Saturday, February 27, 2016

OOTD - January & February 2016

Outfit dump for January and February 2016! I ended up creating more coordinates and actually capturing them more than I thought I would between these two months because I had anticipated being really lazy lol.

Outfit 1 (for church) -
Liz Lisa big flower faux 2-piece OP, Liz Lisa lace peek cardigan, Flag J pumps, off brand hair bow 

 Outfit 2 (for church) -

Outfit 3 (for work) -
Liz Lisa logo floral OP, Liz Lisa batwing knit cardigan, Kate Spade New York handbag, Liz Lisa knot wedge sandals

Outfit 4 (for work) -
Spinns embroidered collar blouse, Material Girl cardigan, Liz Lisa lace flare skirt, Liz Lisa ribbon pumps

Outfit 5 (for work) -

Outfit 6 (for church) -

Outfit 7 (for dinner with friends) -
Charlotte Russe high neck sleeveless lace top, Charlotte Russe tulle skirt, Flag J sandals, Forever21 necklace 

Outfit 8 (for work) -

 Outfit 9 (for work) -

Outfit 10 (for work) -
Liz Lisa sunflower OP, Liz Lisa floral wedge pumps

 Outfit 11 (for work) -

Outfit 12 (for church) -
Liz Lisa ribbon off shoulder blouse, Ank Rouge mermaid skirt, Liz Lisa (Popteen novelty) tote, Liz Lisa ankle socks, Liz Lisa (pom pom) pumps

Outfit 13 (for work) -
Material Girl dress, One Spo heart button cardigan, Nine West ankle boots

Outfit 14 (for work) -

Outfit 15 (red for Chinese New Year!) -
H&M dress, Flag J pumps

Outfit 16 (for work) -

Outfit 17 (for family CNY dinner at my grandma's house) -

Outfit 18 (for work) -

Outfit 19 (Valentine's Day coordinate / for church) -

Outfit 20 (for church) -
Liz Lisa off-shoulder plain browsing top, Liz Lisa picnic skirt, FlagJ sandals, Samantha Thavasa handbag

Outfit 21 (for work) -
Liz Lisa x Yui Kanno collab floral stripe OP, Liz Lisa puff sleeve lace cardigan, Liz Lisa (pom pom) pumps, Betseyville dot bow purse

Outfit 22 (for work) -
H&M sheer overlay dress, Nine West velvet sandals, Kate Spade New York purse

I got a bit lazy in January because I wasn't doing much lol. Mostly just work and I didn't bother looking good because most people were on leave at the beginning of the month haha. But I somehow unconsciously picked it up later in the month and continued on through February. When I was trying to determine what I could bear to part with to sell and what I wanted to keep from my wardrobe, I picked out a few items I hadn't worn in a while but definitely still love and wore them out later that week lol. I was also really excited to wear out a few of my newer items! Honestly, since these kinds of OOTD posts are only getting produced every couple months, it probably seems I re-wear items more than I really do (since I often wear the same outfit but to different events or occasions where the same people don't see me), but I'm happy to keep the pieces that I have and if they get more wear, that's better right?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Tulle midi skirt (Charlotte Russe) - Liz Lisa alternative

I saw this slightly longer (knee length +, depending on the wearer's height) skirt start making major appearances for Liz Lisa in Spring 2014 and just continued gaining traction from there over the last couple years. I've really been itching to try it but haven't wanted to specifically spend money on it.
Tbh, I've never been a fan of longer length skirts/dresses on me. It makes me feel not just short but specifically stumpy and disproportionate. Whether that's actually the case or not is irrelevant to my brain because apparently I just have a hard time convincing myself otherwise. However, as I have been constantly seeing longer skirt coordinates from Liz Lisa for almost two years now, I've been trying to condition myself into being more open to them. I've become particularly fond of the knee length tulle/chiffon skirts styled with cropped length tops.
 ^^ These are shop staff photos from March 2015 through October 2015, so clearly it can work in any season!

My solution to wanting the skirt but not wanting to risk the money on a Liz Lisa skirt that might not fit correctly? I found one from Charlotte Russe!

In truth, I really wasn't shopping specifically for this skirt. I actually only went into Charlotte Russe because I had an old gift card that I wanted to spend and get rid of since I had been holding onto it for over a year. (If you're unfamiliar, Charlotte Russe is kind of similar to Forever21 in pricing and target customer age range.) There was nothing in particular in the store that I wanted, but when I saw this skirt, I realized that this might be just the thing. This skirt length was something I wanted to try but didn't really want to spend a lot of money on, so thank you gift card! Plus it matched so well with my new Kate Spade New York purse (which I had with me that day).
Part of the reason I was reluctant to spend money on a Liz Lisa skirt of this style was because I was nervous about 1. the waist fit (in the past, the waist has been too big on some freesize skirts and they don't sit on my body correctly) and 2. the length. As far as I can tell, there isn't a stock photo model that I feel is really close to my height that I can trust.
Obviously the Charlotte Russe skirt is winning just based on the fact that I can try it on lol. But I also really, really liked the light pink color. The quality of this skirt is probably a bit below what I would get from Liz Lisa (since LL's tulle/chiffon items are really nice and soft) but also came with a lot less risk monetarily, and it was returnable if I got home and realized I have nothing to wear with it. Given the choice, I really would have preferred to get a skirt in this style in white (not a color option from CR unfortunately), but the light pink color is really not that bad of an option either.

I believe this is actually called "Tulle full midi skirt" in blush by Charlotte Russe's naming conventions which is why I'm calling it a midi skirt in the title of this blog post, but as to whether that's actually what this length is on me, I'm not sure. I personally feel like "midi" length hits below the knee, more at mid calf. The hem hitting at or above the knee =/= midi for me. If it hits just above or at the knee, it's "knee length" imo but when you look at the #midiskirt tag anywhere, there's bound to be quite a few knee length skirts so what do I know. Terminology aside, this isn't a skirt length I regularly wear and am comfortable with so I decided to play around with a few coordinates using it as the feature item.
I had a few ideas in mind, but needed a little confirmation that what I was putting together wasn't completely ridiculous so I went back and did some research in Liz Lisa blog archives (re: shop staff photos at the beginning of the post) and also TKL listings for similar skirts (below) to see how Liz Lisa styled them.
(All of these photos came from the Liz Lisa section in the Tokyo Kawaii Life outlet but there are certainly examples from the current stock/season as well!)
Not all skirts shown are exactly like the one I have (and in fact only one is pink) but at least they are a similar length. And not all of these are really my style but just looking at them gave me a pretty good idea of what direction I wanted to go in. As mentioned before, it seems like this type of skirt can easily transition from season to season by just switching up the shoes and top.

Here are my attempts at styling the skirt with both brand and off-brand items that I already owned -
1. with Forever21 halter top, Kate Spade New York purse & Flag J sandals 

2. with Forever21 blouse & Liz Lisa knot wedge sandals + Forever21 necklace and Liz Lisa riders jacket

3. with One Spo heart cut out cropped knit & Flag J pumps

4. with Charlotte Russe denim bustier top & Flag J pumps + Liz Lisa rose quilted purse

5. with Forever21 floral tube top & Flag J sandals

6. with Liz Lisa off shoulder ribbon blouse & Liz Lisa ribbon pumps / & Tralala ribbon wedge sandals

7. with Liz Lisa plain browsing top & Liz Lisa (pom pom) pumps + Samantha Thavasa handbag

8. with Forever21 off shoulder top & Tralala pearl strap wedge sandals

9. with Charlotte Russe tube top, Betseyville necklace & Flag J pumps / Forever21 necklace & Liz Lisa heart suede pumps

10. with Swankiss heart argyle sleeveless knit and Liz Lisa beret & Flag J pumps

11. with Charlotte Russe high neck sleeveless lace top & Flag J pumps
It was pretty fun to try this skirt with whatever I could find! My favorite tops are probably from 1, 5, 6 and 11 but I think the skirt pairs best with the Flag J pumps. For some reason, the skirt compelled me to do a lot more accessorizing than I usually do for these type of posts (it just takes too much time/energy usually and I'm lazy and not good at picking accessories). Maybe it's because there's so much of the skirt and it's just all one color that I feel like there needs to be jewelry to balance it out somehow? I don't even know, but even that part was kind of enjoyable for once lol. I feel like I was able to get a pretty good mix of brand and non-brand items in there (although all my non-brand items are just from Forever21 and Charlotte Russe, but that's just my wardrobe rn so I can't help it). Honestly, there are probably more/other tops I have that could work with it but I had to cut myself off at some point haha. I also made a feeble attempt at doing some non-summerish coordinates with what I could find because honestly this skirt isn't season-limited. It's also not occasion-limited! I feel like it can be dressed up or dressed down based on what you pair with it.

I ended up getting the white skirt later as well (on sale!) and created a short coordinate video with a few different looks -
I've really come to like this skirt now that I've been able to try it with so many of my existing tops, and I'm looking forward to wearing it. I'm certainly glad I made the decision to buy it, and I'm really happy with the fit. I think next on my list is a similar Liz Lisa skirt in white!

I've seen/gotten a number of questions on my personal tumblog and the liz-lisa tumblog (which I help moderate) about where to buy items similar to Liz Lisa items but at a lower price point or in the US (so you don't have to deal with international shipping if you live in the US).
Here are some examples of pink knee+ length tulle pleated skirts from Liz Lisa on Tokyo Kawaii Life -
I'm doing this kind of backward in this post since I've already shown the off-brand item and now am showing you the Liz Lisa equivalent. Usually you find the brand item for inspiration and then look for the counterpart off-brand item after, but I think you can still get the idea.
Obviously, none of these are exactly like the skirt I bought from Charlotte Russe but I'm sure you can agree that they're somewhat similar in design. If you're looking to buy sometimes exactly like Liz Lisa but not from Liz Lisa and not from outside of the US, you're just not going to have any luck. Liz Lisa does what Liz Lisa does very well, especially with prints and certain silhouettes. However, for some of their simpler items, if you just like the general idea of the item like with this tulle skirt, it's not that hard to find something similar. My advice is to get a really good idea of what you're looking for (examine the stock or shop staff photos carefully), identify what you like about it (color, design, style, length, details, etc) and then keep these things in mind while you look around your local shops. You may even want to print out a picture and show it to the staff working and ask what they have that looks like the item because they might find or know about things in the store that you would miss if you're just casually browsing.
In my experience, it's definitely hit or miss. There isn't a 1:1 Liz Lisa to off-brand equivalent relationship. (By which I mean, for every item Liz Lisa produces there isn't also a comparable equivalent produced by a legitimate company that sells in the US/outside Japan.) There is no brand that is exactly like Liz Lisa but outside Japan and selling items for 1/4th the price while still giving you the same quality of product. There are stores that will occasionally have an item that will pass as a decent replacement (like small boutiques or Forever21), but you're going to have to put in a little extra effort to find similar items. There's always some give and take!
This is not to say that I think "basic" items from Liz Lisa are not worth purchasing. In fact, I've been happiest with some of my more basic items from Liz Lisa because I can wear them so often and they match so well with other Liz Lisa items especially in detailing and I really enjoy that. Although the skirt I purchased from CR is a reasonable replacement, I know that there are details on an equivalent Liz Lisa skirt that would make it a bit more special. They're hard to see in the zoomed-out/full length photos (and sometimes they're hard to see unless you look at them irl because the stock photos don't do them justice) but Liz Lisa does their own take on what is usually thought of to be a "basic" by adding additional design and detail to them that makes it worth purchasing specifically from LL. (For example the "basic" turtleneck above has bows in the back near the collar and the pants have a lace-up detail in the back near the waistline.) The only reason I didn't purchase from Liz Lisa for this skirt in particular is because I didn't want the risk that comes with online shopping about fit since that was important to me for this item especially concerning length. I think that if I knew what I knew now but didn't own the skirt from CR, I would definitely buy a pink (or white) tulle skirt like this from Liz Lisa. And I'd likely be really happy with it (given that skirt wouldn't be swimming on me).

I understand why people want to find local alternatives to the items Liz Lisa sells. There are many different reasons - cost, availability, payment method, ease of order process. For me, it was about sizing. If I can, I want to do more of these posts about items I find locally that are similar or a reasonable substitute for basic items that Liz Lisa also sells. However, I just don't do a lot of local shopping anymore (both browsing and purchasing). If I want an item from Liz Lisa, I'll probably just buy it from Liz Lisa (when it goes on sale, if I'm not dying for it right away). But if I happen to find myself trying to kill time at a mall or just happen to find something, I'll definitely try and at least take some pictures if I don't buy it and share! Finding alternatives definitely won't be the focus of this blog and posts are likely be far and few between since the non-Liz Lisa items I buy locally tend to be nowhere near a similar style to Liz Lisa (on purpose), but if another opportunity like this one with the skirt comes up, I won't turn it down.
I hope this post was at least insightful or interesting in some way. I wanted to share a bit about my personal process when it comes to styling items I'm unfamiliar with and also a few tips about shopping for off-brand Liz Lisa-inspired items. I had a lot of fun trying out different things with this skirt and figuring out what worked and what didn't. Let me know your thoughts!

Edit: Note for HI, AK, PR residents when (potentially) purchasing from Charlotte Russe's webstore - Facebook rant