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Monday, February 25, 2013

Clothes Reviews: Culotte Dress (1996)

Shanna in the Culotte Dress. Who loves the 90s?

Ah, reviews. Close ups and chatter about outfits that AG has released over the years, including semi detailed close ups and all that jazz.

Let's start this with a screaming 90s flair, and bust out the the Culotte Dress, which was one of the earliest AG mod outfits--released in 1996, one year into the whole "Let's do moderns" line. Today, our model is gang member Shanna Peters. (Yes, my opening picture is the same one on the Wiki. I'm the one who took it, so I shall use it on my blog. All the other pictures aren't free for use, so no you can't post them anywhere.)

The outfit consists of a red one-piece culotte style dress, a yellow crochet hat with a floral pin, and clear jellied sandals; at the time the retail cost was $22. Current secondary market prices run from 10-30 bucks; I paid $13 including shipping.


Culotte dress. Hence, the, you know, name of the outfit.
Dress: The dress is a red mid thigh collarless culotte dress. If you don't know what culottes are, they're basically shorts that are wide enough/designed to pass as a skirt. That way people don't generally try to look up said skirt, and Christian women who feel that pants are only for dudes can get away with something short like. They were all the fucking rage in the 90s. Trust me on this. I may have had something like this myself in floral print. However, there is no photographic evidence so you can't hold me to that. 

Sleeves and seams. Boy, is this outfit red.
The sleeves are basic cap-to short sleeves, with princess seams on the bodice. It's very red--like bright, berry red--and of something that's either cotton or broadcloth. Tags inside don't say. No collar, and it goes up high enough that if you have one of those white bodied dolls that you for some reason want to turn mod, it'll cover the fact that AG spent the first six years of the company not taking into account that there are outfits that go lower than the neckline. I like the color red, but if it's a color that pisses you off this outfit is not for you.The line of the bottoms let that "not quite skirt and not quite shorts" feel go through.

False placket. False like my SOUL. (Disclaimer: my soul is not false.)
The placket does not open. Like most AG outfits and things, this velcros up the back. But it does have five small gold buttons to simulate where it would open, if it was people clothes. They're just sewn on, but pretty securely attached. Without these, the dress would be pretty boring and not look realistic at all.

Floral tweak.
The cut makes a slight flair over her thighs, and stops mid thigh. Really short, but good for a spring or summer look. Also the picture shows one thing I really like. On the left side of the outfit is a small embroidered yellow flower, with a red center and green stem and leaves. It complements the hat (which I will talk about in a touch) and sort of draws the whole thing together.

Close up of the flower. I can't get over the charm of it.
It adds a little flair on what could have been an annoying bland outfit. 

The dress, being a one piece, is not going to mix and match with much of anything. It's the center of any outfit it's going to be on; there's no way to change out the look, except maybe trying to awkwardly put a skirt or top over it. Which you should not do.

The Dress gets a B. The dress is a lovely shade of red, but it also is very red, and might stain a paler doll if the wear is extensive. If you hate red, this is likely one of the worst outfits to ever get. The flower helps up the grade. If it didn't have that, I would have dropped it down to a C.

Hat: Who wants more 90s?
Hat: The hat is of crocheted yellow thread, done in such a way that there's a neat little brim and all one piece. It matches the flower on the dress part. It also, like the dress with it, screams early to mid 90s.

Hat from the back! (Darling cause you can't stop your love~ [/TLC])

Shanna is one of my curliest girls, and this hat fits nicely over her hair. I would not flip the brim down. It looks really bad that way. It's crocheted at a proper scale for a doll; a lot of crochet done by amateurs is done in too large of a scale. (I admit that I have made that mistake before.) This is very to scale. 

Simple little hatpin. Nowadays, this would be sewn on.
The hat has an attached floral pin. (This was back in the 90s, before children were too precious to use a pin lest their fingers bleed and they fall asleep for 100 years. So a lot of items had removable brooches or pins.) Without the pin, the hat might be able to work with other outfits. However, they would have to be just as 90s as the hat is. This hat isn't going to work with newer outfits, most likely. The hat and pin combo reverses the color to the embroidery on the dress and sort of helps bring the two together into the outfit.

I give the hat an A-. It's not nearly as 90s as and can mix up with other stuff, if you remove the pin. However, with the outfit it really compliments it. The dress needs the hat, but the hat can possibly work without the dress with something else. 

Shoes made for walking.
Jelly Sandals: Ah, shoes. There's not many outfits from AG that don't come with shoes. They're made of clear plastic and just slip right on and off.

I actually love the shoes and give them an A. Unlike the rest of the outfit, these can go with other things in my head. I'd even likely put them with some more modern stuff, despite the dated feel. I like jelly shoes and the clear color means they can swap in with any other outfits they might like to roll with. I think if the shoes had been any other color they would have been a lower grade, but being clear allows a lot more opportunities for swapping around.

*~*~*

Overall Feel: As an outfit all together, it works.  The combination of yellow hat with red flowers and red dress with yellow flower makes a nice compliment to each other. The shoes are clear so they don't distract; a yellow or red jelly shoe would have been way too much. I like the bold redness of the dress, but by itself it would be way too much. The hat helps contrast the dress a lot.

Cost Value (for the outfit at the time, and current running prices). At $22 initial cost, it works. After all, it's a whole outfit right out of the box. Getting it for $13 was a considerable bargain--especially because mine came with a hanger. I wouldn't pay more than $22-25 dollars for the whole set, and that's if it comes with every component including the hatpin. Without shoes and hatpin, I wouldn't suggest getting it at all.

Timeliness/Datedness: It's a very 90s outfit, so it definitely encompasses the time period. However, it's not going to carry well through the years. If you're making a 90s historical this is a perfect set. Or if your gang doesn't mind feeling like they wanna jam to some Jodeci on their Sony Walkman and play some Super NES before signing on AOL. But if your outfit tastes lean more towards the currently relevant, this set is so not going to work for you.

Mix and Match Levels: The shoes and hat have the potential to work with other stuff,  if you don't mind some dating. The shoes especially. The dress, however, is not going to swap around, what with being a one piece.

Final Grade: A-. Great for the 90s. Not so much for modern stylings.

--Neth

2 comments:

  1. OH EM GEE she looks so cute in this! I wore one of these "dresses with shorts" as I called them in my 4th grade picture and HATED it. My mom picked it out and insisted that was what I was wearing. Didn't help that it was navy and made my just starting to pudge belly stick out more so than a dress. I think I needed a size up. I ended up getting gum on it that day. Wasn't on purpose but can't say I wasn't happy it happened. This one is MUCH cuter than mine.

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