There is a reason why a lot of newbies stay away from brand and that is price. Whether one doesn’t have that kind of money or doesn’t want to spend this much before being certain that they want to commit themselves to Lolita fashion, for many people their first brand item comes in a lot later. The whole “brand is always expensive” mentality certainly doesn’t help to encourage anyone to try it out earlier, so I made this post in the hope to show that actually there is brand to be had for the price of a decent Taobao item.
I must put a disclaimer here in that the coords below are not entirely complete. They are missing shoes, since I don’t own any brand ones, however, everything else is here. If you have small feet, maybe 24cm or smaller, you will find that there are loads of used brand shoes in varying conditions available second hand for cheap. Unfortunately, I struggle to find similarly good deals as I wear size 25cm, but for each coord I will add screenshots of a cheap pair of matching shoes to further prove my point that you can get brand inexpensively (there were multiple cheap shoes available, so I opted for either the cheapest matching one or the best matching one).
All prices listed below are not inclusive of any shipping or shopping service fees, but they are exactly how much I paid for each item. All exchange rates are correct as of March 21st (when Y100 = GBP0.71). For items received in a lucky pack I halved the original retail price since I received approximately double the value of what I paid for the pack (I hope my logic here isn’t too convoluted).
Coord no 1
|| BtSSB Sugar Bouquet Shirring Princess JSK (¥6590) | IW|
bolero (¥1500) | IW Diamond Rose OTKs (¥2500) | IW Organdy
Bow Rose Clip (¥1750) |
|Alice and the Pirates Millefeuille shoes, size unknown (¥4090)|
TOTAL = ¥12'340 (GBP = £87.97)
Total with shoes = ¥16'430 (GBP = £117.12)
This is a very simple Classic coord for spring/summer. Socks with blue accents instead of pink would probably have worked better, but having said that these ones accentuate the floral theme very nicely. It’s certainly something that I’d wear, potentially even for an occasion unrelated to Lolita fashion, since the elegance is rather timeless especially if I paired this dress with a pair of classy heels like these. As you may remember, I received this JSK new with tag, and yet paid something like a quarter of the original price (mind you, it came with a tiny stain, but that's a minor detail). But at the exchange rate at the time of writing, you could’ve had an entire brand coord for just over £100, including shoes. If that’s not a bargain, then I don’t know what is!
Coord no 2
|| Metamorphose Shirring Tiered Ribbon JSK (¥10'990) | AP|
Creamy Shirring Blouse (¥1666) | BtSSB Heart Marble
Chocolate and Sugar Coated Cookies Tiered bolero (¥3590) | AP
Dolly Chiffon headbow (¥3780) | Metamorphose Heart Ladder
Lace OTKs (¥2376) |
|Angelic Pretty tea party shoes, size 22.5cm (¥1700)|
TOTAL = ¥22'402 (GBP = £159.70)
Total with shoes = ¥24'102 (GBP = £171.82)
This is the most expensive of the coords presented here, however, in the grand scheme of things it’s still reasonably priced considering how many items there are (and granted, the last two were bought new directly from brand). Most new JSKs from brands will cost you around this much, so this is essentially 6 brand items for the price of 1 (with a little bit spare)! I would’ve loved to have taken this coord a little bit more oldschool, since the dress lends itself very well for this, but it’s not a style I usually go for and don’t have any items, brand or not, to do a fully oldschool coord. But with this many layers this could be a cheery outfit for a meet during the cooler months.
Coord no 3
|| IW Rose and Tulip Flare JSK (¥5800) | IW Torchon Crown|
Embroidery blouse (¥2500) | IW Pearskin Dot Lace Head
Bow (¥1750) | Echantlic Enchantilly Angel’s Ball Party
tights (¥4536 – paid exactly £28) |
|Innocent World shoes, size S (¥1944)|
Violet Blue (Rakuten)
TOTAL = ¥14'586 (GBP = £103.99)
Total with shoes = ¥16'512 (GBP = £117.72)
Last is a slightly more traditional Classic coord. This dress was a Closet Child impulse buy bargain which sadly doesn’t fit me (I’m currently selling it on Lacemarket, if anyone’s interested). As I’m trying to not repeat items during this challenge and had no idea how to price my IW lucky pack blouse (IW usually make blouses specifically for the lucky packs, so it’s anybody’s guess how much they’d really cost), it limited my options a little, but it’s not a bad WIP for a dress I won’t be able to keep. I would’ve gone for a more burgundy coord, with Putomayo Celestial Light socks and IW’s Millefeuille bolero, but the bolero itself was almost as much as coord no 1, since I reserved it new directly from the website, and that would’ve defied the purpose of this exercise (and made the coord cost a grand total of ¥22'726 plus shoes – still a whole coord for the price of one brand new dress though!).
I’m not trying to say that you should only buy brand and convince you all that you can always get it cheaply. That takes patience and an open mind (open to things outside of your wishlist as well as open to things with flaws), which we don’t always have. Besides, there are some absolutely lovely pieces on Taobao or even Bodyline, which I’m not trying to discredit, and if I were to use those, the above coords would’ve looked very different. What I did want to show is that if you do have that kind of patience to stalk the internet for bargains, aren’t on a lookout for exact colourways and cuts of specific (and popular) prints and aren’t limited by sizes, you can create a complete outfit made entirely out of brand pieces for the equivalent of one brand new JSK. And in this fashion, that’s a substantial saving.
How about yourself? What’s the best bargain on a brand item that you ever got? Would you be able to create a whole outfit made entirely out of brand items, let alone create a cheap all-brand outfit? Are you an avid bargain hunter?