This is a review of the rather unorthodox order I placed with Anna House, in which I asked them to make a dress in a bespoke size to fit a young man. Please forgive the poor-quality photos; my good camera is being borrowed.UPDATE! Photos of a coordinate with this dress can be seen here: http://daily-lolita.livejournal.com/5367045.html
I am not a boy, but my body type is very masculine: broad shoulders, flat chest, low natural waist, and little difference between waist and hips. Men’s clothing always fits me in size small, but women’s clothing rarely fits me at all unless I alter it. I never use breast pads or corsets to feminise my figure when wearing Lolita because I am happy with my body type and enjoy the gender-play effect. Buying Lolita clothes, therefore, is always hit-or-miss for me because they are designed for young women, and I am not built at all like the typical young woman.
I ordered from Anna House once before, hoping that their clothing would not be such a poor match for my figure because they can make it in bespoke sizes. When I ordered from them last time, I sent them my measurements, and asked them to make the blouse I’d ordered in a bespoke size to fit those measurements. However, they were determined to maintain the hourglass cut of the blouse as it was originally designed, which meant they did not honour my measurements at all. The blouse was much too small for my waist; in fact, the only button I could close on the blouse was the top one. Due to that bad experience, I knew I probably shouldn’t order from them again, but I loved the design of this dress so much I couldn’t resist.
As you can see, it’s a style that requires full breasts to fill the shape out properly, which means that if I were to wear it as it was originally designed, it would look awful. So I decided to ask if they could alter the style to fit a masculine body type. I sent this email:
Dear Anna House,
I know the clothing on your website is designed for and normally purchased by women, but would it be possible for you to make one of your dresses in a bespoke size that would fit a young man? I am specifically interested in item 015-1120, but if it is made in a woman's size it will look very unflattering on my flat chest. Can you tailor it to better fit a masculine chest and body? My measurements are as follows:
Height: 168 cm
Shoulder width: 42 cm
Chest: 89 cm
Waist: 81 cm
Hip: 89 cm
And later that day I received this reply:
We can make our clothes for man. And we will receive you HKD$80 for extra cost, but this price only for 015-1120.
I was pleased that they said they could do it, but confused why it would cost extra, because usually Anna House charges extra fees only if you request a bespoke size larger than their standard XL, and I am definitely not that large. Ordinarily it wouldn’t have bothered me, because HKD $80 is a small cost, but because the dress cost $580 the extra fee raised the cost of my order just enough to increase the shipping cost from $250 to $350. Because of this, I decided to order the head bow that matches the dress, even though head bows usually look awful on me, because I had to pay the higher shipping cost anyway. The total cost of my order was the equivalent of USD $148.88.
I ordered the dress and head bow in baby blue instead of red. I placed my order on 17 February, and the package arrived on 26 February, which is a very short time considering that the dress was a bespoke size. This is what I received in the package:
I am very pleased and impressed by how well Anna House altered the design to fit and flatter a masculine figure. The chest panel has no extra fabric and the shape is straight-cut like a men’s shirt. However, as was the case with my previous blouse-buying experience, they didn’t pay very close attention to the measurements I provided. Instead, they seemed to focus on tailoring the garment to fit a typical (perfectly straight) male body type. Although my waist is 9 cm smaller than my chest and hips, this dress has no inward curve at all; it is cut to fit 89 cm all the way down, making it too loose in the waist. I may be able to fix this by messing with the shirring panel in the back, and even if I can’t, the dress will stay in place as long as I tie the straps tightly behind my neck, so it’s not a big deal. I am so happy with the overall positive result of this unusual bespoke order that I can overlook this one flaw. It might even be a good thing for the waist to be loose because the waist seam sits slightly above my natural waist, and it would bother my stomach to have a waist seam fitting tightly across it.
Some other positives about my order are the fact that all the materials are high-quality and the design matches the stock photo very well. I was also pleasantly surprised by how well the head bow fits me. This is not the typical bow which stands upright on top of the head, which is a good thing because that type looks terrible with my long face and flat, straight hair. This style of head bow is floppy and conforms to the shape of the wearer’s head, so it can flatter a wider range of head shapes. Here is what it looks like on me:
In conclusion, I would highly recommend ordering from Anna House if you are a boy or built like one, because they do an excellent job of tailoring a typically female fashion to meet the needs of a masculine figure. But be sure to specify in your order that you are a man, even if that’s not how you identify yourself, because otherwise they will make the clothes to fit the typical female body type regardless of the measurements you provide. I would advise that you send an email ahead of time asking that the particular garments you are interested in be made for a man, so Anna House will be prepared and be able to tell you about any additional fees before you place your order.