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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Clothes and Accessories Reviews: Garnet Holiday Outfit and Coconut's Christmas Accessories (2001)

Kaya and Macro are excited for Christmas Eve!
I'm all bouncy today. After all there's only one more sleep til Giftmas! And Giftmas is one of my favorite holidays. I don't do much right now, but the tingle is there.

When I was a kidlet, I loved Giftmas Eve, and Giftmas Eve Eve, and pretty much counted down the days from the time winter break started to Giftmas--the day of presents and ham and visiting relatives and the joy of the day. My mom would hang our stockings next to the tree in front of the window, and we used to use that spray snow in the windows that got you a little buzzed, and throw the long streamer style icicles all over our eight foot artificial tree that we started setting up at the start of December. I liked making ornaments in school, and adding a new one to the tree every year. One year my mom made a fireplace with wrapping paper under the mirror in the living room since we didn't actually have one in our apartment and I had panicked that Santa couldn't deliver things. (After that, she explained that Santa just came in the front door while we were sleeping.) I used to have a holiday stuffed flat doll that my mom told me to make my Giftmas wishes to (one year all I wished for was ponies, and I got at least one--MLP Yay!). And Giftmas Eve was the best. I'd set the radio to holiday music at about eight p.m.--this was before I was totally burnt out on most songs--and I'd watch holiday specials and slurp down candy canes and stay up until that beautiful stroke of midnight, where we'd have Present Frenzy, and then regardless of the temp I would get out one of my holiday sweatshirts and wear it to my grandfather's house.1 I liked the plays--I was in a semi-nativity play once (I got to be a shepard with spoken lines and everything which was very important for six to seven year old me, and used my grandfather's cane as my crook), I used to perform or act with the school choirs (I was Vixen when I was acting for the Reindeer (w)Rap in 7th grade, and dyed old clothes deep brown to do it) and in fifth grade I got to play the ghost of Christmas Past in a retelling of A Christmas Carol (she was from the 20s). I still love Caroling of the Bells. I once went caroling with my college buddies. I have favorite commercials.2 The I just adore the season.

When I had a job, I didn't like Giftmas Eve. Sure I got off work an hour early, and I liked Giftmas as a day off with my husband. But I also had to go in an hour early, I had to go in the day after Giftmas regardless of it being a normal day off or not, and I had to deal with so much shit the day before and after. Mostly people screaming at me that because the (3)DS(i) wasn't turning on or the Wii wasn't reading discs or a point cards got messed up or whatever, I was personally responsible for their issues and yelling at me would solve them. I would sometimes come home crying. from people's nastiness.3 The bright spot was wrapping and giving gifts to myself, my husband, and my gang. But I don't work there anymore, and in the two years since I haven't the holidays have become happy for me again. And even if I don't wrap gifts for the Gang specifically anymore, I still get everyone dressed up. I'm sure I'm going to be one of those moms that decks the tree out and wraps presents and spoils my kids rotten. But I will not ever do the Elf on the Shelf. Fuck that shit. I know that there are people setting AG presents under trees to be opened and loved by people of all ages (hopefully of an appropriate age, at least). And gang members are getting in or already in their wear. Thanks to these reviews, I've gotten everyone except a few into at least the first round of holiday wear, and the two who didn't have sets before will likely be getting dresses cut out tonight or tomorrow. And everyone has special fancy wear, generally.

And then we get to Kaya'aton'my. Kaya, understandably, does not have special holiday wear. Her third book, Kaya's Hero, is about general winter giving. And this is only marginally. Kaya wasn't Christian by the slightest--she canonically had her own Native faith. But AG has only made one third book that hasn't mapped to the winter and that is because Marie-Grace and Cécile are splitting a year. So Kaya's "holiday wear" with AG is generally her Adorned Deerskin Dress, if you go by her LE mini. I have it, mind, and when I first thought about adding Kaya to the gang I was sure she was going to want to stay in her own clothes, because I was a historical purist with everyone.4 But when Kaya first arrived with Josefina in early 2007, I learned quickly that--while she loves her classic clothes, and I've gotten almost every one of them for her--she is not about that Braids Beads and Buckskins life, and we started putting her in modern stuff. We tried various things with her for Giftmas wear--the Adorned set in 2007, the Jingle Dress in 2008, and Otters' first set I made for her in 2009.  Then in 2010 I got my hands on the Garnet Holiday Outfit and Kaya claimed it as hers, and so it has been ever since. At the same time I got a good portion of Coconut's Christmas Accessories. And while I do have a Coconut, she's not really part of my gang because I prefer more creative pets if possible.5 And Kaya has her own mini-pet: Macro the mini buffalo. While buffalo are not part of the Nimipuu situation--she's not a Plains Indian, let's not assume all Native people are stereotypes--she loves Macro and Kaya is a net girl. So Macro it was, and he's our display instead of Coconut. Some people would say I hate white dogs as much as I hate white people, but that's not true at all. How could you say that? Some of my best friends are white. They're just not, you know, white. I don't even see them as white unless they do white things like kiss their dogs on the mouth, threaten to move to Canada every time politics don't go their way, cry when called out on racist thought, claim that a handful of characters of color are enough for fandoms, or oppress the shit out of me.

The outfit itself consists of a garnet colored empire dress with faux fur trim, white tights, and garnet velvet ankle shoes and was the Super Special Holiday Set of 2001 and so was gone by 2002--it even had the special Shiny Box. The official accessories--barrette, purse, and gift box with snowflake ornament--are not owned by me. Coconut's set came out the same year but stayed around til 2003; it has a body drape, reindeer headband, stocking, and snowman and candy cane (the latter two are Sirs Not Appearing in This Production since don't got em). Original cost was $26 for the dress and $14 for Coconut's gear. I got one set I'm sure in a private purchase off Craigslist with the Coconut set, and while I can't remember how I got my hands on two sets of the dress I am 100% sure I paid less than retail both times--in fact, I got it twice and gifted a set to AJ when I sent her Miss Mari. (When I love you, I give you nice things all year long. When I don't like you I throw hexes all year long.) eBay shows the outfit rarely, sometimes with the box, often with the stocking, rarely with the accessories, almost always in the $15-30 range which is pretty respectable. The Coconut set is almost never complete, and most of the time bits of it show up with the dress.

Bonus unrelated hair clips, because Kaya twists her hair up nice. No LE. That's for when I do the Adorned Dress.

Garnet Dressy.
Dress: The dress is a long sleeved empire waist dress in a rich garnet color--just this side of maroon.6 It's a very unique fabric: stretch knit woven with a thick, fluffy texture and integrated strands of thin fabric quality matching tinsel that add a significant sparkle. It feels fluffy--not as fluffy as the fur--but very noticeably textured at touch. I don't think AG has ever done anything like it since. Or at least, I haven't had it in my collection. The way the strands catch the light is glorious.

Collar fur.
The collar is high all the way up to the neck--not tight to the neck, but done in such a way that there's no visible neck. The collar is garnet fur that has been dyed to match perfectly. I love fur. Fur is sexy, sexy murder. (I know AG uses faux fur. I still love fur, real or fake.)

Fur sleeve cuffs. 
 The sleeves come down to the wrists and are also trimmed in the same fur dyed to match. It's just so fluffy.

I don't even know if you can see this.
The waist is an empire style, only detectable by sight barely. It's very integrated and hard to see, which is actually good for the style of fabric.

Skirt part.
The skirt comes down to just above the knees. There is no trim on the skirt at all--and I'm glad that it's plain. The fur makes the trim perfectly, and fur at the edge would have been over the top and too furry. We're not going for Santa. That's another outfit I have altogether which is going to be part of what I want to call the "Holiday Mix Match Montages" when I get to it.

Back closure.
The back is standard velcro--it's not non snag, so be careful around your tights. A+. So furry and fluffy and shiny and just the right color.

Tights. We know the drill.
Tights: You know what happens when so many holiday reviews have involved plain white or cream tights--ribbing variable? You give them a B if they don't have runs and don't suck and you move on to the shoes.

Fuzzy shoes.
Shoes: Speaking of shoes, these are the bomb. The outfit finishes up with garnet velvet ankle shoes. Let's not get into my love of the rich feel of velvet again or we'll be here all day. These are the same color as the dress--that shade of garnet just red of maroon.

Toes. snaps, and back.
The toe front is not attached to the back heel at the sides; there's a gap, sort of like espadrilles. The whole shoe is velvet except the interior (white vinyl lining) and sole. The sides snap shut with red snaps on the outside. 

Inside side.
The strap is a separate piece that is tacked on at the inner side of the ankle--or for the weird little medical nerds out there like me, the medial side.7

Flip that shoe.
The soles are black plastic with a low heel. A, shoes. I love you.

Reindeer games.
Headband: And now we start in on the Coconut set. This starts with the headband. We all know the deal with reindeer and how they pull the sled for the Santa guy. So one of the big secular parts of Giftmas is reindeer looking stuff, and of course this was put on the Coconut Set. I adore reindeer. I have a Build-a-Bear Rudolph and Clarice, and it's one of the very few holiday specials I like watching8 even if, because 1960s, it's got some sexism and bad shit like whoa. These reindeer antlers are made of brown felt with likely a plastic or stiff interior and attached to a basic headband.

Jingle bells.
Each antler has two silver jingle bells on each side that work. I like jingle bells. They sound so nice. I think it's because I associate them with my second grade teacher Mrs. Banks, who read the class The Polar Express and I learned to love Chris Van Allsburg books as much as she did.

Headband off.
The band has white elastic to put it on your dog. Mine is loose from age and Macro is smaller than Coconut pets, so I loop the elastic behind the front feet to get the right look. A. I love reindeer so much.

It's Super-Macro!
Cape: The cape is a garnet fleece cape that is intended to drape around pet's back. There's no lining, but there is blanket stitch edging.

Sunburst things.
The cape has attached silver iridescent holographic sunbursts with red bead centers. Can't say I really care for them. They get bent a lot and I'm pretty sure that if I'm not careful I'll break the rays of the sunbursts.

The collar at the front is made of trim that is the same fabric the main dress is made of. Fuzzy shiny~

Front button.
The front closes with a white rhinestone mounted into a silver shank button. It's tacked on pretty good and the fabric gives so there's no worry for me that it'll pop off.

Flat back.
The cape, when laid flat, shows the shape; a curved front and soft edged rectangular back. B-. I like the furry trim and fleece, but I'm always nervous that I'll break the sunbursts.

Stocking hung by the dollies with care.
Stocking: Coconut's set comes with the stocking as well; a lot of times it's assumed to be part of the dress in secondary sales, and  so often shows up with the dress. Like the cape, it's made of garnet fleece; like the cape it's got the sparkle knit fabric as a trim where a stocking most of the time has fur. And, like the cape, it has attached silver iridescent holographic sunbursts with red bead centers. Blech. On the cape they're nice for sparkle, but on the stocking they feel like too much. I like stockings to be mostly plain if possible. Also, there's no loop to hang it up with. You gotta have the loop. The loop! C. Needs improvement.


Bonus clips!
Bonuses now. Since Kaya doesn't have the barrette, I have given her a pair of plastic clips to wear in her hair, Sometimes when her hair is down they just clip the sides. We chose this year to twist her braids up into a crown that's held in place with bobby pins, and use the clips as decor. Never be afraid to experiment with dolly hair if you can.

And a picture of the box the dress would have come in. This one is specifically for the accessories but the same style was used for the dress and the Sparkle Tree. eBay: Good for ref pics if they're done right.


Overall Feel: Nnngh, this dress, this dress. I have so many tingling feels about this dress. Not only is garnet one of my favorite reds--not my birthstone, but I do love a good colored one--but it has fur and there is never a bad time for fur. And the soft velvet shoes--nnngh. This dress is just so pretty. The tights are tights. *shrug* The Coconut set is a nice bonus to put with Kaya's Macro and the headband is choice, but the plastic bursts on the cape and stocking don't do it for me. Any other beadwork would have done better. I'm damn glad, however, that it does match the dress so Kaya and Macro can be a matching set.
Cost Value: Less than retail? Yes, very good. Retail. Yes, good. More than retail? Even as much as I love the set I still think that purchases should never be too much. $35 with at least the shoes, and don't get it without the shoes. $55-60 with the full accessories, since those are a little harder to get. Coconut's set? Eh, maybe $20 since it's retired now, but pet sets are kinda weird. I wouldn't probably have it if it hadn't been a bonus to stuff I had and I hadn't found a use for it.

Timeliness/Datedness: It's got some datedness, but not a lot. It's good from about the late 90s forward, even with the fur trim. Empire waists almost never go out of style. The pet set isn't dated, but dogs in clothes is so weird.

Mix and Match Levels: Nope. Not applicable. It's very much its own set and some things are just like that.

Final Grade: A for the dress, B+ for the dog set. Kaya has great taste in modern clothing.


1 For me, "Christmas" wasn't ever really religious. I never went to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day even when I did the church thing, because my denomination emphasized Easter and Jesus saving us over Christmas and his being born, so it was easy to decouple when I deconverted. We didn't even put up Nativity scenes. And if we ever had, we would have insisted they be black.
2 It's just not the holidays until the Folgers incest commercial and the Hershey's Kiss bells.
3 People, if your electronics or what have you don't work perfectly tomorrow and you've tried all the troubleshooting and you have to call for a repair or replacement, don't take it out on the customer service people. We're tired, we had to work the day after the holidays, you're probably the next in a gauntlet of an endless two-hour calling or e-mail replying fest before we can get a break or lunch, and we really feel bad for you and want to help you right up until the point where you treat us like shit and act like we personally came in the house and broke your system like the motherfucking Grinch, then we stop giving a fuck and you become one of our War Stories.
4 So it's not just the "black" or PoC dolls I put my foot down about and will cut your eyes out for fucking up their clothes, though I'm harder about that shit because nine times out of ten it's a rejection of a doll of color for whiteness, and that's some shit, and no it doesn't go both ways in this white-pushing society. For example, you do not put Felicity's shit on your stupid ugly blond moddies either unless it's Talk like a Pirate Day, and if you fuck it up I'll fuck you up. I fucking hate blond moddies more than I do the endless parade of White GotY. It took me years to start jacking from Sam, and with Julie it was first justified because I liked Julie's wear but not Julie because of the era, and Otters took it over.  
5 I will post about my crazy gang pet situation later.
6 As a good Aggie and artist, I differentiate between garnet and maroon. Maroon is closer to brown, garnet is closest to red.
7 I went to the M.E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions in Houston, TX, and personally focused on obstetrics as I had planned a career in medicine before college. I still use the knowledge here and there and can remember dumb shit like the phase I learned to know the twelve cranial nerves in order. I am educated in so many fun ways.
8 It's where I get my line about stupidly expensive dolls needing to be able to walk, talk and run a temperature. And while I didn't want to be a dentist, I studied dentistry for 1/3 of my junior year. See the footnote above.


  1. Oh the Folgers Incest commercial. I know the exact one you mean. And the Hershey's bells. For me it's those, AND the Campbell's Soup snowman one.

    Also, never went to church on Christmas either. And Addy doesn't have holiday wear, but she does have shoes and socks finally. And a little present for tomorrow.

    You used to wrap presents for your gang?

    Also, how did you learn the twelve cranial nerves in order? I had so much trouble with that in Anatomy a couple semesters ago!

    PS: That dress is gorgeous! I like Macro's antlers, but the rest of the dog set I could do without. He's an adorable buffalo though! I like buffalo.

    OH, Polar Express. How I love thee!

    1. Yep, with paper and everything and write their names on the wrapping. Then the gang got way too big and I got way too holiday stressed from my job, and so now they just get collective Giftmas. Last year was so upsetting because of personal stuff that only Addy got dressed.

      With the nerves it was "Only One Of The Twins Accepts Fresh Vegetables. Get Vegetables And Hamburgers." so in orderL Olfactory, Optic, Oculomotor, Trochlear, Trigeminal, Abducens, Facial, Vestibulocochlear (i love the sound of that one in my ears) Glossopharyngeal, Vagus, Accessory, Hypoglossal.

    2. Vestibulocochlear is a wonderful, wonderful word.

      That reminds me of how we were taught the classifications of animals in my biology class. King Phillip Came Over For Green Spaghetti. Only one of the boys changed it to great sex and everyone remembered it much better. :P

      Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.

      I'm sorry last year sucked. I hope this one's better.

      Pictures of Addy in her new socks and shoes and bracelet and necklace will be forthcoming. Also, is Macro actually like canonically one of Kaya's pets, or did he join the gang from somewhere else?

    3. Ours was "King Paul Cried Out For Good Soup" But oh gods, Great Sex, going to have to keep that one.

      This years has been much better. If you look back on my personal journal around mid Dec, you'll see what threw me.

      Macro is not a canon pet. A few years back a Native buddy sent me a box of Kaya stuff for gifts, and the baby buffalo was in there and she named him Macro, like Image Macro.

  2. I remember when I sent you Marco. Glad your Kaya loves him. And as always props for being aware to Kaya's culture. That she was not Northern Plains. Yes her people, with horses. Did hunt and trade into that area but it was not their homeland. Buffalo where very important to my people, who where forced onto the Southern Plains in 1829. Though we had all ready established long standing trade and often marrige with the Comanche,Lakota and Apache. If not for that, we would have been chased off after the Trail Of Tears. What was thought of as vacant "Indian Territory" was all ready in use. Both the Southern and Northern Plains.

    Enough rambling. Merry Giftmas and Merry Blessings.


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