|Otters doesn't mind if the celebration goes into January, and I don't either!|
Now it's no secret that AG characters are supposed to resemble ten year old girls, thereabouts. The books almost always start before they turn ten, they turn as such by their birthday book or at some point, and by the end they are still in that not near teen range. The dolls back this up--no figure to speak of, and with very young looking faces. However, I keep my gang a little older than that--in about the eleven to thirteen age range.2 Yes, technically they should be hitting puberty at that edge and being more towards teens than girls, but I let some things slide for my gang. Plus, AG actually has good books for girls who are about to hit puberty and are like "why am I getting bumps and hips and freaking out about everything and feeling sexyfeels for other people and what do you mean every month?" It's better that making the dolls look or dress younger than that and being a creep. Yes, I have horror tales. Later.
In the AGGiB, Otters is one of the oldest gang members at thirteen and a quarter--the only one older than her is Kaya who's thirteen and three quarters. So she tends to wear more mature clothing--not too mature, but a little more sophisticated than the others. She almost never wears pink, and she doesn't wear ruffles, and she doesn't want floofypoof holiday clothes or flippy stuff. She actually owns a pair of black goth boots that no one else wears. She's goth-hippy-bohemian, which is why I'm amused when I walk through the store or look in catalogues or skim stuff on the site and see her in things like, for example, a cheerleader set. Her first year here I made her a holiday outfit rather than buying her one, because there wasn't much I liked for her in holiday wear. This was true for 2006 and 2007--I especially hated 2006's holiday set--and she wore the same set for her first two years. Then in 2008, AG came out with the Silver Belle Outfit--and Otters was like "I'll be taking that for me, thank you." And she's worn it ever since, with her curls pinned up just so and looking like the sophisticate she is.
The outfit--with its punny name3--consists of a silk-and-taffeta dress with Chinese stylization at the bodice, heeled shoes, and two decorative hair sticks (and a short story in a book form because AG did reprints of short stories and little fact books before they switched to the charm beads). Original cost was $28; the set was, like most holiday wear, retired by the next year's season to leave room for the new sets. Since I didn't have a local AG store at the time, I still did all my ordering direct and ordered this in group that that also included spoiling Addy, getting the then-new meet outfit back when they were available separately,4 and jumping on more ballet wear for Marisol. Since it was only out for about a year, the secondary market prices are high in places but it's possible to get it for no more than $10-12 over the original cost. Short opening is short. Don't get used to it outside of Magazine Monthly--bringing it back next month. November threw me.
|They call it an outfit but it's a dress.|
AG has never done a proper qipao for a doll--as articulated on beanbunny.com, they've skimmed close. This is not really close--it has Chinese style in the bodice but not in the band or skirt. Alas I saw too many idiots slapping this dress on all their #4s and Jess dolls and saying it was Asian enough. Don't do that, you'll look and smell like a culturally insensitive jerkass.
|High Mandarin Collar.|
|Super short sleeves.|
|Silver Sash. Damn this sash, bless this sash.|
|AG, this is where you did it wrong.|
But I don't like AG heels because your doll ends up cock hipped. And these cause that hip cock all too much. Sigh. We were all rooting for you, shoes. C-.
|Shiny hair sticks.|
The butterfly is not part of the hair sticks. I twist Otters' hair up into a French twist, and then hold it in place with flat clips, and the sticks are purely stuffed in the back to look cute. This year we used the blue butterflies.
Overall Feel: I really love this set hard. The whole set is actually lovely enough that it's not just holiday, which is why it's a bit sad that it lasted such a short time. I could see this at a family reunion banquet or a semi-formal affair. The bodice invokes a Chinese feel which depending on the designer can be very good and unique or very racist and full of stereotyping; this thankfully is the former. The dress does have an issue with the sash, but it's mitigated by the same fabric being at the edge of the skirt. Speaking of the skirt, it, it's embroidery, and its trim are so slick. The hair sticks, while they don't add a lot and need to be set secure, complete the look. About the only thing that pisses me off is the shoes having heels--this is the first time I can really think of seeing them so prominently in an outfit chronologically. AG keeps doing heels and they really can't pull it off. The colors are pale and I think need to go on at least tan skin or darker. On a blonde they'll just wash right out. But then again I think 85% of things look bad on blonde dolls because blerg, blondes.
Cost Value: Original cost was choice--I jumped on it right away. Secondary costs I wouldn't go more than $40 for a full set. Try to get a full set. The set works without the hair sticks as long as you use some nice silver or pale blue clips. But the shoes, despite heel fail, really tie the set together and should be part of it.
Timeliness/Datedness: I don't really think so. Yes, it's modern enough in cut and style that it's not good for the 90s. And you can't take it back too much more than the mid 2000s, but it carries forward easily enough. In a weird twist, the girl's dress often shows up more often and for the same cost as the doll's outfit. So if you have someone who can fit the girl's clothes, you can do a matched set.
Mix and Match Levels: Next to none. At most you can use the hair sticks elsewhere, but the shoes and dress are a matched set. Such is some sets.
Final Grade: B+. Mature and fancy, without being overtly holiday.
1 Especially because I just learned that WonderBread the Ballerina is based in Washington, DC. Which is....known for its high black population. And we're getting this milquetoast white girl shit. You're doing a great job of fucking it up, AG. Fuck it, I'm listening to Beyoncé.
2 With the exception of one who's nine, but she's a little sister. You'll see her soon enough.
3 We're due for an update in 2014.
4 "Silver Bells" is a holiday song, the skirt is silver and stands out, and belle is French for pretty. There I explained the pun, share with your friends, try the veal.
5 That's my picture from my own review back then. I used to do a lot of reviews for the AG fandom, but then shit happened, and AG > 18 started to fade in people not being so ElJay.
6 And then I'll forget it's there and search for it or get a new pencil.