|Ellie: Pretty in Pink.|
But first, a quickish review.
This likely isn't news to most people, but not everything in my AG collection is by American Girl, LLC. There's some people who are strict AG purists and won't buy anything that doesn't have an AG tag in it, but I ain't ever been one of those people and I ain't ever gonna be. If I can find cute things for my gang--or even new members of the Gang--outside of American Girl proper, I'm going to go for it if I think it can work with them. Hell, a lot of people do. Etsy thrives on it. I've been working on a blogger post about saving money when collecting AG with tips on what I've been doing. Alas, it's been something of a plod. I will finish it sometime, but even without finishing it I can start to talk about some of the other companies with good stuff.
One of those is Sophia's Doll Clothes, a manufacturer of quite a few AG basics--shoes, socks, generic outfits, tights, the like--and various outfits and furniture components. I don't order from them directly so much as I order off of Amazon. They sell both directly to consumers and to wholesalers, so you can likely find someone selling their items on places like eBay, or with handmade outfits as extras. I've got some pieces here and there--mostly shoes, and notably a very nice doll hairbrush.
Another company--and one I simply adore and could gush about forever if I wanted--is Carpatina. Carpatina is probably my favorite outright non-AG seller of fine American Girl and Other Gang Member clothing. The company and brand has been around since 1998, and started to offer dolls in 2002, designed by some of the designers that helped make Stardust Classics.2 Not only do they sell clothes for AG sized dolls under their Girlfriends Collection, they also sell clothes sized for their 18" Slim dolls--sizes such as Magic Attic, of which I have a few--and have recently branched into offering patterns in both sizes. While I've yet to buy a doll from them specifically (Julia is my most likely bet when I do pull the trigger, unless they come out with a beautiful dark skinned doll) I have gotten some outfits from them, and I plan to go back.
This December, Boom and I were doing what we do best--chattering about doll stuffs between Hamilton squee--when she got super squee over Carpatina's Vintage Pink Party Dress.3 This was as an alternative to Ellie's birthday dress, which we have both declared Too Hideous to Get. Look, authentic or not, it looks like a tulle nightmare and I won't fucking do it, even if it's in the books. Ellie, when she almost doesn't get to wear the Green Nightmare at her birthday performance, almost wears one of her older sister's pink prom dresses in is place. And well, this is a pink party dress. So it's even slightly canon. After picking out some nice shoes--namely, the Sophia's Ankle Strap Dress Shoes in pink to match--we both ordered sets and I got mine as a post-New Years gift on Amazon. Well, it arrived on the 31st, but my office was closed and the package delivery guy decided that dropping my package at my door was clearly dumb, and making me wait two days was the smart thing to do. Because Reasons. Anyways. The dress was $12.95 and the shoes $6.95, for a total of 19.90 plus tax.4 Good deal, considering most AG Direct sets go for $25+ nowadays.
Ellie gets two reviews in a row. It happens. I wanted to do something pink for Valentine's Day. I also didn't do a second body shot of the dress. Alas, it happens.
Also, congrats American Girl Collectors on two years of successful boarding! The members there have in many ways restored my lost faith in AG collecting communities. Love y'all~
|Pink is the style.|
Now, to the dress bits. The dress is a pink lace and satin calf length flared dress. Mine was a touch big on Ellie, so I turned it inside out and took it in about a quarter inch for a more tailored fit. The bodice outer shape is a one piece with the sleeves part of the bodice.
|Collar and top.|
|Underbodice under top bodice.|
|Lacy lacy lace.|
|The skirt. Ugh, sorry for the blur.|
|More ribbon, yay!|
|Petticoats on petticoats.|
|Snap it up.|
I give the dress an A. The only reason it's not an A+ is because I had to take it in, the inner bodice is a touch low, and the raw edges on the shoulders.
|Shoes make the dress, and these make the dress.|
Ankle strap shoes have been around in some form forever and a half, since people figured that if the shoe was tied to their ankle, they would not be lost when being chased by bears. Patent leather has been around since the 1700s; making the shoes patent both made the surface glossy and helped make them somewhat waterproof. Patent leather is thus called as such because the process once was patented. Originally, linseed oil coating was bonded to the leather to create the well-known high gloss finish. Today, its typically a petroleum or plastic product.
While Ellie here is going sans any sort of tights or hosiery, a lot of girls would have--to be proper--worn tights or fine socks, especially in colder temps. I may later add some simple white tights under. Pink tights would make for too much pink.
|Open sides and strap.|
|Moses supposes his toeses have roses.|
|The bottom sole.|
Overall Feel: This is much better of an alternative to Ellie's rather garish birthday dress--light and feminine, and still on the nice side. Pink--especially Mamie Pink--is not my fave shade by a long shot but compared to most pinks it's not as offensive as it could be. And Ellie looks good in it. Who says redheads don't look good in pink? You just gotta get the right shade for them.
Cost Value: $20 for a full set in these AG $30+ Per Outfit times is a fucking damn sweet bargain. You have to get the components separately in the most technical sense, but if you order from Amazon directly, they will probably come in the same package. Add about $15 for free shipping if you're into that, and enjoy. Boom and I have even put the components together for you. Let's call it Ellie's Pretty Pink Lace Outfit. (My term now.)
Authenticity: What did I just say over and over about Mamie Pink and the floofy skirt look? Yeah, it's very 1950s. In fact I wouldn't take it much out, unless you're going for a retro look. It really does scream 1950s/Post War Boom styles more than most contemporary outfits Carpatina has. The shoes can move forward, but I like them where I got them.
Appropriateness to Character: While it's not strictly in Ellie's Official AG Collection, a pink prom dress of her older sisters' exists in the book and is mentioned as a dress for her to wear before Davy's mom9 comes along and finishes the Tulle Nightmare. So I'm counting it as canon. On its own, it's very good for Ellie--not too long like some dresses are made for dolls to make a historical look, and fitting to a style I think she'd adore.
Final Grade: A-. Expand Ellie's wardrobe on a budget!
1 Yes, I know whom it is. The way the matches are done, you know who you gift, but not who's gifting you. But on the off chance they're here reading, I won't give it away by gender, so the singular they it is.
2 I own Laurel the Woodfairy. I adore Laurel the Wood Fairy. She's adorbz, and she will be photographicated for a Casual Friday. Maybe soon.
3 Our Ellies are always looking for things to get each other.
4 But not shipping. I added some bits to get to free shipping.
5 The French went for Pink Girl and Blue Boy early as the Victorian era, hence it being done in the French style in Little Women for Meg to put a pink bow on Daisy and a blue on Demi. More about Pink Vs Blue here: Pink Wasn't Always Girly
6 I could make a Grease joke here, but that musical actually launched in the 70s as 50s nostalgia. Much like Buzzfeed articles talk about the 80s and 90s to their target audience.
7 Wrong pink slip, those thinking about layoffs.
8 It shall be reviewed.
9 Davy's last name is long and right now I'm sleepy and don't want to look it up.