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Mar 23, 2016

An Ouji Overview: Part 3 Where to Buy (v2)



This list mainly includes clothing rather than accessories. Previous (and broken) version of this post can be seen here.

The spreadsheet is divided into 4 tabs: Brand, Indie Brands, Retailers, and Secondhand Shopping.

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Brand

Japanese brands are the main producers of ouji style clothing and is usually the most expensive option. Brand name clothing is not a requirement to dress like a prince! By default, brand is listed as lady's sizes unless otherwise noted. If you want to buy from a Japanese store that does not offer international shipping, you need to use a shopping service or mail forwarding service.

Indie Brands

There are also smaller independent brands out there that are cheaper than brand and still provide nice quality clothing. The quality of each indie brand varies, so check buyer reviews to ensure you are getting something you want. Taobao brands are included in this tab. If you want to buy from a taobao shop that does not offer international shipping, you need to use a taobao shopping service.

Retailers

These are official distributors for brands. Depending on your location, it can be cheaper to order from the distributor than directly from the brand.

Secondhand

Buying secondhand can be the least expensive route of shopping. The established secondhand shops on the list are reliable, however when it comes to selling communities of individual sellers, always check feedback.

Other Sources

Of course, buying online is not the only option. You can often find prince-like clothing in many Gothic or punk stores. Every once in awhile, militaristic designs pop up in mainstream shops. You may be able to find something in historical reenactment, vintage, or thrift shops. Handsewing your own clothes is also a way to show creativity and skill!


Beginner Tips

When shopping for your wardrobe, there are several factors to influence your decision. The main two are price and quality. Ask yourself what you prioritize.

Do you prefer quality over quantity or vice versa? How often will you be wearing these clothes? If quality, gravitate towards brand. If quantity, indie and secondhand are your friends. Are you inside or outside the "standard" size range? If you are outside, custom sizing and tailoring may be in your interest.

Make a wishlist and stick to it. Narrowing your goal can help prevent impulse purchases in order to reach wardrobe cohesion. Cohesive wardrobes are the most efficient since you can create more combinations without having to buy new items every time you make a new coordinate.

For shops that do not ship overseas, use a shopping service. I recommend FROM JAPAN for Japanese shops and auctions. It's especially handy because you can use it to bid in real time for Yahoo!Japan. I do not have a preferred taobao shopping service, but this Taobao Shopping Services Guide spreadsheet is very comprehensive.

Happy shopping!

Please comment with any additions to be made in the spreadsheet. I do not follow taobao brands closely, so I most likely missed some.

Jul 14, 2015

Putumayo 2015 Summer Lucky Pack Opening



While writing up the summer sales post, I was browsing KERA Shop and saw they listed a announced a few summer lucky packs. Normally, I avoid random-type lucky packs because I usually have bad luck, but I've liked a majority of items Putumayo had released in the last year. KERA Shop does not ship internationally, so I used my usual shopping service. The retail price of the lucky pack is ¥10,800 (tax included) with the option of a girlish or boyish pack. The advertised retail value of the contents is at least ¥30,000. 

FromJapan had already put everything in clear bags, so I didn't get to experience the entire surprise factor. I received five items (six if you count the bag): 3 cutsews, 1 bolero, and 1 pair of pants. 


The bag is made of a cheap plastic that crinkles, but I wasn't expecting much from an inexpensive lucky pack. It will go nicely in my giant pile of brand shopping bags.
Item 1: Alice in Wonderland themed tank top (33320081)
This was the only item I will sell since I don't like the color. Other than that, there's not much to say; it's a tank top.

Item 2: Make Your Only Warren!! Tee (43240041)
It features one of Putumayo's mascots Warren. It's very wide and long and that's my favorite shade of blue.

Item 3: AMNESIA collaboration Badge Pattern Tee (34240121)
I was very surprised to get this! Collaboration items are some of my favorite items and I actually watched AMNESIA because of Putumayo. This shade of blue is also one of my favorites.

Item 4: Insignia Short Jacket (43240062)
Boleros are my favorite kind of items from Putumayo, so I am excited I received this as well. Their boleros are super comfortable and I can wear them casually or fancily. 


Item 5: Carousel 2-Way Pants (43240034)
I've been on a secret khaki quest lately and I've been looking for the right khaki pants for a few weeks. The border print can be exposed if the cuff is unfolded which is pretty neat.

Total retail value: ¥38,490

Overall, I am pleased with what I received! Having the option between girly style and boyish style eliminated the chance of items I didn't want. I definitely want to buy another lucky pack next season. If you're feeling lucky, both styles are still in stock.

Jun 19, 2015

#onlyatAM Behind the Scenes: The Tale of Buttcape

The "E" of LACE: Exploitation. While LACE is a whole different can of worms, the formation of the acronym reminded me of unfortunate events that happened over 6 months ago. I call it John Trauma. Like seriously, sometimes he shows up in my nightmares. Every time I see a bald head in the distance, I get shivers down my spine. I've been planning on posting this for months, but every time I looked at it, it made me mad, so I never finished it. But certain events popped up and motivated me to complete it, so here we go.

Anime Matsuri (AM) is an anime and Japanese culture convention based in Houston, TX that attracts a lot of lolita attention because of the amount of high profile guests they invite. I had a pretty okay experience with Anime Matsuri until they did some stupid things to me. I am writing out my experience in order to put the truth out there. I am not looking for pity or sympathy, but warning whoever decides to become involved with them. I stayed silent for various reasons, but now I can finally move on.


Jan 6, 2015

An Ouji Overview: Part 6 Pants

Pants are the most fundamental part of an ouji outfit. Without them, the outfit is incomplete. I consider them the hardest item to shop for because many different measurements must be accounted for.

Parts of Pants


Waist

The waist measurement is the circumference of the waistband. It is measured at the thinnest part of your torso which is often the navel. Measure lower if you intend to wear pants with a lower rise. There should be a spare 2-5 centimeters between your body's and the garment's measurements to allow for breathing and eating room. It's much better to go larger since you can wear a belt rather than squeezing into a waistband that is too small (trust me, not worth it).


Rise

Rise is the distance between the top of the waistband to the crotch. This measurement is not often provided, but it is important to take notice of it if you are tall.

High-rise Mid-rise Low-rise
More commonly called high waist.
As the name implies, the rise sits higher, usually by a thicker waistband, is higher and often hits above the navel. The visual length of your legs will be heightened.
This is the standard rise which is meant to be worn at your natural waist. It's a median, so it will be good for both formal and casual coordinates. Also called dropped waist. It is meant to be worn below the natural waist. It's also the least formal and will shorten the visual length of your legs. Most blouses end at the natural waist, so there may be a gap between the blouse and pants.


Inseam

The inseam is the measurement from the crotch to the bottom of the leg.
An example of pants ending above ankle

For full length pants, it is important to have correct length. If your pants are too long, get them altered. With a pool of fabric bunch around your ankles or having the hem drag on the floor and damaging the pants, it will look extremely sloppy.
Shorter inseams are a more contemporary trend, but if you're going with formality, stick to the traditional at-the-shoe length. The highwater look is harder to pull off since it will bring focus to your legs and shoes, but can give a fresh modern look (see right).

For shorts, this will determine where on your leg they'll hit. For beginners, I recommend aiming for right around knee length since it's the most versatile length to work with different shoe styles. There's no definite rule on how long or short your shorts can be, but I'd say as long as you're not flashing some underwear, you're good. Be warned though, a common beginner mistake is when going with shorts that are too short. Shorter length leans towards the effeminate spectrum which can make or break an ouji outfit if you go too far out. They can also create an awkward gap on your legs if you don't know how to balance it out.

This measurement can be disregarded if the pants are being tucked into boots.


Length

The overall length is the length from the top of the waistband to the bottom of the leg. The length is always given, so it can help determine how long the inseam or rise is.


Hip

The hip measurement is measured at the widest part of your bottom. This is an important measurement to note if you have wide hips, especially if you are female.


Leg circumference

This is important to take note of if you have thicker legs. The measurement is not always provided though. Knit material pants will stretch, but non-stretch will need some consideration especially if the pants have cuffs.


Different Types

These are names of some (not all) common types of pants used in ouji. Most brands just call them pants, but knowing the names can help with looking for sewing patterns.

Trousers Breeches Wide Pants
long pants; usually with a straight or slim leg short pants, half pants; usually end at or right below the knee; pumpkin pants are usually breeches with a gathered leg pants where the hem circumference is largest at the bottom
Jodhpurs Sarouel Pants Salopette
flares out from the thighs and tapers into a slim lower leg; helps flare out long jackets loose, dropped crotch pants; visually lengthens the torso; more common in punk and casual boystyle overall-style pants; usually attached to a decorative top, but still requires a blouse
Bondage Pants Leggings
pants with lots of straps and/or chains, sometimes with detachable legs; mainly worn when visual kei was still popular in the old-school and punk days form-fitting, stretch pants; should be thick enough or covered by something long so no one sees what's underneath; not recommended for beginners since it's easy to look too casual


Miscellaneous

  • Since most formal blouses are designed to end right after the navel, high- or mid-rise is recommended. With low-rise pants, you either need a longer blouse or you can cover the gap with a wide belt or cummerbund. 
  • Fabric thickness and drape are important details. I would call this the #1 mistake made. Most people start out with offbrand pants (which is perfectly fine), but most end up not choosing pants that are thick enough. As a result, thin pants with little drape will show a large amount of wrinkles along the leg (capris are usually the culprit).
  • It's very obvious when bloomers are trying to pass off as pants. Bloomers are underwear. Wearing bloomers as pants is like trying to wear boxers as pants.
  • Technically, you can wear skirt in ouji just as long as there are pants underneath.
  • Suspenders or a belt can be worn to keep loose pants from falling. 
  • Mentioned above already, but take caution! Pants that are too long look sloppy and are a tripping hazard! Plus they will end up being damaged since they are being dragged on the ground. There's a reason why they rarely stick the shorter models in full-length pants (see image below).
  • There's no rule about how much leg you can show, but do remember it should be a modest amount since ouji style is leans towards formal style. There are certain combinations of pants lengths and sock heights that work well together (see below), but go with what you're comfortable with.
Different pants lengths, short to long
  • When starting to build a wardrobe, I recommend starting out with one pair of shorts and one pair of long pants in a neutral color. If you have enough different kinds of tops, nobody will really pay attention to how many times you wear your pants.


Part 5  |  Table of Contents  |  Part 7