A Story of Alter-caution
One day in February 2023, one of the people in my community put up a couple of Angelic Pretty dresses in the community marketplace channel on our Discord. I looked through the options. I fell in love with an ivory and brown with gold accents chocolate themed dress. It looked like classic colors with a (literally) sweet design of chocolate cakes and frosting. I didn't know much about the brand Angelic Pretty, except for that it was very famous in the lolita fashion community, and that all of the dresses pretty much resell at original value (no matter what the year).
Now I am accustomed to purchasing dresses, blouses and accessories from the Chinese Indie market where they have size charts and different sizes to choose from. I asked the person in the community for the sizing and they sent me this link from Lolilibrary. In the original listing it says that this dress was designed in 2013, it was originally sold for approximately $180, that the bust is somewhere between 92-110cm, the waist is between 72-92cm, and the length is 84cm. Now I know my bust is about 98cm, but according to the measurements in this listing I thought I was in the clear. It turns out that I wasn't.
As soon as the dress arrived, I was distraught. I could not zip it up around my chest area for the life of me. A friend of mine who is a seamstress said to let out some of the shirring in the back. At this point I did not know what exactly shirring was, but for those who don't know or realize it's the puckered up section of fabric that is SUPPOSED to stretch enough to give room for the bust. I messaged the seller of the garment back and said, hey this measurement wasn't accurate. And they said, that's Lolilibrary for you.
So the first thing I learned was that Lolilibrary sizing isn't to be trusted. And that Angelic Pretty dresses only come in ONE SIZE and if you're not that size, then you probably shouldn't be buying them. I was in a bit of a predicament. Should I just try to resell the dress myself or have alterations done? Would the alterations decrease the resale price if I were to resell it later?
I asked the seller about alterations and reselling the item and they seemed to imply that alterations would actually improve the sale as Angelic Pretty is known for that whole one size non-inclusivity thing, so ACTUALLY making it bigger would improve the chances of reselling it at full price.
Okay, so now I was invested. I found a local tailor and I was able to zip it up when she let out some of the shirring. But then she went ahead and took my measurements and removed all of the original shirring, while making the garment just a tad wider on both sides. She had to carefully sew back the lining and the main fabric. I don't know what the going rate for a job of this degree is, but it wasn't inexpensive. She didn't seem to believe me that the dress was actually worth $180.00. When I went to put it on after the alteration, it fit A LOT better though. However, the back part that you lace up by hand didn't work. She said that the brown cord that was provided with the dress was too short for me, and that I needed to buy some 20 yards of 3/4" brown ribbon at a fabric store to use instead. OKAY. Luckily milk chocolate brown is a common color available.
Coordinating Musee du Chocolat
It turns out that Angelic Pretty releases some kind of chocolate print at least once a year, sometimes twice per year. My friend Clover actually made a video about the history of their chocolate prints. It's a good watch and I learned a lot. In the photo above, I did a google image search of ivory print musee du chocolat and yes, it's not the same dress, but it is a similar cut and colorway to the one that I purchased. The one that I purchased is a low waist so it looks more like a salopette (overalls) than a traditional jumper skirt. It also has a relatively high yoke (again like a salopette not a jsk) so labeling a jsk IS ALSO MISLEADING. I honestly didn't realize this about the cut until I had talked with Clover more in person about this particular dress.
It all seemed simple enough to coordinate it until it wasn't. The person who sold it to me said that they never wore it because they didn't know how to coordinate it. The obvious answer is to stick with brown, white, cream and gold accents. However it got more complicated.
I ordered the shirt on the left in brown, thinking it would work. It didn't work for two reasons. Firstly, the shade of brown that actually came in the mail was a cool brown--DRAT color matching fail. YOU HAD ONE JOB (this was a lot easier with the lacing ribbon). Secondly though there was another problem with the collar of this shirt versus the collar of the dress. The dress collar is very high and actually needs a stand-collar (like the girl in the similar dress) is utilizing. All the things I could not fathom being a problem when I had first laid eyes on this dress were a valuable learning opportunity for me. It helped me learn not to chase down labels you don't know anything about, and to look very carefully at the collar of the dress compared to the shirt you might use. At this point I have a few options with coordinating this dress as I have two different colored stand collar shirts as well as different socks/tights and shoes to match.
[Yet I still can't find anything in my wardrobe to match the cool brown shirt so if you're looking for one, let me know].