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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Clothes Reviews: Lanie's Butterfly Outfit (2010)

Sonali, taking the place of a lesser GotY.
Yes, it's another review! What can I say, I have a lot of clothes to go through. I promise to break these up with rants and advice. Anyways, on to the review.

In 2010, American Girl released Lanie Holland as the 2010 Girl of the Year, a rather average white girl whose entire theme was the great outdoors and/or saving the planet. (I still haven't read her books, to be honest. I tried but as a homebody kind of person some children's book lamenting that I don't go out and poke at plants, animals, and dirt enough is a touch annoying.) I really did not like her, but the Butterfly Outfit was appealing.

Still, I never ordered it because $28 bucks felt a touch high, and I was still obligated to ship things instead of straight picking them up bar my yearly trip to Dallas. Decided to check it off my "merf, whatever" list. (Since then, I get the one or two things I like, though Kanani is the only girl I've honestly wanted.) Then the AG Fates much have felt nice to me because it was up as Purchase with Purchase1 soon after AG Seattle opened, and that's when I bought it.

The set consists of a orange cardigan, a vermillion sleeveless eyelet dress, sandals, and a butterfly hair clip. A quick skim of the books shows that this outfit's nowhere in them. As mine was a PwP, it didn't come with the craft card, but I think I can live without.

Since I don't have (and never want) Lanie, Sonali is modeling this set for you. Because Sonali is awesome.
Orange is not one of my favorite colors, cardigan.
Cardigan: The cardigan is orange ribbed fabric, closing at the front with a single orange button and curved at the hem. There's white top stitching as well all over. It's really orange, and orange is not one of my favorite colors in the world. In fact it is my least favorite color. But it works for the motif. Still.

The fabric feels decent, and the cardigan is lined a little at the front. It's got a high empire look to it--actually quite higher than empire. More like a bolero jacket.

Dragonfly. Lanie had all the dragonfly on her.
There's a dragonfly embroidered on the left side of the high bodice. While it's cute in a way and fits the motif they had going for her, I think that an outfit based on butterflies should have had one there. With a dragonfly you're just mixing your insects.

Sleeve at mid elbow.
The sleeve comes down to the elbow; there's a slight flare at the additional cuff. Again, top stitched everywhere. I think the stitching on the upper part of the cuff is way too much, as is the stitching on the upper bodice. So much topstitching everywhere in such a high contrast color--white-on-orange--makes for a very overly busy look.

Cardigan by itself.
Overall, the cardigan does not please me. This is not the best color combination given the dress coming after. The white topstitching really distracts and makes an overly busy look. If the topstitching had been a more muted orange, it would have been less annoying. As it is, it distracts the eyes. I know they were going for bold contrast but this is way too much contrast. I'm planning to put it over some white plain shirts, which might help the topstitching be less annoying. I can at least use it with other things. C+, since I hate the color and the color picked for the topstitching, but the cut is okay and it can mix into other outfit options. Also, the outfit needs the cardigan. Trust me.

Oh dress. What are you doing?
Dress: The dress is a vermillion-orangey red eyelet sundress. Like the cardigan before it, it's very brightly colored. Almost uncomfortably so, but not as badly as the cardigan. It falls to just about the knees.

Bodice. Um, I'm not sure what they were going for. 

The top part of the dress has basic straps and the bodice has a little triangle trimmed with eyelet lace the same color of the dress. It's not visible when the cardigan is on at all.

One of my major hit or miss options with some AG clothes is visible torso, because of the major contrast between cloth body and vinyl limbs. (There's a reason I don't own any AG bikini swimsuits.) This contrast could have worked a lot better, but it doesn't, which is why I'm glad for the cardigan. Sonali looks like she has a lot of shoulder out.

Waistband and lace. Too much at once.
There's also an inset waistband. Again, really busy. The dress, like the cardigan, is trying to do everything at once and so only achieving all of what it's trying halfway. 

Eyelet fabric. One of the good points.
 I do like the eyelet fabric, though. The dress was smartly lined fully, so there's no visible anything under the cloth.

Hemline--this really should have been the only place that the lace was.
The hemline has the eyelet lace the bodice has, but is actually working here. It's perfectly fine on the skirt hem, but on the it bodice where it is, it just seems needlessly fussy. The whole dress could have done without it on the bodice. It might work under a less bright cardigan, though--something white or cream, to help tone down that brightness.

Overall, this gets a C.  The color isn't as annoying and the eyelet lace and fabric is nifty, but the fussy, over decorated bodice and thick shoulder look make the grade no higher.

Shoes. Simple, so they don't do so badly.
Sandals: The sandals are simply done--basic canvas toe strap and elastic ankle strap on a canvas heel back. They match the color of the dress, for the most part. 

Side view.
They stay good and solid to Sonali's feet, but are a bit long. It looks a little like she's wearing shoes a size too big. The inner soles are a basic white, and there's a simple ridged black sole.

One shoe, head on.
However, I do like the white bow trim; it's a cute detail that stops the shoe from being boring. Plus, the elastic band makes putting on and taking off the shoes a breeze. They look nice and summery, though I wouldn't go hiking in them or anything. The shoes get a B.

Hair clip, also known as the only butterfly in this whole deal.
Hair Clip: The hair clip is the whole drive of the set being called a butterfly outfit. It's actually really cute, and clips Sonali's hair off the the side just right. It looks like a butterfly perched in her hair and is happily sitting there. It's not going to grip a lot of hair, but it can pull side strands out of the way.

It even looks like a butterfly. Success.
It even pulls off looking a little like a monarch butterfly when off, and I love monarch butterflies a whole lot. It gets a B+.


*~*~* 

Overall Feel: I'm really kind of annoyed by the overall look. The colors are trying to be bold but they contrast just enough to rub me the wrong way. The bright white topstitching on the cardigan really busts it up and makes the whole outfit try too much to. A calmer topstitch color or just less of it would have greatly improved things. The dress is trying too hard to do everything, with the bodice lace especially, and the strap layout gives thick shoulders to a doll. But the shoes are adorable, and I'm in love with the hair clip. There's a reason I plan to break the clothes up in my collection from now on.

The dragonfly on the cardigan really bothers me. I know that Lanie's motif was a dragonfly, but the outfit was called the Butterfly Outfit and they could have done a butterfly on the cardigan to reflect that.

Cost Value:
There's a reason I dickered on the outfit and only bit down when the cost was a $16 PwP where I hit the limit. $28 for a full outfit is average costs, but I didn't feel that was worth it myself. On eBay the lowest is about $32 or so. If you really have to have it, that's a fair cost for a complete set. Still, that feels high for a set that's only so-so.

Timeliness:
It's likely to carry forward in time some, but it's a very modern look overall. It's not going to age as well as some things, though it will keep a nice summery look.

Mix and Match Levels:
I am pretty sure I can mix and match it up. In fact, that might make me like the outfit more. I can get a white or cream cardigan for the dress and then put the bright cardigan over a white shirt and jeans. The shoes will work with a lot of things, and the clip is sweet.

Appropriateness to Character: I guess it worked with Lanie, in that she has this whole thing with butterflies. And a lot of her clothes were bold and bright or white. But I personally think bold colors look horrid on most blonds, especially platinum ones. The outfit's nowhere in her books as well. For my gang, it works best on my darker dolls.

Final Grade:
C-. The silhouette is cute, but the colors are way too bright and clashing. The cardigan needed to be toned down, the bodice on the dress needed to be less fussy, and the dragonfly needed to be a butterfly. Yes, it was for Lanie. No, I don't care. 

--Neth

1 "Buy $X of stuff (generally $50), get it for $Super Low Cost Y" deal. This is often only available at AG place locations, but sometimes it happens online. It's an easy way to get some retired stuff, and I try to get it when I can. 

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