The Price is Right: Budget Lolita doesn’t have to mean Bad Quality

In recent years most of the major Japanese Lolita Brands have started opening the doors of their online boutiques to international customers. This is a good thing since it eliminates the need for costly errand services and personal shoppers but none the less there will always be a demand for cheaper, more Western-physique friendly clothing and footwear that is of a similar if not the same quality as brand.

The usual first port of call is Ebay (an ok place for second hand Brand) but not so much for knock offs, a great majority of replica shops are scammers or produce incredibly poor quality garments. There are a lot of things that are labeled and key-worded as Lolita but just because it’s called that doesn’t mean it’s up to snuff with the aesthetics of the style or made of a good quality materials. At best I advise to stay away from Ebay since security and user confidence has declined greatly over the years.

In the past Bodyline have been reviled for their awful, cosplayesque, lace monsters but in the past two years have re-evaluated their Lolita lines and have started outputting higher quality items. Most are knockoffs of popular designs but ever since they too have opened to international trade (without having to go through the middleman and the mark up of say Cosmates) and a less than stable Japanese economy, being able to quickly purchase a basic Lolita blouse and a cute jsk for under $100 USD is a godsend to the poor and cheap amongst us. One other thing about their postage is that it’s super quick, from ordering, to confirmation to delivery it takes a max of 4 days to arrive in Australia from Japan. Despite DHL being expensive when running a group order the postage is split between participants amounts to cheaper than running a single order for yourself.

I’m so getting this dress in the near future. The cut is a replica of a popular BTSSB dress but the print choice, while a touch busy is in my book, very cute.

Brands outside of Japan have also become viable options for the Lolita wanting to make her currency stretch a little further – stores in China, Hong Kong and Singapore – such as Infanta, Black Alice, Dear Celine and R-Series. These are mostly original designed items and can be bought via QutieLand shop who stock most of the major non Japanese brands as well as replica Lolita shoes in the popular styles (tea party and rocking horse).

Infanta are my new favourite non-Japanese Brand.

With the expanding popularity of Lolita in the West there is now more selection than ever no matter what style, size or budget restraints and it also helps to break up the Japanese Brand monopoly, homogeneity of the style and give more options for your co-ordinates. An easily accessible, affordable alternative to the mainstream brands whether it be Brands from outside Japan, replicas or supporting a local small business/seamstress for personally tailored lolita fashion you save money and diversify your wardrobe.

Ah… I do harp on about Lolita on a budget don’t I? But as of late buying almost exclusively brand items is not an option for the unemployed full time arts student is it? And recently there hasn’t been much from the Brands that I would go out of my way to purchase so I for one am glad that there are now many more alternatives without having to compromise on quality.

8 Responses to “The Price is Right: Budget Lolita doesn’t have to mean Bad Quality”

  1. aprilstarchild Says:

    When I found out about Bodyline a few months ago, I went to their website and started jumping up and down. I think I bought my very first jsk and blouse that very night. I live in Oregon, USA, and it came in less than a week!

    Those items are my first “real” lolita items–although I also have a dress by a brand called Soundgirl that works as a lolita dress. But I had always assumed that truly lolita clothes were out of my reach financially, or that I’d have to learn to make them (which I also plan to do).

    I’m definitely group ordering next time. Also, buying a slightly larger size (yeeeah, I can only wear that blouse under something else).

    I love how brand looks, and I may buy it secondhand some day, but right now money is just too tight and I have other priorities.

    But also letting you know: I love the blog.

    • A lot of people re still missing out on a lot because they completely ignore the vast market of secondhand shopping… I hope you didn’t skip dumpstores and Ebay! Pretty much all my lolita blouses came from secondhand stores and they were all less than 15 dollar, most of the time i only needed to ruffle the sleeves a bit.
      Ow, and i have another cheap clothesmaker for you: Fan+friend. Don’t freak out if you see the prices, they’re in Hong Kong Dollars wich are way more cheap than the American ones. They ship all over the world and their site is in English… For most items you can even pick the color and lace/trimming yourself.
      You can also visit the Lolita Handbook or for a lot of tips, tricks, guidelines, patterns and a list of stores.

  2. I must warn you that a lot of chinese shops aren’t very good.. I’m the last one to say you should only buy brand from Japan, but please check out feedback on the sellers you intend to buy from on some lolitaforums before you order stuff. I heard some pretty bad remarks, like mixing up orders, measurements are different from those listed on the site or the colors turned out otherwise.

  3. This blog is so good! Thank-you! I am a full-time student as well, so I completely agree; finding lolita is difficult for a tight budget.

    I was wondering why Bodyline had such a poor reputation (I jumped on the lolita ship a little too late I guess) but I find their selection and styles to be nice. I’m not much of a brand shopper anyway, never have been and I doubt I will be simply because looking good does not require a specific brand-name. Regardless, I bought two pieces from Bodyline (a high-waisted skirt and a blouse) and the fabric was 100% cotton for both pieces and very nice! I enjoy them a lot.

    But I agree with Jill, looking at other’s experiences with the dealers will help with future purchases. I am going to look of Infanta and R-series right now! I am excited to do so!

    Thanks again for this! And good luck to you!

    • Bodyline is really touch and go more on it’s design principles and fabric choices rather than it’s construction.

      It’s bad rep is based on the fact that it used to and to a small extent, still do manufacture sexy / maid costume wear. It has a bad name with Lolitas because of this because they do not like to be associated with maid/cosplay.

  4. very good point,but I think chinese made lolita is gettting much better now

  5. really good dress, but many and many customers ordered the lolita items from China directly right now, save much money.

  6. There’s nothin’ wrong with second hand. 99% of the U.S . population don’t understand the Lolita fashion. Why should it matter if you are wearing an Angelic Pretty dress when hardly anyone here even knows what the shop is? Aside from going to events where brand lolita is the only loli clothing that is acceptable, brand clothing is absolutely not neccessary. Unless you are rich and have buckets of money to spend. (not countin’ me)

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