Update and Catch Up

Sorry, no new post again this week, but, wouldn’t you know it, after I posted about doll lingerie a couple of weeks ago, I acquired a few new fashions, so I’ve updated it here.

I did have a little play with my 11 ½ inch New Moons Sindy dolls this week, and swapped my British Airways doll into an older Sindy fashion rather than the Barbie one she was wearing, so why not have a read (or re-read) of the New Moons Sindy post here.

Don’t forget, I’m now on Instagram – @jenjoysworld (and a non-doll photo art account @jenniferbs_world). There’ll be some unique content and behind the scenes stuff, so head over and follow.

(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission. 

Another Clone Doll Review

Just a quick post this week, spring has truly sprung and is taking a serious swipe at my allergies. I went for a Covid test today, my asthma is so bad, and a Covid world is not fun for asthmatics.  Lots of places deny entry to those with respiratory symptoms, and you get some very dirty looks, it helps to have a Covid negative test result on you at all times.  And I’ve also been busy on another research project, and that has turned into a global group effort, which is really lovely.  So, this week it’s just a quick look at another cheap doll I bought on an online auction site.

This doll was described as a ‘12” 1/6 BJD Ball Jointed doll’, but I could see it wasn’t a ball jointed body, and thought it might be suitable to use with a Barbie doll head.  The proportions looked similar, except for being bustier, and being 12 inches, rather than Barbie’s 11 ½, I thought she may be similar in size to the ‘tall’ Barbie body.  The head the doll came with was cute too.  So, for $11, I took a chance on it.

While I think a Barbie doll head may look ok on this body, I think it would be too tall. The range of movement in the legs is disappointing, there’s no twist joint above the knee and limited movement in the hips.

When it arrived it was only in a bubble wrap mailer, and feeling the package I was worried it had been damaged in the post, but no, the head was packed separately to the body.  As soon as I saw the body I realised it wouldn’t work for Barbie, it has really weird proportions.  The body is roughly the same length as a Barbie body, but the legs are much longer.  While a Barbie doll head would probably look ok, it would be way too tall.  And so, I decided to put the head that came with it on to it.  I was a bit disappointed with the hair colour, it looked pinker in the photos, but it’s a strange pinky-apricot colour.  Being a harder type of vinyl, it was a bit nerve wracking attaching the head. Usually, I just squish heads onto their new bodies, but this one I had to heat with the hair dryer for a while before it would go on.  The body itself is ok.  The waist is quite narrow, like the older Barbie bodies, but it twists.  As I mentioned, it’s quite booby, but there’s nothing wrong with that and it’s nicely sculpted.  The arms have the double bend as the Made to Move dolls do, and a twist joint just above the elbow, allowing a great range of movement.  The wrists move and the hands are lovely.  The legs are disappointing, there isn’t much movement at the hip and while the knee has the double bend allowing the doll to kneel, there’s no twist joint, so the range of movement is limited.  The ankles are jointed though and the feet are a good size and well defined.

I don’t think the head really suits this body, it’s so cutesy, I think it would be more suited to a smaller, less adult looking body, but I thought perhaps if I turned her into a fairy or some sort of fantasy creature it may look ok and I put her aside to think about for a while.  In the meantime, the new local second hand shop started stocking a few doll’s clothes.  The first ones I bought look to be Ken and Skipper sized (I haven’t tried them yet) and at only $1, I snapped up a set or two each week.  The last time I was there (before we slipped back into lockdown, again) there was a rather interesting looking dress.  I had no idea what I’d do with it, but couldn’t resist, and put it aside when I got home.  Cleaning up in the doll room, I noticed that I’d put the dress next to this doll and they didn’t look too bad together.  So, she gets to wear it, and she has now found a spot in the shelves.  I haven’t yet decided what to do with her hair, it’s still in its factory set, and she may even get a total makeover in the future, but for now she’s a nice doll for the grand sum of $12.

Don’t forget, I’m now on Instagram – @jenjoysworld (and a non-doll photo art account @jenniferbs_world). There’ll be some unique content and behind the scenes stuff, so head over and follow.

(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission. 

Dollikin and Action Girl

At the last doll club meeting (before we slipped back into lockdown –we’re currently in lockdown 6.1 – and meetings were cancelled again, sigh), I managed to grab one of the dolls on my dolly wish list – Palitoy’s Action Girl.  Action Girl is one of those dolls that’s almost identical to another doll, Uneeda’s Dollikin, so perhaps like ‘The Patty Duke Show’, she’s a cousin but from another continent.

I found my Uneeda Dollikin for $2 in a box of clone dolls at a collectable’s fair years ago. I wasn’t entirely sure who she was, I had a vague inkling of Dollikin and Action Girl, but I knew she was something more than a mere clone.  She was wearing her original jumpsuit, but is missing her patterned sheer nylon sash and ankle boots.  I didn’t mind though, I snapped her up quick smart. Once I started researching who she was, I realised there was another version, her cousin if you like. I replaced my US Dollikin’s sash with a plain yellow nylon one and have found a pair of heels that fit her, and added Action Girl, her British Palitoy counterpart to my wish list.  And I have to say, I didn’t really think I’d come across one.  I’ve seen a few Dollikin’s pop up at doll shows and in online auctions, but no Action Girls.  Of course, looking for one was made all the harder as I could never remember the differences between the two dolls.  And there aren’t that many.

Both Dollikin and Action Girl use the same body and head moulds.  Their bodies are quite unusual, made from a hard plastic with bending elbows, wrists, knees and ankles, the limbs, heads and waist being strung – held together by elastic bands.  This gives the dolls an excellent range of movement, but it also means that after a while the elastic can stretch out causing the doll’s joints to become floppy, or break, and the doll will literally fall apart.  The waist joint of my Action Girl is quite loose and she’ll need to be re-strung at some point. The dolls also have very weird hip joints, their legs look to bow from the hip, creating the ultimate thigh gap. It does make posing them a bit of a challenge. There is also an intriguing button in the doll’s torso, but it’s only function is to secure the torso to the hip section.

Both dolls have the same markings, bodies are marked: DOLLIKIN ® U.S. PAT 3010253 OTHER U.S & FOR PAT. PEND. Heads are marked UNEEDA DOLL CO. INC MCMCXLX MADE IN HONG KONG.  The only real difference between the dolls are their hairstyles, face paint and the outfits they were sold in.  And this is the bit I can never remember. Dollikin has dark blue, forward looking eyes with three small painted lashes, while Action Girl has paler blue side glancing eyes with no lashes.  Dollikin’s hair has the sides pulled up in a bow on top of her head, and Action Girl doesn’t.  Both dolls come in blonde, brunette and red hair and both of my girls have similar hair colour, but I have to admit I’m a bit confused about the hair colours.  Based on the colour of her clothes, I think my Action Girl is a red head (blondes wear pink pants and brunettes blue) but I’m not really sure if my Dollikin is a red head, I’m not sure if their jumpsuits correspond to hair colour.  My dolls’ hair is more an auburn colour or strawberry blonde, a lovely mix of two or three different shades of red and blonde.  While I would have liked them to have different hair colours to each other, being similar adds to that cousins-from-different-continents thing.

Both dolls had ranges of clothes created for them, and I was pleased to discover that I had an outfit for both, bought as generic or clone fashions.  Dollikin has a long evening dress with black glittery trim called ‘Hip Hostess’ (and I bought it because it matches a 6 inch Dizzy Girl Fashion I have) and Action Girl has a short gold lame dress called ‘Pop Festival’ missing the tights and boots. The clothes are bit confusing too as many were issued for other dolls as well. Of course there are other versions of both dolls – Dollikins actually began life as 18-20 inch dolls early last century, but in this teenage fashion doll size there’s an Action Dollikin and Dancing Action Girl as well as other variations.  The only doll I’d like to add to my collection is a Little Miss Dollikin or Triki Miki, a tiny 6.5 inch doll with all the traits of Dollikin.  For more information on Dollikin try D is for Dollikn, here.

Don’t forget, I’m now on Instagram – @jenjoysworld (and a non-doll photo art account @jenniferbs_world). There’ll be some unique content and behind the scenes stuff, so head over and follow.

(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission. 

Undercover Fashions

I love lingerie.   I thought it was probably because one of my first jobs was in a lingerie shop, but then I remembered writing a social history of women based solely on fashion (including under wear) at high school, so maybe the fascination has been there much longer.  I now, of course, love to collect doll lingerie, but finding vintage outfits is quite difficult, let alone finding them in good condition.  I suppose because the fabrics used are quite delicate and the pieces so small it was damaged and lost so easily. I’ve managed to find quite a few fashions for various dolls and from various eras, although most are incomplete and in played with condition.  So, as that job in the lingerie shop was one of the best experiences of my life, I thought I’d tell you about it, while also showing you some of my dolls in their under-frillies.  Read it all or just skip to the doll pics, the choice is yours.

Barbie’s first set of frillies was fittingly called ‘Undergarments’ (1959-62) and consisted of bra, French knickers, half-slip and girdle.  Many collectors wonder why a doll with Barbie’s figure would possibly need a girdle, but no self-respecting woman in the 1950s would be without one.  How else would you get a seamless line in your pencil skirt? Not to mention perfect posture.  There’s no slouching when you’re trussed up like a Christmas turkey.  Rebecca Ann Rupp tells me that the book ‘Toy Monster’ by Jerry Openheimer states that Charlotte Johnson asked Jack Ryan to make Barbie’s waist small enough that underwear could be worn under the doll’s clothes and I think that these items probably could be worn under some fashions, though ironically, not under sheaths or some pencil skirts. The bra, knickers and half-slip were issued as Pak items in several colours including black in 1962-63. I was sure the bra would keep slipping down, but am pleased to report it doesn’t, and while the girdle doesn’t have suspender clips, they are indicated by little ribbons of tricot cord.

Skipper was issued underwear too, with ‘Underpretties’ in 1964-65.  She has a delicate net half-slip with dot detail and tricot pants.  I’m not entirely sure the pants I have are correct and I’m also missing the brush, comb, mirror and curlers that came with this set.

Left: ‘Underprints’ from 1967-68 includes a hot pink floral bra and pants with suspender clips (one of my favourite things about some of Barbie’s lingerie, and the fact that they work!) and a half slip.  There is some variation in the colour of the fabric of this fashion, my half-slip is much darker than bra and pants.  I love the cut of this bra, it really does have a distinctive 60s look.  Again, I’m missing the brush, comb, mirror and telephone. Right: This long legged bodysuit from ‘Underliners’ (1968-69) is one of my favourite Barbie garments.  I just love the hot pink lace and lime green floral fabric and the fit is perfect. I’m missing the matching suspender belt and I don’t really mind as it confuses me a bit.  Logically it would be worn under the bodysuit, which would ruin the fit and line of the garment.  Even worn over it, it would bulk up the doll’s waist.  Perhaps this fashion wasn’t meant to be worn under other clothes?

Left: ‘First Things First’ was Francie’s, well, first, set of lingerie.  I love the bright flower print and the inclusion of bloomers.  I have the suspender belt and pants, but I’m missing the full slip and textured stockings.  This fabric was also used for Francie’s ‘Get Readies’ fashion in 1968, which included a bra and a half-slip instead of bloomers and full slip. Right: My childhood European Mix and Match hot pink half-slip and pants are very stretched out after years of play, but I don’t think this set was available in the US, so it makes it a bit special.

Of course Ken got some undies too and what better doll than Sport and Shave Ken to wear a Hanes branded singlet and a pair of tighty whitey ‘Y’ fronts? And yeah, he looks like the type of guy who would tuck his singlet into his jocks. I bought this NRFB Fashion Collectibles from 1980 really cheaply as the pack was quite damaged.  But that meant I had no qualms about opening it.  I think this outfit came both with and without the Hanes logo and I’m not sure if either was sold here in Australia.

My boss fled Nazi occupied France during World War 2 and made his way to Australia, setting up not only a chain of lingerie shops, but also a factory manufacturing his own lines of under garments. I learnt so much in the short time I worked for him, not just about retail (including his rules: if you don’t have it, you can’t sell it; if it’s sitting on a shelf, it’s not making money; money in the till is better than stock on a shelf; the customer is always right, except when the customer is wrong) but about life itself.  Although it was the mid-80s, the shop was a weird mix of ‘Are You Being Served?’ and modern retailing.  Most fashion retail, and especially corsetry and lingerie that required specialty fitting, was full service back then. Self-serve retailing was just beginning, so we still had some of the old wooden cabinets holding boxes of stockings (not pantihose), knickers and bras, as well as slick chrome racks where customers could browse items themselves.  Lingerie was more diverse back then than it is today, and our stock was a full mix of old and new.  We still had the remnants of 1950s corsetry styles, where all body types seemed to be trussed up in long-line bras and girdles/panty girdles or full bodysuits – with or without suspender clips – whether they needed it or not.  We had a whole wall of petticoats/slips and half-slips.  We had camisoles, chemises, teddies, knickers/French knickers, pants, g-strings, suspender belts, corselets/torselets, nighties, brunch coats, dressing gowns, peignoirs, and a full range of hosiery.   We even had surgical corsets that required a degree in engineering to work out how the hell they went on, and racks of X rated sexy stuff – lingerie, posing pouches, fluffy handcuffs and the like including edible underwear and condoms (which would really just be sticky rather than sexy once things got even the slightest bit hot and sweaty, and which tasted awful, although the strawberry was marginally better than the orange flavour). 

Left: When Midge and Alan tied the knot in 1990, Midge got a range of Wedding Day Fashions that included this gorgeous mint green satin set of pants, camisole and short robe.  It looks fabulous with her red hair. Mine is missing the mint green heels. Right: I found this 1994 European Moda Fashion at a doll club meeting and it’s just so over the top I had to have it.  There’s nothing subtle about the floral fabric teamed with a red polka dot sheer and red bows but it’s beautifully designed and made.

Teen Skipper got a cute pink check bra and pants set with bed jacket and brush in this Teen Time fashion in 1997.

Left: The 90s gave us a host of Barbie lingerie, including this 1997 Fashion Avenue Lingerie set of pink camisole and pants and floral bra and knickers.  I love the wee slippers and hair brush too. Right: 1998 brought us the Fashion Touches which included this floral bra and pants set with glasses and pearls, and pink interlock bra and pants with Barbie print trim, glasses and scarf…

Left: …white broderie anglaise bra and pants with pink pantihose, another favourite – lace camisole and pants – that fit perfectly – and pink pantihose, and a pack of pants (missing is a floral pair that was on a doll and I didn’t find them until after I had taken the pic) and from 1999, red polka dot bra and pants with Barbie print trim and baseball cap (another favourite with perfect fit, but I do wonder about that cap, that doesn’t fit at all). Right: Also from 1999, this Dreamy Touches Joe Boxer set has a really cute smiley face print and comes with a yellow towel (there is also matching sleepwear) and from 2003, this Fashion Essential set has an apricot poodle print, so it was a must have. It comes with an extra pair of plain pink pants.

Left: Ken got a pair of blue boxers, as well as tie and black belt in this 1998 Fashion Touches.  Quite a departure from the previous Ken fashion. Right: And although I’m only including doll fashions and not dressed dolls (which is why I haven’t included the Silkstone Lingerie dolls), I am including the Paul Frank doll as she came in her pyjamas and the underwear was an extra fashion.  Love the little pants and the skull and crossbones motif, although the tank could be a better fit. Love her little Julius monkey print slippers too.

I was trained as a corsetry fitter, so had to develop my interpersonal skills quick smart, especially as I was still a teenager and some women very clearly didn’t think I was up for the task.  I had customers who had had mastectomies, reductions and implants and a couple who were going through a transgender journey, so I had learn to fit around surgeries, stitches, scars, prosthetics, and hormonal changes.  It was also great for me, small but well-endowed, who found it almost impossible to find a bra that fit. I was a H cup in world that only catered to a Double D.  But I was able to find a bra with a cup that fit me in the shop, then send it off to the factory where one of the machinists would take it in and alter it to fit my small back. Even after I left the job, I was able to continue having my bras altered at the factory.  It was a godsend.

Barbie wasn’t the only doll to have lingerie.  In 1962s cleverly (not) named ‘Underwear’, Tammy got a gorgeous blush pink sheer bra, pants and half-slip set, complete with sandals, brush, comb and mirror. I was lucky enough to find this set mint and complete, a rarity in my collection.

Sindy had lots of lingerie too, and this vintage set called ‘Undie-World’ from 1963 is a little more modern than Tammy’s set.  It comprises navy sheer pants, bra, full slip and lace girdle. The colour choice is interesting and had I had this set as a child I think it would have thoroughly frustrated me. Unlike Barbie’s bra, Sindy’s keeps slipping down, while her elasticated lace girdle keeps wanting to ride up.  Sticky tape was needed for these photos. There is some variation in lace used, my sets have different patterns and I‘m missing the lace headband, brush, comb and mirror.

Sidepart Sindy and friend Vicky wear ‘Denim Underwear’ from 1967, and I love the colour and fabric of this set.  The pants are interesting, more of a boy-leg cut than brief.  The elastic straps on the bra make it easy to get on and off, although they’re often stretched out when found in played with condition.  Love the gingham half-slip too.

‘Flower Frillies’ appeared from 1970-74, and this is another childhood set that has seen better days.  I love the blue floral print and Sindy was able to wear the bra, pants and half-slip under several of her fashions.

Hasbro released several lingerie sets in the Dreamtime Collection. The pale pink cotton bra and pants is from 1989, while the dark pink satin set is from 1992.  Unfortunately, few of the Hasbro Sindy fashions were suited to wearing lingerie underneath them.

Fleur had lingerie too, this set provided her with two fashions, one pink, one blue.  Unfortunately I’m missing the blue bra and pink pants.

My boss was a gruff man and I won’t lie, he and his wife scared me. He was tough but fair.  And he paid well for those who worked hard.  I remember one of my Christmas bonuses was more than a week’s pay.  He was in the shop, making a delivery one day when a customer returned a panty-girdle, complaining it stretched out after only a couple of months. His response was along the lines of, ‘madam, I can tell just by looking at you that you are at least a size 20 or 22, not an 18.’  Yes, he effectively told a woman she was too fat for the garment.  All of us shop girls immediately found ourselves really busy in other parts of the shop, but he was right, and to his credit, he talked the customer around, convincing her to try another garment and if she wasn’t happy, return for a full refund.  She did return.  To buy another panty-girdle, she’d found the new one much more comfortable.  And there I learnt that if you’re honest with a customer, they will be loyal.  My co-workers were interesting women from different backgrounds and life situations.  At least one was having an extra-marital affair, so often the day’s tasks included keeping husband and children out of the paths of lovers (and vice versa) using code names for them. Our customers were a really interesting mix too, everyone from Mother Superior from the local convent to the local drag queen (and finding a corselet in a large-ish man size back then was no mean feat).  I worked mainly at one store, but sometimes I was needed at one of the others which had the occasional celebrity client, and I once sold the aforementioned edible items to a well-known Aussie-soap-opera-turned-international-movie actor and his famous girlfriend. I also had the fun of serving my former primary school teacher, who I didn’t like at all and I don’t think he liked me, as he selected some of the X-rated items for himself and his girlfriend and watch the look of horror slowly creep across his face as at last, he recognised his former student.  I’ve never seen a man pay for items and run out of a shop so quickly.  We had elderly ladies that still wore silk nylon, long legged knickers, and would pay a dollar or two off a lay by each pension day, putting another pair on lay by as soon as one was paid off.  We had those who didn’t flinch at paying huge amounts for imported designer items, and brides buying for their wedding day. There were regular customers who, I’m sure, came in as much for a chat as to buy something.  Men bought for their wives or girlfriends without any inkling of their size and women returned the things their man had bought for them for something that actually fit.  And thanks to Madonna, we had young girls flock to the shop when we started selling off cuts of lace as hair ribbons.   

Even Little Tuppence was given underwear in Lingerie Set.  I only have the half-slip, and the rest of this fashion is high on my wish list.  Made of pale blue sheer fabric it comprises half-slip, bra, pants and ‘witches britches.’  Why a doll like Little Tuppence needs a bra is beyond me, but I suppose doll play is all about pretending to be grown up.

Penny Brite had underwear too, but her ‘Sheer Delight’ is more juvenile in style, with sheer white half-slip, camisole (almost chemise) and pants.  I’m missing the pants, shoes, brush and comb.

Left: There was generic or ‘clone’ lingerie too.  I had a couple of these pink sets that came with black stockings and they got a good work out when I was a kid.  The bras fit so well my dolls did sometimes wear them under their clothes. Right: And Premier made Dawn sized lingerie too.  I bought this set primarily for the shoes that were included and that are on small feet somewhere in my collection, but I love the slip and stockings too.

I bought this generic lingerie from an online action site a year or so ago, for only a few dollars.  It’s perfect for this clone, bought from the same online auction site a couple of years ago. The bra and pants fit really well, and the slip fits perfectly over them.  It’s really well made, especially for the price.

Left: This unknown slip came on a Miss Suzette doll, but I don’t know if it was made for her.  It is very small in the waist, so it doesn’t fit many dolls.  I love the styling, the blush pink tricot fabric and lace.  It looks like it may have once had ribbon straps so I’ll replace them at some point.  If you recognise it, please let me know what it is. Right: This is a mystery set.  I bought these pieces together at a doll show for a couple of bucks.  The half-slip has a 90’s Barbie tag, but the bra and pants are a slightly different floral fabric and a bit matronly in design.  If anyone knows what they are, please let me know.

And finally, this bra and half-slip were given to me and look mummy-made. Still the bra is very well designed and I can’t bring myself to part with them.

I met so many people in so many different life circumstances that I probably wouldn’t have met in any other job.  My eyes were opened to so many situations and experiences that I’m sure, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without that job.  It was sad to see the decline in independent lingerie stores – and lingerie in general – in the following years, as women switched to buying bras and pants at large discount stores instead of specialists.  I despair that most women these days don’t get properly fitted for bras and consequently, mostly wear the wrong size or ill-fitting garments.  But it seems that lingerie and lingerie stores are making a resurgence, although the emphasis now seems to be on sexy rather than comfort and practicality.  Sexy is not just about sex and I worry that it’s what’s sexy to the male eye, rather than what empowers a woman to feel sexy. While there’s nothing wrong with wearing something to please your partner, dressing to please yourself and feeling good is, usually, so much sexier.  And never underestimate the power of a good bra.

Don’t forget, I’m now on Instagram – @jenjoysworld (and a non-doll photo art account @jenniferbs_world). There’ll be some unique content and behind the scenes stuff, so head over and follow.

(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission. 

Celebrity Doll Review: Donny and Marie Osmond

One of my first celebrity dolls was Donny Osmond, but not for the reason you may think.  The Donny and Marie television show was shown here in Australia, and I know we watched it, it just wasn’t a favourite. I can’t remember much about it except it was corny and kitsch, and she was a little bit country and he was a little bit rock ‘n roll (Really? Because when I think rock ‘n roll I don’t immediately think Donny Osmond).  In fact, the thing I remember most vividly of the Osmonds in the 1970s is little Jimmy and his oh so annoying earworm, Long Haired Lover from Liverpool. So, no, I was not a Donny Osmond fan.  That’s not why I bought his doll.

My mother, sister and I often used to go to a weekend market called Trash and Treasure.  It was a weird mix of new items, art and craft, second hand dealers, and families selling off unwanted goods after a cleanout – garage sales were not a thing back then.  We didn’t have a lot of money so we didn’t buy much, but it was a day out in the sunshine and there was usually an ice cream truck at the end of it.  However, some days, the market lived up to the second part of its name and we did indeed discover treasure.  I don’t remember seeing dolls there often, although I do remember buying a fake Monchichi, and some other soft toys, but one day I spotted a forsaken looking Donny doll wearing his original jumpsuit, one shoe and one boxing glove, on a family’s stall. I remember thinking that one of the kids in tow must have been his owner, and wondered why and how they would part with their doll, but as I didn’t have many male dolls at that time and most Ken dolls looked pretty much the same, rescuing Donny and giving him a home where he would be appreciated was a no brainer.  I can’t remember how much he was, but I had my own pocket money, saved up weekly and also anything my Pop would give me when he came to stay, and duly counted out the right cash.  Of course, once I got him home, Donny wasn’t a celebrity, he was just the boyfriend of one of my dolls and shared Ken’s wardrobe.

Once I began collecting as an adult, I didn’t go out of my way to find a Marie to keep Donny company, but one day just happened to mention to a doll collector friend that I suppose I should add one to the doll cupboard, and she said she had one I could have.  And upon asking how much, she said no, she had one I could have, a gift.  And so the brother and sister act finally got back together.  I bought Marie’s dress for $2 from yet another friend and they were complete.  More or less.  Their outfits are not in good nick – Donny’s especially is quite damaged, he’s lost his belt completely.  The sheer nylon details on their satin clothes curl up and fray at the slightest touch and even the satin itself shows every bit of play wear.  The purple shoes are very hard to find too, so my dolls make do with white replacements and are also missing their microphones.

I suppose the dolls are fairly good likenesses, right down to all those teeth, and I quite like Donny’s moulded helmet hairdo.  Marie’s head is quite a bit bigger than Donny’s though, and while I think like a few 70s dolls, his head has shrunk a bit over time, it was probably smaller than hers to begin with, which is a bit weird. Marie’s hairstyle has a side-part and is curled at the ends (although mine has lost its curl) which is quite different to the fringed, bobbed do she had at the time.  Their bodies are the same as Ken and Barbie’s, but they each have one bent arm and a hole in that hand where their microphones attached.  Ouch. 

Just a couple of weeks ago a friend who works in an op shop, came up with a big bag of vintage doll clothes she thought I might like and I was rapt to find two Marie Osmond dresses in the mix – Deepest Purple and South of the Border.  Apart from needing a couple of small repairs, both are in excellent condition, especially as one has a purple lame bodice and the other has layers and layers of that horrible nylon, but it looks great on this fashion. They’re minus their shoes, so again I’ve come up with replacements. It’s lovely to be able to give Marie a change of fashion.  Perhaps one day I may come across the matching Donny outfits, but I’ll live if I don’t.  There is a third doll in this range, little brother Jimmy.  The doll looks quite a bit older than the nine years old Jimmy was when his hit song was released, but I’d love to add him to my collection.  Again, if I don’t, I won’t be too upset.  I don’t really need a reminder of, or to hear his song ever again. It really does get stuck in your head. It’s stuck in mine again now.

Don’t forget, I’m now on Instagram – @jenjoysworld (and a non-doll photo art account @jenniferbs_world). There’ll be some unique content and behind the scenes stuff, so head over and follow.

(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission

What’s a Name?

I recently discovered that one of my favourite new Barbie doll head sculpts is called ‘Violet’ on the Barbie Collector website.  I love the name and it’s got me thinking about doll names in general.  Do all sculpts have a name? Who gets to choose them, the sculptor? Do you name your dolls? Or do you stick to the name given to them by doll companies?

On the Barbie Collector website, this face mould is called Violet.

I’m guessing that these days doll names are chosen by committees of people based on the doll’s premise (Rainbow High have names based on colour for example), extensive market research and current trends. But what about the names of the head sculpts? Are they chosen by their creator, designers or the afore-imagined committee? I have put the question to a Mattel designer but haven’t had an answer yet. Hey, they’re busy people, I get it, but I would love to know.  I’d also love Mattel to release a list of sculpts and their names.

Of course, we know the history of some doll names. Barbie and Ken were called after the Handler children, and Barbie’s middle name and the doll’s surnames (and extensive back stories) come from the Random House books, Barbie magazine and Comics – Barbie Millicent Roberts, Ken Carson, Midge Hadley, Allan Sherwood and Francie Fairchild.  There’s a great article on the Random House books by Karen Caviale in the July August 2002 issue of Barbie Bazaar magazine and there’s more information on Barbie’s friends and family on Wikipedia here.  I know I’ve read that Barbie and Ken’s surnames came from Mattel’s ad agency Carson Roberts, but I can’t remember or find where I read it.  It was probably another issue of Barbie Bazaar, but the information has been confirmed by collector and author Rebecca Ann Rupp.

Barbie’s middle name and the doll’s surnames (and extensive back stories) come from the Random House books, Barbie magazine and Comics.

Tammy was a name made popular by the movies starring Debbie Reynolds and later Sandra Dee, and the song ‘Tammy’ from the first movie was covered multiple times well into the 1960s, so it’s easy to see why that name was chosen for Ideal’s doll.  Tammy also had a surname, Turner, mentioned in the Whitman books.  I don’t know why Sindy was chosen for Pedigree’s doll, but I have seen correspondence belonging to collector and Sindy researcher, Aly Simmons, between Pedigree’s marketing agency and H.R. Lines, where Mr Lines is adamant the doll should be called Sindy – with an S – seemingly to differentiate it from another product, and the agency is trying to persuade a change to Jo, Jackie, Candy or Cherry.  I’m so glad Mr Lines stuck to his guns, Sindy is so much nicer and now of course, iconic, than any of the other names.  As Beatlemania was in full swing at the time of Sindy’s release, it’s easy to guess where boyfriend Paul and dog Ringo got their names.

Was Tammy named after the movie character or popular song? Her surname, Turner, came from the Whitman books.

Sindy could have been called Jo, Jackie, Candy or Cherry! Was Paul named after a popular Beatle?

But there are some weird doll names out there.  In Barbie’s world I’ve always wondered about the origins of Skipper.  Was it a nickname? And if so, what’s her real name? Same for Skooter, Fluff and Tiff.  And I’ve always thought Ginger a strange name for a doll of a young girl, especially in light of the character on Gilligan’s Island.  Similarly, are Pepper and Salty nicknames in Tammy’s world too?  The Young World Productions Sindy novels (see here) seem to suggest that Patch’s real name is Vicky, which is a little confusing as one of Sindy’s later friends also has the name. Is Poppet also a nickname?

In Barbie’s world especially, names are often recycled, sometimes with a slight change in spelling, and I suppose it makes sense to re-use a name already trademarked rather than having to Trademark a new one, even if it can get confusing.  And it also makes sense that Barbie’s friend’s names get changed and updated as time goes on.  But I do wonder about some name changes.  For instance, why did Allan lose an ‘L’ when he reappeared as Alan in 1990? Why was Barbie’s little sister known as Kelly in the USA but Shelley in Europe? Why has her name now changed to Chelsea?  

Sometimes I name dolls after their fashion or fashion’s name: LA Girl became Layla, the guy in the Tie Dye tank is Ty, Polka Dot Fun became Dodo and the guy with the stars on his trackie dacks and tank is now Stel (from Stellar – star).

When I was a child I mostly referred to my dolls by the name the company assigned them, but I did name a few.  I had three Barbie dolls and three Ken dolls.  They couldn’t all have the same name, so they became Barbara, Barbie and Babs, Ken, Ben and Dennis.  Not terribly original, but very practical.  Now, I usually stick to the name given by the manufacturer (meaning I have several Steffies, Teresas, etc.) but things became a little difficult when lines like the Barbie Basics and Fashionista’s came along, with dolls not being given names and some having sculpts we don’t know the name of, or the sculpts having names that don’t really work – think Goddess, Carnaval, etc.  So, just to be able to differentiate them, I name them. For some, I’ve chosen names – a few are based on the Muses from Greek mythology for instance – and some are based on their fashion’s name, for example ‘Polka Dot Fun’ became Dodo (Dot – Dorothy – Dodo), or just by their fashion.

How do you choose names for your dolls?  And if you can answer any of my questions please let me know!

Don’t forget, I’m now on Instagram – @jenjoysworld (and a non-doll photo art account @jenniferbs_world). There’ll be some unique content and behind the scenes stuff, so head over and follow.

(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission. 

Discarded LOL Surprise, No laughing Matter

A couple of weeks ago my cousin dropped in a big bag of Barbie and other dolls. It seems one of her neighbours dumped them all into a curb-side cardboard and plastic recycling bin, so she fished them out knowing they’re not recyclable and she thought they were too good just to be thrown in a bin.  She hoped there might be something that I (or friends) may want, and the rest could go to an op shop (charity, thrift, goodwill shop). 

The toys before being sorted and cleaned up.

I was gobsmacked when I saw what she had.  There were a few Barbies, a FailFix doll, some clothes, furniture and lots of LOL Surprise dolls. I was shocked that anyone would throw toys like these in any bin, let alone a recycling bin.  These types of plastics can’t be recycled through household recycling collections, and most probably, the entire contents of the bin would have been sent to landfill instead.  If you’re a regular reader, you know how I feel about toys being sent to landfill (see here)   and these were perfectly good, too good just to be thrown out.  I was also struck by the value of these toys.  One of the Barbie dolls is the Collector Edition I Dream of Jeanie doll, there are pieces from at least 5 or 6 OMG dolls and a Rainbow High, not to mention bits from over forty LOLs.  There must have been hundreds of dollars’ worth of items just tossed out. 

There were different versions of some dolls, making them harder to identify. There were boys too, and I discovered they’re anatomically correct.

As I began sorting through the items, I realised what a mammoth task I had ahead of me. The Barbie and other dolls were easy enough cleaned, but most of the LOL Surprise dolls were just heads, bodies, clothes and accessories, and as I pieced them all together it soon became apparent that not all of them matched up.  It was so hard to try and identify the heads, what bodies they should be on, and their clothes and accessories.  I scoured the internet, but the only identification site I could find was on the official LOL Surprise website, and then there were only cartoonish illustrations of the dolls.  Without their outfits it was hard to tell what was what, especially as there are also different versions of the same doll, ‘glitter’ for instance. It took me hours of scouring the site, then Googling the potential names, looking for photos of the dolls with and without fashions to properly ID them.  And even then, as I didn’t have all the correct parts, I’m left with heads on the wrong bodies and heads and bodies left over.  Still, I managed to piece together over thirty toys on colour matched bodies and in outfits, even if not their own.  Quite a few of the dolls are listed as being rare, but I’m not sure what exactly that means, although some complete, mint dolls sell for a good price on online auction sites.

There were the smaller LOL Surprise dolls, Pets, some of which matched dolls and some rarer dolls like the Block Party group.

As soon as I saw the Mondrian inspired ‘Shapes’ LOL Surprise doll I knew she was a keeper, but my initial thought for the rest was to clean them up and donate them.  But then, as I pieced them together my brain decided that perhaps I should keep a few others as well, based on logic and reason.  I should keep a boy; ‘Harlequin Girl’ because she matches an OMG doll I have; and the two with real hair.  But as I went on, cleaning and dressing them my heart told my brain what it could do with its logic and reason and I’ve ended up keeping about fifteen. It’s safe to say my thoughts on LOL Surprise dolls has changed.  I probably still won’t be buying anymore – as a blind box concept they’re not for me.  But piecing together outfits for them from the bits that I had was fun, and I really fell in love with some of them, and weirdly, I don’t find them as appealing seeing them online in their original fashions. 

‘Shapes’ was a must keep, she and these other girls are now favorites. But the thing I love most from this lot, is the tiny little LOL Surprise Juke Bot.

While I didn’t find any with the bodies that were the subject of most of the complaints I’ve read, I can see why some parents may find these dolls inappropriate for kids.  Some have painted or temperature activated bras and pants or bodysuits, and fishnet stockings.  I know this is no worse than things some Barbie and other dolls wear, but when you consider these LOL Surprise dolls are often referenced as tots or toddlers, some may consider them improper. I’m also not entirely sure what is written on one of the doll’s chest, so knowing that may change my thoughts.  I also have my own outrage at the name of one of the dolls I’m keeping.  It’s called Coconut cutie, and for many, especially those of Pacific Islander heritage, ‘Coconut’ could be considered quite an offensive racist slur.

Some bodies have painted or temperature sensitive under garments. I can’t read what’s written on one doll’s chest. Two have angel wings, one has colour change hair and two have rooted hair.

I think this may also have given me an insight into how some kids ‘play’ with their toys, in this case, ripping their heads and clothes off and then throwing them out.  These must be only a fraction of the toys they own/have owned as I have heads and bodies that don’t match and bits and bobs from dolls not found in this lot.  And it’s made me think.  When I was a kid we only got toys for Christmas and birthday, or if we saved pocket money for them ourselves.  And I think that gave us more of an appreciation for what we did have.  There were also fewer releases of toys in general. There were only a few Barbie doll releases and more clothes for example.  And when we were finished with them, we tended to pass them on to younger kids or to charity. I know there are still kids out there that value and appreciate their toys, my great-nieces and nephews do.  But now, more than ever, consumerism rules and the sheer quantity of plastic bits produced is staggering.  And it seems some kids get more toys than they know what to do with.  Perhaps too much comes too easily and they are destroyed and discarded, without thought for the environment or those less fortunate. I find it sad that some think in this way.

The bigger dolls all cleaned up.

At least now, instead of adding to our environmental crisis, these toys are getting a new life. One of the Barbie dolls, some clothing, furniture and lots of the LOL Surprise dolls are heading for my doll room, more are heading off to friends and deserving wee girls and a huge bag is going off to the op shop where hopefully, some other children will enjoy playing with them too.  

An army of re-assembled LOL Surprise dolls ready for a new life.

Don’t forget, I’m now on Instagram – @jenjoysworld (and a non-doll photo art account @jenniferbs_world). There’ll be some unique content and behind the scenes stuff, so head over and follow.

(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission. 

Sibling Rivalry

When I was a kid, I made up back stories for my dolls.  They all had jobs – hairdresser, marine biologist, chemist, accountant – so of course it was natural to look for family connections too.  Some were the obvious ones dictated by toy companies.  It seems most dolls had at least a sister – Sindy had Patch, Tressy had Cricket or Toots depending on which country you lived in and Tuesday Taylor had Dodi.  I think Barbie has more siblings than any other doll – Skipper, Tutti, Todd, Stacie, Kelly/Chelsea and baby Chrissy – as well as cousins Francie and Jazzie.  Some dolls had extended families, Tammy had sister Pepper, brothers Ted and Pete as well as mum and dad; and Licca Chan has dad Pierre, mum Orie, sisters Rie, Miki and Maki, Miku, Kako and Gen, Grandpa Albert and two grandmothers, Milene and Yoko, not to mention cousin Charles.  But some relationships, I made up.  Of course my three Barbie dolls had to be sisters because two had the same face mould and they all had the same name, although I referred to them as Barbara, Barbie and Babs. Makes perfect sense, right?  Well it did to my wee mind.  I saw familial similarities in other dolls too – Ken and Ginger have the same unusual hair colour so they must be brother and sister – and I find myself still doing it.  So, here’s a peek at some of the family connections I see in my doll collection.

I always had it in my mind that Midge and Skooter were sisters and Allan and Ricky were brothers.  The girls both have those little turned up noses, freckles and come in the same hair colours and the boys both have that red hair.  But then a friend (@dolljunk) said he thought it was the other way around, based on the doll’s eye colour, and suddenly I could see similarities in Midge and Ricky and Allan and Skooter too. But I think they’re stronger in my original assessment, so I’m sticking to that.

When Tammy and Pepper got a new style of body, they also got new friends.  Misty and Dodi both have the same eye and hair colour, so I think they make cute sisters too.

PJ and Fluff both have those big brown eyes, cute turned up noses and blonde hair, and in matching Best Buy fashions they make the cutest sisters.

Likewise, Live Action Christie and Carla have the same light brown eyes and button noses and just look like they’re sisters.

Ken and Ginger both have hair in an unusual shade of brown (well, unusual amongst Barbie and friends anyway) so despite the fact they have different eye colours, in my collection they’ve always been brother and sister.

If you were looking for a specific Skipper doll as Superstar Barbie’s sister, it would have to be a doll with the face mould first used on Super Teen Skipper.  My doll is actually Horse Lovin’ Skipper but she’s still a perfect sibling for my Superstar Barbie.

And with all that dark brown hair, the toothy smile and blue eyes, Scott Skipper’s Boyfriend can only be Sport and Shave Ken’s little brother.

I’ve mentioned in a previous blog that I can see similarities between Mystery Squad Kenzie and 75th Anniversary The Wizard of Oz Glinda doll, perhaps making them mother and daughter, but I can also see similarities between Kenzie and When I Read I Dream Heidi, perhaps as a younger sister.

I think I’ve also mentioned before that because of the similarities between the Millie and CM (closed mouth) Millie face sculpts, in my mind, these girls are sisters.  I just can’t decide which one is the elder (which face mould cam first?).  

With the same luscious locks, square jaw, brown eyes and deep tans, I can’t help but see these two re-bodied Fashionistas (#126 Tropical Dress and #138) as brother and sister – although I get the feeling that while he does yoga to limber up before a surf, she’s much more likely to be sunbathing in a designer swimsuit.

This one is a bit out there, and I think I’ve also mentioned it before, but although they both have very different colouring, Justice League Mera and Justice League Wonder Woman also look like sisters to me.  I once knew twins with a Scottish father and Maltese mother and like these dolls, one was a red head while the other had dark hair.  There’s something about these face sculpts, that just screams sisters to me.

So, is it just me?  Or do you see families in your doll collection too?

Don’t forget, I’m now on Instagram – @jenjoysworld (and a non-doll photo art account @jenniferbs_world). There’ll be some unique content and behind the scenes stuff, so head over and follow.

(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission. 

Even More Recent Barbie Fashions

For the past few months I’ve been trying to find the new Barbie fashions in the plastic pouches.  A friend found one at Kmart, but my stores didn’t have them.  Others have found them at Big W. My local store has closed down and after driving half way across town, the stores I visited didn’t have any.  They were also available at Toy World, but a couple of stores didn’t have any, and by the time I did find them at my local shop they didn’t have the two I wanted most; the one with the watermelon print dress and the one with the tie dyed track suit.  So I consoled myself by buying a few of the others.  I was hoping to have tracked down the other two before I wrote about them, but we’re in and out of lockdown like jack-in-the-boxes here, so who knows when shops will be open again and I’ll be able to get out and look for them. I forgot to take a pic of them in the pack, so you’ll have to Google that, but here’s how they look on dolls.

I bought this fashion because I loved the yellow check dress, and it looks fabulous on a curvy or regular girl.  I’m kinda over Mattel putting frills on almost every dress they produce lately, but I actually like the diagonal frill on this one. I’ve fallen for the rose print top, it will be very versatile and the purple skirt is utilitarian, if boring.  However, both top and skirt were a bit of a tight squeeze on a curvy doll, the back Velcro closures didn’t quite meet.  Love the addition of the boots, but would have preferred if they’d piffed the useless rose shaped bag and added another pair of shoes.

It was the cute overalls that sold this one, and I was curious about the blue leopard print top.  Was it a top? A dress? I don’t really like the colours, but they’re unusual in Barbie’s world and I do like the design.  Turns out it is long enough to be a dress, it looks slightly better on a regular doll than curvy, but looks even better with a pair of leggings underneath. The overalls suit both body types, but I really don’t see the point of a slogan tank if it’s going to be hidden by the bib of the overalls.  And once again, I’d have preferred shoes to the white headphones.  Quite like the glasses though.

I have to admit that I probably really only bought this one because I was peeved at not finding the two I really wanted.  The 80’s inspired, tiered ra ra dress is not at all flattering to a curvy doll, the frills just seem to stick out in all the wrong places.  In fact, it’s only just passable on a regular doll.   The polka dot fashion suits both body types, but I think the top may have been better cropped a bit shorter.  The ‘hot dog’ bag is cute, but I’ll say it again, more shoes please!

There was one more pack, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy yet another shapeless tee shirt dress – with ubiquitous frills – and shimmery skirt. If I happen to find the other two fashions I like, I’ll post an update.  I have to say, I’m finding the fashions all a bit samey, and I’m really sad that they’re just so hard to find.  As someone who grew up in the Best Buy era, where there were fewer dolls and more fashions, the lack of outfits is disheartening.  What do kids do with their dolls?  How do they play with them if they can’t swap and change their clothes?  To me it somewhat defeats the point of a fashion doll and I wonder if it’s part of the reason dolls are waning in popularity. What are your thoughts?  

Don’t forget, I’m now on Instagram – @jenjoysworld (and a non-doll photo art account @jenniferbs_world). There’ll be some unique content and behind the scenes stuff, so head over and follow.

(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission. 

Barbie X Roxy Fashions

It was a pleasant surprise to find some of the Barbie X Roxy fashions in toy shops recently (thanks @dolljunk for the heads up). I suspect they may be overstock rather than a regular line as they have the clearance-style price tags on them, so I doubt we’ll get any of the others, but I’m not complaining.  My initial thought was just to get one or two packs, but I couldn’t decide which two due largely to the abundance of cute accessories so I ended up buying all four.  There goes the budget, I don’t really need to buy food, do I?

I’m a bit ashamed to say I’d never heard of Roxy until this Barbie X Roxy collaboration, more so on discovering the company has its roots here in Australia, but then, I’m probably not their core marketing demographic. Even though these packs were cheaper than the regular Barbie fashions (more about those next week), at first I thought they were still a bit overpriced for what you get.  The regular fashions are a two pack, where all but one of the Roxy packs contains only one fashion. But on opening them and seeing the quality of the fashions and accessories, I’ve conceded they are worth the price tag.

The first pack will fit out two dolls on a trip to the beach, and better still, the dress will fit a curvy doll.  Not so much the swimsuit.  I love the inclusion of a bottle of sunscreen and a tiny icy pole (ice lolly, popsicle or whatever they’re called in your part of the world). And there’s even a pair of thongs (flip flops, jandals or whatever you call them).

This is probably my favourite of the four, I love the floral print and faux straw bag.  While the other accessories are nice, I’d have been happier to lose the weird pineapple shoulder bag and the peach-coloured necklace and for a pair of shoes to be included.  No close up for this girl, these sunglasses are slightly convex, and magnify the eyes.  Scary!  I think this fashion will also fit a curvy girl.

The pastel colours of this fashion look fabulous on this girl.  I love the slightly retro motif on the top and love, love, love the inclusion of a camera.  I don’t think these shorts will fit a curvy girl though, if they do, they may be a wee bit tight.

This one is a versatile fashion and it’s the baseball cap that sold it to me.  Headphones and a drink cup are included, as well as a really cute pair of slip-on sandals and another pair of sunglasses that are slightly convex, but don’t magnify quite as much as the other pair!  And this one should also go on a curvy girl.

And as this week was NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) week, with the theme ‘Heal Country’, it’s about time I told you that I’m grateful to live on Wurundjeri (Woi Wurrung) country and acknowledge its traditional custodians and pay respects to their Elders past and present. Always was, always will be.

Don’t forget, I’m now on Instagram – @jenjoysworld (and a non-doll photo art account @jenniferbs_world). There’ll be some unique content and behind the scenes stuff, so head over and follow.

(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission.