Lots of Taobao brands are popping up. They come with interesting designs, new ideas and offer a cheaper alternative to the established Japanese Lolita brands. But what about the quality? Can these low prices provide decent quality? That’s why I bought several Taobao pieces. To experience them firsthand and to decide if I can add them to my Lolita repertoire or if they end in the Ita box of doom.
ZJ Storys current designs made me really curious. Therefore, I bought the op of their Pointiff Cross Series and want to share my thoughts about it.
ZJ Story – The Pointiff Cross
Pontiff: formal for popeCambridge Academic Content Dictionary
the leader of the Roman Catholic Church
This series is inspired by the nun aesthetics. It consists of the op and an ouji set, a nun-collar and also a nun-hood. Both in black and purple.
I bought the purple op in size S.
Ordering Process at ZJ Story
ZJ Story is a Taobao-brand, this means you can find their dresses in their Taobao shop, a Chinese selling platform. They don’t have an international online shop, so you have to use either a reseller or a shopping service to buy from them. I used a shopping service.
For this release, they had a reservation period in August. To reserve a dress you had to pay a little deposit. On January 2nd I finally got a message from my shopping service asking for the remaining balance since my dress was ready. I paid and the dress started its journey to Germany.
Delayed from the Chinese new year, it arrived on the 6th of February.
The dress is priced at around $53. In comparison to other Lolita dresses that’s really affordable!
But for the total costs, you need to add a shopping service fee, the PayPal fee, shipping and more!
Additional costs for EU- residents incur in the form of import VAT or customs fees. So keep it in mind!
All in all I paid around $98 (incl. Import VAT)
To give you an insight into the total costs, I tried to break them down in the following table:
|Total for Dress||368¥||48.75*||52.58$*|
|Shipping in China||10¥||1.32*||1.43$*|
|International shipping (1250g)||137¥||18.15€*||19.85$*|
|Total with shopping service |
|EU Import VAT (19%)||14.50€||15.65$*|
|Custom fees (if above 150€)||–||–|
* currency rate from 19.02.2020
The dress arrived safely packed in two boxes. The inner box was nicely decorated and with their name ZJ Story on top. I found even more packaging in the inside because the dress itself was packed in another plastic bag. They also included some goodies: a little shopping bag, a photo, a little notebook, a brooch and an envelope. In the envelope, I found wash and care instructions, a return note and a letter. Everything is in Chinese, but google translator can help you there!
The dress has a high collar, which can be closed with hidden snap fasteners. It has long sleeves. At the end of the sleeves are cuffs, which are closed with golden buttons.
The belt isn’t attached to the dress. It is made from the same thick material as the cuffs. It measures 155 cm in length. I could find a sticker with “L” on my belt, so maybe I got a wrong one and the actual “S” belt is shorter?
The collar and the wide skirt are decorated with silver stitched crosses. The sleeves have a white ornamental seam from the collar to the cuff.
On the back, you find a little corset lacing, which can be used to tighten the waist a little.
They used two different laces, one on the bottom of the skirt, the other on the collar. Both are decorated with crosses.
On the side is a zipper to open the dress.
On the dress is a paper label with wash instructions attached. There is no sewn-in label with that information.
The dress is partially lined: everything except the sleeves and shoulders is lined with a thin, black lining.
All the buttons are fixed properly, they didn’t include a spare button though.
I noticed little mistakes in the stitching on skirt and collar. There are also loose threads. In the white seam on the sleeves and cuff are mistakes like double threads, which can be easily spotted on the darker fabric.
There is no material label inside the dress, so It’s difficult to say what exact material they used. It says Polyester-Cotton mix for the lining and “high-density”-satin on their Taobao site.
The lining feels very nice. It’s a soft and thin fabric.
The fabric on the exterior isn’t shiny and really soft. It’s not stretchy. The material is a little thin, which feels cheap to me. The fabric tends to wrinkle easily but is easy to iron.
The lace on the skirt feels soft. On the collar, they used a thicker lace. The corset lacing on the back is laced with a velvet ribbon.
I ordered a size S because of my measurements of 90 cm bust and 68 cm waist.
They measured the sleeve length of 71.5 cm from the collar, and not like usually from the shoulder. Bust and waist measurements are a little smaller but still in the 2 cm range they indicated. The dress is also one-centimeter shorter: from the collar to the lace I measure 98.5 cm, 95 cm without lace.
The cuffs are made for smaller arms. They only measure 17.5 cm, for wider arms this could be tight. Sadly this detail is on their website nowhere to be found.
For me personally there are two flaws on the dress: The belt and the wrinkles on the shoulder.
The belt only measures 155 cm in length, which is way too short to make a nice and proper bow. In comparison, my Holy Lantern waist ties are 89 cm each! And those are attached at the side.
It would be nice if the belt would be attached with buttons, to prevent moving.
The seams between bust and sleeves are wrinkled, which I hate! It looks like the dress is way too small for me, but there is actually still a little space left! Since I have no knowledge about cuts and sewing, I cannot tell if this is a cut-mistake or a quality issue. You can’t see the wrinkles with long hair or the matching collar. It still bugs me a lot. You could have seen this in the shop photos, but I didn’t pay that much attention, to be honest.
The expectation for a ~$50 to have the same quality as a Japanese brand dress, which costs a lot more, is ridiculous.
Therefore, all the little errors in the stitching and the seam doesn’t bother me much, you can hardly see them when wearing the dress. I like the light fabric of the dress and love the color! The purple is amazing!
The production time took almost four months, and not as stated, three months, which is not optimal, but still acceptable.
The cut is not perfect and I wish the design would have excluded these demonic wrinkles. Grr! But oh well it’s not yet going into the Ita-box of doom. Because, all in all, it is a pretty nice dress.
- affordable pricetag
- Color is as seen on the photos
- Measurements are correctly stated
- soft, flowy fabric
- partially lined
- Nice packaging
- Errors in stiching and ornamental seam
- belt to short
- Wrikles on sleeve/bust seam
- No sewn in label or spare button
- Productionstime took a little longer than stated
- golden buttons on cuffs, silver would have matched way better.
Especially for the price tag, you get a good Lolita dress. It’s not a dream dress, but it’s nice for casual wear or conventions, where you don’t want to ruin your brand dresses.
I’m wondering: Did you ever bought a dress from ZJ Story or another Taobao brand?
How do you like it?
How is your general opinion on Taobao brands?
Let me know!!
Thank you for reading ❤