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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Christmas Beauty Questions Tag

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Hi, everyone! I read Denise’s blog post responding to the Christmas Beauty Questions Tag, and she invited everyone who read her blog post to do this questionnaire too. I love reading Denise’s beauty reviews, and she also has really cool photo diaries. My family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but I’ve always enjoyed giving holiday presents to close friends. Christmas doesn’t feel like a special day to me; it’s no different than any other “normal” day. To be honest, winter is my least favorite season (because I hate the cold), so I am not fond of December but I try my best to stay positive! And giving winter holiday gifts to others is definitely a great way to add some positivity to the shivering cold weeks.

Without further ado, here are my answers to the Christmas Beauty Questions Tag!

1. Have you been naughty or nice this year with your skincare routine?

I have been naughty… Very naughty. I really should take better care of my skin, but I’m always stressed and busy during academic semesters, which spurs on skincare laziness due to lack of free time. Although skincare should be a priority… But nope! And even during the summer, I didn’t take very good care of my skin since I had an internship and was busy. I am guilty of rushing through washing my face at night… and not removing makeup properly. I also rub at my skin roughly when I apply face cream; my mom scolds me every time I’m home and I do this because she says it looks painful. On a “nice” note, I always apply face cream at night and I use acne spot gel when I have breakouts (which happen a lot due to stress).

2. What’s the go-to beauty, makeup or skincare product you would gift to your family and friends?

It depends on who I’m gifting to and what they like! For some friends, perfumes would be the perfect gift because they love fragrances. For others, lipstick would be a better choice. My mom doesn’t wear makeup, so if I were to choose a gift for her, it would be a skincare item such as a cream or cleanser.

3. Do you mind gifting high-end products or rather drug store products to others?

I have gifted both high-end products and drug store products to others in the past. I think real friends would appreciate the gift regardless of the price or where it’s from; it’s the thought that counts!

4. What are the beauty products you’re hoping to get to see under your Christmas tree this year?

I don’t have a Christmas tree and my family doesn’t celebrate Christmas… So I am not exactly “hoping to see something” unless it’s something I buy for myself (and I really want to try more sheet masks and eyebrow pencils). However, my friend Terry got me a gift and made me promise not to open it until Christmas day. And she heavily implied that it was a beauty item… (This is the same Terry who got me my first Korean eyeliner! Read my review here.)

5. What is the beauty product that you’re dreading to receive for Christmas this year?

Not dreading anything. And as previously mentioned, I don’t celebrate Christmas.

6. Are you are beauty blogger participating in Blogmas this year? If so what is the post you’re most proud of so far?

Nope! I actually had no idea what Blogmas was until Denise explained it to me. Maybe I can participate someday!

7. Do you remember the first beauty product you received as a Christmas present? What was it and did you enjoy it?

I am not sure if I have ever received a beauty product as a Christmas present… But WishTrend sponsored a Klairs skincare set around Christmas time, so if that counts as a present, I definitely enjoyed it! It was fun writing the review and I’m still not done using all the products.

8. What mini size product would you recommend as a great stocking stuffer?

Lipsticks and eyeliners are lovely small items that would fit nicely into stockings! Small eyeshadow quads would also be really cute.

9. Would you rather you friends and family ask you gifts you wanted to receive or have them surprise you?

I don’t mind either way. I honestly feel awkward when people ask me what kinds of gifts I want since I don’t want to ask for things that will inconvenience my friends and family. It’s the thought that counts, so I appreciate any gift, as long as the gift has good intentions.

10. What is your favourite way to show Christmas spirit through your look or outfit?

My favorite color is red, so Christmastime is yet another excuse for me to wear lots of red! I haven’t tried to pull off a Christmas fashion look yet, but I did attend an Ugly Sweater Cosplay Meet recently and designed a really silly ugly Christmas sweater. Before this year ends, I hope to wear a Christmas-y Lolita coordinate! In 2013, Terry invited me to go with her on a winter Lolita adventure on Christmas Eve. My Lolita coordinate wasn’t exactly Christmas-y… but it was red!

Anyone who would like to do this: YOU’RE TAGGED! ^_^

Here’s the list of questions in case you want to copy and paste them onto your blog:

10 Christmas Beauty Questions Tag

  1. Have you been naughty or nice this year with your skincare routine?
  2. What’s the go-to beauty, makeup or skincare product you would gift to your family and friends?
  3. Do you mind gifting high-end products or rather drug store products to others?
  4. What are the beauty products you’re hoping to get to see under your Christmas tree this year?
  5. What is the beauty product that you’re dreading to receive for Christmas this year?
  6. Are you are beauty blogger participating in Blogmas this year? If so what is the post you’re most proud of so far?
  7. Do you remember the first beauty product you received as a Christmas present? What was it and did you enjoy it?
  8. What mini size product would you recommend as a great stocking stuffer?
  9. Would you rather you friends and family ask you gifts you wanted to receive or have them surprise you?
  10. What is your favourite way to show Christmas spirit through your look or outfit?

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