Sunday, 1 March 2015

Review: A Rapunzel dress for World Book Day (even if it is the Disney version...)

I have always been a big fan of fair tales, whether that come in the form of a Disney Movie, or the original word of mouth tales recorded by the Brothers Grimm. Something about those fantasy worlds always thrilled and excited me. The adventures of unfortunate Princesses were always the ones that really got me particularly excited. I think fairytales have an important place in European literature as they are often a gateway for many children into the world of reading and (feminism issues aside) the value of these stories cannot be underestimated.

I think that's why I am drawn to these characters for World Book Day (March 5th in case you were wondering) and I don't think there is anything wrong with using the Disney versions of these characters for fancy dress as they are far more recognisable. This year my work is having a 'Girl Power' theme for World Book Day and I have been thoroughly exploring costume options.

The costume website All Fancy Dress very kindly offered to help me out and sent me a Disney's Tangled Rapunzel costume to check out. The costume is made by costume manufacturer Rubies and is officially licensed by Disney so I had high expectations. In the interest of fairness in this review all pictures are taken with the dress completely unaltered - this is literally how it came out of the packet.

The costume arrived in a packet that was similar to most other fancy dress costumes (it also arrived the next day after it was ordered so I can highly recommend their quick service) and it consisted of the dress only. All other accessories such as the wig, hair flowers and frying pan are my own.

As far as the overall look the dress has the right colour and style to match Rapunzels dress, I appreciated little details like the netting on the sleeves and the lace decoration on the waistline and neck. There is a mix of fabrics used, most of the dress is made form that light weight satin-type fabric that so many costumes are made from. It is cheap fabric, but to get a princess dress made in anything else would cost a lot of money so I don't mind, I think the shiny-ness works as an advantage on a gown like this anyway as it makes it appear more full.

Surprisingly I found this dress very comfortable to wear and I thought it fit quite well. I ordered the medium or 12-14 as I had read reviews saying that the bust was ample and the dress was quite a large fit. I found that the front of the bodice fit very well and there was a stretchy panel on the back to accommodate larger sizes. I found that this bunched up around the waist a little bit but it was a fairly minimal problem. In an ideal world I would like something much more sturdy in the bodice and waist, but without having a costume specially made you will probably never find that in a fancy dress costume. 

I would have liked to see the waist lace going all the way around the back too...
In side the dress and attached to the waist is a mini petticoat that is about 8 inches long. It has a lining inside with a netting overlay to give the dress a bit of fullness on the hips. I am not entirely sure what this added to the dress as Rapunzel isn't especially noted for curvaceous figure and her dress is one of the more slim line of the Disney Princesses (not counting Elsa of course!). I am also a woman with a very ample set of hips so I really didn't need any additional full ness so I am considering taking this out for future use of this dress but it really is a minimal issue and could be done very easily.

That grass was COLD!!!!!
 Overall I am pleased with the general look of the dress and for a fancy dress costume you can get away with wearing straight out of the bag £35.99 isn't too bad a price.

I did notice that the official picture of the costume the bodice looks a lot longer and I found the bodice to be quite short in real life. This is something that isn't a problem for me as I have quite a short torso but perhaps it is something to bear in mind if you are longer in the body.

 I used the blonde wig form my Princess Zelda costume and applied some hair flowers of my own. I know that this wig is no-where near long enough to be like Rapunzel's, but I think it is long enough to give mostly the desired effect... I hope at least!

At the time of publishing All Fancy Dress had sold out of Rapunzel costumes, but did have several other Disney Princess, like Snow White and Cinderella. They also have a dedicated World Book Day section with plenty of suggestions for both adults and children - and their quick delivery means that you still have time to get a costume before World Book Day on the 5th of March (you know you want to!!!)

Friday, 27 February 2015

How long are you allowed to wear Christmas jumpers/cardigans for? Is this even a Christmas cardigan!?

Apologies up front on this one readers, it may be a little ranty... 

I was a work the other day and I was wearing the cardigan featured in this post. A young person (a teenage girl, the font of all fashionable wisdom, after all) said to me; 'why on earth are you wearing that cardigan? Don't you know its not Christmas any more?'

She said it with such conviction that I though I must have committed some kind of heinous crime against fashion. Now I utterly understand that if I was wearing a bright red jumper with Santa on it or a large red nosed reindeer, then sure, that's a bit too Christmassy for February. But a fair isle snowflake cardigan?

Allow me to defend myself for a moment:
1. This cardigan is really very, very warm.
2. It is from Primark (via charity shop, yes I'm that cheap) and it was from about 5 years ago when         Christmas jumpers weren't the phenomenon they are now.
3. It only has little reindeer and snowflakes on it...
4. I was going for this sort of look with a blue pencil skirt and white blouse:

So I suppose I am asking for advice. It this too much for a cold February day? What do you think, does fair isle automatically equal christmassy?

On a side note, I know I've shown this vintage sailor dress before, but now I have a vintage Laura Ashley wool riding coat to go with it!! I honestly can't describe my love affair with this coat this winter, it was one of my better charity shop finds of late (well apart from my 1960s Harrods dress, more on that later) and was an utter steal at only £20!

Red scarf, not so glamorous...

And a further side, side note, look how white my hair is! I am not officially a badger and I'm in my 20s! Late 20s yes, but still. I'm really glad I recently got chosen to work with Vidal Sassoon to trial some new hair dye - more on that later too. If fact, you may have seen a little on this already if you follow my instagram (@fancydresscapades).

So there we have it. Help me out please, should I pack away my fair isle cardigans?

Outfit details:
Cardigan: Primark via charity shop
Dress: Vintage Laura Ashley
Coat: Vintage Laura Ashley
Scaft: Gift
Shoes: Hotter (gift)

Friday, 20 February 2015

Giveaway and Review! Hair colour transformation with Vidal Sassoon Salonist

So lately I have been complaining a lot about my badger hair, by that I mean the grey patches at the top and sides, and I have finally decided to do something about it.

The decision to change was brought on as I was selected by Savvy Circle to try out Vidal Sassoon's new hair colour Salonist (you've probably seen it advertised on the TV quite a bit lately).

So here is s sneek peek, but all I have to say first is what a change!! 

I was really excited to try out Salonist. I've never experienced a hair dye quite like this, the trick is that it is a two step process where you apply with a brush at the roots first and then add a serum to the colour mixture to colour the lengths of the hair.

I used the medium intense red (5/45.2) but with my hair being quite dark I wasn't expecting a super bright red, but I was after a deep auburn. 

Savvy Circle also sent me a VS towel
I actually had some concerns about the whole roots then lengths part as I though it would end up multi coloured but I was really pleased to see that it didn't at all. The only place where I got some colour variation was on my grey where the red was much brighter, but that's to be expected when you have your white in badger patches. I'm sure this would give a great natural highlight effect if you have grey all over, which I don't.

Not that I have enough grey for it to be a problem.

Badger hair, or rogue from X-men hair?

Here is a quick glamourous selfie while I was waiting for the dye to take. I was really pleased that it wasn't drippy at all, although I did find the colour around my skin to be a bit alarming, however this washed away no problem.

After 30 minutes I washed out the dye, I did find that this took a while, but I have a lot of hair. The whole process from start to finish was around an hour and 15 minutes which included a 30 minute waiting time, a conditioning treatment and rinsing time.

I then let my hair dry a little and put it up into a lazy wet set, and the best part was that there was no colour bleed onto my pillow over night! Phew!

But more than anything else, the best part of the whole process, was taking out my wet set and finding my hair looking like this: 

I think I managed to get my deep auburn colour. I'm super happy with it.

So I am only just in the second week of my freshly dyed hair so I will have to up date you as time goes on but so far I am impressed!

Now over to you lot! Would you like to have a go at dying your hair with Salonist? Savvy Circle sent me three additional shades to give away and you could win the shade of your choice.

Here are the three colours I have on offer:

Darkest Intense Violet 3/66.2
Light Neutral Brown 6/0
Medium Neutral Blonde 8/0

If you would like to win you need to:

  • Enter your details in the Rafflecopter below.
  • You must submit your colour choice in the comments below too.
I will draw a winner at random that will get their first choice of colour, then draw further winners until all colours are selected. Open world wide although our post is super slow :(

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 16 February 2015

Rachel: A vintage style princess coat from Collectif

 I was looking back over my blog and the last batch of posts and I realised it was really cosplay heavy. Lucky for you though I have a lot of vintagey stuff to catch up on!

The first one is something I thought I'd share because not only is this coat bloomin' fantastic, it is also on sale for a bargain price in the Collectif sale!

I've had a bit of an obsession with skirted princess coats ever since I was a little girl, but they're not something that has been in fashion for many years and the true vintage ones are never in my price range or size.

However one of my favourite vintage style clothing brands Collectif have expanded their range of coats quite a lot and this year it was all about the princess coat. Fitted waists, full skirts, the only problem was trying to decide which coat to choose.

I ventured into the covent garden shop while I was passing through London a little before Christmas and I tried on a few of the coats. My favourite one was the Rachel herringbone houndstooth coat. It has a really sturdy feeling texture and a pleated padded lining that was perfect to keep my warm. The coat also had sumptuous faux fur around the collar and cuffs.

I have tried out this coat in the cold north and in the rain and it fairs well in all weather so far, although it did take a while to dry out the fur once it was wet, but it looked good as new once it did!

I think the double breasted style is really flattering and the matching belt nips in the waist even more that the cut of the coat already does. Perfect for those with a smaller waist and ample hips.

Look at the size of that skirt!

These pictures were taken in Scarbrough while I was visiting the in laws and I must admit, walking around the coast with this coat on in the wind really made me feel like a princess, all dolled up with the wind in my hair. It was lovely.

I found that the fit on this coat was fairly generous, I am normally a 14 in Collectif things and I could quite easily get away with a 12 in this coat.

Here is a picture of the cosy lining:

The smile on my face really illustrates how pleased I was with this coat!

Now here is the good news for you. The Rachel coat was originally £189, but the sizes they have left are on sale for £49!! Such a bargain (only sizes 12, 14 and 18 are left though)! I would highly recommend this coat for the winter months.

Outfit details:
Coat: Collectif
Dress: Monsoon
Hat: Accessorize
Tights: Accessorize
Boots: Doc Martens

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Just what is a lace front wig?

 Okay so I have faffed about with wigs quite a bit in my time and for some reason I had yet to try a lace front wig. This was largely due to price as lace fronts have a bit of a reputation of being very expensive. But for my Catelyn Stark costume I decided to take the plunge and go lace front.

There were a few reasons for this, but the main one was because I knew an auburn wig would be so very useful for comic book cosplay.

There are a lot of red heads in comics after all...

Now, me being me, I still wanted a thriftier option and I investigated lace on ebay. Now buying on ebay can be a risk for costumes and accessories (more on this in a post in the new year) but feedback, price and the quality of the listing can be a great indication of quality.

I decided to go with this auburn curly wig by Wig Glamour. The price was £39 which is a fairly good, if not cheap, price for a lace front wig. The weave is also high quality synthetic fibre that can be styled with heat. 

I have to say I was very pleased with this wig. You can see that the colour is gorgeous and there is a very high volume of hairs in the weave. It creates a really full and thick look and makes the wig look a little more natural.

Now if like me you were unclear about what a lace front wig was hopefully this picture will help clear that up.

The wig has a piece of 'lace' at the front, now this lace is not like old fashioned lace, it is a semi stretchy holy fabric that stretches to fit comfortably around your head. The synthetic hair is then woven into the lace so that it more closely replicates the look of natural hair.

For me the biggest perk of the lace front is the added comfort around the head and the fact that the hair can be parted in any direction at the front. The predetermined part you often get in wigs are sometimes really annoying so being to use the wig in multiple ways has got to be a bonus.

So the weird thing about lace front wigs is that they come with extra lace at the front. The idea of this is that you can trim the lace to fit your hairline making it look more natural.

Of course it helps if you have a wig cap to keep your hair out of the way... unlike me.

Once you have tested the fit and got the wig sitting comfortably you need to trim the excess lace from the front. I watched a couple of youtube tutorials to get to grips with this, but it  really was very straight forward. Even if it looks really, really weird...

Okay and here is how the wig turned out, I pulled the front back so you can see the hair line a bit better. I really like the way that it blends in with my natural hairline.

Here is the back of the wig. You can really see the fullness of the curl!

I couldn't help but feel that the wig would be brilliant for an Oracle or Barbara Gordon costume.

What do you think?

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Sailor Moon Cosplay: Michiru Kaioh Infinity School cosplay

This is another costume post, it seems I did a lot of cosplay in the last couple of months...

Anywho, I made this Michiru costume last summer in preparation for going to the Hyper Japan Christmas Market, but in the end I wasn't able to go :( But I couldn't let the costume go to waste!!

I went to a park near my flat and I thought it would be a lovely place to do some moody Michiru awaiting the apocalypse type shots. 

I've spoken so many times about how Michiru/Sailor Neptune is my favourite character in Sailor Moon and she is someone who helped my figure out the kind of person I wanted to be during my messy teenage years.

She is also beautiful and elegant and has a classically feminine style that often has a bit of a vintage flair. However when Usagi and co. first meet her in the show she is at school and she often wears the amazing uniform of the Infinity School.

It is a very typical shape of a Japanese school uniform, if the colours are a bit out there, and it was a lot of fun to replicate this outfit.

 I used a large mans shirt for the basis of the costume, but I cut so much off and changed so much that it wasn't very recognisable once I'd finished. I cut of a large portion of the length and the collar, changed the cuffs, added the green trim to the bottom and added the sailor collar and bow. Getting the collar on to the shirt was the most difficult part of the costume by far, but I think I just about managed to get away with it.

The mirror was the same on I used for my Sailor Neptune costume back at London Comic Con. You can find details on that here.

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