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


  1. I'm really surprised that the skirt is from Charlotte Russe, it looks a lot nicer than a lot of the skirts I've seen from that store! The skirt goes so well with all of your tops, it doesn't look out of place at all. I love all the outfits, especially the second one! Thank you for the style tip Emi :) Also, your body is nice I personally think you could pull off any silhouette easily

    1. Thanks for the feedback! Yeah, I'm really quite pleased with this purchase lmao. It was *slightly* more than I wanted to pay for a CR item, but it definitely gets the job done. I want to try and explore a little more but with different silhouettes but I'm so hesitant to move from my comfort zone! Thank you <3

  2. I really like the coordinates you put together for the skirt - It looks really nice worn casually or more dressed up which I think is really great considering the price (I assume it's pretty cheap). I think I like outfit 5 and 10 best personally.

    1. It was around $27, so not as cheap as I'd really love it to be, but reasonable. I noticed they just stocked a white version of it that they didn't have in store earlier, so I might grab it!

  3. Such a cute skirt! You put together some great coords, too. I've never worn a skirt in this style but I'm eager to try now!

    1. I was a bit nervous to try it, but I'm glad I did! Hope you can find one that suits you!

  4. I know my comments are pretty generic, but your style is always on point. I wish I could hire you as my personal stylist. lol

    1. Aw thank you Beth. Your comments are always appreciated! <3

  5. Haha, what a coincidence! I bought a white tulle skirt much like the one featured in this post a month ago- also not from Liz Lisa but some no name brand. Midi tulle skirts in white or blush (and sometimes lavender, light blue or light yellow) have been all over Popteen and Co for about a year or more now. At some point, I realized that I looked at many of the outfits incorporating such a skirt more than once and liked them. Since I am tall, knee-lenght or mid-calf lenght skirts work pretty well for me. So when I saw the skirts from Liz Lisa and similar brands often featuring a similar style lately, I wanted to try that out as well. So funny that you had such an idea too and bought a pink one! Your coordinates are super nice and give me some additional ideas on what to try or play with for outfits. I will probably not buy a Liz Lisa midi skirt, though, because it wouldn't be midi on me, lol. Their normal skirts are quite short on me already, some so much that I need to wear safety pants/bloomers underneath xD
    My main reasons for getting a midi skirt that looks a bit more girly, sweet and pure: It is a perfect lenght for work as well and can pair with my himekaji-ish tops and the fact that it is basic and long enough to work with all seasons, depending on what you layer over it (I think it looks cute with fuzzy sweaters for example, or denim tops). It's also easily dressed up or down.

    1. Yes these skirts have definitely been gaining a lot of popularity. It's so outside my regular comfort zone for length and material but I'm glad I branched out a bit and tried it. Definitely great for your height!

  6. I've never worn a skirt in this style but I'm eager to try now!
    wedges sandals