Oh, Tea Parties... I know most peoples' opinions are kind of a mixed bag- either you love them or you hate them. I've always sort of been on the neutral-positive side, myself; while I've always thought they were adorable and make the calves look shapely and cute, my heritage has cursed me with feet that will never fit into Angelic Pretty or even Secret Shop, so I've had to just sort of sigh longingly and admire from afar whenever I saw other people wearing them. And then came an*tai*na.
Now, I know people have mixed attitudes towards replicas, but in m experience, complaints of copyright infringement usually stop at clothes - of course, I've seen a few people who find it immoral to copy any original design and remake it cheaply, but that's not the discussion to get into here. I'm not one for replicas of clothing, because while lolita sizing is definitely expanding from pre-conceived notions of the standard Japanese body type to suit a more global size range, shoes are usually kind of an afterthought. Every so often BABY used to come out with a few designs that came in a ~gargantuan~ 25.5-26 cm LL and my closet cried out longingly for shoes that would actually fit, but even those were few and far between until, oh... last summer, maybe? So I've mostly been picking up shoes where I can find them from local stores or famously large-sized shoes such as rocking horses (which have come in a wide range of sizes for years) and those produced by Bodyline. Replica stores like Secret Shop have had sizes as limited as the brands have for as long as I can remember, so I was out of luck there, too.
Then I (and most of the rest of the lolita world) discovered a handful of Chinese brands like Miranda and an*tai*na, specializing in replicas and offering larger sizes. It was a joyous day, and I've been checking back on their offerings frequently ever since. In late May, Qutieland, a retailer of an assortment of Chinese lolita brands usually only found on sites like Tao Bao, released the an*tai*na Tea Party replicas to their site. After a few days of waffling, I decided that I had enough funds to allow myself a dream I'd never even considered seriously: owning Tea Parties.
Okay, okay, this is all far too dramatic for my tastes. I ordered my tea party shoes in size EU41 and paid on May 31st. I wasn't around when they actually arrived at my house, so I don't know the exact day that I received them, but it was not more than three weeks after paying, which is crazy fast, in my opinion. The box they came in had been slightly manhandled and beaten up, but the shoes themselves were in perfect condition. As far as fit goes, I wear a US 9.5 and any other standard of sizing is usually a mystery to me, so I just sort of guess which size I qualify as in European or Japanese sizes. While the length was fine, the shoes are, oddly, a little tight in the front, where the actual "fabric" of the shoe lays over the toes- I'm kind of expecting this to go away after they've been broken in a bit, though.
Aesthetically, they're *almost* perfect. The actual body of the shoe is exactly what I was hoping for; however, I'm not super-pleased with the sole and how the shoes are attached to it. The look is rather industrial, in my opinion; they remind me of my Doc Martens. Not very elegant-fairy-princessy. However, the pictures on the Qutieland site do show this detail; it's my fault for not picking up on it. It isn't really a dealbreaker either- I still like them and will definitely be wearing them once the cooler months roll around, as they aren't really broken in enough to wear them without socks.
The lighting is a little off in this picture- the shoes I got are black, not brown!
In conclusion, I'm definitely happy with my purchase. Will I buy more an*tai*na Tea Party shoes? Well, that depends on how well this pair breaks in. I'm leaning towards yes, though. They're so versatile and cute, and if they end up being comfortable too, then hell, why on Earth shouldn't I?!
To buy your own, click here! If the page doesn't load, try refreshing - Qutieland's website is notorious for moody links.