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

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Clothes Reviews: Sparkly Tunic and Jeans Outfit (2006)

Otters is Sparkling to the Nines.
Hey, guess what? The new stuff's out for the End of Year! Hey, guess what? I'm going to go see it Saturday, so I'll blog about it the day after. For now, a review of older stuff. 

My birthday is in less than a week; I'll be thirty-four, Year five giving a big eff you to the cultural assumption that assumes that women never want to be older than twenty-nine. Fuck "forever twenties" ideas. I remember my twenties, and most of it was terrible and rife with wracking depression that I now keep generally under control. Part of my celebration is that I'm going to the AG Cafe here in Seattle with a buddy--as the Beyoncé song goes, I'm a grown woman and can do whatever I want. And what I want is to take one of my gang members to the American Girl Cafe and eat their food and be a dolly nerd. Fun fact about me is that I like to say I ran a gauntlet to get my birthday as my own day. The 4th is my late Grandma Valeria, the 7th (or 8th) is my Aunt Florence, today (the 9th) is my grandma Aquilla (affectionately called Goose)1 and the 14th is my father, Harold. I missed all those days one after the other, showed up two weeks late, and hit Wednesday the 15th--and did the same thing my dad did with my grandma Goose and showed up as a belated birthday gift. That's fate for you.

When it comes to birthday gifts, I'm simple and complicated at the same time. Because I like dolls, right, so you'd think I want dolls and doll accessories--but when it comes to AG there's so much I already have so your best bet is to ask instead of trying to surprise me. Well until new stuff comes out and I go "I don't have that!" or "I don't want that." This was not true when I started collecting in 2005 and 2006. So for my 26th birthday, a buddy who wasn't even much into AG, Kaze, sent me the Sparkly Tunic and Jeans Outfit which had come out just that year in 2006. At the time I had two historicals and three moddies. Otters, Marisol, and Naomi had to share the set--and it looked great on all three of them and cemented itself as one of the best outfits ever.

The set at the time cost $26 and came with a tunic top, jeans, clogs, hairbands, and an informational story about bands, likely an article from AG Magazine.2 It was retired in 2008--about standard lifespan for an AG set, and unlike a lot of older clothes is somewhat common and almost never goes higher than the original cost, only to about $30 or so. It shows up regularly enough on the 'Bay to be found at a sensible cost.

Otters is rocking this because I took pictures of her in it. There is very little Otters does not rock because Otters is awesome.

The "sparkly tunic" part of the set.
Tunic: The part that makes this a "sparkly tunic" set is a turquoise long sleeved tunic top. We ain't trying to get hyper fancy here for the most part, sometimes a tunic is a tunic and a top is a top and a cigar is a penis. Wait what? Never mind.

Some people call this color teal. I like to call it turquoise because I am a pretentious human being and a artist and to me, teal is a darker shade than this. Shades of blue and blue green happen to be some of my favorite colors, and by happen I mean are so very, very much it's not even slightly funny. The fabric is finely crinkled, which actually comes like that before you cut it out and sew it and is part of the texture's charm visually and tactilly. Tactilily? Touchinessitude. I make up words. Either way what I'm saying is  please don't iron out the pretty crinkles, you'll ruin everything and you don't want to ruin everything, do you? You don't. It would make you a terrible person. It's slightly sheer but not enough to be see through. Sort of gauzy, like the fine linen of the Egyptian era.

Neckline do the dip~
The neckline is a round opening with a small inset ribbed knit dark teal panel near the bottom. Otters has helpfully tucked her pentacle away to show it off. As a girls' set, the tunic and the underlayer tank were separate pieces sold together, but on the doll's set it's simulated with the panel. Too much bulk and your doll looks like one of those chunky PM girls. So I'll let it slide. Around the neckline is and sewn down with thread over in X shapes. Hence the sparkly part of the tunic. There's eleven metallic teal sequins, mostly centered around the v gap, and around them is loose flowing chain stitched metallic embroidery thread that's like little bursts off the sequins. There's a reason I have the t-shirt that says "My Favorite Color is Shiny" complete with rhinestones.3 I love this touch of sparkle--like cursing and salt, it's enough to shine, not so much it screams "I was attacked with craft herpes and don't know when to set down the sequins or the word 'fuckmonkeys.'" Yes I mean you, WonderBread. Two more months, two more months. Breathe Nethie, you'll have a whole new reason to get mad soon enough.

Rickrack for all eras.
Across the front are two flat sewn lines of rick rack, with the line that goes diagonally from the left armscythe to the right underside sewn on top of the one running right to left. This simulates a empire waist look and makes an X at front below the V of the neckline. These are not where boobs would go. The lines go under the chest line, so the boobs--if Otters had them prominently--would be over the lines.4

History time! Rickrack has only been called as such since 1884, but goes back as far as the Antebellum era if not further. Back then it was called waved crochet braid because it was made with crochet, and used like now, as a trim.

Shine bright like a diamond.
Above and around the rickrack are more cross-sewn sequins, adding more sparkle. There's three above each near the sleeve, seven each in the sides, fifteen under. With the eleven from the neckline, that makes forty-six sequins. And I counted them for you. Don't say I never did nothing for ya, people. *curtsy*

Swishy sleeves.
The sleeves are slightly belled by cut, reach to the wrists, and untrimmed with anything but a basic hem.

Beribbon me.
At the sides is tacked thin satin style ribbon, designed to tie in the back in a bow. Y'all looking at the picture will note that my eyelash is on the shirt. Camera picks up ten pounds and every little hair.

Back bow and closure.
The shirt, like 90% of every top AG makes, velcroes up the back. Close shirt, then tie bow. It's a functional system.

A+. Goddamn, can I get one this in my size?

Pre distressed, like emo kids.
Jeans: The jeans part is fulfilled by dark blue denim faux-distressed jeans. Jeans are, of course, the universal pants of the working and casual class, bikers, 70s liberated women, black men who sag them, President Obama, punks, kids, the kickass, and AG dolls. Every kind of person wears jeans and have for years and they go up and down and flare and skinny and cuff as as dictated by fashion. I disagree with the idea that over a certain age, you look terrible in jeans and should switch to slacks or khaki dockers or something dumb like that. I'm gonna wear jeans til they have to peel them off my ass. And I don't mean mom jeans. I already did the 90s once.

AG Flashback! At the time of this outfit's release, AG had very few blue basic jeans for the moddie on the go. Both Blue Jeans Basics sets had been retired since 2001. The meet outfit had just changed from the free form mix and match Ready For Fun Outfit to the abominable I Like Your Style outfit. And the Glittery Jeans both had been retired the prior year and were just that. Glittery. If you wanted basic blue jeans you had these, and the Store exclusive jeans from an AG Place.5 Seeing as AG stores were not everywhere just yet, these were your best bet. And boy did they fulfill!

AG spoiled me for pants.
AG has almost always had good, realistic jeans and these are no exception. The dark cotton denim is top stitched all over like real jeans around the fly, loops, waistband, and pockets with gold thread.

Brad and snap.
And these are real pockets to boot. None of this faux stitching over the cloth to pretend to have a pocket. There are reinforcement brads at the top of the front pockets, and a matching one over the velcro closure at the fly. No false flys here.

Help I'm distressed! No wait it's just my pants.
Down the front legs are "distress lines"to simulate those oh so comfortable crease lines you get from a well worn broken in set of blue jeans. While only a trick of the fabric, these concentrate properly so they look denser at the knees and near the hips, where jeans fold a lot. You don't get that from khaki jorts.

Back.
While the back does not have the same distress lines it does show off the dark indigo color well.

Pockets for wockets.
We do have continued realistic back dip and seams trimmed with gold thread, loops, and two hip pockets. The back has slight elastic give.

Nothing gets between me and my AGs. Nothing.6
Over the right pocket is a white American Girl logo. The labeling on AG stuff can get on my nerves sometimes, especially when it's a tag on the side of a shirt or a huge tag on a damn headband, but this is small and realistic. American Girl: it's a brand.

Bottom has a certain flair.
The bottom is slightly flared, as was the style. I will say it over and over, I like my jeans flared loosely, it's the Texan in me. Don't skinny leg me, I already did the 80s and if you're going to skinny leg jeans, I need your jeans so tight at the ankles need zippers.

A+. AG spoiled me for jeans from day one, and you have to be real to make me want my dolls in your pants.  If you try to give me some pissy anty back fastening velcro pants with crappy design and no pockets or loops I just might kick you in the head. I'm talking to you Our Generation. Step your game up.

Clogs. For kicking ass and fashion.
Clogs: For footwear we have dark teal embroidered clogs. I personally hate wearing open back shoes because I feel like they might fall off my feet the way I walk7 unless I shuffle my steps. But I love doll clogs and mules. Go figure. These are the same color family without being matchy matchy, like real shoes should be.

Snap that shit!

The edge is slightly sewn at the top to have a rolled in seam and clean top stitching. 

Sparkly embroidered stuff.
On the main body and toe of the shoes is embroidery done in dark magenta and silver thread. The magenta thread is in tight knots while silver is a basic topstitch chain, simulating a sort of abstract flower design. More sparkle, not so much it feels like everything is made of metal and shine.8

Hey, stud.
Around the edge is a strip of shoe cloth, with silver "studs" around the entire edge, like real shoes. These are just printed on, but it's a nice little detail that makes the shoes look real.

Strap it on.
The soles are thick brown plastic with simulated grain at the sides. I can dig it. I didn't get a picture of the sole, but it's got a rough texture for grip when walking. Standing. It's got grip and it makes the shoes real. There's a curved dent that adds a heel without being so off that it leads to doll tip.

At the heel is a strap that goes around. AG had finally started to get their shit together and put straps--both clear and matching--on their open back shoes. Took you long enough, damn it. My strap is starting to fray some. There's top stitching around it and a silver snap closure you'll see in the next picture. It's a little loose and I can slip shoes off without unsnapping, I can't get them back on without opening the snap.

Shoe alone.
With the shoe off you can see some inside and outside that is covered by jeans. The silver snap goes on the outside. People, I can't stress that enough, shoes close with the fastener on the outside, from the medial to the lateral, with the buckle or snap or what have you on the outside part of your ankle. You laugh at me pointing this out so firmly. But I've seen morons on AG boards put dresses, chemises, and even jeans on backwards because "omg all the closures go to the back la de da de dumb" and I wonder how they put on their own clothes without looking like they can't figure out basic first grade math math if you gave them a calculator and four hours on a test and it's not something like dyscalculia, they just honesty think that two minus three equals "ERROR NUMBER CAN'T THAT THIS IS NOT MATHS." And then I picture it and cry bitter hot tears of sad.

Moving along.


Inside the shoe and strap are lined in fine matching teal satin. It's the little things that make these shoes so real. And can you see it?

Oh shoes. Why you do this?
The shoes along the edges and near the snaps are cracking and peeling ever so slightly, showing the white underside. It's doing it worse on the left shoe than the right. I don't know if this is because I store them in shoe boxes with other shoes, because they're old and have been used left and right, or because I live in a semi-humid place but I'm going to have to fix that. A-. I have to give a minus for the peeling, even if I fix these later with paint and sealant.

What do you want of  hair bands?
Hair Bands: The set came with five or six clear sparkle hair band ponytail holders that have fine glitter embedded in the plastic. I managed to find three and may have broken the others. They're not really anything to piss your pants over. Woop de shit, sparkle hair bands, I can get those at any hair store. *makes the finger pointed up in the air twirl and sarcastic eyeroll that means "big fucking deal"* C-.
*~*~*

 And just because I can, pics of my girls in the set.


Right after I got the outfit, Naomi and I went out to Kirkland downtown for my birthday and I took crazy pics. I won't eat a pumpkin or even carve one, but I like the way they photograph.


Marisol is in a tree rocking it. The picture is blurry but yes, I got her to balance on the chain around the tree.


Kaya at my old apartment, from the hips up and still looking smooth.

*~*~*

Overall Feel: Could this outfit be more perfect? Hard to say. It's got a simple but feminine top, sweet dark jeans-- a staple for a good wardrobe--and nice (if slightly wearing out) shoes. The whole set combines to look its best at any time, carrying from spring through summer and into the fall and even winter. Wear it year round. Furthermore, it looks good on everybody. Even blondes, and you know my feels on blondes, but it looks good on blondes. Including Kit. This outfit is the Universal Good Looking Outfit. I don't think it's even possible to look bad in this outfit. It's just that boss.

Cost Value:
Gifts cost you nothing but my forever gratitude. Thank you still, Kaze. The original cost was definitely nice and on the 'Bay it's still a decent cost, even almost ten years down the road. You want the shoes, the jeans, and the tunic. Hair bands you'll be okay without, not even sorry.

Timeliness/Datedness:
At most, the tunic is dated but I wouldn't even say that is too bad. Granted, my fashion taste peaked in the late 1990s to mid 2000s for the most part. It can't go very far back, but it's very early to mid 2000s and that's what I need. Jeans are not ever dated for a modern girl, even slightly flared ones. They might not work for Julie or an 80s girl, but not all of us are wearing skinny hipster jeans.

Mix and Match Levels:
Hell yeah. First of all, dark jeans go with every kind of top you can throw at them, no matter the color or formality. I have put them with everything and anything. About the only thing they don't match are denims that don't match. The top would look good over other jeans. Maybe not neon orange, but over white or light blue or black? Forget all about it! The shoes are probably the hardest to match but again, do some jeans and go about your shoe day.
 
Final Grade:
A+. Even with peeling shoes, it's still an excellent outfit. Go get it. GO GET IT.

--Neth

1 And yes I called my grandma.
2 I know, I know. Soon enough I'll get back on it.
3 This happens to be where I bought my shirt--from the Pagan Chick store, though I bought it at A-Kon. Now you too can wear the things Neth wears. Tell your friends and not your enemies.
4 Boobs boobs boobs. Boobs.
5 That's it, I'm going to have to do a jeans ID post of all the ones I have.
6 I'm talking panties~!
7 Walk some steps. You likely land with your heel first, and roll to your toes. I do the opposite; I touch with my toes first and then roll back onto my heel. I have done that since I was little and it's comfortable to the point that my heels can't be less than about two inches for me to walk in them right.
8 Wonderbread, still looking at your ass. Is it January yet?

7 comments:

  1. Is Otters your favorite MyAG?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At the point I've had Otters, she not a MyAG. She's a OC. If you mean the doll design, I have several favorites of the line.

      Delete
  2. Wow, that commercial is fucking creepy and more than a little disturbing. She looks so uncomfortable...

    As far as this outfit goes, I don't have it, but I think the jeans are really cute. The shirt's growing on me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. the jeans just scream 90s to me for some reason. the shoes are adorable too. Kaya looks the best in this outfit, I need to dress mine in tunics more and maybe some of the Julie`s stuff will look good on her.
    Nia

    ReplyDelete
  4. Absolutely nothing about the outfit 'cause I think you've said it all but . . .

    I hear toe-first walking is more natural and better for joints. So screw heels!

    -- tatortotcassie

    ReplyDelete
  5. Happy birthday and all the stuff that comes with birthday wishes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "I wonder how they put on their own clothes without looking like they can't figure out basic first grade math math if you gave them a calculator and four hours on a test and it's not something like dyscalculia, they just honesty think that two minus three equals "ERROR NUMBER CAN'T THAT THIS IS NOT MATHS." And then I picture it and cry bitter hot tears of sad."

    You are making me have sad math teacher feels. My most recent "oh fuck" is an eleventh grader who doesn't understand the concept of division to the point where I asked her to do 4/2 and she froze and asked for a calculator.

    ***

    My Chicago boyf does the toe walking thing, and his calves are fiiiiine, so I think it can't be all bad.

    ReplyDelete

Trolling, pointless bigotry, and hating for the sake of hating will be removed, as will any post screaming "first" because no one cares. Cursing is fine, as I curse myself. I still expect you to act like you have home training. This is not a Free Speech Zone. I reserve the right to delete comments or tell you to piss off. You post, you stand by your words, and all the consequences of those words, even if that consequence is getting your ass handed back to you. Don't come in my space, spit on my floor, and expect me to call it a swimming pool. I can and will cuss your entire ass out. If I told you not to comment, and you comment, your comments will be deleted.

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