Friday, February 26, 2021

Aurora and Ariel Petticoat Comparison

One of the most recommended shops for petticoats these days is Aurora and Ariel. Even if you cannot buy from Taobao with a shopping service, several resellers stock their petticoats as well, so it is an accessible brand to buy from. Their petticoats are fairly affordable, and also are available in a variety of poof levels, as well as some limited custom sizing. Their petticoats come in both black and white for most variants, as well as a rainbow petticoat that is for fun. Aurora and Ariel also sell a variety of other items in addition to petticoats.

They divide their shop into Daily Petticoats and Violent Petticoats. The Daily section has their lower poof variants, which consist of a 45cm mini, a 60cm mini, a 60cm daily, and a 8M daily petticoat. The 8M is 45cm long, and the name refers to how much material is used to make it poof. Their website also lists a 72cm long petticoat that they say is approximately equal in poof to the 8M petticoat.

Left to right: the mini 45cm, the mini 60cm and the daily 60cm
In the violence section, they sell the bigger petticoats. They offer a 12M petticoat (45cm), a 16M petticoat (45cm), an “ultimate violence” petticoat that is even more poofy than the 16M according to their images (72cm), and a 60cm Ultra Violence petticoat that they state is equal to 25M of material. The 60cm Ultra Violence and 45cm Ultimate Violence petticoats are recommended for fashion shows.


How do you know which of these petticoats is right for you? Sometimes it is helpful to just see how poofy a petticoat is under a worn dress, and the stock pictures don’t necessarily cut it. So today I am going to show two examples of a dress worn with the 8M, 12M, 16M and mini 60cm petticoats.


I tried with two dresses that are different lengths and different materials.


First is Krad Lanrete’s Beauty and the Beast JSK, which is 100% cotton. On the left is the JSK without a petticoat at all. Next is the 8M petticoat, which gives a small amount of poof. Third from the left is the 12M petticoat, which gives a decent amount of poof for this dress. On the right is the 16M petticoat, which is way too much poof for this dress, and is an example of an overstuffed petticoat. If I was going to go to a proper meet with this dress, I would choose the 12M petticoat, whereas if I was going to wear this more casually to run errands on my own, I would opt for the 8M.


The second dress is Icing Utopia x Think Fly’s Hear the Wind Sing JSK, which was chosen because it is longer and is polyester fabric. Again starting from the left, there is no petticoat, and then the 60cm mini petticoat (still very flat). In the middle is the 8M petticoat, which gives some noticeable level of poof to the skirt. Finally there is the 12M and 16M petticoats, which both give a significant amount of poof without looking overstuffed. However, I would probably reserve the 16M petticoat for this dress if I meant to make a more OTT coordinate.

Something that is not shown here is stacking the 60cm Mini Petticoat over the 8M or 12M to help give poof to even longer dresses without creating a lampshade effect.

I hope this has answered some of your questions about the Aurora and Ariel petticoats!

❀Chamomile❀
Note: All of these petticoats were bought by myself from either Clobba Online or directly from Taobao using 42agent. I am not sponsored, I just really love this particular shop.(๑>ᴗ<๑)

Friday, February 19, 2021

The Lolita’s Guide to XianYu

As we all know, mainland China is now the world’s largest market for lolita fashion. So where do lolitas in mainland China buy and sell their secondhand frills? The answer is XianYu.

XianYu is an app-based marketplace for used goods, run by the same company that runs Taobao. It is the biggest secondhand site in China, and, much like Japanese secondhand apps such as Mercari and Fril, hosts a huge secondhand lolita market - though lolitas who are not in the know may have a bit of trouble accessing it.

To help you on your secondhand shopping adventure, here is a basic guide to understanding and browsing lolita fashion on XianYu. It covers all the need-to-know steps: from downloading the app and setting up an account, to searching for lolita and finding a shopping service. All you need to get started is a smartphone, an internet connection, and a Taobao account. Good luck, and happy hunting!

(Please note that all screenshots in this guide have been taken on an IOS device - so if you own and Android, things might look a little different. That said, the main layout of the app should be the same across platforms.)

Shopping Services

Because XianYu only accepts Alipay and most sellers only ship within mainland China, unless you have a Chinese bank account, Chinese shipping address, and are fluent in Mandarin, you will have to use a shopping service.

Not all common Taobao shopping services offer to purchase from XianYu, and many will charge extra handling fees for the service. This is because the agent has to liaise with individual sellers rather than a professional storefront, which can be tricky.

To help get you started, here is a comparison chart of a few shopping services that do purchase from XianYu:


Service

Service Fee

Notes

42Agent

12% of item cost

Only accepts Paypal for purchases under CNY700

(Will allow you to use Paypal but you have to agree that it is nonrefundable, may take some emailing with them)

Superbuy

10% of item cost

Extra services can be purchased at extra cost, like more detailed photos and vacuum packaging 

Spreenow

10% of item cost


YoyBuy

10% of item cost

Might not accept order if you’re a first-time customer



Step 1 - Getting the app
Just search for ‘XianYu’ or ‘Taobao XianYu’ in the App Store, and download the app with the yellow logo.


Once you enter the app, you may receive a pop-up notification informing you of certain terms and conditions related to XianYu’s use of your personal data. If you wish to proceed, you’ll have to agree.To do this, press the yellow button.


And you’re done! You’ll be directed to the XianYu homepage, which should look something like this.


Step 2 - Setting Up Your Account 


You’ll need a XianYu account to properly use the platform. To get started, click on the button at the bottom right of the home page.



From there, you’ll be taken to the account creation pages. If you already have the Taobao app, just click the orange button, and your accounts will be linked automatically.



If not, click the button below, and you will be sent a verification code via SMS, through the phone number registered to your Taobao account. Once that’s done, create a username! Just enter the name you want in the box when prompted.


Step 3 - Searching


This is the easy part - to get started on your search, just type out what you’re looking for into the search bar at the top of the home page!


Typing in “lolita” will give you lots of options, but you might want to narrow that down with some search terms. For example, you can specify Japanese brands (ripai,日牌) or Chinese brands (guopai,国牌). You could also type in some brand names/abbreviations, such as Krad Lanrete (KL), Baby the Stars Shine Bright (Baby) or Angelic Pretty (AP). if you’re looking for something specific, try adding “JSK” (jsk/jumperskirt), “OP” (op/one piece), or “SK” (skirt) to the end.





A few things to keep in mind while you browse:


Firstly, not all posts will have proof pictures, which is why it is important to have a Shopping Service that can help you reach out to the seller to ask for pictures. Also, some sellers prefer to have buyers to comment on the listing before purchasing, which a Shopping Service will be able to do for you. 

Secondly, lolitas in mainland China use XianYu for selling, trading, want-to-buy (WTB) posts, and even just showing off their wardrobes. That means not every listing is for sale. To prevent confusion, look out for the following phrases while browsing the listings:


selling

trade

request / WTB

keep / personal collection

定金 / 尾款

deposit / remainder payment (likely means the listing has already been purchased, and is on a payment plan)


A Short Glossary of Search Terms in Mandarin Chinese


I've added the pinyin for ease of reading and typing. Since XianYu has predictive text, even if you type in ‘English’ (latin letters), you will be given Mandarin options! 


Brand Names

Most major Japanese brands are referred to by their usual names and abbreviations: AP for Angelic Pretty, Baby for BTSSB, Meta for Metamorphose, etc. When in doubt, simply typing the brand name into the search bar in full works as well. 


Lolita Terms

Lolita

lo娘 (loniang)

Japanese Brand 

日牌(ripai)

Chinese Brand

国牌 (guopai)

JSK

连衣裙 (lianyiqun) [JSK also works]

OP

OP

Skirt

裙 (qun) / 半身裙 (banshengqun) [SK also works]

Salopette

背带 (beidai)

Blouse

衬衫 (chenshan)

Socks

袜 (wa)

Shoes

鞋 (xie)

Outerwear

外衣 (waiyi) / 外套 (waitao)

Bonnet

BB 帽 (bbmao) [BNT also works]

Headbow

KC

Wig

假发 (jiafa)

Oldschool

中古 (zhonggu)

Classic

cla系 (claxi)

Gothic

哥特 (gete)

Sweet

甜 (tian)

Replica

山寨 (shanzai) [often abbreviated to just 山 (shan)]


Descriptive Terms

Long

Short

Chocolate

巧克力

Cross 

十字架

Horoscope

星座

Cat

Rabbit

Chinese Style

中国风

Bow

蝴蝶结

Strawberry

草莓



Colours

Red

White

Black

Blue

Pink

Sax

Sax

Navy / Dark Purple

绀 

Ivory

生成

Purple

Green

青 (light green) / 绿 (dark green)

Yellow



Step 4 - Purchasing / Saving


Once you find a listing you’re interested in, click on it to see the details. To get a link to the listing, press the icon on the top right of the screen to see your sharing options.



Click on the hyperlink icon to copy, then send the link off to your Shopping Service for purchasing!



If you’re not quite ready to make the purchase yet, you can also save the listing by bookmarking it. To do so, click the star icon on the bottom of the screen.



Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to access your bookmarked listings from your account page.



Bonus Round: Getting a 2.taobao.com link!


Some shopping services may require you to provide the browser link to the item you want to purchase. This is a huge pain because XianYu is mostly mobile, and the browser version of it is utterly useless. Hope is not lost, though! The link you copied from the app will include the product’s item code - which is all you need to make a functioning browser link.



Conclusion


XianYu can be a great resource for lolitas looking to expand their wardrobes and find rare pieces on the secondhand market. It is especially useful for finding pieces from the Chinese indie market, which can be difficult to find on Japanese or Western secondhand sites; or brand releases that were released exclusively in mainland China. It might be a bit difficult to navigate for a first-time user, or seem quite complicated if you’re not familiar with the language and culture of the site, but hopefully this guide will help you find your footing.


With that, shop smart and stay safe, fellow lolitas! Happy hunting!


Bubble Tea


Friday, February 12, 2021

Jumping Into the Frilly Life

One day you discover Lolita fashion. It could be through a random post on Tumblr, browsing through tags on Instagram or a friend who already wears the fashion. The important thing is that you have seen the lace and frills and you want them NOW.

You might think that going from zero to jumping into a pile of frills like Scrooge McDuck is your highest aspiration as a newbie lolita, but I’m here to suggest why it might be better to wait and chill a little before buying every piece of lolita clothing you set your eyes on.

Seriously, wouldn’t this just really hurt?


When I started wearing lolita fashion my only requirements for buying a main piece were:
  • It fits
  • It’s affordable
  • It’s cute
I happened to have a very good paying job at the time with minimum life expenses, and also learnt to navigate the world of Taobao and secondhand sales from Japan at a very early stage so I bought many main pieces early on. I thought I would be happier with a bigger wardrobe but all I ended up with were more main pieces I didn’t wear, the hassle of having to sell them and most importantly- experience, which I will try passing on to you.

So while the points above are very important here are some more things you should consider when starting to wear lolita, and before buying each item:


Where will I wear this to?

If you’re just starting your journey into lolita fashion or if you already have a few main pieces- it’s important to decide how you are going to wear this new item. Is it casual and can be worn on a more day-to-day basis? Is it a full on OTT dress full of lace and ruffles that can only truly shine when worn to a big tea party, and do you plan on going to such events often enough to warrant buying that kind of piece now? You don’t have to be a daily wearer of the fashion but like with any piece of clothing there are different levels of formality and having the dresses you paid good money for just sit and gather dust can be pretty sad.


Is it a colour I feel comfortable wearing?

Of course nothing should stop a person who usually wears goth fashion from wearing pastel sweet lolita, but when buying the piece (especially if it is your first main piece) consider if you will be comfortable wearing it. Lolita is a fashion that attracts attention no matter which colour you wear, but having it be something familiar and comfortable really helps.

Additionally, this will also help you avoid buying dresses that don’t work well with your skin tone. It can be tempting to buy a dress in a colour you don’t wear, but if that colour doesn’t look good on you when you wear it in mainstream fashion, then the same colour on a lolita dress most likely won’t suit you either. Think of it like this- If you don’t like pancakes you probably won’t like waffles either because it’s the same batter in a different shape.

Though AP loves some pancakes


Do I really like the theme?

One of the great things about indie brands (including the indie brands on Taobao) is that sometimes they can take more of a risk then established brands with a set aesthetic that their fans expect from them. This means that you can find main pieces with more unusual themes such as animals other than cats/bunnies/bears/deers, food that isn’t sweets/fruits and even meme inspired dresses

Before excitedly buying the piece because it’s something you love, take a moment to look at it a bit closer; Is the print well executed or does it look like something quickly slapped together in clipart? Is the cut going to be flattering on you? And is it a theme you would be comfortable wearing outside?

If you want to wear a meme from 2013 for the lulz no one is stopping you, but will you really wear it?


Will I be able to coord this piece with items I already own?

It’s really depressing to work hard on saving money, waiting until the dress arrives and being unable to wear it because you have nothing to coord it with. You don’t have to have the perfect capsule wardrobe but I do recommend sticking to 2-3 colours in your main pieces and accessories along with a base colour that will suit them.

For example, if you are building a classic wardrobe you might want to have brown and navy as your main colours with off-white as your base colour. Lilac, pink and sax with a white base could work well for a sweet wardrobe and you can always choose to just stick with everything in one colour (such as having everything in black for a gothic wardrobe, though it is important to remember that black doesn’t automatically mean it’s suitable for gothic, there are other things to look at as well such as theme and cut.)

This doesn’t mean that you can’t have more than 2-3 colours in your wardrobe! Just take your time before chasing the rainbow 🌈


You might still experience FOMO from not getting that one popular dress at a great deal, or you may decide to completely change your style in the future but for now it’s best to just work on cultivating the lolita wardrobe that you will be able to enjoy to its fullest.

Thank you for reading my ramblings so far,
Milk Tea