Figure I may as well post a fuller wishlist to show the kind of dresses I admire/want. These are the top, but there are only a few I must have. I'm not holding out on getting the Lotta JSK, but hopefully.. maybe.. r*plicas? 'A`;; A few of these dresses kind of "repeat" since they're so similar, but I'm not really aiming for variety anyways. I just really love the prints and the color! Looks like I'm into mostly blue and brown, with some red, but I'm not afraid of black, either. (IW's Innocent World Alice Characters JSK is naaaaaice).
"As human necessities and purposes change, whole worlds die and new scenes, customs, and beautiful things are born. Yet, no matter how exciting the discoveries each generation makes for itself, it is always painful to see the past vanish, taking parts of us with it. In most of us there is a tendency to try to halt time, to relive the past through the accumulation of souvenirs, to which we cling as a child might cling to an old doll. We treasure artifacts that remind us of people we once knew and loved, and we add to our collection of objects of many kinds, which we identify with a past or a way of life we could like to see perpetuated... somehow." - Alexander Girard
This has been due for about a month, ahah. Bolded the main points in case it's too tl;dr. Ahh, let's see, I had about two weeks before Anime Boston and decided at the last minute that I wanted lolita attire. This was going to be my first order, so I wanted to make sure I knew as much as could before ordering. I stumbled across Fan + Friend after sitting and thinking about whether or not I wanted to order from Bodyline. I heard mixed reviews about the quality--some said that it shouldn't cost as much for the quality you are getting, other said it was just right for the amount you are paying.
IMO, it's really subjective. I think it really depends on what you get--which applies to offbrands like Bodyline or even brands like BTSSB. (I'm kind of appalled at how high they try to price some of their JSKs and OPs. I always think back to Kamikaze Girls when Isobe claims "it's just cheap frills without the roses!", but honestly... sometimes even the finished JSK/OPs still look like cheap frills. I don't know, there's something about some of their dresses that look ita and are yet $200-300. :s)
Anyways, moving on!
What I like about F+F's pictures is that what you see is what you get. There's no weird color adjustment (I'm looking at you, brand sites) that fools you into thinking it's a stronger pigment or whatever. Generally the price is a little higher than it should be, but some items in particular are great deals. The photos are true to what you get.
Here's what I ordered (with a friend, to save on shipping):
x2 Steampunk Small High Waist Tiered Skirt & Stripes Ruffle Bow
x2 Classical Lolita Tuxedo Tail Short Sleeves Blouse & Ruffle Jabot
x2 Alice Gothic Dandy Lolita Pierced Pocket Watch/Necklace Large Size
x2 Elegant Gothic Basic Lace Gauze Short Gloves
So yeah, fairly large order. I'll go through one by one in order:
Steampunk Small High Waist Tiered Skirt & Stripes Ruffle Bow
I was pleasantly surprised with the fabric and color. This skirt ended up being very heavy and so it was hard to poof it out. I had to wear around 4 moderately poofy petticoats to even get a puff out of the skirt. They may have used a hoop in the image. The bow at the back wasn't secured very well (they used a tiny safety pin), so I had to grab a larger and sturdier safety pin to not only hold it but to also keep it straight since the tiny one it came with kept making it crooked. If you look at the model images they had, each colorway had different buttons and lace. I wondered if mine was going to be different from the image, but it ended up being exactly the same as shown. The same goes for the black colorway.
Classical Lolita Tuxedo Tail Short Sleeves Blouse & Ruffle Jabot
Honestly I was in a rush and got overly excited, so I ordered the blouse they recommended with the skirt without realizing there was a better one. I really should have gotten this one instead. The sleeve caps are much nicer, and I liked the buttons more. I like the collar standing up on my blouse, but the jabot just looks so much nicer with a peter pan collar. The color also looks like it matches the tired skirt more, because the one I ordered was more of a pink-ivory. Aside from those regrets, the blouse was fine enough. The price feels like it should have been more like 30, but oh well.
Alice Gothic Dandy Lolita Pierced Pocket Watch/Necklace Large Size This was a SUPER good buy. I scoured through different sites for a pocket watch and none were as cheap and nice looking as this. Even at the dealer's room they were selling these watches, but at a little over twice as much as what I paid for. I adored the Alice rabbit motif way too much, and feared that they wouldn't send the one I wanted (since they ship out random ones). We ended up getting one with a birdcage and one with the rabbit (YES!). The materials seemed sturdy enough, I think the metal parts were pewter while the glass cover was actually plastic. Despite the cheap materials, it still looks really great. The watch opens and closes easily. I'll have to take care of it if I want it to last longer than a typical cheap watch. The only thing that bugs me about the watch is that they didn't add a necklace ring to attach to the chain. I'll have to add one manually, to keep the watch from constantly hanging sideways/backwards on my chest.
Elegant Gothic Basic Lace Gauze Short Gloves
Haha. These were incredibly cheap. I wasn't fond of the lace used for the white ones and hoped I would get the lace that was used for the black one--but I got exactly what was shown in the picture. They broke faster than the black ones (like, in one day) but I didn't really care since I bought them as throw-away gloves. They also had an awkward fit, the fingers were too long while the thumb was just right. And it's not because I might have short fingers, because I actually do have long thin fingers! Material was pretty stiff, the cuff was held very delicately with a single stretchy thread. Not worth the two dollars, you could probably find nicer gloves for a buck at your local costume shop. (Hopefully you'd get real gloves, though. I bought cheap "cosplay" ones due to being short on time, fffu).
I have to say, I was really impressed with the shipping speed. Being short on time, I fretted every day, wondering if it would arrive on time. And it did! A week earlier than I expected, too!! I ordered with my friend on Saturday night, and I think it came on a thursday. I made sure to order items that were labeled "instant shipping", since it's the "make to order" items that take a month or more. But even then, it was still faster than expected.
Overall. I had a pretty pleasant experience with F+F. I'll order again since there are still a few more items I want, but I wouldn't want many of the JSKs/OPs from there for "serious" lolita. Maybe next time I'll post pictures on the quality of the packaging since it wasn't me who had the stuff sent to this time. Everything did come in one piece, though.