It's my first time posting here, and I come with a review of my first purchase of new items. All the items I've had before were secondhand. ^^
Through ClobbaOnline, I ordered Infanta's The Letter From Paris JSK in black and Surface Spell's Okra Ruffled Peter Pan blouse. I also ordered from Innocent World just before the end of their summer sales, the Ophélia JSK in black.
So here's the review, but be careful since it's a bit picture heavy! It will be divided in four parts. I hope it ends up being useful to some people!
Various reasons convinced me to choose Clobba over QutieLand or a shopping service. Since I had never ordered from Taobao before, I was a bit nervous about using a shopping service. Also, since I had an issue with ClobbaOnline before, I knew their customer service was impeccable. To make a long story short, for a mysterious reason I was not able to access their website. My router kept blocking it for no apparent reason. We did not find a way to fix the problem but they were very kind and they genuinely tried to help me. At the same moment, I heard that QutieLand was a bit hard to contact regarding issues with packages, and their prices are lower than QutieLand and they offer more shipping options (registered airmail and EMS, while QutieLand only ships by EMS). But enough talking! Let's go straight to the actual review.
The whole process began on the 11th of July, on Wednesday. It was made by email. I sent them an inquiry about the shipping price for Infanta's The Letter From Paris JSK only since I was not sure about my choice for the blouse at that moment. They answered me on the same day saying the price was 19$ by registered airmail and 32$ by EMS. They also quoted the delays for both shipping methods (2 weeks for registered airmail and 5 to 10 business days for EMS). They kindly told me that if I would like to add anything before ordering, there would be no problem, as well as asking me to fill the order form when I was ready to proceed. I sent them another message on the next day to know about combined shipping with Surface Spell's Okra Ruffled Peter Pan blouse, as well as asking them to make sure the colour on the sample was really cream, since it's the colourway I wanted. They replied on Friday saying that there would be an additional 6$ to combine the shipping, and they confirmed for the colourway.
I waited until Monday to send them another message. I attached the order form with my measurements and all the info they needed. Just to make sure, they replied asking me if I was sure about the arm length since it would need to be at the place I wanted the wrist cuffs of the blouse to hit. I corrected the measurement, and thinking about it, I should've probably been even more generous about it. xD Well. They corrected the measurements on the order form and sent me the invoice, which was of 140.69$.
On the 28th of July, I asked them about adding a bag to the order. It was a Saturday so I knew I would need to wait until the Monday to get a response. They did answer me on that day and they apologised. xD So they told me there would be an additional 11$ fee for combined shipping. They also told me that they had received the Infanta JSK on that day and that since the blouse would take long to make, they proposed me to send me the JSK at that moment. There would've been an additional 22$ fee, but since I needed the blouse and the JSK for the same coordinate, I chose to wait. In the meantime, I found an offbrand bag that would be versatile enough for both Lolita and my everyday clothes, in addition of having its price insanely reduced, so I did not take the Loris bag.
On the 13th of September, they sent me an email to inform me they got the blouse, and it had been shipped on the 12th evening. There was a proof picture of the package. They gave me the tracking number and I'm really thankful it was working because the package took more than three weeks to reach me. It stayed stuck at the Hong Kong airport for a week and a half and made it to Vancouver (while I'm in Quebec city) on the first day of the third week. It took the whole week to travel to the province of Quebec and I got the delivery ticket on the 9th of October, and had to pick it up at the post office on the 10th.
As shown on the proof picture, the package was tightly wrapped in a red polka-dots plastic bag. It didn't show much damage from the shipping, but its small size made me fear that they had forgotten one of the items.
On the inside, the pieces were wrapped just as tightly in some bubble wrap.
From then, all my fears about missing a piece were forgotten. They were both wrapped in separate plastic bags. ^^
Like I said above, I ordered from them The Letter From Paris JSK in black, size L. I really loved the simple design and the print, and I was looking for something more on the Classic side but with black accents. I am sorry, the picture I have have not been taken on the same day I opened the packages because it was kind of late and I had school the next morning. ^^; So here they are!
The dress itself:
Close-up on the bodice:
The close-up on the print is closer to true colour (still a bit blue, though... sorry, my window was the most un-blinding source of light today, and the sky is grey). I thought the Eiffel tower part would be more detailed, but the postcards and the roses are really beautiful so I guess it kind of makes up for it.
The velveteen at the bottom is not that much of a great quality, but it was just the hem and the bow so I guess it's not all that much. It's heavy and soft, but I wouldn't buy a dress entirely made out of that material because it would definetly look cheap.
Here is the detachable bow. It has two pins, one on each side. If I were them, I would've rather used a bigger pin in the middle because it's hard to take it off or put it on.
The right corner tends to lift a little, and there's a couple of unfinished threads on that side too. Luckily, it's black on black so it doesn't show when worn.
The inside of the dress is fully lined and there is an invisible zipper on one side.
And here's the back of the dress. As you can see, there's some lacing but no shirring.
Close-up on the lacing (and I have to apologise for my shaky hands here):
The ribbon is a nice quality grosgrain ribbon and the eyelets are made out of the same fabric as the dress.
Oh, and here's the Infanta tag, about 2.5-3 inches under the collar, on the inside back.
I am a total noob at taking pictures of myself so no worn pictures, I'm sorry. :s
Overall I'm very pleased with the quality of the dress, though. I ordered the L size, which is listed as being 94cm in the bust and 74cm in the waist on Clobbao. I'm a 91/72 and it fits me with the lacing tightened a little in the back. I think you should go with XL if you have the maximum measurements, though, because the material is not stretchy at all. I wore it for a whole afternoon at school and it felt great. :3 Though not being flawless, that dress is really worth the 62.95$ + shipping I paid.
I ordered the Okra Ruffled Peter Pan blouse in cream. Surface Spell custom-size all of their items, so they are long to make because they have to adapt the patterns each time. I chose that blouse because it looked very versatile (without the black bow), and with the bow it had a bit of a Gothic feel that I wanted to use to bring my Demonia heels into the coord.
Here it is:
Close-up on the collar:
If you've seen the sample pictures of the blouse, you'll notice the lace used is different and the buttons too.
The cotton lace seems of a nice quality but it looks a bit fragile too. We'll see when I'll wash it.
Here's the Surface Spell tag. Though it was custom-sized, there's a L attached.
The back is pretty simple. No shirring or lacing, so you need to be sure of your measurements.
The blouse came with a detachable black satin bow.
As you can see on the close-up, the pin is not glued straight and there are a couple of thread ends randomly peeking out. There's one not showing, but it's very long. :/
There was also a grey cameo brooch that was not in the sample pictures included.
The quality of the materials is really nice. I'm just a bit deceived about the bow. The blouse came with two spare buttons. It feels a bit tight on me because (oh~) my breasts suddenly decided they were not done growing and I gained a centimetre between the time I placed my order and the time I got it. I should have made the arm length longer cause, because of the shirring on the sleeves, they tend to come up easily. Other than that, their custom-sizing is pretty accurate and I'm thankful for that. I feel like I'll get a lot of use out of this blouse!
So, um. A week before their summer sales ended, I managed to make a few extra hours at work and got enough money to buy a dress. There was this one that I really liked, the Ophélia Jumper Skirt.
First step, place the order. But there was a problem. The link to their form for international orders was not working. It directed to a "FILE NOT FOUND" page. On the 21st of September, I sent them an inquiry. Since it was on a Friday, I only got my response the 24th. They said that they had trouble updating the site lately and apologised for the problem. They said the order form should be working, and it was. I placed my order the same morning.
I got the automated response in no time, but since Innocent World's online office is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I only got the official confirmation with the shipping quote when I got my invoice on PayPal on the 28th (Friday), because Innocent World doesn't tell you when they invoice. They charged me the EMS rate, which was of ¥2,400, and so the total charged was of ¥12,323, which is the equivalent to 154.16CA$, while PayPal charged 159.84CA$ because their exchange rates are a bit off.
The JSK was only shipped out on the 4th of October, again because Innocent World's online office is open 3 days a week. I had the tracking number in hand and it was working. The shipping was really fast and I got the ticket from the post office on the 10th. I picked it up on the 11th when I came back from school.
The dress was in a normal EMS package, wrapped inside an Innocent World shopping bag, protected by a plastic bag (like the ones from the dry-cleaner) and on a provided hanger. It had a tag attached and there was a hand-written thank-you note with the receipt stapled.
Here's a picture of the dress:
I made a little effort at taking a self-pic because a girl in my comm really wanted to see it on me, haha. But you can see that I threw it on with the first blouse and the first pair of socks I could grab. Sorry for that. ^^; It's a really beautiful dress, the picture doesn't honour it at all. The lace is exquisite and everything is perfect, except that mistake I found, which is that the right side of the top bow is not sewn. I shall fix this when I get the time.
I hope these little reviews were interesting!
I was pleased with the quality of both Taobao items, and Clobbao was impeccable with their customer service. Innocent World was a little slow, but the communication was clear and in good English! So I guess I'll be ordering again from both places, whenever my budget allows me to spend a little on Lolita. ^^
Have a nice day!