Nichelle: Please ignore the clown dress I'm holding up; Mattel stylists were drunk when this was created!
After getting together my steampunk dolly outfits yesterday, I decided to also get rid of some of the outfits my dolls never wear - either they're too ugly to be worn (my dolls having TASTE, like their owner) or too stained or too torn. Not by me - I frequenly get things from thrift stores and yard sales, so sometimes my stuff has been played with by actual KIDS, who aren't the world's best preservers of doll clothing.
As a kid, my dolls had NO store bought clothes except their orginal outfits (bathing suit for Malibu Christie, and the Happy Family outfits.) Any clothes they had were made by me out of scraps I managed to scrounge around the house. It wasn't until I started collecting as an adult back in '99 that my dolls finally had store bought oufits.
Our model, My Room Generation Girl Nichelle, actually came in that monstrosity she's holding up. You may say, "Eh, I've seen worse Barbie outfits!", but hear me out. Nichelle's backstory is that she's a student at International High School (???) in New York and that she's studying FASHION DESIGN.
PARDON ME? Who are her clients - Ringling Brothers? Because they're the only people who might want to buy that clown dress!
And this was the dress that she came in! No wonder there are so many copies of My Room Generation Girl Nichelle out there! Moms (and kids) took one look at this outfit and put her right back on the shelf! I didn't of course - that's because I could see the pretty girl screaming, "Please buy me and get me into some classy clothes!"
And there's no excuse for her not to have a classy outfit - this was the era of Fashion Avenue, for crying out loud! Even her frou-frou pink outfit from the first wave of Generation Girls was better than this thing (although that's not saying much!)
Pretty doll; hideous outfit. But that's pretty much par for the course at Mattel. It wasn't always like this - no wonder people love vintage and mod era outfits so much. Even my era - the Malibu Barbie era - had better clothes than this. But since the 80s, Barbie fashions have been hit or miss - most MISS, and very often FAIL. There have been a few bright shining moments - Fashion Avenue, My Scene and Fashion Fever come to mind. But nowadays when they call the Barbie Aisle "the pink aisle", they aren't kidding! More pink and glitter than anyone could possibly stomach! I had to change Sassy Fashionista out of that pink monstrosity she came boxed in, and put her into (years old) Fashion Fever/My Scene clothes to she would have something decent to wear!
It's a sad statement when you have to change your brand-new doll's clothes and put on clothes from AGES ago so that she'll have a decent wardrobe!
Before (top) and after (right) - You make the call!
Seriously, Mattel should hire me to line item veto their doll clothes - and let's not get started about "pink everything" furniture! (We'll save that for another column!)