Saturday, October 8, 2011

What I Like and Dislike in Doll Clothes

In my opinion, Barbie is Usually Overdressed. She must catch the attention of children who play with fashion dolls, so their must be glitz and glam. But a doll can be made Beautiful without Ugly feeling clothing.

Maybe some of you know a number of people who Wear stoles and furs, I don't. I wonder if the clothing I like doesn't sell well.

Clothing I like, has to have an unusual cut and/or some Texture. I love the simplicity of that Birthday Wishes Barbie with the white top and lavender skirt, made of satin, with satin chiffon ruffles floating down from it. It is a simple design but feels beautiful, just like the doll herself.

I like a red haired Barbie called something like "Haught Cauteur" who has a gown which is at least partly maroon. It has velvet spots in it and the rough parts feel like they might be sparkley, don't think that's a word, sorry. I also like the Ghanian Barbie's clothing, And her necklace. They are of an unusual shave, for standard American clothing. She's Way overdone, but I Love the African American Symphony in Chiffon! How could I help it, with all of that lovely fabric to touch?

I have what I think is a "Happy Holidays" African American Barbie with a velvet black gown which has lines of sparkling white glitter on it. This is cool, Ann said the glitter looked like ice cicles. I have made up a pretend dance troupe of some of my favorite dolls, portraying a night, from sunset to sunrise. This particular doll dances the dark of midnight, where her skirt Might have stars on it.

I do not know how authentic her costume is, but Morocan Barbie is also in the dance troupe, as are the old DOW doll from Brazil, a dancer with a dress which I think is silver lace or netting, and blue satin. The silver fabric hooks around her wrists and when she extends her arms out she feels very graceful. I have two of this particular doll, as Ann had learned how to ombre fabric and we were planning to ombre the satin fabrick of one of these gowns, from darkest blue to lighter shades, leaving the silver alone, if possible. Unfortunately, it never got done.

I don't care for her music, but one doll with clothing I like a lot is Britany Spears. I have a multi-layered skirt which looks like differing colors as it is swirled about and fits over a gold colored bodysuit. It is on a Barbie Balerina. I also have a red fau leather bodysuit I couldn't resist and one more Britany Spears outfit, for which I cannot remember the colors.

The gift doll I was given is wearing long braids with beads in them. She is dressed in flowing garments which make her an angel shape, to the touch. She is a new face for me, for which I am thankful!

I like the "Charity Ball Barbie" black and silver gown, Without the stole. That stole gets in the way of my seeing what shape the gown really is.

I have a doll called "Spring Blossom Barbie" (think she was an Avon exclusive, not sure) who has a dotted Swiss dress, over a satin underlayer. When I was a kid, I loved dotted Swiss and was always trying to Read it. (smile) But the stuff Never said Anything that made sense!

The reason I like this doll dress is that it is a simple design.

I like Mulan's brocade tie on skirt, but think it would be interesting to dye one of them another color and tie it and the red one on from the opposite side to the red one, making a skirt somewhat like those worn by some of the Native people of Ecuador.

I like the Jem doll clothes because of their bright colors, unusual cuts, and odd fabrics, from fau leather to rough cloth points on the Pizaz doll.

I love the art deco style of the African American Man's Chinese Theatre Barbie doll.

Dolls who are Overdressed in my opinion are "Radiant Rose Barbie", "Harpest Angel Barbie" and a Hallmark Exclusive doll, blond, with a huge box, fau fur trimmed everything, etc. She is a Barbie, too.

I like the clothing of the old DOW from Chile, and wish the "Princess of the Incan Court" (may not be Quite right as her proper name) had used layers, instead of just using colors to make it Look like she is wearing layers. Some of th "Princess Of" line have cool clothes and jewelry. I wish I had the money to buy an Inuit Legends Barbie to see what her clothes are like and how true to traditional life they might be. Maybe someone who can see her picture could tell me.

Basically, I like textured fabrics, fairly simple lines, and decorating with beads, layers, (but Not TOO many), and what I think Ann referred to as Classic Lines. I liked the clothes for Byron Lars' Moja, but wondered if Anyone would Really wear a headpiece like that doll's. I also like the clothing of "Bohemian Barbie" (not too complex, if you look it over) and of most of the Yue Sai Wawa dolls. There are a couple of Native American Barbies for which I like the outfits, though Native women in older times wouldn't have had access to satin, metalic fringe, etc.

There are some Kid Kore outfits I like, although their Indians always have to wear purple and Pink outfits, Yuck! I like a couple of silky dresses from Kid Kore which are supposed to look like Romani clothing. I like the bright colors of the Kid Kore Romani clothing, (more Color variety than for Native Americans) but again, don't know how real or fake they may be.

I love Mixis leather or fau leather boots! I think there was a "Peace and Love" (1960's style) Barbie with white leather boots, or fau leather anyway. Ann Loved that doll! She had Always wanted white leather boots like that as a teenager, and it made her happy to get them vicariously on the doll. Ann was partial to strawberry (reddish) blonde curly hair. As a teen she had bright red-brown curly hair when, Of course, everyone was wearing it straight.

She also liked the flower balerina, not sure how to spell the word, peoni? And the dolls portraying water, one called "Whispering Wind" and Bob Mackey's Goddess of Africa, or a title similar to that. She gave this doll to her sister because she thought the doll was so gorgeous.

For me most of these dolls were too abstract to feel what they were portraying, except for the one I always called the "water fountain doll", rude, I suppose, but I don't remember her real name. But her clothing Did feel like the shape of an outdoor fountain with water spraying up out of it. For the same reason, I like the "Dancing Fire" outfit, I think that is the right name.

I like both "Christy's Beauty Secrets" and a Latina looking doll by Bob Mackey (perhaps "Grand Gala?") because they both feel like they are coming up out of the center of a flower.

It would be an interesting challenge to try and create a Concept Doll, like these, which could be Felt and Seen and understood by both blind and sighted people to represent the same concept well.

Not a challenge I'm ready for, yet. Besides the ones already mentioned, I like the Japanese "Lady of the Lake" "Yu Ming Barbie." She feels believable as a concept doll to me.
Things which feel ugly to me are Netting, (Barbie uses Way too Much of the stuff) plastic tierras, (gag) and big plastic jewelry.


  1. Mattel continues to go backwards with their doll clothing. My favorite line of clothes they did was the Fashion Avenue outfits. They were very well done. Nicely sewn with higher quality fabrics than they usually used. Even the kids outfits were wonderful. I don't like the clothes on most of the Mattel Barbies. I do enjoy an occassional ball gown, but my dolls don't get to go to many places that require a ball gown. Thanks for this post. You have opened my eyes (no pun intended) to more details about doll clothing that I have overlooked in the past. I love dotted swiss to. I both some yesterday with the thought of making some of my fashion kids some cute dresses.

  2. I have a secret. Yes, a confession to make. I have NEVER worn a ball gown. Gasp! That's right, NEVER. Have never wanted to wear a ball gown. Even as a child. I don't understand the ball gown obsession.

    And I agree with you about ugly feeling fabrics. Netting does have a hard, prickly feel. Some of the slippery, cheesy nylons also feel unpleasant. I like suede and softer velvets, some cottons (they feel clean) and some faux fur.

    As Vanessa writes ... thinking about the touch and the feel of fabrics is newish. Thanks for mentioning that and bringing that to my consideration.