Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Addy's Striped Dress

So I am keeping my promise to not post about the dolls I always post about (Josefina, Rebecca, Caroline, and Kirsten). Since it is still fall, I wanted to show you guys one of my favorite fall outfits that American Girl has released.

And it's an Addy dress! Let's talk about Addy for a moment since this is her first time being seen on my blog.


Addy was the fifth American Girl doll released and the first doll of color. I think what fascinates me the most about Addy is that she didn't just involve a skin color swap-Pleasant Company created a new face mold for her (the four previous dolls all used the classic face mold) and used textured hair for her wig.

Let's talk about black dolls for a moment. African (I can't say American here because many of these dolls were created by European companies) dolls have been around for a while. According to Wikipedia, which I know isn't the best source but can give an overview of the subject, European companies began making black dolls in the late 1800s, with American companies following. However these were not accurate representations of African features.

Often they were in fact racist caricatures. An example would be the golliwog doll. I debated including a picture of a golliwog doll on the blog, but I didn't want to upset people who could, after all, just google the term if they wanted to see what I was talking about. You can also find many examples of Mammy or pickaninny type dolls.

Shindana Toys is (again, according to Wikipedia) one of the first companies to create accurate African American dolls. The company was founded in 1968 and was a part of Operation Bootstrap. The first doll released was called Baby Nancy.

Shindana Toys (Division of Operation Bootstrap), Watts, California
"Baby Nancy" Doll, 1968
13 1/4 x 6 1/4 x 3 1/2 in.
Collection of Civil Rights Archive/CADVC-UMBC, Baltimore, Maryland, Anonymous Gift, 2008.4

There is no doubt that having beautiful (not caricatured) African American dolls is important to the self esteem of little black children. When arguing for desegregation, the Clark doll experiments were used to show that segregation was harming children. You can search for videos of these experiments on YouTube-they're repeated every few years it seems.

That is why dolls like Addy (and other dolls of color) are so important and why it is so upsetting for many when American Girl fails, year after year, to release an African American GOTY doll. It might seem like just a doll to many white people (who have the room to feel that way because they are surrounded by white dolls that look like them all the time) but it is not just a doll to black children who want a limited edition, special doll that looks like them.

Addy has sweet features, beautiful long hair, large brown eyes, and lovely clothes. She is a far cry from the golliwog dolls, and has shown how far we have come. But don't be fooled. This isn't over. We still have a long way to go.

Alright. On to the dress.

Addy's striped dress is not marketed as a "fall" dress (the short story it is taken from actually takes place in the spring) but the colors of the dress (orange and green) scream fall to me. Since she was wearing this dress when she was told that she was accepted to the Institute for Colored Youth (which means that Addy will have a chance to fulfill her dream of being a teacher), I like to think that she wore this dress in the fall when she began to attend the ICY.


The fabric of the dress is a burnt orange color mixed with a softer yellow shade. That is definitely a fall orange. In what universe is that a spring color?

The dress is trimmed with orange and green plaid. The skirt has two ruffles on it as seen in this picture. As seen above, the plaid is also on the waistband.

The collar (which reminds me of a Peter Pan collar, but since that story wasn't out yet, it is not appropriate to call it that) is also made of the same plaid material.
Along with the plaid ruffle, the sleeves are trimmed with olive green material.
The sleeves are long, which again makes this a fall dress in my mind. Addy would be able to keep warm in this dress (or maybe I just think that because I grew up in the south, where spring is hot).  

That's what it looks like on her. This is definitely a fall dress! My Addy wears this every October and November for Halloween/Thanksgiving. I don't care what the short story suggests.

Hair ribbon:

The set only has one other component to it: a headband that matches the green trim on the sleeves.

The ribbon is meant to stretch around her hair so that the ribbon sits on top. It's pretty easy to get on and can be used with any number of hairstyles. It's just been a while since Addy has had her hair down and I wanted to show how long her hair really is for this post. I don't think her hair is quite as long as Kaya's, but Addy has very long, very thick hair.

There it is once on. Forgive her flyaways-I took the photo before straightening her up like I should have.

There she is, all done up in her striped dress (with the boots from her second meet outfit) and her school lunch. She is ready for her first day at the ICY!



  1. Well written post! Now I miss playing with Addy's hair, though :-)

    1. I actually think Addy's hair is pretty easy to do (regardless of the naysayers) because it holds a style. Also it is SO long and beautiful and perfect :)

  2. I love your research on everything and your "rants" make me see a kindred spirit for me and Nethelia : )

    1. Thank you! All the research gives me a chance to relive my college days. Besides, it's fun to rant :)