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Monday, May 8, 2017

Dolly Dress Discussion: something new for Shani

Some of my fellow dolly bloggers have an interesting rule regarding dressing their dolls.  They'll get one particular outfit and assign it to one particular doll.  My favorite example of this rule is set by Nethilia during her review of Felicity's riding habit.  Under one picture she writes "Felicity's riding habit.  For Felicity.  Not for anyone else."  Well said, Miss Neth; no American Girl can rock that green riding habit like Felicity the green-eyed copperhead.  So yeah, I follow this rule more or less; my most notable example occurred a few weeks ago when I declared a new Barbie outfit for one of my curvy dolls and for no one else.  I've since had to bend that rule since I have more than one curvy doll, but that's beside the point.  I'm using the rule again, but this time I'm doing it for my lovely Sun Jewel Shani.
Just for grins, here's a closeup of Shani's face.  I love her head mold!
I got Shani secondhand so she's a little beat up, but she's got a beautiful, happy face.  I would have included her in my recent post about favorite head molds, but that post was only for dolls with closed lips (which I strangely seem to be fond of).  If I do a list of all-time favorite faces Shani will definitely be on the list.

Since Shani and her friends were a Barbie spin-off line they could wear nineties Barbie clothes, and probably clothes before the nineties as well.  Thus my doll has no shortage of nice things to wear.  BUT...the spin-off Shani line had lovely clothes too, things that were brightly colored and wonderfully suited for dolls of color.  Some of these outfits were two in one, with pieces that could be added or taken off to create new looks.  Such is the case with the outfit I've got.  I got the outfit off eBay for a decent price.  The items inside are still in good shape, but the box is fairly banged up.  Since this box IS fairly banged up I'm going to debox the outfit (hey, I was anyway), but for grins here's what it looks like in place.
They don't package doll dresses like this anymore!  Compare this packaging to the two-pack that I recently picked up.  Bagged instead of boxed, with a plain back.
I wonder why Mattel made such a drastic change?  Mama thinks that these plastic-wrapped outfits are harder to break into as some sort of anti-theft method, but I've actually had to open them and I don't think that's it at all.  My theory that Mattel is trying to avoid more of Greedypeace's wrath with a lack of cardboard boxes doesn't hold water either, because plastic is harder on the environment than paper is, and because a lot of Barbie outfits still come in small cardboard boxes.  The current cardboard packages aren't as nice as the box Shani's outfit came in, but they ARE cardboard.  So your guess is as good as mine.

The back of the older box displays the four outfits that were in this two-for-one line.  My outfit is the second one, labeled 1884.
My favorite is the one on the far right (numbered 1969), the one that can be either a swimsuit or a skirt and bodysuit set.  Amazon has that one, but I forget how much it cost.  Besides, I love yellow, and the swimsuit is the only outfit that isn't dominantly yellow.  These other outfits will be fun to look for, though!

Now here's the outfit out of its box.
The yellow jacket is long enough to double as a dress on its own.  It is made of thick, woven saffron-colored fabric and has full sleeves.  These sleeves are puffed at the shoulder and fitted around the lower arm.
The front has some seams, plus two gold beads.  I assume these are to simulate buttons...
...but the front is actually held closed with two plastic snaps.
These snaps look bulky when they are undone, but when fastened they are concealed well.

Inside the jacket resides an item that few doll clothes have anymore:  a tag.
The tag makes it loud and clear who this outfit belongs to!  In the image above it's possible to see some of the seams, but here is a better look.
There are a few loose threads, but not many.  Hopefully the skirt will be just as nice.  It's a long skirt, made out of two layers of sheer fabric.
The outer layer is shiny and thus difficult to photograph, but it's still possible to see the diagonal stripes, which provide a nice contrast to the vertical pleats.  The stripes are dark rose and royal purple.
This outer layer is hemmed with saffron-colored thread.  Up close this looks a little clunky, but it helps pull the look together.
The inner layer is made of purple tulle and is not hemmed.  It is about an inch shorter than the outer layer.
It looks a little flimsy, like it might tear or ravel.  Nineties Barbie clothes were built to last, but I still try to be careful with this layer.  Luckily there's no Velcro to catch and snag the fabric; the waistband is elasticized.
Normally I have a lot of trouble sliding clothes over rubbery doll legs like Shani's, but this skirt gave me no trouble at all.

Like the jacket, the skirt is held together with neat, tidy seams.
Lastly, the shoes.
They're nothing super special, just saffron-colored high-heeled pumps. 

Oops, I forgot about the bag!
It's a simple cloth bag, done up in brown velour and shaped like a briefcase.  Shani can't hold it on her own, and I can't rubberband it to her hand without distorting the fabric, so I just leave this in storage.  It does open though, and it could carry small items like a doll-sized notebook or a cell phone.

With that, here's what Shani looks like in her new threads.
I guess that gapping at the bottom of the suit isn't as bad as I thought it was.  It's certainly not bad when Shani wears the suit alone.  Otherwise this fits Shani perfectly as it should.  Her new shoes fit snugly, hiding her child-nibbled toes.
This outfit is 100% for Shani.  If I ever find a Nichelle or an Asha I'll let them wear it too, but no one else is getting that privilege.  Oh sure, it would FIT any pre-1999 doll I try it on, but these bright colors won't look as nice on them as they do on Shani.  This is hers and hers alone.

Finding an old in-box outfit is always fun, especially when it's for a reasonable price, but looking this outfit over also made me feel a little sad.  It reminded me of my childhood, back when the majority of Mattel's little garments were impeccably seamed, perfectly fitted, and printed all the way around.  I'd estimate that about half of the cute little outfits I get for Barbie nowadays are plain in the back, and that annoys me, particularly when Mattel used to make most of their outfits like Shani's.  Good thing eBay and Etsy still have some nice in-box things that I can grab.  Hopefully one day I'll find some more of Shani's old outfits.

Hugs and kisses,