Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

SALES!!!

The giant Girls Voice in Harajuku (Love Boat, LB03, LDS, Heels Uptown) and their sales signs

July is the best and worst time to live in Japan. It’s horribly hot, you’re always sweating and it threatens to rain every 4 days. Except that July is the best time to come to Japan! Why?

S A L E S !!!!

Most everything goes on sale starting July 1st. OIOI has already started while stores like Glad News, Gilfy and Spiral Girl have already started their pre-sales with 30% off or more. 109 in Machida has already busted out their full sale. Brands like Dior and Chanel are on sale to regular old clothing. The stores are jammed, the sales staff yell through megaphones until their voices hurt– it’s absolute madness!

Since summer in Japan can often last til the end of September (2007 it was like that), buying summer clothes even in July last you for 3 months at least! Stores often bring out new clothes just for the sales, Gilfy has several sets just for the sale.

Gilfy’s cute bear advertisement outside of their 109 store for their shirt + vest special set.

So for those brave enough here are some sale tips:

– don’t go on the weekends
– buy monotone or basics useful for Fall
– nab some classic shoes
– then finally grab bits of totally trendy items

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Deco Part Two – The Pros

Part One: Intro
Part Two: Visiting a Pro Shop
Part Three: Simple How-to (including recommend supplies and shops)
Part Four: Advanced Techniques
Part Five: Great Deco vs. oh… that’s uhhh nice


Heading to a Pro shop

If you’re in Japan or visiting soon I highly suggest if you’re at all interested in deco to go to a professional deco store. Not only to get work done, but just to look at their work. Pro-deco shops are like museums showcasing their drop-dead pieces in order to get you interested. They are so beautifully set up, you’ll want to stay a while.

There are tons to visit and most popular nail salons now do deco since they have both experience in delicate work, gluing techniques and crystals.

In the beginning I visited shops and got my items made. Unless you know what you’re doing with expensive Swarovski crystals, it’s often best to leave it to the pros.

Pros about the Pros:

– tons of experience
– they always use top quality glue
– will usually repair a stone or two for free
– often an artistic background to draw or create interesting looks for you

Cons about the Pros:

– expensive
– all speak only Japanese
– in person is usually the only way to deal with them
– can possibly speak against a design idea

Expensive really is the hurdle that you have to get over when paying for deco work. To cover a whole cellphone in Swarovski can often go to 300.00. Don’t be scared, there are many options in between 70.00USD to 150.00USD that you will probably find doable.

Before going to a shop:

Know your item you want to deco, be sure it can be permanent. If not, you might want to ask for them to do it as a seal. The cons of a seal are stones are not as attached as directly to an object so they are more likely to come off.

Think of a few designs you’d be interested in. Consider flexibility. The less you want to pay, the more flexible you sometimes have to be.

Have a price range in your mind. Most stores will charge less for work if you choose larger stones, however with smaller objects this isn’t as viable.

At the store be sure to communicate your design idea clearly. Bring a sketch if needed. If you don’t like the final product, tell them! While I am sure there will be disappointment on both sides, you are paying for your design concept to be done. So make sure you’re 100% satisfied with the outcome.

My two recommended shops:

Bling Me


Shibuya 109-2 1st Floor
渋谷区神南1-23-10 109パート2内1F

3F shinjuku Marui Curren
新宿マルイカレン 
新宿区新宿3-18-1

Bling Me is the only licensed pro shop allowed to do Hello Kitty work. They also do other amazing deco and they have well priced Swarovski stickers for decorating a mirror, pillcase or phone. Expect to pay around 40.00-70.00 for the stickers. They will also customize it if needed, prices are acceptable. They also have lots of ready made items such as headphones.

Glam Baby


In front of Shinjuku Alta (East Exit)

グラムベイビー新宿店

東京都新宿新宿3-24-3 ALTA1F

This is the shop I trust for consistent, beautiful work. Shop staff in deco stores are like many stores and people often quit and join. I have had excellent experiences with 3 people from 2 different Glam Baby stores. I love them! They are also one of the original deco pro shops. If I needed more custom that I wouldn’t do myself, I’d go to Glam Baby.

So here’s some of my pro work from both shops:

For reference I paid 40USD to 120USD for each of these items.

Bling Me


1st work: Pill case. Bling me used to not make them so I had this custom done.
Now they seem to be Bling Me’s top selling item.

2nd work: This wasn’t a custom by a seal to buy. Seen on my AU Japanese phone.

Glam Baby


1st work: A 3-D crown and gorgeous butterfly design on my Chanel Powder compact. Chanel is queen! My favorite work.


2nd work: My Dell Mini done in an original EcoCamo style. My largest piece to date, but my laptop is really small.

3rd work: My Nike headphones. The inner crystals move as you move. Done in a heart Pucci design. My most expensive work done to date.

4th work: Iphone case for my American phone. Done to represent my cat Luna.

The triangle beast herself

…next time: My Resume

The cost of gal

I know this is possibly a question many are curious about. Just like the song from Cake “How do you afford your Rock and Roll lifestyle?” the same question is asked about gals.

Before I start let me say it’s very possible to carry off the gal look without one or all of these items, but many consider them a necessity.


Nails:

Cost: Around 6000 yen upwards
Last: 1 month (touch-ups free within a certain time)

Cheap alternative: Self manicure (600 yen-ish) or Press-on nails (3000 yen-ish)

Importance: Middle, most everyone has them so its best to have cute ones.

Hair care:

Dying: Cost 6000 yen to 16000 yen plus
Last: 1 month(ish), roots aren’t sexy ladies

Cheap alternative: Home products and color conditioners

Importance: Extremely, barely anyone stays with their original black

Extensions: 8000 to 30000yen
Last: 1 month

Cheap alternative: finding specials on Hot Pepper Beauty (the 11000 price for 80), clip in extensions (3500 at Paris Kids to ?? for custom), wigs

Importance: Less girls are wearing these, but good extension work can be seen as instant-gal


Eyes:

Contacts: Cost 3500 for a pair lasting a year, cheaper for non prescription

Importance: Very, most girls love these. I’m a total convert.

Eyelash extensions (article)
Cost 7000 to 15000
Last: 1 month

Cheap alternative: Bulk lashes (1500 for 5) or good quality ones by Shu Uemura and MAC (1500 for one pair), Lash extending mascara

Importance: Getting higher with gals everyday. I keep seeing so many gals in eye exte.

Tanning:

Cost: 1500 – 3500 per visit for 20-30 minutes
Last: As long as you keep up with it

Cheap alternative: Paleness if you’re hime or agejo or self tanner (1500 for a bottle)

Importance: With the rise of Agejo it’s becoming less and less, but I loooove my brownness

So how do you do it?

When you consider a clothing budget is needed as well, this all starts adding up. Most girls don’t do one or two of these to save money. Many search through coupon magazine and website hot pepper to get discounts. Many aren’t as dedicated to one salon unless they’re always cheap and good. A few gals I know get their nails done in Yokohama for the cheaper large Swarovski stones. Another girl I know just jumps on anything hot pepper offers.

Others wait longer between hair and nail sessions and wear hats to cover their roots or allow themselves to have a missing nail if its cheaper to wait for the other 9 to be weak.

What are your necessities?

Some new buys (prt 2) aka Mitsu is a shopping whore

Okay it was my b-day and all b-day girls should be allowed to shop til their heart’s content!

Delyle

Damn I did damage at this store. They have great monotone looks that work well with other stores.

I love this shirt, the bilevel black/white is really flattering. Delyle understands a girl’s body.

I keep wearing this vest. When I paired it with the Cecil McBee pants and other monotone items with fauxhawk curls, I got called “oshare” by shopstaff. Everyone calls gaijin kawaii, but to get stylish, ahhh my heart flutters!

Too bad it was being dried from the laundry so it doesn’t look as fabulous in the picture, but I think it’s an adorable style.

My favorite dress to pair with the jacket!

Gilfy

After ragging on Gilfy I’ve finally seem some cute summer pieces emerge.

Love the color and the cut. It’s fully open at the sides and has a great buckle detail at the back. Looks cute with a tank top or without.

Great pairing of blacks and you can zip up the skirt to show a peak of Zebra or keep it closed for all black.

One of my favorite things I’ve bought recently combining frills and vertical stripes. The loose fit and princess cut seaming is just perfect for summer and anyone’s body.

Cecil McBee

Combining the popular fake vest and strap styling with a cute color and motif! I dig this! The suspenders clasp at the back. It’s very loose and summer casual.

I was wearing this while shopping in Delyle and the shopstaff girl had to pull the other girls to look at this tee. It does look very Delyle, but I couldn’t resist the glitter. Apparently the Delyle shopstaff can’t either ^_^

Cecil took harem pants and made this. Every Cecil staff I know bought them and my friend also had to buy a pair. So many pockets make them perfect for clubbing! Best paired with high heels.

It’s like every tee in 109 with a girl in a bold print and glitter. This is everywhere! I had to buy t for the proper English “We make the streets our runway!“. HELL TO THE YES! The Doll might have a new catchphrase ^_^v

Lip Service

I usually don’t buy LipService Japan. Mainly because my boobs + their clothes looks a little too much. However I couldn’t resist the cute cut casual top.

On sale for 3000 yen. Princess seams and a loose cut, and I’m wearing it to Disney Sea!

One*Spo

I am the biggest One*Spo whore, so it was only fitting that I buy my birthday outfit from them. Kie who is the cutest shopstaff in the world was wearing the blue and red of this. I settled on Monotone Marine with cute loose thigh-high leggings. It was sexycute, exactly what I want to be on my birthday ^_^

Egoist

I finally bought a logo tee, pictured is the back. Why Not? Sexy Glamorous The Egocentric Beauty. I feel BEAUTY. I feel GORGEOUS. I feel LUXURY, butstill never felt so satisfied just I’m in EG.
LOL! Yeah! Exactly ~_^

Glad News

Yet again GN delivers! I got a big bruise on my thigh and needed something sexy to cover it up. So this was bought. My picture doesn’t do it justice. The color, the length, the flow. I want to go to Hawaii just to put it on as a glamorous beach coverup.

The fabulous SakuRina of Ageha fame is wearing the Spiral Girl maxidress similar to the Glad News one, but after trying both on the Glad News one is much more flattering. I love resortgal!

Layla Rose

I am not the biggest Layla Rose shopper, mainly because it’s right when you enter 109 and so if you buy there you might be missing out on other treasures. But for 5000 yen (50.00USD approx) for the jacket and romper was a price I couldn’t pass up. The romper’s buttons are fake so no embarrassing gaping, and the shorts of it are lined so no nude panties needed. Very casual and great for this humid weather ^_^;;;

Esperanza

They are running the shoe game. Flag-J and R&E are slightly boring this summer.

The bows glitter and mules always make your legs look longer, so yes and yes!

That’s it probably until summer sales start end of June. Although the weather sucks then, the sales are amazing. We make the streets our runway, ladies.

Este

It was my birthday (aka Respect for the Aged Day) and I decided some este was much needed.

Rounge Princess Nails

I went to Rounge in Shibuya to get some Bday nails. As my nailist and I agreed, every0ne needs to feel like a princess on their birthday.

They are sculpt gel and have glitter tips and Swarovski Crystal AB mixed with pearls. The picture doesn’t do them justice. Sparkle sparkle baby!

Price:
First time set: 6400 yen
Swarovski and Pearl Extra: 3000 yen

all together – 9400 yen (around 94.00USD)

I have another appointment with them for a fill in 2 weeks, but while my experience was nice it didn’t feel awesome and super friendly like going to some este salons can feel. I will be withholding my recommendation for now. ^_^

Luxrous

I decided to head down a floor below Rounge and make an appointment with their eyelash extension salon. I’ve never done it, so I decided it was worth a try.

The process was LONG!!! Around 2 hours, but you got to pick your eyelashes. I went with the most popular length and the Paris style. My eyelashes are blonde naturally and I have no mascara on so the black you see is all exte.

The store was okay, nothing remarkable. Not wanting to flex your face to talk while the exte girl is working on you, you’re pretty much silent for 2 hours and nonmoving. Afterwards though they led you to a make-up room and brought you a selection of hot or iced tea while you remade yourself.

(Sans make-up. I do need to pluck my pale eyebrows and my eyes are that color, but I am in the Geo Nudy Grey rim lenses)

Price:

First time: 6300
Below lashes: +2100

In total: 8400 yen or around 84.00USD

I feel like the bottom lashes are ripoff for so little, but I love the top lashes. Next time, I’ll only do the top lashes, but probably at another store since all este places offer first time (初回 しょかい SHOKAI) discounts.

Deco Part one – An Intro

This is part one of Universal Doll’s Deco series. Inside I’ll explain types, how-to, recommended stores, deco in the media etc…

Part One: Intro
Part Two: Visiting a Pro Shop
Part Three: Simple How-to (including recommend supplies and shops)
Part Four: Advanced Techniques
Part Five: Great Deco vs. oh… that’s uhhh nice

Now onto Part One!

So what’s Deco?

Deco (デコ) Short for decoration (デコレーション)、it’s also common to use this kanji when speaking about it 凸, meaning brow or raise. It’s all about adding decoration to everyday objects. Most common is decoden (デコ電), meaning to decorate your cellphone.

Show me some examples!

Sweets – big in the lolita community but not as much in the gal community or with everyday Japanese girls. Although local toy stores are now offering a sweets making package and ramping up some interest.

Kirakira – sparkly mostly full crystal especially full Swarovski work.


Character – Rillakuma and Hello Kitty are favorites but anpanman and other old standbys are done as well. Seals for rilla are available at toy and deco stores in Japan. Hello Kitty official Swarovski deco is only done by Bling me, who have a few stores in Japan one being in Shinjuku st. in Tokyo.


Pucci – replicating the design aesthetic of Emilio Pucci done usually in a heart style, but also stars and other styles are seen.


Rock – metallic, big chains, large stones either gold or silver emphasis with traditional rock colors often used (red black). A simple rock style is targeted towards guys with skulls and such adding a male touch.

Glamorous – this often refers to getting a logo done on your phone such as Chanel or Louis Vuitton.


Princess – crowns, lace, ribbons and other Hime aspects. Popular with the Hime and Agejo crowd.

Ageha x Deco King

Mori – using large stones to create a look. Mostly Swarovski and done on small items such as pillcases or as a small emphasis like a mirror.


Advant Deco – Things that may neither sparkle nor have depth to them. Deco is also the term for when you simply cover your phone in stickers or put a skin on it.

(images taken from Glam Baby, Pinkberry and Cocohoney)

Where can I learn more?

pingmag
article discusses the rise of deco and Glam Baby in particular.
Nikkei’s article on deco-den in Japanese discusses the history and evolution of deco.

Shop Talk part two

Upcoming Trends

White – Especially those in white cotton with lace aspects.

– tip: Try an all white outfit with a waist belt in white.

Fabulous from Delyle.
Another trend to watch for: trend styled basics (frills + basic)


Neogladiators – Not gladiators to the knee, but those with lots of straps and edgy details.


I had to buy these in black from Esperanza. 4 inch heels, hollah!


Mickey – Not just for Popteen’s Kumiko, Mickey has got a deal with 5 109 brands (Moussy, Swanky, LoveBoat, LDS, and Redark) Also 109-2 Mens Vanquish has it featured, too. That’s more than Hello Kitty with just two (JSG and Deylye).

– steal this look: At your local Disney Store near you.

Gingham and country stripes – From Gilfy to Liz Lisa these trends are here for summer.

Layered frills – from tops to onepieces in Glad News to Lip Service it’s comfortable and looks great with hotpants.

Also available in summery white from Glad News


Layered shirts – Shirts with a band at the bottom as a fake double layer shirt.

Scoopneck necklines – Very important. Every store is doing this chest-loving style.

– tip: Gap has cheap basic scoopneck in cute colors.

Rocking to two trends at once: logo and scoopneck


Studs – On shirts, dresses, belts, and jewelry it’s everywhere. Love Boat is doing this look best.
– tip: Just like sparkle, this is best worked as an accent.

Vertical Stripes – Yes many stores are still doing horizontal ones, but vertical are so much more flattering. They make you taller! Seen on Gilfy to One*Spo.

Scoopneck and Vertical, Delyle also has this in a fabulous dress

Grade: B

While their style was varied there were tons of cute white cotton dresses, tops and lacy outfits. Their style looked both effortless and easy to set-up. White cotton with lace seems to be an ongoing theme and it looked very stylish at LDS.

LDS still kept their haadi side with open-toe converse-style wedges with stud detailing on one side. Cute, bright and big accessories as always. Definitely worth a look.

Grade: A

I usually call Liz Lisa out for being typical, boring and not following the trends. They really surprised me this time with casual, cute, girly trend items. They had tons of flowy sweet dresses with drop-waist button up trend styling. Their look this season isn’t hippy or too brown. There was even Marine aspects in their looks. I have a feeling my first Liz Lisa onepiece will come soon.

Grade: B-

Studs and dots were played throughout and most every piece looked very wearable. A great place to buy resort style from. Many gals make a summer trip to Hawaii, Guam or Thailand and resort style is in every summer. A great place to pick up a shirt or two. They also had the most adorable long romper of 109 with halter styling in sherbert colors.

Minus: The most ugliest set of dresses with dots combined with neon flowers. It’s a blatant take on the Louis Vuitton Stephen Sprouse rose collection.

On a bag it’s hot. On a dress with dots, it’s NOT!

Grade: B

Great amekaji. Cute sets and shirts everywhere. Just in: their new Mickey Mouse collab. I am still wondering weather to get it since its in sweatshirt material, but it’s hella cute and the boatneck cut is flattering. They also have a great take on the preppy button-up shirt. If I hadn’t nabbed one already, ReDark’s would’ve been a must buy.

Swanky, Moussy and Love Boat all have Mickey tees. My favorite being the Redark and Love Boat one (with studs!). However, with all of the prices starting at around 5,000 yen, it is hard to justify buying one.

Grade: B

A cute dot selection of shorts and pants and tons of frill layered dresses and shirts, but nothing was a show-stopper.

Grade: B-

I usually stay away from this store because of their high price point (i.e. $$). However, they’ve decided to diversify and now have a Moussy basics line with lots of great cut basic tees.


This oversize tee onepiece with pockets was comfortable and the edgy print ads all the style you need. Great for carefree summer dressing. It’s on my wishlist.

Duras

Grade: C

Cute dot rompers and everything looks slouchy and casual, but it’s all in chiffon and satin. For those who have done laundry in Japan know those two materials look hideous when drip dried (the way most have to dry their clothes in Japan). A+ for effort, but D for having items that aren’t wearable.

Other notes:

Swordfish has a limited edition denim hotpants with heart pockets on the front. Last year their denim back heart pocket theme was everywhere. Nothing totally new.

Bumblebee has a great rose dress that worn looks amazing. The gathered skirt is very classy and pretty. Showing up in all the magazines (current Egg included).

Mar*s up to their same tricks mostly, but some really cute frill outfits. Also a popular logo dress is popping up in Ageha.

Me Jane has a new onepiece that everyone seems to love, Shake Shake is copying it as well. A t-shirt top, black band and chiffon bottom. It looks adorable on, I hope to see more variations.

RoseFanFan decided to do another Louis Vuitton copy and use the Stephen Sprouse tribute neon collection and make it into leggings and shirts saying RoseFanFan. It may be a blatant copy, but it does look kind of cool.