15 Jan 2016

Offbrand princess sleeve blouse review

Right, if the circumstances were different, I wouldn't really review an offbrand piece. But they aren't. What happened was that I found a reasonably priced blouse on eBay by typing in “Lolita blouse” and despite the whole affair having the potential to end up badly – it didn’t. The eBay seller is still there, selling these, which in my eyes further justifies writing a review.
But let’s go back to the beginning.



Seller and product
I was on a lookout for a princess sleeve Lolita or loliable blouse for as little as I could get it for. Bodyline didn’t quite inspire me, Taobao brands like Infanta and Magic Tea Party had some tempting designs, but when I considered them with the shipping and SS fees I felt it could be a little too much.
To be perfectly honest, I had those blouses on eBay saved on my Watch List for a while. However, it wasn’t until I started spending my first hard earned money that I decided to give it a go.

Although the seller, superstarsupplier, has 99.5% positive feedback at the time of writing, I couldn’t help as if I was looking at either a Taobao knock off or someone trying to pass Taobao brands off for cheaper (in which case something would have to be wrong with the blouse, surely). Compare the stock photos for this blouse, Infanta’s Fairy Dance and Magic Tea Party’s Notes Song – it looks like it’s trying to copy those, doesn’t it?

superstarsupplier's blouse stock photo
Infanta's Fairy Dance
Magic Tea Party's Notes Song

With the difference in price being about £3 between that one and the Taobao ones (not including the shipping, which I got for free), I really couldn’t help feeling as if, at the very least, something was missing. But reassured by the “if I don’t like it, I can return it and get myself something from Taobao”, I decided to risk it, although I kept my expectations low.

Price and shipping
The blouse cost me £15.99, which included of shipping. As I said, compared to the Taobao ones which come out about £18.99 plus shipping, this was the cheapest blouse in this style that I could find.

I placed the order and paid on January 4th and received a notification of shipment the following day; two days after that the seller sent me a message on eBay with tracking number. Considering that it was set by economic airmail, and the blouse got here in 10 days, so on January 15th, I’d say that economic airmail from China absolutely rocks!

Packaging and the blouse
It arrived unscathed, as far as I could see, in one of those standard but relatively sturdy plastic bags.


Inside the blouse was packed in another layer of plastic, which further prevented it from getting damaged. (Although as a side note a flexible package like that, with a plastic-wrapped blouse, can take a fair beating.)


Now for the blouse itself. Excuse the photos, I did what I could with the light that I had, but my room is dark even during daytime, which means that black details are harder to photograph.

My first impression was: “That’s a lot nicer than I expected”. The blouse is made of chiffon, and although it’s not as soft as the chiffon on my Infanta’s Swan Lake blouse, it’s not hard or uncomfortable to the touch either. For the money and no-name no-guarantee item that it is the quality of the material is perfectly acceptable, certainly exceeded my expectations by a mile. The lace feels alright too, similar to Bodyline’s lace, which, again, is decent.

I know very little about clothes construction, so can’t really comment on that, but I ordered size XL and it fits very well. The measurements table was definitely accurate and helpful: I’ve no boob gaps or tight waists, and it looks lovely when worn, even if I am yet to coord it with something.



Sleeve detail

Button detail and colour

Then I went into details. The buttons are actually a dark purple, which was again hard to photograph, and even in real life is only really seen up close – but it is a lovely touch. The lace at the collar has a few bits which could’ve been cut more precisely, mostly filling the gaps between the drops, but I found nothing like that on lace around the sleeves. I spotted a couple of threads sticking out – nothing that I wouldn’t be able to cut off and there were literally three or four of those. Buttonholes could be just a fraction of a fraction bigger, as the fit is very snug for the buttons at the moment, but I think this will ease with wear and use.

Collar lace (and free photo blur)

Loose thread at the hem

Random thread that seems to tie the two buttons together?

Overall
I’m happy with what I received in the post, it’s a lot better than what I expected (and let’s be honest, I expected to be scammed and get a rag to be returned immediately). Comparing it to my Infanta blouse, I wouldn’t call it Taobao quality, it feels closer to Bodyline, if anything. I can’t say for sure if I’d shop with that seller again – definitely yes if I needed that same blouse again for some reason, and quite possibly yes for everything else, although I’d have to know what else they have in stock. I’ll just have to keep them bookmarked and keep my eye on their sales.
Quality: 4/5
Price: 4/5 (because it’s still an offbrand and for that quality the price could've been a little less - if I knew how else to search for princess sleeve blouses maybe I could find something comparable for less?)
Shipping: 5/5

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