|Kit, old school in more than a few ways.|
Kit was one of the two Historical characters that came around in that lull I had when I wasn't really focusing much on American Girl in college, the other being Kaya. Her books brought me around to adoring her and adding her to the group. Kit is not a flouncy fluffy pink girl1 (this is why I didn't get her Easter set, along with the faux chocolate) and both her meet outfits have reflected that well given the confines of the 1930s in girls' wear. My girl's not just into waste-not, want not--she's into recycling, the environment, canning and jelly making, and socialism. And drinking out of Mason jars before hipsters Columbused2 that shit. So I'm really kind of glad that Kit's one of the girls who got a major revamp from BeForever, since she's one of my up-there girls. Since her movie, things have gotten pretty fluffy in her collection--Ruthie, what did you do?--and while there's been a few things I've given major side eye to, I've gotten a lot of it. Including all her original Base Six outfits, which includes the meet set.
Kit's Classic Meet Outfit was released with her back in 2000--a mauve-lavender sweater and cardigan set, floral print skirt, closed toed canvas sandals, and basic white bloomers. Fun fact! Until later in the set's run, this was the only meet outfit that contained no Velcro; when it did, it was solely on the shoes until later versions also velcroed the skirt. My set doesn't have either. Currently it's available for $36 while supplies last. Her classic meet accessories included a woven clutch purse, Buffalo nickle, cloche hat, handkerchief, and compass necklace; these were available for a limited time after the BeForever release but now would have to be purchased on eBay and the costs are high. I've had her meet outfit since she joined up the gang in 2007 and brought her meet accessories with her--but not her underwear, so I had her wear some close-enough pink bloomers until I got her some closer white drawers.
|Those are some pink panties, girl.3|
Unlike Josefina, where the meet changes were mostly in two items, everyone else who was revamped got a lot of major changes. So when I do the BeForever meet sets for everyone else--I own them all--I'm going to do separate posts.
|Hats like this mean crazy hat hair.|
The whole hat is crocheted in an open weave design and the front edge is designed to flip up a little over the bow. Flipping the brim up was the height of cool from the mid 20's until the hat faded from popularity in the early 1930s, just around Kit's time. So again, if someone's showing the edge flipped down, they're doing it wrong.
The hat is trimmed with a pale green satin ribbon that is folded in half and loosely tacked around, then trimmed with a v-pointed cut in a bow to one side--Kit's left, the viewer's right. Hat trims could indicate various messages for young ladies but for a kid, it would just be decor. The ribbon is very tight around the base of the hat and this contributes to my biggest issue with the hat. Because of the ribbon's lack of give--satin isn't exactly much for stretch--it makes it exceptionally hard to get the hat onto Kit's head. I have to tug and fight to get it anywhere near low like it should be and often come up short so that there's a bit of looseness in the back. And while her hat should be tight and low, it shouldn't be that tight to get on. This at least explains why is looks so bad in so many pictures. It feels like AG put the ribbon on after they put the hat on Kit's head, then took it off and didn't think about getting the hat back on. A little give or stretch to the ribbon would have helped immensely.
|Hat backness. And slightly wrong.|
The back of the hat has almost no brim. Here you can see that I wasn't able to get it on as tight as it should be, so the back is a little loose and this floppy. Ugh. I tried my best and I'm an adult, so think how tough it would be for a kid. C-. The hat is close to accurate--if coming up close on falling out of fashion for Kit--but has major construction issues that makes it hard to get on her head. would have been a lot nicer originally in soft felt, so that the ribbon didn't cause so much tension in getting it on. There's a reason she rarely wears it.
|It's cold out. Take a sweater. In fact, take two.|
The cardigan was named after James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, a British Army Major General. He's famous for leading the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. If you've studied poetry, you know this less as a battle and more as the poem by Lord Tennyson with the famous lines:
Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them,Not one of my faves, but one that I know pretty well. After that battle, cardigans as knitted waistcoats became fashionable and evolved into the over-sweater we know today, especially famous to people of my generation from Mr. Rogers.5
Cannon in front of them Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.
While I'll discuss the sweater on its own as well, part of its review involves the cardigan it's paired with--more importantly, how it doesn't really fit. Twinsets weren't really the hot in thing in the early 1930s. It's not exactly precise who invents clothing styles or when they come to be. But sources show that twin sweater sets started to come to prominence in about the mid 1930s, got more popular in the late 1930s, and shot up in visibility with college age girls in the early 1940s. While in Kit's era a cardigan over a top would have been a style, it was more common to contrast the two dramatically rather than the matched set here; this is very much more 40s. First her hat's more 1920s and now her top's more 1940s. You can't just average out clothes for two eras to make another, American Girl.
|Little bitty buttons.|
|A little more 30s.|
|Snip snap, it's a wrap.|
|Skirts, cause pants were for boys and eccentrics.|
|Waist not, want not.|
|Sandals for open toed comfort.|
|Kit is not a flouncey shoe person.|
|One, two, buckle that shoe.|
|Barrette, because every girl needs hair decs.|
|Show me the way, oh necklace. Or something.|
|North points to my face.|
|Purse, because girls carried those.|
|Don't poo poo a nickle. Especially when in the 30s that shit could buy an entire apple.|
The obverse has a profile of an American Indian facing right and is minted by date in 1930 with "LIBERTY" on the front. And COPY in case you think you want to pass a doll coin off as a real one on an eBay auction.
|Bison. Not Buffalo.|
|A point and a print.|
*~*~*Books and media and other things we've seen this set in, natch. You know my historical reviews by now.
The book of course, had her outfit on the cover complete with purse. She's not wearing the sweater and instead has it over one shoulder. The second edition only shows her from the hips up or so, but enough to see.
It's also on the cover of the DS Game Kit: Mystery Challenge. I own this and the game is....not very good. Trust me. I'll give it a review sometime when I can stop hating on every aspect of it.
For cosplay, Kit's original meet set was offered as the sweater set for $45 and skirt for $32, with the compass necklace also available for $18. She's the only historical to get a second release, with her movie rereleasing the sweater set and skirt and adding in her hat for $14.
In the movie Kit Kittridge: An American Girl, it's seen several times. To the left is Ruthie and to the right is the girl who lasts about a scene and a half before she and a her family move away for plot and we get 100% more Willow Smith as Countee, proving that black kids existed in other eras.The hat here is not as cloche as the one in the meet set and is more accurate; I like it better.
Both releases of Kit's Paper Dolls--the First style with her girlfriend Ruthie and boyfriend Sterling8 and the second release of Play Scenes--have this outfit, where it's called the Floral Skirt, Short Sleeved Sweater, and Cardigan Sweater.
A draft version of Kit's set has been on the net for some time, and I located it here. Here, the sweater is white/cream, with a blue floral skirt and a different style hat. The hat seems a little more authentic to the 30s in my thoughts.
Cost Value: My Kit was purchased at a discount with her stuff, so I got it for less than retail. And since I'm sort of completist about meet sets for the girls I have, I'm glad it has all her stuff. Get the classic meet set while it's still available from AG if that's your thing, but you won't get the barrette. I wouldn't fight too hard for the accessories on eBay unless you can get them complete for about $30-35. The purse is reproduced in the new set, the hat is hell to work with, and the necklace while cute is not very prominent for Kit. Coins and handkerchiefs are for completists and coin semi-enthusiasts like me.
Authenticity: It's just off enough to bother me, actually. As I said above, AG, you can't just take the 20s and the 40s and average the fashions to get the 30s. It's a nice enough set, but it feels like the research was lacking or blurred. And if I take into account the statement that AG apparently spends years planning a new historical and Kit came out in 2000, this means this was a Pleasant Company fuck up. Which, yes, there are a lot of those. Even something as simple as a felt hat over crochet or different style to the cardigan--or removing it altogether--would make it more authentic. But I like the cardigan. So shrug.
Appropriateness to Character: It's on her books and in her books, and she wears it, but it feels less like her style and more the style her mother would put her in by expecting Kit to be a girly girl. I think other dresses shown in the first book--like her orange dress I bought a reproduction of--are a little more her style, if she has to wear dresses. And while it's not super flouncy--a plus--it's still kind of girly. If Kit could have gotten away with less girly clothes like jeans and overalls, she so would have.
Final Grade: C+. It's got charm, but overall it's not my fave meet outfit, even if I adore Kit.
1 This is why this article on HuffPo is so very wrong. "If you had Kit, you're now the girl who is unapologetically "girly," hates wearing pants and loves a twin set." Kit was mad she couldn't wear pants all the time and hated that she had to be girly at all. It's like they just looked at the Meet sets and grabbed the nearest looking outfit off Google.
2 Columbusing, n. The act of people, often middle class or upper class white people, thinking they've discovered something that other people--most often PoC and the poor--have known about for years if not decades or centuries. This includes twerking, collard greens, reusing containers, baby-carrying, and urban gardening.
3 The full album of her debut is here: The Gang's Debut in Bothell. Ah, the old days when I had but nine gang members.
4 In more ways than one.
5 Mr. Fred Rogers is one of the best people ever to walk this earth. Anyone denying this is a dirty heartless liar.
6 I crack me up.
7 Learned this by being taught "Never Eat Soggy Waffles." But this also assumed that I could get clockwise and counter clockwise right, which I didn't always do.
8 Fel/Beth is my OTP and Kit/Sterling/Ruthie is my OT3.