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

Friday, December 20, 2013

Clothes Reviews: Ice Blue Outfit (2001)

Ice Blue outfit on Michi for ice days.
It's rare that I get or have had a white Giftmas. Southeast Texas don't cotton to your snow falling bullshit most of the time, and up here in Seattle it often snows but not around Giftmas. And I used to hate it when it snowed worth a damn any time between the fifteenth of December and the fifth of January because while the man had the week off between Giftmas and New Year's most of the time, my black ass had to be in to work every day I was scheduled unless it was so shitty that they shut down CS. And the day after Giftmas was always scheduled, and there was no getting out of it because we had to deal with every asshole who got a Wii or DS for the holiday and was coming to yell at us because it didn't come out of the box shitting perfect rainbows and we had ruined the entire holiday.1 Customer service for Nintendo, oh god. I have horror stories.

But enough about my ex-job flashbacks. Because it snowed today! And I react the same way every time: Oooo pretty let's go out in it oh god it's cold who told me snow was cold fuck this shit I'm going inside. Think a very excitable cat who has to be reminded physically that the white shit that falls from the sky is not sand. Today's snow didn't stick too much, and then it rained which means ice which well, fuck that. Hopefully if it sticks a good level later on, I'll put someone out there in the best winter coat set I've got and snap pictures.

Which segues into the outfit I'm doing today: the Ice Blue Outfit. This set was one of the first Mattel holiday sets, released in 2001 and not retired until 2003. The set consists of a blue wrap sweater, silver overlay circle skirt, tights, silver Mary Janes, and silver hair clips for $24. It shows up here and there on eBay and tends to get lost in the shuffle of ugly homemade blue outfits and ice skating dresses, and while there's always some dumb spikes it actually goes sensibly for less than or about original retail--the $10-25 range. I got it for $15 in that nice post holiday lull, partially because it had a couple little flaws. Seriously, you want things off eBay, start searching in that post holiday slump, when people start scaling back after blowing the end of the year loads.

This set is being shown off by Michi. Michi got here at the very start of the year. I'd wanted a girl like her in my gang for some time. I was nosing around eBay and saw her for a very low cost and in an outfit I didn't have just yet, and picked her up with no regrets. Veronica Michiru Taylor is half black and half Japanese--black mother, Japanese father. She likes to organize things, read books by Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein (absudish children books are the best), 30s and 40s era wear, traveling, and the thrill of performing the stage.

Mine was a little cheaper because it had no hair clips and some flaws that I was willing to fix up because fuck skipping broken shit I'm a seamstress. I'll point out these issues. The ponytail holders don't originally come with it. But they match so there. And while it greatly resembles the Frosty Party Outfit I reviewed earlier, remember this came first. 
Let's wrap about sweaters.
Sweater: The sweater is a  light blue wrap long sleeved sweater. If this was a girl sized set--and they did sell one--it would probably be cashmere or angora, or something soft and nice like that. I suspect this is not, and is just common polyester fleece, but it's good at simulating it. It's a very lovely shade of sky or ice blue, nice and pale. Some people say that it pills badly, but it's yet to pill up on me. Stop rubbing it like crazy, and it'll look fine, I'd think.

Wrap the front.
The front wraps closed--left over right--rather than being a false front or decorative or something like that. This is the opposite of kimono, which, if wrapped this way, means dead.3 This leaves a gap at the neckline that I don't really care for unless the shirt is settled just right. But I do love wrap shirts and wrap style dresses. It's a very late 90s/early 2000s look. Along the collar is small silver iridescent rectangular beaded trim done in little loops--about five to six beads per loop. It's sewn on tight, and while as long as you or your hair-brained child isn't tugging on it like a fool, it shouldn't fall apart. It does feel rough, though, and I could suspect this being rough on the skin of a human.

Ribbon ties.
The closure on the outside is a small matching satin ribbon that, once tied, tucks a little under the left arm. I learned how to tie bows so that they don't look too askew and more like a bow when tugged tight, instead of that weird cocksided way.2It unties easily enough, and there's a ribbon on either side.

Hooked shut.
On the other side underneath--where right side hooks under the arm--is a hook and eye closure. You really can't see it in this shot, it's that subtle. You can see, however, that the beaded trim goes down the collar on both sides, even though only one side would be able to be seen with the shirt on. While in theory it could go the other way, it would require some severe and graceful modification. That and women's/girls clothes tend to go left over right, so leave it that way.

Cuff trim.
The sleeves are to the wrist and have the same beaded trim that the collar does. I didn't get any shots of the back, but the back is basically unadorned and plain. I'm giving the sweater a A-. Minus only because trim near "skin" would be an irritant and the opening feels low.

Shiny skirts are shiny.
Skirt: The skirt is a half circle double layer skirt cut in two eighths and a quarter front on the bias for more drape and leads to side seams. Bias cuts are the best things ever and make for a beautiful, swishy drape. The top layer is of semi-sheer silver knit, that can catch and tear easy. Be nice to this outfit, damn it.

Underneath is a plain white knit second layer, as the silver is too sheer to be a skirt all on its own. Each is hemmed independently--though sewn to the same waistband--and the skirt comes down to just about the knees.

The top layer is very sheer and very snaggable or rippable. When the outfit arrived, mine has a very prominent rip in the front of the skirt's top layer, near the top. So, being a person who repairs first and replaces only when something's too busted to repair,4 I busted out some silver-grey thread, flipped the skirt layer up, and fixed it with a tight seam by hand. It's almost invisible, though you can kind of see in the first picture that it's led to a line snag on the front. It's not too bad in my opinion, but if you're really picky you might want to look for that close in auctions.

We close the circle.
The skirt closes at the back waist with non snag velcro. A. Yes, I had to repair mine, but it's a lovely twirly skirt and as long as you're gentle it will last.

Tights game stay strong.
Tights: You know the routine, by now. Most tights by AG either come in sheer or solid, they go under things, they come in a matching shade--these are slightly off white--and they go to the toes. Ah, but these get a second picture, so that you know:

The rare doll tight crotch shot.
That is because these tights ran like Kenyans.5 I don't generally bite my nails like I used to--nail polish--but these caught and snagged. This is the shorter run; the other one runs all the way to the knee. I shall be retiring these so that they don't get completely wrecked and replacing them with some generic off brands, so they don't run more. C-, tights, cause I hate runs so much.

"Dance" shoes? No, AG.
Shoes: To match, we've got some shiny silver Mary Jane style shoes. AG called them dance shoes in the babble-text6 for some reason. Look, if I don't see taps or a flex style jazz sole they're just bog standard Mary Janes AG, don't try to be cute. That's the gang's job. It's silver glitter patent leather or vinyl that won't shed glitter. Glitter shed is the worst type of crafting herpes. 

The straps are a separate piece from the main shoe vamp and quarter, and tacked well on the side to close over on the outside with silver snaps.

Snap lock for cuteness.
This was before they started to velcro everything like they do now. Real shoes for a ten year old girl or so would probably have buckles, but I love these snaps. The color means they really won't go with anything not silver or in a neutral black and white.

The sole is black with a little heel, and this one has the gold "Made in China for AG" sticker. See? No flex, no taps. They're just pretty shoes, AG. Let them be pretty and have a B+. 

Hair Clips: N/A. I don't have the clear silver hair clips. I can always take my ass to Sally's and buy some knock offs.


Overall Feel: I like this set considerably more than the Frosty Party set that came after it. While the sweater seems visually uncomfortable with the trim against the skin, the trim is really what makes it look nice and holiday. As one of the rare AG tops that doesn't have a velcro closure anywhere, it definitely stands out that way. A little lace trimmed tank or panel could pull the set together a little more, but without it the sweater stands fine. The skirt--even though mine came with a tear--is exceptionally pretty and swishy--I do love circles, double layers, silver, and bias cuts. While the shoes can't go elsewhere they tie great here. The tights gotta go, though. Damn runs.

Cost Value: Originally a bargain at $24, the $15 I paid for was very nice even with the skirt tear and the run in the tights. Lucky, you can probably get it for not much more much than I did with a little patience. If it doesn't have the tights or clips, you're all right, but at least it should have the rest. There are very few times I'm going to warn against getting a set of shoes--and when I do, you'll know why. There's always someone asking double or more over face for AG stuff--a rant all its own--and you shouldn't do that. There's hardly a reason to pay more than double over face for a common older set.

Timeliness/Datedness: It's really kind of late 90s/early 2000s with the wrap sweater--too late for the 80s, slightly too dated for today. AG did like the color scheme, though, because they're done the blue and silver look more than a few times. It's clearly not "historical" like Felicity's look, but it's not dated hard like say, the culotte dress is.

Mix and Match Levels: Not very high, because of the silver and blue color and the holiday feel. However, when paired with the Frosty Party set things become a lot better, and pieces can swap back and forth between them very well.

Final Grade: B+.  I like it much better that the other silver and ice blue set I have, though I will probably mix and match the set between the two. And be nice to it, or you'll wreck it, Ralph.7


1 I used to keep stable in that month of being screamed at by hoping I hit a trifecta--being told I ruined at least three holidays by January second. Giftmas was given, but it was possible to ruin New Year's parties and the occasional birthday or Kwanzaa here and there. I once ruined all eight days of Hanukkah because the first day gift--the Wii--didn't read disks and the rest of the presents were games for the system. Coping mechanics.
2 If you do the around the tree trick, you should go the other way. Here's the TED talk about it. Yes, I am telling you that most people learned to tie shoes and bows the wrong way and you should change that.
3 Fun time? Go to an anime con. Count the dead people in their kimono or yukata. I once saw fourteen.
4 I once saw someone say they were sending an outfit back because they tugged too hard and a button popped off. Bitch, get a fucking needle and thread, sew the button back on, and next time don't pull so damn hard.
5 400 BABIES. [/Powerthirst]
6 The persuasive catalog or site text that, when I'm checking wiki edits, gets on my last nerve because when they get taken down, the poster whines that it's what the catalog says. Yes, but the catalog wants to talk you into buying a $50 storage box. "Samantha's bed is fluffy and soft and elegant!" Yes, AG, you pass persuasive descriptions, here is your gold inner star.
7 "I'M GONNA WRECK IT." I love that movie.


  1. What on Earth was your "run like Kenyans" footnote? I am really very curious (and especially was very confused when I read the footnote that it claimed to go to).

    (Also I am the worst ever at footnotes. I feel you.)


    1. Ooop! It's fixed now! It's a Powerthirst joke.


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