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

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Clothes Reviews: Holiday Bibs Outfit (1998)

Holidays: Now with Mellie Croom!
Are there any major holidays on December 8th? *wikipedia* Yes, there is! It's the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Contrary to popular mistakes, the Immaculate conception is not when Mary got pregnant with Jesus, it's when St. Anne got pregnant with Mary. According to Catholic faith, in order for Jesus to be born holy, Mary had to be conceived without Original Sin--that thing going all the way back to Adam and Eve that makes humanity unworthy of Heaven. And since the Nativity of Mary is September 8th, the church just went nine months back (or three months forward) and say she was conceived by on December 8th. It's also Bodhi Day, or the day historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautauma, awakened and found Enlightenment. This was discovered in three parts: the cycle of rebirth, or Saṃsāra; the Law of Karma and the importance of living by the Eightfold Path; and the Four Noble Truths, finally reaching Nirvana.

Not bad for a eclectic pagan, huh?

Today, we'll be covering an outfit that I adore. The Holiday Bibs Outfit was one of the earliest non-specific holiday outfits released by AG in that transition between Mattel ownership and Pleasant Company, or PC. As...interesting as Ballet Outfit I was, it wasn't really holiday wear. In 1996 Pleasant Company seems to have realized this and came out with cultural holiday outfits and accessories (The Kwanzaa Outfit, Chinese New Year Outfit, and ever so creatively named "Hanukkah Outfit") along with a recital outfit that wasn't really holiday, and none of it came with matching child sized wear. Finally, after the completely lackluster doings of 19971, more holiday wear came out in 1998, and the Holiday Bibs Outfit was one set in this offering. It came with a winter white satin blouse, velvet overalls, gold flats, a green and gold hair ribbon, and an AG logo necklace for $22. I got it for $22 with the Starry Night Outfit--the two came for $44 so divided, it was $22 each, and it did not have the necklace or ribbon. And, like the Starry Night Set before it, I have it twice--I got a second set with the ribbon and necklace for $21.50 + shipping. This review is the complete set.  Ebay prices can spike high, of course. But it goes for a regular cost of about $15-30, 30 being as a complete set. I guess it's not as flashy as most AG outfits so it goes for less.

As I said there was fairness needed in the AG reviews, this one covers the last moddie to be seen on the blog in her own review: Mellie Croom. Melinda Mae "Mellie" Croom was picked up from the AG Dallas store in 2010 soon after she was released; I almost didn't get her because she was online only at the time and so wasn't in the Fishbowl2 But the manager saw me sulking that she wasn't there and said they had one in the back, and boom! Got her out for me. I couldn't not bring her home. My mom took one look at her as I was putting her glasses on, and said I'd just gotten a mini-me and should name her after me. But I've always felt a little weird naming my dolls after me directly. It feels a little Sue-like. So I said that I'd name her after Mom's maternal grandmother, who was a magnificent seamstress and taught my mom to sew. And my mom thought it was perfect, as she likes to say that I sew like her grandmother did. Mellie is named after my maternal great grandmother wholly. Well, with the small exception of her first name being Melinda instead of just Mellie, but once she drops to her nickname it's a perfect match. Family History! I like to tease that she looks like but isn't the lovechild of Sonali and Otters. Mellie likes doing carpentry and building, being in nature, being a pretty tomboy, and looking better in McSeattle's3 clothing than she did.

As I was starting to link to the AG wiki page about it, I saw that it didn't have a picture. Welcome to AG Wiki fame, Mellie. You now join Naomi and Marisol and Shanna there. (ETA: And then I found the catalog pic, so down Mellie's pic came, except for a close up.) Any pictures taken by me here are mine unless I upload them to the wiki, and are not to be scattered around. Don't make me whoop your ass.

Shirt. And Panties, but this is not an underwear review today.
Shirt:  The outfit comes with a winter white long sleeved high necked satin blouse. Because of the style of this outfit, I took the pictures of the shirt without the overalls over them, so you're getting it uncovered for max viewing. You also get a shot of the boy-short underwear that came with the Dot Cami and Brief set. Later reviews, my kittens.The shirt comes all the way down to about the hips, so as to be fully tucked in under the overalls.

Falsifying plackets.
On the front is a falsified placket with four false buttons made of white rhinestones in settings. With the overalls on you only see the high collar and first button, but the fact there are buttons all the way down makes for a realistic shirt style. I like it when AG does clothes that look real from all sides, not just the front. They're pretty good about that for the most part.

Collar and shoulder.
The collar is very high necked--higher than the average moddie shirt, designed to cover the neck, Well at least her throat won't be cold, and it covers that body-neck seam nicely. So if you have one of those odd white body dolls you've turned moddie you can cover that creepy line between body and neck up. The shoulders are unique in that they're slightly drop shoulder--that is, they don't sit high shouder. So sort of like a t-shirt does.

Long sleeves keep you warm.
The sleeves are full length to the wrist with a slight loose, oversized feeling. Not so large they look bad, but not so tight they're hard to get on.

Cuffs to match the collar.
The sleeve cuffs are unadorned and eased into the end of the sleeve. Since AG have splayed hands, they velcro shut at the wrist so one can open them, put the shirt on, and then close the cuff around the wrist. I think it would have been really classy to put little buttons there for more realism, but eh.

And of course, the obligatory back closure, with the velcro closure. I love this shirt and the potential versatility of the shirt, as it could easily be paired with a skirt and looks good uncovered as well as covered. A.

Overalls: The overalls--or bibs--are made of pine green velvet. Damn, do I love velvet. The last three sets I've reviewed have been velvetly in some way. What can I say, it's rich feeling and warm and all holiday nice. These are carpenter style overalls, a fashion that came up both in overalls and pants in the mid to late 90s thanks to the awesomeness of hip-hop. At some point in my mid teens I owned a set of blue velvet overalls very similar to these and wore them for holiday wear/winter school wear for at least two years, sometimes with one shoulder unhooked because that was the style of the time. But there are no pictures so you'll have to take my word for it. I happen to think that overalls are adorable and not just on little kids. Bring back the jumper and the overall fashion for adults, damn it. Also Mellie, being a craftsgirl, adores a great pair of carpenter overalls. I may need to work her up or buy her a denim set.

The whole bib part.
The top bib has a functional pocket, with top stitching. You can also see the gold overall fasteners and buttons on the side. The ones at the shoulders are functional, but the ones at the waist are on top of velcro. Which is fine, because trying to button side buttons are not always fun. The front pockets are functional as well. Real pockets for real dolls, man. And they're deep--I can get my whole ring finger in there to the base. There is also a false fly, waist topstiching, and all the parts of overalls that make them look real.

Nails Side.
The right side has a deep back side pocket that would hold, if we were really doing this as carpentry, nails. You can also kind of see the velcro under the gold side buttons. The velcro holds shut fine and is the same dark pine green so as not to stand out.

Hammer side.

On the left side is the hammer loop, the only difference between the sides. For those without hammers, clip your wallet chain or keys to the loop, hook your thumb in, or just put the Tommy Hilfiger logo there, it's all good homies.

Rear pockets.
On the back, along with the well seamed back seams and reinforced shoulder junction, are two nice large rear pockets. Mellie can squirrel away all the things, if she'd like. Purses are not needed when you've got deep, functional pockets. Who took these away, fashion designers, we ought to kick your ass.

The best shot I got of the shoulder strap adjustments.
The shoulders have authentic strap adjustments, so that you can get primo fit. These worked best when I set them right near Mellie's shoulders. However, the ends under the strap adjustments are smooth, so I had to be careful so they didn't slip out. I may sew reinforce these so they won't slip out ever. (My flash was being a shit and didn't get a good shot of the shoulders. My camera some days, really.) A+, overalls. It's the little details that make a cute, realistic outfit. 

Shiny golden shoes.
Shoes: The main parts of the outfit are finished off with a pair of lovely dark gold silk-satin  flats. The design of the fabric makes them catch light and shimmer from all angles. They wonderfully compliment the gold accents of the overalls without seeming overwhelming or two flashy. Black flats would have not been nearly as nice with this set.

From the side.
They just peek outside from under the overalls when they're on Mellie's feet.

Shoes alone.
The shoes have a black lining and a white inner sole, and the bottoms are flat with no heel. They don't have a lot of frills or fluff--sensible, of course, because they're not seen very much with the overalls. All the shine is from the fabric, and that's the way it really should be. And if I wsa so inclined, I could put these with another outfit and have them look their best. A+.

I hope you didn't want a bunch of pictures of a hairbow, you're only getting one.
Ribbon: The hair ribbon is a gold and green striped shimmery lamé ribbon of about 13 inches long. And it can tie around the base of a ponytail or the end of a braid, and ta-da there you go! What are you asking of a bow beyond that. B is for Bow. It does what it should.

Necklace: The outfit's last component--and probably what would be the hardest to find on a secondary market for a sensible price--is the necklace, an AG logo pendant with a gold chain that sits just at Mellie's chest. As I explained it in the night shirt post, it's the stylized AG Today logo of the multicolored girl--however, there are no lines around it, so it's just girl. It's backed and outlined in gold, to help with the whole green and gold look.

Hook clasp.
Instead of a circle hook and eye clasp--which is hard for me to put on some days--it has a simple long hook through an eye. Much easier, though you may want to keep an eye out to make sure it doesn't fall off or work loose. If you're an adult collector, this shouldn't be a problem.

Mintish on card.
Useful fun fact! My necklace actually came still in the package, on the black backing card. So that means I'm the first to use it. Go me, I rock, whoo hoo. I'm giving the necklace an A. It's a really nice component that, while the outfit works without it, compliments the whole thing--and should I like, I can stick it with other outfits. I love a good necklace, really.


Overall Feel: I simply can't get enough of this set's boyish charm. The shirt is one of the best holiday shirts--and winter seasonal tops--I've ever had in my collection, the overalls--which are sort of smushed into winter wear, being velvet and all--have lovely little realistic components we don't always get in most holiday wear, and the shoes are simple and don't distract from the cute. The ribbon and necklace are nice touches that I would have been okay without but simply adore having. The overall loveliness would probably explain why I'm not chomping to sell the second set off anyways, because I feel like I can continue to use it for things.

Cost Value: Original and my costs were fair at $22 dollars--nowadays a set would probably go for $32 if AG did it again. It's going to be hard to find the necklace with it, because AG necklaces are probably the first thing to wander off in a kid's collection. With a total complete set, $35 is fair, thoguh I rarely see it ever go that high. But if you're going to only find it with the shoes, overalls, and shirt, then about $20 seems all right. Most of the time the set will not have the ribbon or necklace, and a lot only have overalls which, yeah no get at least the shirt and shoes with them. The shoes are too cute to not be part of the set.

Timeliness/Datedness: Borderline. Not many little girls nowadays want to wear overalls for the holidays, AG doesn't release pants sets for the holidays anymore which kind of sucks, and the carpenter style does date it to the late 90s. But for the tomboy AG in your life who would rather not have to wear a skirt for the holidays, break it out.

Mix and Match Levels: Applicable. I'm thinking of making a simple gold satin skirt to go with the shirt and maybe a doll's gold corset for a bit of a steampunk look.4 The shoes would probably work with another gold set as well, though more towards the black side and not the more pale side of gold. The necklace is versatile and can be worn with other things without even seeming like a holiday thing.

Final Grade: A. This is a cute set that can be useful outside of the holiday season for winter semi-formal wear, if so inclined.


1 Yes, I know Pleasant Company was giving us the pretty that became Josefina that fall. But only five outfits? All winter related? Pleasant Company really dropped the ball that year for both the moddies and the Bittys--who didn't start getting good love until Mattel took over. Bittys got One outfit for 1998. Come the entire fuck on. Don't get me started on how it took Mattel's ass to finally get things sold online. But OMG PLEASANT COMPANY DID EVERYTHING BETTER AND MY NOSTALGIA GOGGLES ARE STRAPPED ON TOO TIGHT.
2 The giant glass case that the moderns are displayed in at AG stores.
3 I didn't stutter.
4 Which both Tara and Mellie would wear the hell out of.


  1. OMG overalls for AG dolls. This would be me flailing the hell like crazy. I personally wear overalls, so my dolls should too. And I mean carpenter's overalls.

  2. My god, overalls! I remember I used to wear overalls ALL THE TIME, I had maybe 6 pairs of overalls when I was younger.
    Why don't they sell them anymore?? Now they sell half overall half dress things that I hate. Overalls are not just for boys! They definitely don't sell them for adults either; although I'm sure if my Mom saw me wearing overalls nowadays she would shove me into her car and drive me back to the store to return them...


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