American Girl, keep giving us Dolls of Color for Girls of the Year.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Clothes Reviews: Plaid Skirt and Sweater (1999)

Tara in the Plaid Skirt and Sweater Set. Preppy-tacular.
Another clothes review. You can never have too many clothes reviews that aren't on a message board that, if you piss off the mods, results in banning for taking down your own reviews. (But I shall bitch about that shit later.) Especially when you have so many outfits, like I do. (Eleven moddies, fourteen historicals.)

Today we're covering the Plaid Skirt and Sweater Set, a nifty little set up released in 1999. It was also called the Perfectly Plaid Outfit, because there was a span where AG's names for things always had two names;. I'm sure this was just to confuse the shit out of me now when I'm trying to code up wiki pages. Our model today is Tara Johnson.1 The outfit had several components: a sage green sweater, a sleeveless undershirt, plaid skirt, knee socks, black loafers, and a star necklace. Retail cost was $24; that's the current running value on eBay. I got it several years ago as a birthday present to me from eBay for the cheap sum of $14.25. (The necklace, I believe, came in another bundle of clothes and things.) Damn, what a bargain!

Sweater. Bulky and good.
 Sweater: The sweater is a sage green knit oversized number with a boatneck collar. The knit--machine--is standard stockinette sewn together in sleeves-bodice style, as if the knit was fabric. There's not many AG sweaters that are going to be single piece knitted. Hell, most sweaters for me don't come in round knits. It's a nice color--perfect really for fall and winter. A little too muted/grey for spring, maybe, and there's not many places one goes in the summer wearing sweaters. The sweater is bulky enough to wear over other tops, but it also works alone without an undertop, like real sweaters can.

Sleevies. Where armies are kept. 
The sleeves reach all the way to the wrists, where they roll up to make a little ribbed cuff. The cuffs don't unroll; they're tacked up near the underarm seams. In case you give a shit, the edges roll like that because they're knitted slightly smaller. They're not ribbing work, though.

Cuff and Hemline. Roly poly hemline~
This is also how the hem works, and it's tacked on the side seams. . The collar is a touch different in that it's the same smaller stitchwork, but it's actually sewn in to the top and then tacked to the shoulders.

A close up of the knit work.
The knit work really pleases me. It's delicately sized for the dolls, so it looks realistic. It also has that well worn, well loved sweater look. Maybe that's because at this point it's a fourteen year old sweater and I did get my set used. The sweater also has no velcro--it pulls over the head, though it can take a bit to get the arms in the sleeves. Take your time. The sweater, natch, can be used with more outfits than just this one. I've put it over jeans often, and it looks great. It also works over leggings and other skirts, but of course you want to take into account that the sweater is sage green, so you might not want to pair it up with a set of neon blue leggings.

The sweater gets an A-. It's comfortably bulky, just oversized enough, and it can stand alone as a piece by itself. It's a little hard to get on and off, hence the minus.

Shirt. There are not a lot of pictures of this by itself.
Shirt: The shirt is a sleeveless denim top. It's almost always shown under the sweater, with just the collar peeking out. Which means later on I need to put this outfit on another moddie and snap a pic for the Wiki. (I can't use this one because of rules.2) The denim is a plain blue, with a velcro front closure, and there are no adornments. Likely so that there wouldn't be any bulk under the sweater for the dolls. But then the sweater is big enough so I dunno.

Being sleeveless, the top exposes a lot of arm. But no shoulder, which is good. Might see some arm joint, though. The armhole and collar just have some basic white top stitching. The collar does lay somewhat neatly. I could probably do good to press it, though, and get it smoother.

The hemline is simple enough; curved, and white topstiched.  It can peek out below the sweater or other tops, possibly.

Shirt by itself. Where's the trim, damn it?
Honestly, the shirt is a major letdown. Unlike the sweater, it's not going to do much of a job being worn by itself. It can be worn without a sweater or top over it, but then it really stands out that there's no trims whatsoever on the piece. It's the kind of top that goes under, but can't chill by itself. Even false pockets would have helped--or more so, buttons. As it is it looks very unrealistic as clothes. I am sorely tempted to attach buttons to my own and maybe some false pockets, just to give it some reality. (Then again I also have the Play outfit, which has the sameish style top.)

The girl's shirt. Sourced from the AG Wiki.
As a contrast, here is the one that was offered in Dress Like Your Doll sizes, AKA "like it, wear it yourself." Basic buttons, pockets, and short sleeves. If the doll sized shirt had looked like this or even had the buttons sewn over the velcro as trim, I'd give it a higher grade. As it is, it gets a C-. Sorry, shirt.

Skirting the issue
Skirt: The skirt is the second half of the whole name of the outfit--or the whole source of the name if you're doing that "perfectly plaid" thing. It's a sage plaid a-like skirt cut on the bias, which is hella fashionable for plaid skirts then and now. The plaid is mostly sage, but with hints of greys, cream, and a touch of olive.

Zipper. A rare an elusive AG thing.
The skirt has a tiny waistband lining and a left side invisible zipper. Yes, left. All skirt zippers on the sides go on the left side--doll's left, not viewer's left. I once saw someone put the zipper to the back to display this outfit--yeah that was stupid and they should fix their damned fail. The plaids don't match perfectly on the side but then again, it's a doll skirt, can't be too pissed even though I'm a plaid matching madwoman.

Skirt on the ground.
I don't know if it's wool or just something nice and soft, but it's very luxurious feeling. The skirt's going to go with a lot of things as long as color is taken into account.--I'm thinking of pairing it with a white button down and a neat little sweater vest, really get that prep look going. Or maybe a black tee and the high ass stompy boots I have for Otters, get some punk looking going. You get an A, skirt.

Socks. Not much going for them.
Socks: The socks are dark grey and below the knee. Pretty general, as socks go. They come up high enough to cover the leg, but not so high that they get too close to the skirt. They help kick that school girl look into gear.

Heel! Good sock.
The heels can help you tell them from the Urban Outfit set; the plaid set have a whiter heel, and are slightly darker grey. Here is where I admit that the first time I took pictures, I used the Urban socks. Damn it. Retook everything, but you can see them in the "sleevies" pic.

I hope you weren't expecting an exciting fast paced picture of socks.
I really don't ask my socks to do anything past looking respectable with whatever I pair them with. And these will do that, and do it well. So good job, socks. Have a B+. And I think these socks can be mixed up with the Urban Outfit socks, but you'll survive. I might compare them later.

Shoes. Chunky and classic for black loafers.
Shoes: The shoes are black loafer style shoes. I probably owned shoes like this. They're a touch chunky, but not that chunky despite people's opinions that they were--I remember the huge platform shoe style and refused to wear them.

Shoes alone. I accidentally tucked the side. My bad.
The shoes are pretty simple--black leather (or pleather, I dunno) and black stitching, except for the silver buckle on the tongue. This makes them really versatile, in that they're not expected to have to stay with one outfit and never anything else.

Sole of the Shoe.
The sole is black too, with some texture to make it realistic. Back when AG did detailed soles, they used to always put the AG Today girl on there somewhere, which added a nice touch. (At some point in my AG career, I bitched that AG slapped the patch logo on everything modern. Then I started getting older outfits, and shut up for the most part because that's clearly always been a thing.)

Shoe Profile.
The profile shows a nice sole, delicate stitching, and realism. I can use this for an Harry Potter cosplay, once I finally start making that shit happen. Sonali might need that to happen sooner rather than later. The shoes get a solid A.

Extreme Necklace Close Up.
 Necklace: The necklace is a ball chain necklace with a lime green star and square pendant. I had one of these kinds of necklaces. but instead of a star square, I had a "99" because I was Class of '99. (The administration tried to make me take it off at graduation. I wore it anyways. FIGHT THE POWER.)

Necklace alone.
The necklace closes at the back with a ball clasp, which is much easier to work shut than the pully clasp ones that I seem to fuck up on a regular basis.

Necklace in two pieces.

The pendant is not locked to the chain; if you're careful, you can get the loop out, and thus use the chain with any other outfits or pendants. The chain is very versatile, and the pendant, while a touch dated, is not so dated as to be unworkable with other things. B.


Overall Feel: This is a very sensible, fashionable outfit. The sweater is likely one of the most versatile parts of the whole set--it can go over jeans, jean skirts, leggings, or other tops. It's going to work with almost everything. The socks are well, socks, and not the kind that won't work with other stuff. The shoes are also really awesome. The undershirt...eh. It works as an undershirt. but it's the weakest link of the whole set since it can't stand alone that much. I do love the necklace--if I was missing it, though, I wouldn't be upset. I actually thought I was until I was cleaning out my doll jewelry box and bam there it was.

Cost Value:
I got this for fucking cheap at $14.25 for everything but the necklace, which came along later. I got a super bargain. If you can't get the necklace in a set that's all right--you can probably live without it, or make a unique one with a ball chain bracelet. But I would definitely get at least the sweater, skirt, and shoes in a set to buy. Maybe the undershirt. Socks can be knock off, or the outfit might work with plain white socks. Incomplete, don't pay more than $20. Complete, don't pay more than $35.

Not really that dated. Sweaters and skirts don't go out of style for the most part, and A-line skirts stay awesome. Even the shoes work--they're not so chunky as to scream '90s. The necklace is a touch dated, but not so badly that it can't be used elsewhere with new pendants. However, if you're designing a historical, don't take this back too far. The 80s prep look might have a touch of this look, but I think it's way too modern for the 70s, and the necklace is not likely to work too early unless you're doing a punk aesthetic.

Mix and Match Levels:
High. The only piece that doesn't mix so well is the undershirt, cause it can't stand alone. The rest is perfect to put nearly everywhere. I've put the sweater with jeans, the skirt with plain tops, and the shoes and sock with other outfits. The shoes and socks, especialy, can work great for Harry Potter cosplay. The necklace--again, a touch dated, but still can mix and match--and with the pendant off you get some punk chain looks.

Final Grade:
A. The undershirt could use improvement. But it's a cute and versatile set, and can go from the time it was released back some and up to today. 


1 You may think Tara is a PM Samantha. You would be rightish, in that is who she was probably before. But now with glasses, floss hair wraps, and a thoroughly modern attitude, she's not anymore.

2 One of the rules of personal pictures on the AG wiki is that mod stuff can only go on mod girls--and historicals turned moddie don't count, even with modifications. Tara is Tara, but she's enough "Samantha" that I can't use her for modern pictures. Rules is rules, and I won't break them to be lazy. After all, I mostly wrote them.


  1. Oh squee! This is the first outfit you've posted a review of where my response was "how do I get that in my size?" I love the colours of the sweater and skirt, and I am such a ridiculous fan of chunky shoes, you have no idea. Awesome!

  2. The rolls at the ends of the sleeves and hem of the sweater are a natural product of the stockinette pattern. Which I guess is why so many sweater patterns call for a few rows of ribbing at the bottom.

    Love reading your stuff, Ms. Nethilia! You are so smart and so funny!

    Gina D. (Longtime lurker, first time commenter)


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