Archive for 2009

Won’t Get Fooled Again: Counterfeit Melissa Shoes

I’m not sure if I posted about it or not, but a while back in August, I won a pair of Vivienne Westwood for Melissa shoes off eBay. I was pretty psyched because I got them quite a bit lower than retail & at the time, there weren’t really any US based retailers that had the VWxMelissa shoes. I was so terribly excited for them to arrive, and when they did I was a little disappointed. I had definitely expected the quality to be better, but I had never seen a Melissa pair of shoes in person, so I just thought it had been another brand that was overhyped.

I wore them for the first time on Saturday and ended up taking them off after about ten minutes because of my foot slipping out so often & it being so uncomfortable. Later that day, I clicked on a different pair on eBay (I don’t remember why) and the seller mentioned that counterfeit VWxMelissa shoes were sold in great abundance on eBay. This is when I got that nasty sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. You know the one. Not surprisingly, it turns out that my shoes are counterfeit; I’m fighting the battle to get my money back now (more on that later), but in the meantime, I wanted to get the word out about these shoes and how to tell the difference between the fakes and the real deal.

FYI – in the photos the black and red shoes are counterfeit, the blue shoes are Princess Poochie’s authentic ones (thank you for the photos, dear!), and the salmon/black ones are from the Zappo’s website.

Box & Hangtag

These photos are from the lovely Nicole of I like things. When I searched for information about counterfeit Melissa shoes, her site was one of the only ones that came up with helpful information. After I left a comment, she emailed me saying she had posted more information and photos – so I asked her if I could use the photos and information in this post. Here’s what she has to say:

The authentic box is pull out, with a hole and metal ring to open it, and the sticker on the side gives a full description of the shoe and a drawn image (this is the box of the same style of shoe but the ‘Orb’ version). The tags are written in whatever it is that Brazilian people speak, and then English, is in two parts, and attached to the shoe via the gold ball-chain.

On the back of the tags is (I think) the style code, and what month and year it’s from.

Overall Appearance

On the counterfeits, the strap appears to be at a different angle & the heels are slightly thicker than the authentic shoes. Note the finish of the plastic also – from the photos I’ve seen of authentic Melissa shoes, the plastic is shiny, like a very high sheen patent. The plastic on the counterfeits is duller (and also appears to show every single fingerprint and smudge). The counterfeit shoes also have glue showing in several spots around the edge of the lining & at the tips of the toes, as well as mold seams visible in more places than the original.

Note the different angle of the orb logo and the thick band at the bottom of the orb on the counterfeit.

Princess Poochie also spotted another difference between the fakes & authentic shoes: on the authentic shoes, the orbs on the lining both face the same way (see this photo for reference). On the fakes, the orbs are mirror images of each other.


Melissa originally released these shoes in salmon (a pinkish color, with a black heart), blue (with a red heart), pearlescent white (with a red heart), and yellow (with a black heart). In November, four new colors will be released: gray, gold, fuchsia, and lilac. Any colorway other than these eight is definitely counterfeit. And that is straight from the horse’s mouth (a Melissa rep via email).


The studs on the authentic shoes are gold-tone flat disc type studs. The counterfeit shoes have a cone shaped stud with a flattened top, in a silver tone.

Authentic Melissa shose will have American, European, and Brazilian sizes on the sole, as the shoes are made in Brazil. They’re placed closer to the arch of the shoe, and there’s also a Melissa logo in the middle of the arch. They also say “Made in Brazil/Hecho En Brasil” on the outer corner of the treaded part of the sole. Counterfeit shoes only have European and American sizes on treaded part of the sole (my photo is blurry as the camera wasn’t cooperating, but you get the idea).

Seller(s) to avoid & places to buy from

The seller I bought from is glamoramadesigns on eBay. I wouldn’t normally post the seller’s user ID, but after emailing with her and looking at her feedback (it is vastly positive, but there are one or two comments about the item being a good fake/counterfeit), I think she probably knows she’s selling counterfeits. Not to mention, over the course of 3-4 weeks, she must have sold at least 30 (and I think more than that) pairs at $60-100 each – so she’s made well over $1000 selling these counterfeit items. I emailed her about getting a refund and gave her the benefit of the doubt about her knowledge of the dubious nature of these items. She told me that she would need to converse with her “supplier” who “never sells fakes” about it, since I had worn the shoes (once, for ten minutes, indoors – which is a moot point anyways as they shouldn’t be resold!), and that there was no guarantee of a refund. After providing detailed comparison photos and a screencap of the email from Melissa that stated these were definitely counterfeit because of the colorway, she suddenly stopped responding to my emails, after replying to every other email within two to three hours. Not exactly innocent behavior.

Melissa’s online US (and I think several other countries) shop is still in the works, unfortunately. It is probably safe to buy from eBay – just examine the details very closely! Ask for more photos if you need to, and I would personally be suspicious of private auctions or auctions with absolutely no refund policy. Nicole’s blog post says that brick and mortar shops are selling them too – so be careful.

List of authorized resellers:

  • Epaulet
  • Members only shoping sites like Gilt, Rue La La, ideeli.

What to do if you’ve been sold counterfeits

This eBay guide has a pretty extensive list of resources to look at. Short version: you can report to eBay, Paypal, the USPS (mailing counterfeit items that the mailer received money is mail fraud & thus very illegal), the Internet Fraud Complaint Center for the FBI, and the Better Business Bureau.

If it’s within 45 days, you can file a dispute with Paypal and chances are you’ll get your money back. After 45 days, a dispute can still be filed – when I spoke with a Paypal representative on Monday, she said that they keep the disputes on file for 180 days and if there’s enough complaints about a certain seller, chances are the dispute will be revisited whether they were filed past the cut-off date or not. Because of this (and the fact that, well, I wish someone had told me these were fakes sooner), I’ll be contacting the other eBayers who bought these shoes and letting them know there’s a good chance they’re counterfeit, even if it borders on crazy internet lady behavior.

As of writing this (Monday night), I haven’t gone through the other channels yet. I’m planning on calling eBay today, and I’ll file a complaint with USPS/IFCC/BBB after that. I’ll update the post when I hear anything back from these avenues.

**update** I just got off the phone with eBay. This is what the rep that I spoke to said as far as reporting her to eBay:

Go to your Paypal account and sign in. Find the transaction where you bought the counterfeit item and click on it, it’ll have the eBay item number and it should have a link to the auction under “Item Title”. Click on the auction link, under “other item info” there’s share, print, and report item. Click “report item” . Reason for report = Counterfeits and Copy Violations, Detailed reason = potential trademark infringement, additional information = counterfeit clothing/shoes/etc. You then have 100 characters to explain. It may help to have shortened links. Here’s a shortened link to the screencap of the email from Melissa saying they don’t do black/red (and explicitly stating the colors they do use): And here’s the shortened link verson to this post:

If you have time, you might take photos of your’s and do a collage of comparison photos like I did (I used Picasa, it was pretty fast/easy), linking to that as well. And of course – file a dispute with Paypal ASAP.

I’ve filed a complaint with the USPS and IC3, I’ll be filing with the BBB and FTC later today. All of those agencies seem to look into complaints only when they’re en masse, but I thought I’d give it a shot anyways. I also got an email back from one of the eBay members I contacted saying that she didn’t buy a pair of these shoes, but got a pair of knock-off Juicy Couture shoes instead. It’s looking less and less likely that this seller DIDN’T know she was selling counterfeits.

If you’re reading this because I emailed you, and you bought counterfeit shoes from this seller, leave a comment! If you want to file for mail fraud and etc., I’ve found the seller’s address and will email it to you (along with her full name and email address) to make filing more effective. And when you file at IC3, be sure to mention that there have been multiple victims.

I hope this is helpful to someone else! I would hate for another person to get duped. I just remember how disappointed I was with the quality of the shoes, but for some reason the thought of them being counterfeit never crossed my mind. If you have any more eBay sellers to report, or authorized resellers to suggest, leave a comment, I’ll edit the post and add them. Thank you for reading and again, I hope this helped!

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Marvelous Monday!

I typed this up Sunday morning & as of your reading this, we’re on our way back to Texas. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind weekend (very exhausting!), but fun nonetheless. Anyways! Here you go!

  • Jen’s What About Wednesday post this week was about comparing yourself to others & how it can go wrong. I loved it!
  • Yes and Yes strikes again: How to go Vegetarian (Without Alienating Everybody or Eating Only Peanut Butter).
  • Investment Dressing: Why it’s no investment at all.
  • Older Ladies of the Street (& why I love them) at Bits & Bobbins.
  • Style Amor has some supervillainess costume inspiration for you!
  • Miss Destructo has some tips on standing out from the crowd.
  • It’s Only Life or Death” – Interview with John Unger at the Art of Nonconformity. Also, on the interviewee’s personal site, an entry about the three best things to happen to him.
  • And two great giveaways I think you should know about: win lots of fun supplements (am I the only one who gets excited by supplements? hmm.) at Ginger Won’t Snap, and you can win a free handbag at Handbag Heaven!
  • Another awesome thing about this weekend was that the thrift gods totally smiled upon us. Not only do I have lots of vintage goodies for the shop (that will be listed after dry-cleaning, of course – so look for them later this week), but we got a 60″ (or so? maybe a little bit bigger or smaller) working flatscreen HDTV for $75 at the Salvation Army. Can I get a HELL YES?! Our tv has been dead for two months or so now and we’ve been watching everything on the laptop, it will be quite the change to have an actual tv and such a large one at that!

I hope you had a fabulous weekend & are starting the week off on the right foot!

PS – After lots of skimming & marking all as read, I got my Google Reader down to zero. Of course, after this weekend of intermittent computer access it’s back up at 236 (at 10 o’clock Sunday morning). Sigh. It’s a neverending battle I tell you!

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Saturday Shoe Lust: Wedge Edition

Wedges & especially wedge boots seem to be everywhere this season; here’s two of my favorites:

Flashing Lights by Irregular Choice

Flashing Lights by Irregular Choice

These ankle boots, for lack of a better term, are gorgeous. I love the stud detailing & the huge heel. I’m not sure if I’d actually buy and wear them, if for no other reason than they seem to be only available through the IC site. Overseas shipping charges + unkind conversion rate = shoes to dream about, but not actually own! Surprisingly, this blogger says they’re comfortable. I had my doubts as I’ve not had very good luck in that area with Irregular Choice shoes in the past, but maybe they’re worth a try-on?

Jeffrey Campbell 99

Jeffrey Campbell 99

The JC 99 is much more likely to actually come into my possession (if the stars ever align so that it’s in stock at the same time that I’m NOT broke!). The wedge is much more ankle-friendly at 3.5″ inches with a 1″ platform, and the price is a lot more wallet-friendly at $99. I’ve signed up at Solestruck to be emailed when they’re back in stock in my size – let’s all cross our fingers that’s at an opportune time for me!

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Decline Designs: State of the Blog

click for source

click for source

So, it’s been a little over a year since I started writing here. I’ve been taking stock things over the last month or so and I thought a post about it was in order!

When I started the website, I really intended it to be a face for my online store. Obviously, things have changed since then. I’m having much better luck financially with seamstress work than than I ever did selling, and in the event that I do get back into designing & selling lines of pre-made items (which, admittedly, will probably happen – I’ve been fostering a burning desire to learn more about millinery for over a year now), I’m not sure how much effort I’ll put into my online store, since the online handmade marketplace is full of nasty things like underselling. There’s a good chance I’ll put more effort into the local market than online, at least at first. Anyways! Point being, I’ve been blogging off and on since I was 13 or so. When putting up the site, I thought “You know – I miss blogging! I’ll definitely set up a blog on here.” And that was that.

In between then and now, I’ve taken down the store and the blog has become the main focus. There are other things (like the vintage shop – which, by the way, will be re-stocked after this weekend; picking up fall/winter items in Missouri), but they’re side projects. I had forgotten how much I loved writing when I started this and very quickly remembered!

Now more to the point of the post: when naming the blog, I named it for the clothing & accessories I was making. Since that’s not the main focus any more, I don’t feel like the name fits. I’ve been waffling over this for probably 4-6 months  and finally decided that I should change the name of the blog. Looking back now, I wish I’d changed it when I had started to think about it, and I’d rather do it now at one year than in two or three.

This isn’t going to happen immediately, I haven’t even decided on a new name yet (although Wicked Whimsy or Wicked & Whimsical are both strong contenders, I’d appreciate any thoughts!). I just thought I’d give you guys a heads up that a re-naming & redesign is coming soon! I’ll keep the old domain name and just have it forward to the new one; I’ve already paid for another year of it, so I might as well. When the change comes, I’d appreciate it if you would update your links, bookmarks, and RSS readers ASAP!

Aside from that, I’m so glad I’m past the one year mark now! And that I have all of you lovely people here with me. Your comments & support mean so much, they make my heart happy!

Enough sappy for this post. Onward!

As of this post being published, we’re on the road to Missouri. Wish us luck getting through Dallas unscathed. I hope you all have an amazing weekend!

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Have you got swagger?

I have a confession to make. One that could probably warrant my banning from all of fashion-blogdom.

I don’t really like the Sartorialist.

I know. I know! The amount of fawning over that particular website makes me feel like a true heretic sometimes. I can’t help it, I just feel like the vast majority of the people featured lack a certain je ne sais quoi. Granted, I’ve only visited the site a mere handful of times before quickly becoming bored and leaving it. Not to mention the photographer himself comes off to me as – how to say it? – kind of a smarmy ass.

Anyways! Not the point. The point is, there are other street style sites that I find myself perusing much more often and with much better results. Today I thought I’d share one of my favorites: Swagger 360.

According to the website, swagger is “the thing that makes you stand out in a crowded room without being forced, fabricated or pretentious.“. The description goes on to say:

SWAGGER 360 is for everyone who understands that there is a big difference between style and fashion. Fashion is what you buy, style is self expression and how you live.

Now this is my kind of street style site! The sort of site that, if I was having an uber-stylish & together day, I’d have a chance of being photographed for. Something tells me a curvy girl with purple hair and tattoos will  never be on the Sartorialist.

I don’t remember how I found the site, I believe it was through some NYFW coverage – so this is probably a site everyone else has already seen. Still, I love it.

If your tastes tend more towards mine (less classic, more edgy/quirky), I highly recommend checking Swagger 360 out. You might also want to look at Hel Looks, although some of the looks on there are a bit…questionable for my taste.  That being said, this guy wins the award for Best Hair Ever.

What’s your favorite street style blog?

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Marvelous Monday!

Very short this week. I am normally very on top of my Google Reader and as of this minute, it has nearly 200 items unread, so that is probably a contributing factor to the lack of links! Either way, enjoy the very few there is…

Best self portrait ever? I think so.

Best self portrait ever? I think so.

  • Sooooper excited because this weekend I’m going back home! Yay! We’re leaving on Friday and coming back next Monday. Our hotel will have wi-fi so posting should be as normal though.
  • Clare brings us some breaking news about France.  It’s a serious topic, I know, but French Vogue proved themselves so idiotic (”But we’re not idiotic! We’re edgy and controversial fashion people!” *cough*) in this case that there’s very little to do but shake your head and laugh at the stupidity.
  • Jennine has some info on a great jewelry line called b-side RIGHTS.

Yeah, that’s actually it for this week. I was going to link to a video about the Polanski case, but honestly I’m sure we’re all tired of hearing about something that should be, you know, pretty simple & the fact that way too many people I used to respect signed that stupid petition (Why Natalie Portman?! Why. Girlcrush gone forever.). I will say if you can find a video of Chris Rock’s comments about it on the Jay Leno show, it’s worth watching!

ANYWAYS. In the time it’s taken me to type this post, I’ve got down to 163 in my reader. I’m going to publish this, go do some yoga, and then sew (possibly while attempting to watch Coraline & take outfit notes at the same time, so I can get started on my costume!). My days are exciting, I know. I hope you all had a fabulous weekend & I hope the new week is off to a great start for you!

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Saturday Shoe Lust: Boots Edition

With the onset of fall (although it’s beginning to look like fall will never hit Austin!), I always start looking at and lusting over boots. I’m not sure what it is in particular about boots, but they bring out the worst of my shoe fascination. Or the  best of it, if you want to talk about snagging things at a deep discount after obsessively watching them for weeks on end. What’s a girl to do? Obviously, show off all of my current boots wishlist to you, in hopes that you share my love and I feel less like a freak. And then we can all obsess together! Mua ha ha. The totally healthy way to handle things.

Cri de Coeur Jessica

Cri de Coeur Jessica

Cri de Coeur shoes are high quality, handmade, and comfortable (aside from being vegan!). I love wrap-around strap details like this pair of booties has – but why are they velvet? Could there be a less practical material to make boots out of, really?! Sigh. With how much I hear it rains in Austin during winter, I’m not sure I can justify picking up a pair. I’ll probably go with their Estelle pump for the same wraparound detail, but in a more practical faux patent. If you live in a drier clime, check out Cow Jones Industrials (cutest store name EVAR) or Endless for a better sale price.

Apepazza Bologna

Apepazza Bologna

And Apepazza. You couldn’t come up with a more appealing name for this boot? What made you think of bologna?! Anyways, these boots aren’t cheap, but Apepazza is supposed to be good as far as comfort goes, and I love that they come in gray (plus have the same sort of wrap-around detail as the above booties).

Gee Wawa Larue

Gee Wawa Larue

These booties are quite possibly the cutest thing ever. Mid-range heel? Check. Cut outs? Check. Beautiful gray shade? Check. Ribbon lacing? Check. Back zip? Check. (That’s another weird detail that always catches my eye.) I’ve never heard of the brand though, so I’m hesitant to spend that much money on a pair of their shoes. This will be a pair that will be obsessively watched with hopes of it going on end-of-season clearance.

Corso Como Gianna

Corso Como Gianna

And these. I’m saving for them as we speak/type/read. I actually want the far more practical black leather but they’re styled/shot very unflatteringly in those photos, I have a strong feeling they’ll look much better in person. I was looking for a go-to boot, something I could put on with almost anything and it would look great, that would still be comfortable enough to walk in for several hours. These are it. The heel is walkable (and hello, it’s Corso Como, which means comfy!), the bow adds the perfect touch of feminine elegance, and the drop above the bow elongates the leg . Or I could just say: WANT.

Budget Buys

The boots above too rich for your wallet at the moment? Here’s some super cute pairs that won’t break the bank:

Mossimo Velika

Mossimo Velika

I’ve been looking for a pair of bootie-esque lace up shoes for months. The other day in Borders, I spotted a girl wearing these absolutely adorable shoes. She told me she got them at Target, and voila! Shoes found. They’re all man made materials (don’t look it, though!), but are comfortable and stable, judging from the reviews on the website and my quick walk up and down a few aisles in them. At that price, I’ll be picking one up now and then picking one up when they go on clearance for when the first pair wears out!

Bakers - Buttons

Bakers - Buttons

I love these boots. No, the peep toe won’t be practical for all of winter, but aren’t they cute? They’re like a sassy modern take on witchy Victorian boots. The reviews on the site say they’re comfortable, and at $60 (marked down from $90) you can afford to buy some great insoles (Superfeet, ahoy!) even if they aren’t.

Hot Kiss Shai

Hot Kiss Shai

Last but not least, Shai by Hot Kiss rings in at $50, down from $60. Love the metal detailing.

If you’re looking for something in between, I have you covered too! DSW is not very blogger friendly, so I can’t embed pictures, but the SM Zesst is a super cute slouchy suede bootie that comes in several colors (black, brown, and taupe) and is marked down to $80 from $140. There’s also the Zigi Soho Valance ruffle boot, also in suede. It comes in black, brown, and a rich royal purple – just in case you’re looking for that perfect color accent! It’s $100, which isn’t too bad, especially considering it’s knee high and real suede.

There you have it! All of the boots that have been on my mind over the last few weeks. I feel much better after sharing. So, tell me dear reader, what boots (or shoes) have you been lusting over lately?

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Everyone Hail to the Pumpkin Song

Halloween is definitely my favorite holiday, like so many other people out there! I’m a bit late to the game with this post, but there’s still plenty of time to come up with a kick-ass costume. Want some ideas? Here’s my three favorite costume ideas for this year:

I love the idea of a female V costume. Sleek black dress, boots, gloves, etc. It’s not as far fetched as it may seem, as in the original graphic novel Evie took up the mantle & the costume after the original V died. Cons: Having to wear a mask all night. In fact, that’s the only thing that made me decide not to do it!

I’m sure Alice in Wonderland costumes will be a big thing this year, with the release of the new Tim Burton film in March. Do a little twist on the idea by making the Queen of Hearts into a flapper! Even curvy girls can wear a flapper dress, although I’d stay away from drop-waisted dresses and just go with a sleek dress that has some fringe along the skirt. Cons: The only real con I can think of is wearing heels while walking all night & possibly drinking, but put some ball of foot inserts in and you’ll be fine!

This idea came about when Ashe mentioned on Twitter that her friend was going as Coraline. The Other Mother! Perfect opportunity to wear retro inspired clothing with a dark twist. Do red or black red lips & fingertips, a pair of black heels, and exaggerated shapes (one of the items she wears in the movie is a bustled polka dot pencil skirt, which I imagine would look fab, but couldn’t find one. DIY project, mayhaps?). She wears several different outfits in the movie, so you could do anything from something like this, to a pair of black capris with red flats and a cream sweater. The trickiest part would be the button eyes – I think a suitable solution would be getting round sunglasses & painting button holes on them. Cons: Having to wear sunglasses all night. Totally worth it, though, because you know anyone who recognized you would be worth talking to!

I will definitely be doing the Other Mother costume & maybe the Queen of Hearts costume, if I find a reason to wear two different costumes. All that means is I have to find some place to go to Friday and Saturday nights!

Need some more ideas? Check out Ashe Mischief’s two Halloween posts, Retro Chick’s suggestions, and Jennine’s ideas on costumes from your closet. In between all of these ideas, you’re sure to look great and have a good time on the best night of the year!

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Marvelous Monday!

As I write this (Sunday night) I’m feeling pretty off my game – hoping it’s not the flu or anything! Hope you’re feeling better than I am, and if not, something in this bunch’o'awesomeness should perk you right up. If that fails, some chocolate is definitely in order.

  • You have got to see the photos of CeCe Chin S/S ‘10 at M.I.S.S. Cece is the designer behind the awesome & comfy 80%20 brand, and I am so excited to see these shoes hit stores! Just look at them and drool. There’s also an interview here where she discusses her inspirations for next year.
  • Our Quiet Revolution.
  • The new issue of Style Sample Magazine is out - go see.

  • Idiosyncratic Style has a fashion dare for you – loud legs.
  • Outsapop Trashion has a great tutorial on how to make an Ann Demeulemeester inspired zipper scarf.
  • Retro Chick and Gala are both here to tell you that black is back, and they’ve got some mouthwatering ways to wear it.

Good luck for the week ahead!

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Pretty Good Things

(Sorry for no post yesterday! I really have no excuse, except that I forgot which day of the week it is. Sometimes I do that.)

You remember Monday, when I mentioned that I’d won a giveaway from Pretty Good Things? Here’s the post about it!

Bun-Bun 2.0 Fascinator

Bun-Bun 2.0 Fascinator

Mary P. is the one-woman power behind Pretty Good Things, which has all sorts of wonderful and whimsical hair accessories. From the website: “The carefully crafted hats, fascinators and hair do-dads are influenced by current trends and pop culture (because PGT is with it) and also class and tradition (because PGT ain’t no hussy)!

Obviously, this is my kind of line!

I won one of the Take Flight Hair Clips in saffron yellow. It arrived startingly fast – I believe I won the contest, it shipped one or two days later, and then I received it just a day or two after that!

No sloppy packaging here – everything was loving and carefully put into the box so it would arrive safely. Mary included a business card and a handwritten note (on the back of the postcard) thanking me for entering the contest. My hair clip was under there, under all the tissue paper…

Adorable, amirite? And very well made too. I haven’t worn it out yet & in fact, might need to give the feathers a pick me up with some steam (as Mary also suggested in the note), because the cats got ahold of it the first night I had it…and then somehow miraculously got ahold of it again after I’d put it up out of their reach. Sigh. It is a testament to the quality, though, that the fascinator is still in pretty good shape aside from the feathers looking a little raggedy!

I’d definitely suggest checking the line out. Quirky, well made items that are lovely to look at are hard to find. The prices are very good too, especially considering the quality. And don’t forget to take a look at the blog, where Mary regularly runs giveaways!

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