|The care and keeping of chickens, by Kit.|
I'm still up in the air about Maryellen's collection--the doll is still on the miss me side for now--but I will be reading the books and jacking things for Edith and Dorothy. Speaking of which, if you haven't preordered Maryellen's books, your best bet right now is Amazon. Thanks to Lucina on AGC, I've been informed of a huge sale. Her Central Series dual books are almost half off; The One and Only is down to $5.23 and Taking Off is down to $5.18. The Sky's the Limit--the My Journey With book--doesn't have as steep a discount at $9.18, but all three books have the Amazon Preorder guarantee: If the price goes down before release then you get the cheaper price and if the price goes up, you still get the cheapest price that was offered. Right now that's pretty much like buy two of her books and get one free, and all still less than $20. Along with Josefina's Journey book and any item of about 6.50 or more, you can even get free shipping, and you won't be charged until things ship. This is cheaper than getting the box set from them and definitely cheaper than the $10 that AG will be charging for each book and $30 for the box set. Game the system and go read books. They're brain making, and can make folks like a character more than if they'd just gone on looks and sparkly collection things.
I know that was the case with me and Kit Kittridge. Kit--along with Samantha and still-vaulted Molly--used to be part of what I called the 20th Century Block Out. Starting at about the time I got into AG collecting in 2005, AG tended to be on a trend of releasing sets that only focused on Kit, Sam, and Molly. First it was the Rolling through the Ages sets of outdoor wheeled activities and outfits. Then the swimwear through the ages sets, which again, was the three of them and their beachwear. Then the Scrapbooking collection of books that and even though Kit did not get a new outfit for those, she was included by having a book. So I didn't like Kit, and felt she was kind of an usurper taking emphasis away from Addy. Then I picked up her books secondhand and started to read and found that Kit, for all her blue eyed, bobbed blond hair self, was more than just another classic molded face. Girl was struggling in poverty, dealing with a best friend who didn't always get it, and liked to write news. Six read books later Kit went from "do not want" to "do want" and so became part of the gang in 2007 soon after I moved to the place I'm at now, and she's in my top five Historical loves. Addy keeps winning at BeForever, but Kit's not so far behind her and often places second in the race, and if I have to dicker about who to get something for after busting the budget on Addy, it's quite possible that I'll go for Kit. Especially now that her BeForever Wardrobe is less 40s mashed with 20s and more properly early 30s.
Like Addy, Sam, Julie, Kaya, and Rebecca, Kit was included in the BeForever Limited edition release as well as the prior Limited Edition Release with Rebecca, Julie, and Kaya.2 This spring, she got Kit's Chicken-Keeping Set which had me geeking from the moment of release. At the cost of $48 dollars, Kit gets a cherry print blouse, green checked overalls, brown buckle shoes, a headband, and a plushy chicken to tend. Accurate to the books, even--in Happy Birthday Kit!,3 Aunt Millie comes up from Kentucky and stays with the Kittridges for a bit, and in the process sets up chicken keeping and selling the eggs for money. Kit's mother thinks this makes them look even more country rube than anything, but Kit really likes the chickens and loves helping take care of them. During the spring sale, it was offered for $38 and like Addy's Sewing Set, went quickly on backorder. Unlike Addy's sewing set, it's practically stayed that way. First until April, then August, and currently it shows backordered until October. Sweet Polly Oliver, Kit. At least when things are on backorder, they can still be ordered, so that's what I did. I managed to order it during the sale over the phone at AG Seattle and while this meant paying shipping, it meant also that I got the set at discount. If you're small enough or have kids that are small enough, you can also get into the Cheery Blossoms Top and Cheery Checks Jumper for historically inspired cosplay. The set's only here in this form until December 31st or as long as supplies last--and Kit's supplies on this have not lasted worth a damn, so place the backorder and wait til it ships out this fall.
Under the cut!
|Hair out of the eyes.|
|Checking out Kit's kitchen.4|
|Bow stay low.|
|Blouse and bloomers. Kit has her proper ones now.|
The only way to show off the shirt all by itself is to show off Kit's bloomers, but she really doesn't mind that as much as the other girls do.
|Cherry blossom print.|
Cherry blossoms are heavily associated in American mindsets with the country of Japan, who calls them sakura. Japan gifted 3,020 cherry blossom trees to the United States in 1912 to celebrate the nations' then-growing friendship (replacing the 2000 trees gifted in 1910 that had to be destroyed).5 During the late 1920s and early 1930s, a lot of fashion trended towards Orientalism; Asian countries such as Japan, China, and Korea were seen as trendy and exotic, especially with the countries only recently reopening to places like Europe and the US. Cherry blossoms could be seen on things such as tea sets, robes and other clothing, posters and art, earrings, and dishware, for a touch of the "exotic." (This was before World War 2 in the US, and after World War 2 a lot of it still came back anyways.) Furthermore, floral prints were super trendy. So this would have been a style of print likely seen on things such as sack-print.
|Button up. Well, close.|
|Closing with velcro.|
|Cover all in your overalls.|
Not that Kit would need to care if they did. Overalls were most certainly not casual wear for girls in the 1930s. Overalls have been around in some form for a very long time, starting in the 1700s and associated with low class people, since classy men wore breeches. This didn't change until the Regency, when trousers became the more popular choice, but overalls were still low-class wear and tied to farm life and a rural mentality. In the 1930s they were not casual wear for anyone, and most certainly not for young women and ladies. Kit would have probably not minded going out on the street in a set, but her mother certainly would have minded it and made her go in the house and change because no daughter of hers was going to walk around looking country. The garden and the chickens were quite enough, thank you.
I personally adore overalls; not only because I was a teenager in the mid 90s when overalls with one strap unhooked was the bomb fucking diggity, but because they remind me of my late grandfather on my mom's side who tended to go pretty much everywhere in faded comfortable denim overalls and a workman's shirt.
You can see down the front seam that the checks don't match. This pisses me off like burning. Damn it AG, fucking line up your plaids.
|Waist not, want not?|
|Checks count as plaids, AG.|
|The straps on my britches are too loose, Ma!|
|There we go!|
Don't make my mistakes.
|These shoes are, in fact, not too fancy.|
Let me introduce you to a concept called clothes downgrading, which a lot of people used and still use. First level is the fancy stuff. The church clothes, the fancy button down shirt and slacks, the party clothes, the shiny shoes, the super classy things. The things you wear when you must look your best. This then gets downgraded to the school or street wear: you can still wear them out and about, but you don't wear it to fancy to-dos. The dress that's maybe a little worn, but still good, or the slacks that are kind of worn out but still with some life, the shoes that are a little scuffed but can get a polish maybe to be all right. and if you put them away nice, they can still get some more wear. Then, after some time, you have the play clothes. These are the clothes that have nearly reached the end of their life cycle; the dress that's been ripped, the pants that are pretty much done for, the shoes that are scuffed to hell and back, and--in children--the almost outgrown stuff. They are a few steps away from being shredded, turned into rags, or tossed out. These are the clothes that you wore after you got home from school and changed out of your good clothes so they could last longer. You bum about in this stuff. This is the same concept for people that wear panties and menstruate.8 You got your pretty panties/getting lucky panties, your chilling panties, and your "i'm on the rag" panties. And they all eventually become rag panties.
That's what these shoes are for Kit. They look shiny and new, because they're doll shoes, but think of them being scuffed and messy and pretty much not the kinds of shoes she's going to wear to the store or school. She's not going to care if there's chicken poop on them, cause she's not going to wear these out and about. Get every inch out of them, wear em in the chicken poop or out at the garden, use em up and wear em out. If you want to put them with her fancy stuff or casual wear go right ahead, but they can also be her bumming shoes.
|Toes and buckles.|
Keeping chickens during the 1930s was considered very country and poor, but by the 1950s, it was acquainted with fresh country living and getting back to the land, and a respectable method of money making. At least two episodes of I Love Lucy were based in chicken keeping.10 However, Kit's living in the 30s and that means that she's country and poor. Whatever, she likes the little egg cluckers. Most people would have done everything to keep their chickens female, with maybe one male. The point of the eggs was for selling and eating and cheap protein, not making more chickens.
|Comb it out.|
|Real chickens don't have ego tags.|
|Wings. Good eats.|
|Kinda see it?|
Overall Feel: First of all HAH OVERALL. I slay me. The top is super cute especially with the matching headband; Kit would probably not wear the bandana about as street wear but she could get away with the top under a proper jumper or with a plain, practical skirt. The shoes are on the fancy side, but if I think of them as play shoes it all makes sense. The most irritating thing about this set is that it has mismatched checks, which rubs me the wrong way. Then again, chicken chicken chicken is what made me want this set and chicken chicken chicken it is.
Cost Value: $48 remains high for AG LE stuff. Welcome to the new age. I lucked out and got this on sale along with the other two BeForever LE outfits I have. This may come out again with just no chicken--I suspect that's the item that is putting the set on backorder, unless it's trying to get the plaid to line up properly. Get it now cause I get the feeling this is the set that's going to be "until supplies last" instead of "til December 31st" and so leaving us first. Secondary without the chicken? $40 max, and get the whole thing. Even the shoes. $55 with.
Authenticity: Good print on the top and bow, good use of osnaberg mixed with standard cotton feedsack print, wingtip shoes popularity, a popular style of floral print, and some nice green and pink colors. Plus, all the people keeping chickens.
Appropriateness to Character: Like Addy, no book bitching allowed. Kit keeps chickens in her book, this is a chicken keeping set, it's appropriate for her. Would I put it on anyone else? Probably not. Not only is the outfit uniquely 30s in cut and design, I tend to not make Kit share. She does get into the moddy wear, but more because jeans and sneakers. I may put it on Shanna, but only with Kit's permission to share. No Historical Has to Share Their Things in the AGGiB. Even if I had Ruthie, this likely wouldn't suit her.
Final Grade: B+. It's cute and comfortable and not too girly for our not a flouncy girl.
1 Her descriptions on the Publishing site say brown, but her mini doll looks more like she has green eyes. And the leaked image of her in box have her turned just right not to see her eyes because they're in shadow. Damn you, elusive eye color!
2 Caroline and Josefina were not included in either one. We now all know Caroline's fate and are pretty much circling around Josefina in worry.
3 Now this is the first chapters of Turning Things Around. Whenever I can be assed, I'll get her new books and document the differences.
4 Kitchen, n. [African American Vernacular English] The particularly curly or kinked hair at the nape of the neck that is often hardest to maintain. While Kit's hair isn't even a hint of curly, I'm still using the term because I'm black and I'm allowed to, so pbbth.
5 Thanks, Wikipedia!
6 Maybe one pair; she appears to be wearing some in Kit's Winning Ways, but not in Kit's Home Run where she's wearing black Mary Janes. And she probably wouldn't have worn them bumming about.
7 Will review.
8 This isn't AG Fans so I can talk about menstruation and underwear all I damn well please.
9 The ones in the book were probably White Marans or White Leghorns.
10 Lucy Raises Chickens and Lucy Does the Tango, though other eps I believe mention the chickens.