Monday, August 18, 2014

*Discussion* Kit's BEFOREVER Clothes

Due to the discussion about color schemes and styles of the new BEFOREVER clothes - Kit in particular, I thought I would browse Pinterest to see what exactly would represent girls clothing styles from 1930-1940.

We know Kit was said to not be fond of girly, frilly pink styles and is more a tomboy than her BFF Ruthie.


Girls 1930s dress patterns - note the silhouettes/ colors. 
These are very similar to the AG illustrations. (Which we will no longer have as an historical reference within the books.)

1930s Child star Shirley Temple - note the colors and silhouettes.

Darla Hood from the 1930's Little Rascals "Our Gang" show.

1940s Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet


No teal green or bright yellow in any of these images. There's been a few comments left over the last few weeks about Kit's teal green dress. One comment stated "And unlike most of you, I'm actually going to keep faith that most of the items will be high quality and mostly historically accurate (yes, that includes Kit's turquoise dress, bright colors did exist in the 1930s, you know)."

No one is denying that color existed in the past including 1930-1940. However the HUE is where we do see a DISTINCT difference. Teal green is a 1980s color. Olive green, celery green and mint green are more in keeping with Kit's era. 

Bright Yellow is a 1980s color. In Kit's era it was mustard or pale banana. Some of my friends have said her reporter outfit is "clownish" and even something from a Gymboree store.

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For fun have a look at these darling photos of Shirley Temple with her dolls.

27 comments:

  1. Yes, but other fashions have those colors, such as the two on the left: http://www.vintagedancer.com/wp-content/uploads/1939-dresses-sears.jpg

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    1. Thanks for your comment. The post is about children's clothing both color and silhouette. I'm not sure why the referenced image is of a woman's printed clothing pattern not a photo, as it is difficult to determined the amount of ink that the printer used.

      For instance this pattern is transparent or without color http://www.myvintagecrafts.com/sewing/js1005.htm yet we know the intention is not to suggest fabric selection.

      This is a Kodachrome photographic image of children during the depression. http://www.minnpost.com/braublog/2009/11/friday-fun-1930s-and-40s-color

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  2. I make quilts using reproduction 1930's fabrics (reproduced from vintage feedsacks) and I have quite a few bright aqua/teal in my collection. I don't think her new teal meet dress is too far away from the norm. At least it isn't pink. The other outfit, the supposed birthday dress, is just too hideous for words. I only hope the sweater might be sold separately. I can't wait to see what other outfits she will be receiving. Accessories and furniture, too.

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    1. Oh thank you Karen for helping shed some light on this. So your saying the feedsacks have bright bold labels? or the overall print? I find this very interesting.

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    2. The prints themselves can be pretty bright. I have not seen any with border prints like her new dress, but the ones I have tend to be bright. I have actually used the prints from her green birthday dress, her blue playsuit, and her yellow floral dress in some of my quilts.

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    3. Yeah, the V2 birthday dress looked more like as if it came off a Gymboree catalogue. Not to mention Kit on the cover looking a little, um, our of character perhaps? I do see the point with AG trying to make the historicals appeal more to little girls, but they shouldn't do too many concessions in favour of a girly-girl approach when the characters themselves aren't originally portrayed as such, and cuteness is emphasized even more than the lessons in their stories.

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  3. I have come to a conclusion that maybe in the Great Depression, everyone was having a tough time and people weren't too happy and maybe the bright bold colors helps cheer people a little bit. That is just an opinion.

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  4. Either way I think the new dress is cuter than the old one. I'm not much of pink person though so that's way I prefer the new one. I also feel kind of bad for commenting because I don't even have an american girl doll, I'm just a young adult learning more about the company so I can decide if I want to start a collection.

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    1. All comments are welcome here, your input is appreciated. I think Kit's new meet dress is adorable and will more than likely buy it for my modern dolls to wear.

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    2. I am planning on buying her new meet dress as well for my Kit and Ruthie.

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  5. I'm not totally convinced that it's accurate to the era, but it's still cute. I'm not getting Kit anytime soon though, because she looks WAY to much like Lindsey.

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  6. I don't mind the teal and yellow colors as much (though I agree they weren't the most popular, but could ahve existed). It's the cut and style of dresses that I disagree with. All of those dresses shown were solid or had an allover print, normally of small florals, plaid or other geometric shapes. The skirt pattern on her meet dress is *way* too modern. And that second dress is just hideous. It would be tacky for a modern toddler, much less a 1930s child. I think they are trying to replicate the solid top with patterned skirt style (seen on Darla in the photos), but failed miserable with colors and print.

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    1. You can say that again. To me it just screams too modern imo. The meet dress itself is OKish, it's the flowery stuff on the skirt part that doesn't bode well to anyone who's a history buff.

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  7. I'm glad to see I've encouraged some discussion around here ;) yes, it's very possible some of the colors were a little brighter in children's clothing, and the images from popular old movies and photos don't always show the full scale of colors and patterns being used in them. (Photography and film certainly wasn't what it is now!) Maybe teal and yellow weren't always popular, but they were still there, and were likely a welcome bit of cheer during the Great Depression. I think sometimes, we have an image of certain eras of history that we're not always willing to deviate from, even with much proof that certain fashions did crop up that may not otherwise be expected. Just ask some of the AG purists at other message boards when debate breaks out over new AG clothes! Lol. I'm sure when Kit's birthday dress first was shown, many wondered if such a crisp mint green existed back in the day. Remember also that AG is trying to stay as historically accurate as possible while also appealing to kids.

    I love her new turquoise dress, but I do agree with you that the new yellow birthday outfit has to go. It's cheesy no matter what era it's from. I wouldn't even like it on a Bitty Twin doll >_< I hope the sweater that's supposed to go with it is sold separately though, as it should be okay.

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  8. *From Julie's doll mom:*

    I like the meet dress, but I have no intention on buying Kit, (even though I have Kit and Ruthie mini dolls, and really love the books!). In my opinion, I could see "Cindy Brady" wearing this outfit to school, so we'll see if I get this outfit.

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    1. LOL you're SOOOO right! Cindy Brady!

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  9. The bright yellow might actually be the camera that was used to take that photo, considering on the book it looks less colorful than the photo. if its not actually a mustard color, i am definitely NOT going to buy it because to me it does in fact look like its fresh from gymboree. lol

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  10. I like her meet outfit a lot though. Very cute, and to me appears somewhat historically accurate. Something about the belt buckle bothers me though.

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  11. I have a B.A in History, so I understand the concern about authenticity when it comes to Kit's clothes for Beforever. I do not agree with the changes being made to her clothing line. I have books, articles and pictures from her decade and as much as I love collecting for PC aka American Girl now, they could have gone another route with Kit's color choices and 1930s patterns. Take it from a history major, this new line of clothing for Kit is not as appealing, or as authentic as it could be. They are trying to appeal to a younger demographic and in my eyes insulting the younger audience by allowing themselves to alter authentic, historical clothing and making it brighter, newer and unrealistic. Even my students can say that Kit's new dresses are not what I taught them about the 1930s and your pictures prove that. I hope AG thinks about this and chooses different style, colors, and better patterns that best represent and do justice to the doll's story plot.

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    1. What you said about Beforever "altering authentic historical clothing and making it brighter, newer, and unrealistic" is totally true. And not just for Kit either. The entire Beforever line is going down the tubes.

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  12. Part of the problem is that most photography circa 1930 is in black and white so we are left with varying shades of grey. My grandfather was a photographer back then and my grandmother was a colorist for him...meaning she hand tinted the pictures. The tints were brilliant. So I have no doubt that the teal of the meet dress was available. As mentioned above, vintage quilts also contain bits of that color.

    I googled images of floral prints circa 1930 and for all intents and purposes, most florals were all encompassing. However, as Caroline's birthday dress would have been finished with embroidery, someone in Kit's family could have done the needlework to embroider the floral pattern on the dress. Even Kit herself. I have a few aprons and handkerchiefs that are family heirlooms that have floral patterns embroidery added. While we don't practice these skills anymore (many don't; some are very skilled) it was common back then.

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  13. Just wanted to point out that in the picture you uploaded of the clothing patterns, the third one (Simplicity) is actually from the 1950s. Etsy is a good site for looking up vintage clothing patterns if you'd ever like to find more.

    Also, like many others, I agree that these new BeForever outfits are not historically accurate at all. I have taken a course in college on historical fashion and I have quite a few vintage patterns and books on children's historical fashion.

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  14. Thank you Anon. At least I'll be able to count on a few crafty people to ride the tide & come out with their versions of the older line on Etsy! So I guess it won't be too bad, if I want Samantha's pinafore I can spend my money on a crafter & not Mattel. It totally has the Gymboree flair and not Darla & Shirley T. That would have been soooo precious if Kit had come out with those clothing cuts on AG.

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    1. Look up American Girl Patterns. A website called agplaythings has copies of the original PC patterns for the first six characters. You can make the clothes yourself!
      Rosie

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  15. Oh. But that isn't to say I won't be getting a few things. I mean that new Holiday dress is real cute! Though after being reminded about Shirley Temple and her adorable outfits I am definitely keeping my eye out for outfits on Etsy that resemble them... That would be great on a few dolls for my Daughters. Unless someone knows of a good Vendor already? I'm now reminiscing about my moms & grandmothers stories as children...

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  16. I plan to go into the costume design field (not sure if I want to design for theater or movies) when I am an adult. I have done a lot of research on historical fashion already. My point is, it's not just Kit who is suffering from the Beforever modernization. With the exceptions of Rebecca and Kaya (Kaya kept her old meet outfit so I can't compare), all the new meet outfits are short sleeved or sleeveless. Now think of the original outfits for the current Beforever characters. Josefina was the ONLY one without long sleeves. From my research, this is not entirely correct. The more prominent trend is the BRIGHT colors. Many of the earlier characters would not have had access to synthetic dyes, let alone the fact that popular fashions weren't always bright colored. I think Rebecca and Josefina are the ones who bother me the most about this.
    Rosie

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    1. AGREED! I'm VERY disappointed at what's currently available for Rebecca. I've bought NOTHING BeForever for her.

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