I spent long hours of sifting through maid cosplays on Amazon.com. 90% of them were horrible. I found dresses Photoshopped (badly) on gray backgrounds and maid "costumes" categorized as "Women's Exotic Apparel". In this case, "exotic" means: "shows more skin than you would wearing only a hand towel" and "OHMYGOSH PUT ON SOME CLOTHING!"
Finally, I found cute stuff...
|You can see my arm, OH NOES|
Honestly, I was expecting utter trash. This company hardly had any reliable reviews, no real feedback, and the outfits were fairly cheap pricing-wise... but they were outfits that were already in stock. I was desperate so I gave it a chance.
It had FREE USPS** SHIPPING! I was so happy about it since I hate shipping costs.
I made the order on a Saturday evening; September the 24th to be exact. On the 26th, I received a "Change of Status"/Shipping Notice in my inbox. I didn't know until Tuesday, actually, since I wasn't expecting anything. They gave me a tracking number, which said my package was already en route to Florida from California. It arrived today, the 28th in a medium sized box.
Tl;dr: It had free shipping using normal mail. They shipped it Monday, and it arrived Wednesday.
The box was not impressive, but it was a box, you know. Inside the box, everything was neatly folded and packed in clear plastic... bag things? I don't know what you call them, but it looked fairly professional.
I give it 4 stars, because the petticoat was packed strangely and now there are folds in the material that should not be there, and cannot be undone. It's hard to explain, but some parts are creased and folded up, while the other side is normal. It isn't visible under the dress, but it might be annoying to some (like me).
It's not bad, per se, but it's not really good.
The black dress is made of a slightly thin material which can be see through up close when the light goes though it. It's not visible from a distance, or when wearing the apron and petticoat. I'm also not stupid enough to wear white underneath anything, so that's no issue for me. The zipper in the back gets caught when you try to zip and unzip it, so be careful you don't break or rip something.
The trim is cheap lace. I think it's a little tacky, and it feels like it might rip if you pull the ribbon at the top too hard. The plus side to this, is that it isn't itchy at all. I hardly even noticed it was there. The ribbon on the top of the trim slips a bit unless you tie it tightly.
The petticoat is nice and stiff, but I honestly don't believe it will last very long. If feels a little firmer than those kind at Halloween stores, but not by much.
The apron is very confusing to put on, and it came with no instructions at all. The bow is sew onto the sash part, and it's secured with little tabs. It feels alright, but if the outfit is tight on you, there's a chance it can pop off. It's also not white. It shows up as white in photos and looks white unless you look hard, but it's actually a very pale blue.
The little headband (not pictured), is made with the same cheap lace as the dress. Same problem with the ribbon, too.
It actually fits well, even though it's a little on the short side. However, I'm 170cm and the dress is tailored for a height of 161cm. This was a compromise on my part because I didn't have enough time to commission an outfit for my height. I bought it a size larger to add some length. I was extremely worried, since I'm horrible at measurements, but I don't think I would really have noticed. It's loose in a "comfortable T-Shirt" way, but it's not baggy at all.
It's surprisingly comfortable, and it wasn't too hot. This is considering it was 80*F in my house, and I just got in from walking home in humid 90*F weather (wearing a jacket no less)! The petticoat is stiff, and helped give it that flared shape. I didn't take a picture before putting it on, but the dress was really flat before.
I find myself constantly adjusting the apron, because it slips because there isn't much in the bust area...
I didn't really have to speak to them much, but I did send them an email about 3 weeks before I made my order. I inquired about whether I would be able to tailor a costume to my height. They were pretty polite, and answered my question even though they couldn't help. They replied within a day, and apologized for "the late reply" where they didn't reply for 2 days. They did offer an alternative to help me out, instead of flat out refusing. They told me about a long skirt maid dress they were making, that wouldn't be out until November. I found that nice even though it would be too late.
They also gave me a free gift (a fluffy black cat ear headband), conveniently labeled "Free Gift" with my order despite not mentioning free gifts on their site at all.
The order in total cost $87.90 USD. $69.95 USD for the dress and $17.95 USD.
All in all, Lolita Charm gets 4/5 hearts, for saving my skin one month away from con time.
Now I just have to get everything else...