Saturday, January 15, 2011

buying lolita (on the cheap)

I'll start out by saying that buying lolita clothing is not always easy.  You have to struggle through Engrish-filled websites, fill out endless text boxes of information, use translators for websites entirely in Japanese even if they sell internationally, or even use a shopping service for those brands that just refuse to ship overseas!  However, more and more Japanese stores are opening English website, resellers of Japanese brands are popping up all over the place, and brands are even opening stores all over the world!  But if you don't want to pay upwards of $400 for an outfit, there are cheaper possibilities out there.  Whether you're a brand-new lolita trying to get your first outfit or someone old and experienced trying to pad your wardrobe, there are many places to buy cheaper lolita clothing so you don't have to break the bank to look cute!


EGL Sales community artwork by ruin_hci!
  • The sales community.  The egl_comm_sales is my absolute favourite place to buy clothes.  While most of the things on there are used, lolitas tend to take very good care of their clothing (since everything is so expensive, why wouldn't you take good care of it?) so you can bet on most things being in pristine condition.  I generally feel very weird buying used clothing, but even I feel comfortable buying things from the sales community.  I have found many cheap things on there as well; I've bought an almost perfect Angelic Pretty skirt from someone for only $60 (a piece that I've been looking for since I first saw it!) and an older, but still perfect, AP dress for only $80!  The sales comm is definitely the best place to buy cheap clothing, because you don't need a shopping service and you can probably find someone selling in your own country, maybe even your own city!  The only downfall is that you need a livejournal account and a paypal account to buy anything, but those are two easy things to get!
  • Japanese auction sites.  While a bit more inconvenient than the sales comm because of needing a shopping service, Y! Japan Auctions and mbok are both great places to get really cheap things.  Both of these places work just like eBay; you find something you love, it's probably really cheap, you bid on it, and when the auction expires, whoever has the highest bid gets the item.  I have found MANY extremely cheap items for sale both of these places, many of which were dream items of mine (curse my non-existant income!)  Since lolita is, by far, much easier to get in Japan, there are many more girls who resell their clothing.  I'm not sure why people sell for such low prices, but I'm grateful for it!  Usually things are in very good conditions as well, but there are the occassional pieces that are stained or torn, which you might not know about until you receive the item (unless you can read Japanese!)  There are a few downfalls to this method though; there is a definite language barrier that translator services might not help you with, you need a shopping service, and sometimes people won't sell to known shopping services.  This is a problem if you use a company as a shopping service as opposed to an individual person shopping service!
  • Closet Child and Fairy Angel.  Closet Child is a great store with branches all over Japan and a webstore with international shipping.  They are basically a consignment store; people bring in the clothes that they don't want anymore and Closet Child sells them.  While their prices aren't the cheapest, especially for prints and rarer pieces, they have a lot of sales where they reduce their prices sometimes as much as 70%.  You have to be quick though, the best pieces sell quickly!  Fairy Angel is another used clothing website, though there prices tend to be much more ridiculous than Closet Child's.  They sell prints for exuberant prices!  However, they do have cheap accessories and blouses.  The problem with these two websites are the shipping prices; since they ship from Japan, there's usually about a $20-$30 shipping fee.
  • Bodyline and Taobao.  If you're not looking for brand or are still iffy about buying used clothing, then Bodyline and the stores on Taobao are definitely the places to be.  Bodyline used to be a sexy-shop back in the day, and so lolitas tend to look down on it because it stuck with its roots for a while after they started to make lolita clothing.  Bodyline used to be known for its replicas and awful-quality clothing made of satin and rachel lace.  However, in the past year or so, they've really increased the quality of their items.  They have started making their own prints, using better lace, and using higher quality fabrics, so people are changing the ways they look at Bodyline!  Taobao is basically an internet mall; it has many different stores all selling different products, though they have a lot of lolita clothing.  One great thing about the Taobao stores is that everything is made to your size!  However, you need a shopping service.  Qutieland is the most popular, but they have very inflated prices.  If you are cringing at their prices, then you can go through the much cheaper Taobao Spree shopping service, though it's a bit harder to use because you need to hunt down all the items that you're interested in.
These are just a few ways to do lolita while not spending enormous amounts of money on it.  There are definitely other ways but I can vouch for these four ways!  What's your favourite way to buy lolita?

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