|Marisol, always looking fine in Edwardian wear.|
It's only been about a year since the BeForever Launch and the anniversary of the return of the line's favorite Edwardian, Samantha Mary Parkington.They're slowing down on giving her a crapton of stuff, but she's still ahead of the game in sheer volume what with the gazebo and the ice cream parlor and the easel. AG won't leave her out of a release if they don't have to, and the Limited Edition outfits gave her a spot to shine. Since Addy is no longer going flower picking and kite flying in the same dress,2 Samantha has stepped in to make flower gathering a respectable task again with her Flower Picking Dress: a wrap-style calf length dress, tights, high button shoes, a hairbow, and a basket of tulips. The set retails for $48 right now but like Kit's Chicken Set, I snagged this one on sale for $38. eBay prices are ridiculous, and this set has--as far as I can remember--never gone on backorder so there's no excuse to not get it direct until it's retired. The girl's outfit--the Lacy Tee and Lacy Tiered Skirt--I personally find utterly hideous. Nope!
Flower picking is actually fitting for the era. During the Late Victorian and Edwardian period, bringing nature into the house and prettying it up was a high class hobby, especially if you lived in a city because it showed you had the money to skip out and visit the rural life. At the 1900 Census, about 40% of people lived in urban areas like cities, and only two decades later the population would shift to an urban majority population. (Now about four-fifths of the population resides in urban areas and the percent is still going up.)3 Samantha could be counted as one of the rural turned urban, moving to NYC before the end of her series. All that squished up city living was mentally bothersome and so people would always try to bring nature into the house, though not always for the positive. And since little girls were supposed to be ladies and not go climbing trees Samantha Mary, flower picking and arraignment was a proper activity.
Marisol has graciously decided to wear this outfit for you to see; she does love the turn of the century aesthetic. She even has little pink studs to help the look. Nellie didn't model this set because at the time of the massive photography session, she was wearing the pink dress and pinafore I'd made. She'll model the next Edwardian set that looks bomb on her.
|This bow is insufficient.|
Samantha's clothes often come with hair bows. They did in the past and they do now. However, AG has really skimped out on them. Instead of luscious big hairbows, perfect for flopping and bopping all over the place, we get them pre-tied and attached to terrycloth ponytail holders. This is true with her new meet set,4 her frilly frocks set, her hair styling kit, her holiday set, her BeForever biking outfit and this set. Every hair bow comes like this now. And they're all goddamn terrible. There's not a lot about BeForever I don't like, but this is one of the things I don't fucking like. The hair bows are too small and the pony tail holder just ruins the look. I could rant about this for days. It's just so damn ugly and lazy. I'm not saying every kid knows how to tie the perfect bow, but how can they practice with this dinky thing?
|Terrible. Utterly terrible.|
D-. I really don't like the new hair bow trend for Samantha (or anyone) of sticking bows pre-sewn onto ponytail holders. The only thing saving it from an F is that it's not as bad as stick on earrings.
|Fancy dress for fancy life.|
The thing about Edwardian/Progressive Era/turn of the century fancy dress is that it was always so damn fancy. Lace and cloth had become notably cheaper thanks to industrialization and mass production--albeit at the cost of worker's lives and health, thank you Nellie. So since more than just a few could kind of afford trims, the rich had to over do it to show they could afford the most trims and laces and shiny things. Throw lace and ribbons on everything a girl could put on, thank you. This dress is not a frilly as it could be, but it's still pretty frilled.
|Lacy lacey lace.|
|Waist, but not a waistcoat.|
|Ribbons and bows.|
|Panels. Those things I don't go to at cons.|
|Back it up.|
High button shoes are some of the quintessential Late Victorian and early Edwardian shoes. High button boots became the fashion around the 1870s; at the time, hemlines had gone up some to not sweep the ground as skirts did before. But a lady was expected to cover her ankles. Not because, as is often assumed, that Victorians were so prudish that the sight of an ankle would cause penises everywhere to rise to the occasion.8 It was a modesty thing too, yes, but give them some credit. It was also being cute and pretty. Everyone wore them--men, women, girls, boys--and it was a sign of wealth to have shoes so fancy they had to be hooked shut rather than tied like some common poor. Men were suggested to have lace shoes for bad weather, Oxfords for the summer, and high buttons for standard wear. Furthermore, a button boot was considered to be more secure, because laces could untie and loosen as the day went on, but buttons stayed shut.9 Around WWI, the rationing of leather (among other things), along with flapper styles, helped push the high button boot out of favor by the 20s or so.
So of course Samantha would have worn high button shoes. In fact in her older illustrations she almost never wears Mary Janes and is almost always seen in black high buttons. Hence me swiping Rebecca's black ones for Marisol and Nellie's Fancy Pancy Ruffle collection.
|The high buttons that give them the name.|
|A tisket, a tasket, a "woven" flower basket.10|
A flat style flower basket meant that the flowers or plants set inside it wouldn't be squished by the high sides, but the sides were curved up enough to prevent them from just rolling off. Felicity's Rescue kit has a basket somewhat like this. You weren't supposed to be swinging it around anyways, just carry it neatly, like a proper young lady.
|Around and around.|
|Look close, that's when you'll see the molding.|
Pink flowers express happiness and confidence in flower language. But they were just made to match the dress so don't get excite.
|Stem and leaves.|
|Stamens and pistil.|
|I can see your naughty bits.|
Peeling it down shows multiple stamens and the pistil.
Science time! Plant reproductive organs are divided into two parts.12 The stamen--and there's always a bunch of them--hover around the pistil. Their parts consist of the anther--the head that makes the pollen--and the filament, the stalk that holds the anther to the flower. The pistil is the part of the flower that produces seeds and fruit. Its consists of the stigma--or head, where pollen sticks; the style which is the tube that pollen sends the tube down; and the ovary at the base. Inside the ovary are ovules, or eggs that once fertilized will eventually grow into seeds. In fruit bearing plants, the ovary grows to encase the seeds and then eventually ripens to edible fruit, which people then eat--things like apples, pears, tomatoes, cucumbers, and other true fruit.13
Basically, fruit is the bright, tasty way for plants to convince animals to spread their seeds through their poo. Science!
I give these a B+. What can I say, I like flowers.
So piss off, historical wrongers, not every dress for Samantha has to be low around the hips, draped in lace with a high collar at the top, super ridiculously wonkypuff sleeves, and puffy blouson topped like a pigeon.
Overall Feel: I actually adore this dress, pink and lace aside. It's pink--practically everything of Sam's nowadays has a pink tint to it, such is BeForever--but pink is a pretty good color for her overall. The tights get the job done and the shoes on their own are very nice. Even the molded plastic basket passes muster. I could have used multiple flower colors, but c'est la vie. About the only thing that can fuck right off is that shitty ass hair bow, and I can fix that by hauling ass to Joann's.
Cost Value: $48 is what we're paying for LE sets now. Well, what we're paying when not on sale. I'm glad I snapped it up at the lower cost, though I would have probably paid the $48 later, high as it is. Don't even look at eBay for now. The dress may stick around post Dec 31st as another outfit minus accessories, since it's shown under her travel coat and hat and AG may not want to update that. If this is the case, pay whatever cost that is--probably in the $30 to $38 range--and go get a small basket and some faux tiny tulips all your own from a secondary source instead of paying stupid prices for the basket and tulips because of the fact it says AG on it.
Authenticity: What's that picture up there I just posted? I did it there so I didn't stick it here. It's accurate to the turn of the century. Ta-da! Fancy dress. Let Samantha have nice things instead of making everything drop waisted and 80's-tastic.
Appropriateness to Character: Around here, Nellie and Marisol will probably be wearing this, as there's no Samantha. But for Samantha it fits. Flower picking is exactly the kind of things that ilde rich girls would do to keep them out of trees or thinking about subversive thoughts like wanting to vote and have their own money.
Final Grade: B-. It's got some components that irritate me--fuckin' shitty hair bows--but it's overall a nice addition to the Fluffy Panty Drawer.
1 I swear to Gods if you pay eBay prices for Maryellen instead of waiting less than a week, you deserve to be dragged sideways. It won't even get to you first unless they next day it, and if you're paying that much I am going to come to your house and take your money and give it to the hungry.
2 More on that when Addy reviews it.
3 Part of why I glare at people in places that claim it's unfair that a single county like King County turns all of WA State Blue while East Washington State is pretty red. Most of the population of WA State lives in the Seattle and surrounding. 84% of the entire state population lives in either urban areas--densely developed places places that contain at least 50k or more people--or urban clusters that have at least 2,500 people but fewer than 50,000 people. And King County is the most populous county in Washington, and the 13th-most populous in the United States. In conclusion, piss off.
4 Part of why I'm fine not having it, that.
5 Though historically, not all dresses were in one solid piece. Some were an underwaist attached to the skirt or a skirt alone, and then the top was worn over that and pinned. History!
6 Double Income, No Kids. I learned that back when the show aired, and never forgot it.
7 But not a well done steak. Medium to medium rare. I like to be reminded a cow died to nourish me.
8 The Victorians made a lot of porn. Like, a lot of porn.
9 More on buttoned shoes here at Who Were They? where I read some of it.
10 "I wrote a letter to my love and on the way I dropped it~" The rhyme was first noted in the United States in 1879, as a children's rhyming game, so Sam could have sang it, but likely no one before her.
11 Just like human labia protect the vaginal opening, urethral opening, and clitoral hood and glans from outside dirt and debris. I put this in a footnote rather than the full text, so you had to go down here to look. And if you think learning and using proper terms for the human reproductive organs on a blog about dolls is obscene, you can sashay away.
12 Not calling them male and female, because not all ovaries are in "females." Plants don't even have gender. Their gender is "plant."
13 There are some toxic fruits though. For example, potatoes--part of the nightshade family, like tomatoes--make little green fruits that look like cherry tomatoes and if they're eaten they will fuck you up entirely, so don't eat them.