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

Monday, July 1, 2013

Clothes and Accessories Reviews: The Western Riding Outfit (2010), Braided Headband, Curly Ponytail Set, and Bright Highlights Set (2013)

Dolly weave and western wear, courtesy of Sonali Matthews.
It's a whole new month! Which means maybe, with the lack of going out of town and the whole less drama for a while and some, I can get some reviews done. It helps that I got some new things at AG Seattle Saturday, and decided to play beauty parlor with Sonali--who, by the way, is forever styling on most of these heaux.

Today is a double review: An entire outfit and dolly weave1! This is probably the fastest I've gone from "item out by AG" to "I am reviewing it." Don't get used to it. A lot of my stuff is old, and I like to take my time reviewing stuff. Moving along. Not only will I be reviewing the Braided Headband, Curly Ponytail Set, and Bright Highlights Set,2 I will be tackling the Western Riding Outfit. There is not much to say about the hair stuff that won't be said in review, so let's talk about the outfit for a bit.

The Western Riding Outfit, all by itself.
The Western Riding Outfit was released in 2010, and is still out--though seeing as it's three years old at this point it'll be going into retirement sooner rather than later. AG tends to always have something equestrian in their moddie collection at any given time, capitalizing on the fact that most girls have a pony stage about the same time they have a doll stage (both stages I have never quite outgrown, as can be attested by my collection foci). This was also a few years post Nicki Fleming, who was pimped out as a horse rider and all over ranch girl by AG. So since her, AG has started adding a little more western riding into their horse riding collections. The cost of the full outfit--shirt, boots, skirt, and bracelet--is $30. Like most things on the AG secondary market I fully expect that price to make stupid spikes after this retires. Even right now the eBay auctions have the price jacked up to the $40-50s, even while it can still be ordered directly from AG. The set also included the "Loyal" heart charm but I have no idea where my charms are, and if I ever do review the ones I have they will get their own post.

My Sonali, despite her being a witch,3 is a bit horse crazy. To the point she has her own horse and wears all my horse riding stuff in my collection. I never got the accompanying hat, but eh. I can find a decent cowboy hat that's not made of straw. So anytime I review my western and horse riding stuff, we'll be doing it with her. She'll also be doing the hair reviews, since she's the best moddie for the job today.

Outfit first, dolly weave second.

Shirt. If there wasn't a horse on it you wouldn't know it was about horses.
Tee: The tee is a short sleeved coral tee made of t-shirt style knit and carries the whole "this is about horses" look. Well, the whole outfit does, but this especially. I am what you call picky about color--artist and all--so I say "coral" where someone might call it red and someone else might call it pink-red and someone might say salmon but salmon is lighter. It's coral. There's specifics to shades, ta very much.

Sleeve: Double hemmed!
The sleeve actually has a second unhemmed "ruffle" above the main cuff of the sleeve, to make a double hem look. It makes the shirt rather feminine and cute. This little detail is something that makes the tee unique, and I actually like it.

Neckline. Also doubled up.
The neckline also has the same doubled up edge. It's more unusual here but it still looks all right. I would have been fine without this detail, or placing it on the end hem--which is plain and undoubled.

Colt and Hearts.
On the front of the tee is a iron-on/screen print/whatever image of a brown colt and five white hearts made with dots above it. See, cause girls like horses. It's realistic to what a girl's shirt would have on it, so no hard feelings. It doesn't look like it will easily peel off, though stretching might cause nasty cracking. It's a sweet little horse design--not too busy, not too plain.

Obligatory logo.

The hem, as was said above, is plain. I think the double look would have been much cuter down here than up by the collar, but whatcha gonna do. The tee is tagged "American Girl" on the left side with a patch. World has to know your brand, and all.

Back, and back closure.
The tee velcros up the back with white low snag velcro. Low snag velcro is much nicer than other velcros, and isn't nearly as thick.

The tee gets an A-. It'll mix into the rest of my clothes, and at the same time works well with this outfit. The minus is, because as I said, the double hem would have looked much better on the bottom than the top in my personal opinion. Even taking into the next part of the outfit, the skirt.

Skirt: The skirt is a lightweight medium blue denim and stops well above the knee--at about lower thigh. The whole skirt is top stitched in golden yellow thread like realistic jean skirts would be. There are no pockets, or even the hint of a pocket existing via faux pocket stitching. Better carry a purse, girls.

Double skirt hem, what does it mean?
The skirt has a double fringed hem with gold stitching. I adore the hem on this shirt. The fridge makes a blue and white mix, and the gold stops it from fraying. It's kicky and adorable, and helps give the skirt its own flavor. I think it's a little too modern for an 80s look, but that's fine. Not all my denim skirts have to go back to the 80s.

No fly to worry about.
The top stitching on the front is done to make a false fly.

Waistband. Sometimes you just wanna pull it on.
This is because the skirt has a simple pull on waistband. No buttons, no loops, just some elastic in the back of the waistband to stretch a touch and help get it on. Sometimes the most simple is the best.
Patch again.
Another AG tag. Tag your clothes and your food porn, there are children on this site.

The skirt gets a solid A. There's nothing about the skirt I don't like, and I'm sure it'll work its magic with other t-shirts and such. Plus the double fringe hem makes it hella unique.

These boots were made for walking.
Boots: Now, before we go into too much detail, let me explain to you a thing. I grew up in Houston Texas, and I knew and still know cowboy boots. I loved boots. I wore the fuck outta some boots. I am as picky about my boots as I am about my cowboy hats. You do that shit right or you don't fuck with it at all, Yankee Doodle.

That being said, I love these boots. They're a nice rich brown color with a lighter sole and just enough of a heel to be boots.

Round toe.
The toes are neat and round,and the soles are firm for ass kicking and boot scooting. 

Up the back to open and close. 
They--like almost all AG boots--velcro up the back. This makes it easy to get the boots off and on your girl's feet. Cowboy boots are something that you get in the right size or your feet will goddamn hurt. Don't be Hank Hill4. If you're not good at wearing boots, don't buy boots.

Top stitching.  Fancy.
The top stitching is basic for doll boots--we're not going for anything fancy here. A little at the top, and a little over the boot part. These are your casual boots for casual days of walking around and being cute.

Open up for the audience, boot.
 The boots close with clear velcro that doesn't stand out any while closed. The way it's sewn in makes it so that when the boot is closed it looks just like the back seam on a set of boots. Way to go, AG. 

The inside of the boot shows that the "leather" is basic white vinyl. AG, for the most part, simulates their animal products.The second benefit of white lining is that long wear will not lead to stains on your doll's feet. Shit like that matters--I've actually stained Kimmy's feet and ankles pretty badly having her in off brand leggings that smashed the cloth against her feet and let the dye leech out. Damn you, 1980s.

They've got sole.
The soles are flat and with enough of a heel to kick into the stirrups and ride--I mean, to mean that you'll have to note your doll's balance while she's wearing it. It doesn't cause total hip cock, but it's something to take into account.

The boots get an A+. I love a kickass set of boots that can integrate easy into outfits and ideas I have, and these are super cute and super perfect for western wear. I know they'll fit under jeans and the like. These are so gonna be Applejack's.5

Bracelet. Why is this a thing in this?
Bracelet: Ah, now we get to the Peter Pettigrew of this outfit: the bracelet. It's a white velvet ribbon braid sewn to grosgrain, with velcro closure.

Off the wrist.
And that's it. That's all it is. A bracelet, that is not even that interesting to talk about. The outfit doesn't need it; it adds nothing. A necklace, a ponytail holder, a scrunchie: anything but this bracelet, take it from me. D-. Out with ye.


Overall Feel: The outfit is adorable--it's cute and feminine without being frilly, and even has a touch of the tomboy to it. The shirt could have been improved by a design tweak; I don't think the double hem would have been nearly as busy at the hem instead of the collar. The colors are comfortable, and the whole thing looks good together. The bracelet is a complete waste, mind, and I'll probably dump it back in my "pointless AG crap I keep for completeness sake" box.

Cost Value:
I feel like the outfit was certainly worth the $30 I paid for it. When it retires, don't dare pay more than $15-20 for a set sans boots, and more than retail for a whole set sans bracelet.

Very modern. The skirt is a little more modern than common and might get dated in a few years as might the shirt, but I think they'll carry for a while and some. The boots are something that can go for a while--good cowboy boots were a thing and are a thing and will be a thing for us Southern gals.

Mix and Match Levels:
Damn straight! The shirt can go with jeans and flats and be playfully casual. The skirt can pair with other tops and shoes and be nicely female without drawing full focus. And the boots are made to be worn and adored. The bracelet can go suck off.

Final Grade:
A. Plus lost because fuck the entire bracelet.

Got some hair, gonna do some hair.
And now the part we all came for: WEAVE.

We have the Curly Ponytail set, the Braided Headband, and the Bright Highlights. The braid and ponytail (as well as the bun) come in five colors: brown, darker brown. "caramel" brown, red, and blond which theoretically should cover almost every modern doll that isn't a GotY. The highlights come in pink, aqua, and purple. If you have the chance to go to an AG store to get these, do that so that you can hair match. I, knowing my mods pretty well, got the dark brown. I only have two blonds and one redhead, and they are all historicals. Otherwise, know generally what your doll's hair color is and go with that and hope you're not wrong. Not only do the packages come with helpful directions, American Girl has super perky videos that show you how to put that weave in for every style. It's easy as fuck! Style that hair! You're the stylist! Get to work!

Okay, it's a little harder than the videos make it sound. But it's not like actually sewing weave in, so there you go.

Braided Headband; let's get this on!
Let's start with the Braided Headband. It's what it says: A braided headband that you are going to put on to make it look like someone braided across your doll's head even though we all know that's not how hair can. 

All by its lonesome.
The headband--and all the hair extensions--are made of the same kind of Kanekalon that AG hair is made of. It's firmly braided, with a knit tube at the back to cover up the elastic stretch.

The back tells you how to put the headband on. 1) Put on headband.  2) Untuck hair. 3) Pull it up. While the package and video make step three look easy, it actually wasn't. I had to tug a bit to get it on neatly. Maybe that'll be less of a thing once the elastic stretches more. That, by the way, should be hidden in the back. Then brush over your doll's hair to avoid nasty fly aways, et voila! The instructions come in English and French.

Sonali rocking the headband.
Your doll is now fancy and cute. Sonali wears the headband pretty nicely.

Get my good side.
It even blends in. Well, mostly.

Close enough for government work.
Sonali's hair is a touch darker than standard AG dark brown. So on close up, the shade difference is clear. I knew the colors wouldn't perfectly match Sonali but seeing that she's really semi-alone in wearing weave, it was close enough. Also, I don't think this would work well with textured hair, if you have a black doll with actual texture to her hair and not what passes for textured now.Still, close enough for government work, as my friend would say.

The headband gets an A-. The elastic needs to stretch a little more to be less hard to get on. But it'll work on your girl.

Time to get your ponytail snatched!
Curly Ponytail: Now this? This is weave. This is the shit. I remember wearing false ponytails in the 90s when I wanted to look good (I was still straightening my hair then)--you got the weave strip in a color that matched your hair--or if you were adventurous, something completely different--and pulled your hair into a ponytail with a rubber band or something that would not stick out. Gel the edges, and if your hair was long, maybe twist it into a bun. And then you bobby-pinned that mofo in all the way around (even more if you were the kind of girl to get in fights and get your shit snatched) and covered it up with a scrunchy, and bam! Hair! For extra fucking fancy, you rolled it with heavy gel beforehand, let it dry, and put it on with the curls out. Fucking cute, girlfriend. I could probably get away with doing it now, but it was so damn 90s.

Anyways, this is the AG version.

In the net.
 The ponytail comes in a hair net. I decided to keep it because it'll be nice for storage. 

How to put your weave in.
 The instructions for how to put yo' hair in. Make sure you look good.

Out of the net.
Out of the net, you can see the looseness of the curls and the length of the hairstyle. There is 14" of hair on this. AG dolls are 18" tall. Yeah, this is super weave. It's not very thick, but it'll work. 

Braid over the top.
There's a little braid at the top, to help cover what I would cover with scrunchies and ribbons.

Comb, lining, and velcro.
 Inside is a small comb to help hold the ponytail in, lining, and velcro to close. That' right, velcro right by the hair. Be super careful putting this in. The instructions are basically: 1) Ponytail the hair. 2) Put the comb in at the top of the ponytail. 3) Close it around. And close it tight, or it won't work well. I was super careful because velcro snags hair like a bitch. But I got it  in and...

Girl you know that ain't your hair, you got it from a horse.
WEAVE. I did a low ponytail to see how far the hair would go down.  And it goes far. It is ricockulous, going all the way to Sonali's lower calves.

I can see your real hair in there.
Sonali's actual hair stops here, and the rest is curly hair. It's kind of visible, to be honest, but not too badly. Just, you know, don't be whippin' yo' hair back and forth, you ain't Willow Smith. 

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, something like that. 
From the back, the hair is still very long. It would probably be even longer but the curls helps spring it back up.

Down to the boots.
The hair itself is very springy and curly, and really adorable. Alas, I can see these in a few years having been wrecked by the same irresponsible young children who wreck their own doll's hair. I decided at this point to keep the net and package to help store this from getting wrecked up when not in someone's head.

I can see yo' tracks.
 While the braid is supposed to cover up the top, it doesn't all the way. So time to 90s this shit--

Ribbon cover up!
And quickly hide the junction with a ribbon. I will probably do this every time Sonali wears it, albeit with a shorter ribbon.

It's my hair, girl, I paid for it!

With careful placement, the curls can be draped forward, and Sonali can look like she grew her hair overnight.

A. Not an A+ because of the velcro that could snag and the fact I can tell where doll hair ends and weave begins. But the memories of 90s me are awesome, and it does look really, really good for a, you know, ankle length ponytail.

Color stripes, for the Hot Topic Tween in your life.

Bright Highlights Set: Finally, the Bright Highlights Set: three clip in stripes in semi-respectable colors for people who love unnatural colors but might still get in trouble for dying hair purple, because society can suck a fuck that's why.

Clip that shit in, and make damn sure to cover your tracks.
Instructions: 1) Pop open the comb. 2) Raise your hair, slide it in. 3) Snap it in. Unlisted Step 4: Hide your tracks.

Colors: Gay, Straight, Bisexual.
The set comes in pink, purple, and aqua. If you want other colors take your ass to Hot Topic. However, this can make a Bi pride flag. I know that is not what AG was going for, but now I want to do that. The hair is very, very straight. You could probably curl it with braid spray and a roller over night.

Each strip is sewn to a metal comb with pop out teeth.

Open comb.
You just flex it a little and it snaps open.

Hide yo' tracks!
If you put it right on top, you will see the top of the hair. Just tuck it away, like you're supposed to. 

No, really, hide it.
Make sure to pick up enough hair to cover up the top track. Otherwise everyone can see the start of your weave, and that ain't cute.

Blue and purple.
I started by testing the purple and blue in Sonali's hair. Welcome to uneven. I think next time I'm there I'll get a second pack so that I can have color balance when I want it. 

Straight hair against curly.
Sonali has a noted curl to her hair, so it stands out a little more than a bit. If you are putting this in a curly haired dolls's hair, it's going to stand out fairly unless you curl it or twist it or something.

A spot of color.
But the color does work, and is beautifully striking against Sonali's dark hair. I think she might look cute with two blue streaks, for House Ravenclaw. If I can find some bronze at Hot Topic, I might also do that.

Pink and dark braid.
Braiding the streak in is adorable, and made me think this can work really well. Still, they won't work in the super curly girls like my Otters and Mellie unless you heat set it first--something I might do, but only with another set--and they won't work in a girl like Shanna. The streaks are probably going to work best in straighter hair.

Speaking of straight hair...
Straight hair like Abbi, who has pink as one of her favorite colors.

Looking awesome!
So once I got it in her hair, something said I was not likely to take this out for a while, if ever. It looks beautiful in Abbi's caramel hair. I twisted her hair back, and will leave it like this for a while. 

The streaks get an B+. They work well to add streaks of color to hair, and give a funky feel. I kind of wish they came in other colors--but I can always find extensions at Sally's or Hot Topic. Also they will stand out on any doll that has hair that isn't fairly straight.


Overall, I love the hair sets I got. I think the bun might end up being not as favored to me once I do plonk down the money for it, but the ones I got are adorable and work well. Just, you know, take your doll to get her hair matched for her weave, especially if she's unique. She might not match too well and all. 

Streaks and braids.
So, another review down! Yes, Abbi is wearing "Saige's" painting set. I'll review that next before the year kicks over, so that people can think about it before it's retired.


1 White people call them "hair extensions." I am black. So this is dolly weave, with all the snatching thereof.
2 No Chic Bun. The bun is likely going to be for Marisol, and I need to take her to the store to properly hair match.
3 My headcanon: Sonali's mother is Padma Patil from the Harry Potter series, who immigrated to the US after the whole thing at Hogwarts, and Sonali attends magical school. You have your OCs, I have mine.
4 I tell you what.
5 My gang will be doing pony cosplay. Welcome to nerd.


  1. Fisher Queen/Jane Tiberius/SarJuly 8, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    The hair stuff reminds me of the nineties, when my dumb white ass couldn't manage Addy's hair but loved her to death. Mom would bring me weaves from the beauty supply store that I'd braid into her hair as it started to thin out, since she wouldn't pay to have her sent to the hospital for a new head. I'm now pondering the hair extensions for Miss Gia, since she'd rock the pink. It's too bad the color's probably too light for Kimmy. I'd LOVE to see the blue and purple on her for some reason.

  2. I died laughing over this post. The antique pop culture references, the blunt reviews--this is why I follow your blog, despite not being an AG collector.

  3. Yeeees ma'am, I remember those crunchy ponytails from the 90's! Folks would wet them, add product, and stick them in the microwave until they dried to crispity crunchity flawlessness!


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