|Felicity's Riding Habit. For Felicity. Not for anyone else.|
We're going to start with Felicity Merriman. Felicity was one of the earliest AG dolls (coming out after the first three of Sam, Mol, and Kirsten) and representing the Colonial period. Which was a little weird seeing as Ms. Rowland was inspired to create the whole line when she went to Colonial Williamsburg, but whatever, I just buy the dolls and snark about the fandom and the fail. Felicity was released in 1991 (and thus got rid of the white body dolls1), half ass retired in 2002 with the release of Kaya, and fully "archived" in 2011, leaving only her books and some extras for purchase. Felicity and some of her clothes and things were my Giftmas present from my husband in 2006, and as of now I have a pretty solid amount of her collection--minus outfits I think are either too hideous to have or too expensive to pay for at present. What can I say, I'm picky.
One of the first things I got for Felicity was her Riding Habit and Hat, partially because my husband picked it out for me as better than the Tea Dress (which I got later). The Pleasant Company version was released in 1993 and retired in 2002; the 2005 version was released when Felicity's movie was released, and retired when her collection was in 2011. I got the Mattel version direct for costs at the time of $28 bucks. Then a few weeks ago I found the first release for the lowish price of $45 and even though it didn't have the hat, I snapped it up. This review is done with the PC2 version, except the hat which I don't think had a significant change. Seeing as Felicity and her entire collection are retired, secondary prices are variant--from about cost at $28 to highs of $60-70. This is regardless of PC or Mattel, it looks.
Before I go into the review, let me put my foot down about something. Unless I don't have the character doll whatsoever, I do my historical reviews on the appropriate historical or a doll close to the era. None of this Addy's clothes on modern white girls shit. But that is another rant.
Note: For some reason Blogger was not uploading my pics direct, so I uploaded them all via Picasa. They won't get any bigger. If I can't find out why, this is the wave of the future. We'll all live. I also did the entire review with a background of Felicity's Scenes and Settings.
|Hats off! Or more accurately, hats on, girl.|
|Trim and sides.|
|Gold rope trim. And dust. So much dust.|
|Top of the hat. Not a top hat. There's a diff.|
|Flat looped trim.|
The hat gets a solid A. It perfectly tops off the outfit, and matches the rest of the set.
|Collar. And Ascot.|
|Better embroidery shot.|
|Front placket and "buttons".|
|Cuff and trim.|
|Peplum and trim.|
The jacket gets an A-. The minus is only because I really think there should have been something at the neckline to pull that together. Otherwise, it's got almost no flaws.
|A lady wears a skirt, even if she's a tribade3.|
|Skirt band and pleats. Forgive the darkness.|
|Hem. And shoes.|
|PC Vs. Mattel. FIGHT~|
The main thing is that the PC version is made of a thicker, heavy wool like fabric. The Mattel one, when released for the movie, is of a thinner acrylic style fabric. Because of this, the fabric drapes a little different on the Mattel set. The front turned under jacket and the cuffs have white interfacing underneath to stabilize the trims. The buttons on the PC version are flat studs; on the Mattel version, they are sewn on gold buttons. If there are major hat differences I can't tell you because I don't have the PC hat. The PC outfit is also sized for the thicker PC Felicity. This means that on my Mattel Felicity, her shift, stays, and pocket fit under a lot neater than they did with the Mattel version.
Which one wins out? Oddly enough, the PC version. I just like the thicker feel and the flat buttons. Not that my Mattel set is getting sold or given away any time soon.
Before I go into final scores, lemme just show you some examples of the riding habit in other media:
Here it is in the movie Felicity: An American Girl Adventure. She wears it in place of the summer gown for the part that parallels Felicity Saves the Day. Note the lace cuffs, the ascot, and Felicity wearing her hat around her neck.
The riding habit has been in every released set of Felicity's paper dolls, including the play scenes and settings. This is from the first edition, before Addy was released. She also has gloves and--not seen--black riding boots which I'm still working on finding for her.
In the books, Felicity never wears the set. However, it was a gift from her grandfather--or would have been, if he hadn't died of Felicity's Character Development Disease. As it is she gets it from her mother after he dies.
Overall Feel: The outfit is simply gorgeous, and one of the best parts I feel of Felicity's collection. Every part of it goes together. One of the things I love is that it's a deep rich green, which matches Felicity's eyes. About the only thing that bothers me about the set is that it did not come with an ascot or neck tie to go under the jacket. And I am tempted to make small lace partial under sleeves for the cuffs.
Cost Value: Both times the set was available--$24 for PC, $28 for Mattel--were pretty good values. I didn't balk at paying $45 for the PC version even though it was hatless, because the set is retired now and that was a good value. However, the most that I think should be paid for a complete set is $50. (Mattel I'd likely not pay more than $40 if I had to buy a set.) Don't go paying $100+ for a set, really. That's just way too damn much. Be patient and get a sensible cost set.
Authenticity: Very authentic to the Colonial period. It has all the markings of the style of the time. time--a masculine feel with a ladylike skirt, knife pleating, wool to minimize dirt sticking, and sensible but interesting trims. Plus it has access in the skirt to her pockets--something that is lacking from some later outfits, unfortunately.
Appropriateness to Character: Very appropriate. Felicity loves riding horses and this is an outfit that fits for her riding and the style required for a girl to ride. While never seen in the books, it is rather prominent in the movie, and in all her paper doll sets.
Final Grade: A-. The habit is authentic to the era, fitting to Felicity's character, and very lovely and richly trimmed and designed. The Mattel one is a little lesser quality for me now that I've gotten a PC one, but it's well enough that Felicity will probably still wear it at times. The minus is because bitch, the set should have had an ascot. I refuse to think otherwise.
1 White-Bodied dolls had skin tone limbs and white muslin bodies; however, Colonial fashions are low in front, and so Felicity made the company change to skin tone bodies. Read the link for more data.
2 I've started using PC instead of PM for reasons that will be articulated at a later time.
3 "Tribade" is what you called a lesbian back then. Lesbian as a word for "girl who wants girls" didn't come into play until about 1890 or so.