tell myself that I can borrow it from the library if I want to read it. The only books I’ve purchased are the textbooks for classes, and even so, I purchase used books so I can save more money. I used to love buying books because I like the feeling of owning books. It’s hard to explain, but I like having books on my bookshelf. But books are expensive! $5 – $20 per book for most paperbacks. And manga are usually at least $10 each. I love books, but I also love the library. So I think borrowing books to read is great because I can save money and also save space. (And since I’m in a college dorm, I have to share my space with my room mate, so it works out better this way.) I’m even trying to sell my manga and some of my books to make more space. I’m not having much luck with sales though. XD; I only sold 3 manga so far.

Here’s a list of things I wanted to buy but resisted the urge because I wanted to save up for lolita:

  • a new laptop (I’m currently using an old laptop; it’s actually the first laptop that my family purchased, and my mom and I originally shared it but now it’s mine for school. I wanted to get a new one because this one is so slow… but instead, I decided to be patient with this one since it’s not dead yet. It’s slow, but it works …most of the time.)
  • milkshakes (I just love milkshakes, but I have resisted the urge to purchase them.)
  • a shelf/case to organize things in my dorm room (I decided to be creative and use plastic bags and old boxes instead… and of course, I think I’ve become a bit messier since finals since I have many things strewn across the floor. I better clean up before my room mate returns!)
  • a poster of The Hunger Games (I reallyyy love The Hunger Games and I saw a poster that was on sale for $3 I think. And I wanted to buy it but I thought about it and decided that I didn’t need to fill up my wall even though it looks so empty compared to my room mate’s wall. And even though it was “just $3,” every dollar counts when you think about it. And if I can help it, I’ll save up. It’s a sort of determination. There’s a Lolita that I met last semester, and she told me about how she saved up for such a long time when she fell in love with Lolita fashion. I miss her because I felt like I just met her then she graduated, but what she said about saving up really stayed with me. She told me about how some people assume only rich people can afford Lolita, and sure, rich people can afford it, but there are also a lot of average and below average people who make it work. I’m determined to be a Lolita even though I am on an extreme budget. Whoops, this was sort of a long tangent…)
  • DVDs (I wanted to buy Ip Man and Ip Man 2 on DVD because they’re such amazing martial arts movies… but I resisted. DVDs are really expensive when you think about it. And Lolita is even more expensive. I can survive without DVDs. Speaking of DVDs, I can survive without CDs too. If I want to listen to new music, I can use YouTube or Pandora radio.)
  • a bonsai tree (I’ve always wanted a bonsai tree, but they’re really expensive, and I thought about buying one… but then I decided that I am happy with the ivy plant that I got at the beginning of the school year for free. Bonsai trees are also pretty high-maintenance plants. So, I decided to not buy a bonsai.)
  • pajamas (I saw these cute pajamas and wanted them… but decided not to buy them. I usually don’t wear PJs anyways; I just wear a t-shirt and sweatpants and sometimes a sweatshirt on top to bed. And I still fit in the warm pajamas I got a few years ago when they were on sale.)

There are probably other things I resisted buying as well. I’ve been trying my best to be aware of how I’m spending my money so I don’t overspend or spend on things that I don’t need.