Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Item Review: Josefina's Weaving Outfit

More Josefina!
So Halloween is over and we're now on the count down to the busiest months of the year for me which include: my anniversary (yes, I had an anniversary earlier this year but that is the anniversary of my legal marriage and this is the real deal), my birthday (which for the first time this year leaves me with a sense of depression instead of excitement), the military ball, Thanksgiving (which I'll be celebrating with my dad for the first time ever), Christmas, a trip home right after, and then the New Year. Once New Year's hits, I'll be preparing for my husband to leave the military. Busy times ahead...

And of course with the holiday season coming up, American Girl is busy as well. Grace is about to be gone forever, as well as Caroline (go to Costco!), and then AG can disappoint me again with their new GOTY. I am not getting my hopes up. I guess I'm getting cynical.

In the meantime, American Girl can deal with the criticism over their recent coverage in their magazine of a foster child who was adopted by two loving parents. Why would that be a big deal, you might ask? Oh, yeah, because those two loving parents are both men. We all know that children are better off stuck in temporary foster homes than with two loving but gay parents! I just can't...

Usually, I get pretty upset over the cultural issues with AG-the lack of diversity in certain lines, things like that. But I'm standing by American Girl this time. This just makes me want to spend even more of my money with the company (despite my rage at not receiving a coupon). I'm standing by American Girl.

More importantly I'm standing by Amaya, an American girl who deserves a loving, stable home and who doesn't deserve the ire of a hate group like 80,000 moms. I'm standing by adoptive parents, no matter their sexual orientation, who provide these homes.

The silliness of this whole thing astounds me. If you're going to cut out of your life every single company that has expressed support for the gay community, you would have to live under a rock. And you know what? I wouldn't agree with the principle, but I would have more respect for these 80,000 moms if they did cut out every single company. At least I would think they were sincere. No Disney, no Facebook, no Doritos, no Target...

But they won't because they're hypocrites. So no respect for their belief (which was a given) but also no respect for their strength of conviction.

Moving on.

So I am in the process of dressing all my dolls for November (I'm a bit late but I'm almost done) and I was struck at the beauty of Josefina in her weaving outfit. The weaving outfit was released in 2003 and retired in 2006. It was one of her short story outfits, and is, in my opinion, one of the prettier outfits she has in her collection.

It consisted of a camisa, skirt, belt, and rebozo. Let's get started!


Josefina pausing before her box of clothes.
So what is a camisa exactly? It's basically a long undershirt/shift that would go under the full skirt worn by Mexican women at this time.
It's important to get a few things straight about the fashions worn by Josefina and girls/women like her before we move on. When Josefina and her sisters were working or doing anything that wasn't extremely formal, they wore camisas, full skirts, moccasins adopted from the Pueblo Indians, and rebozos to protect their skin from the sun. They did not wear constricting European undergarments such as corsets-these clothes were meant to allow a more active life style. Examples of this style in Josefina's collection include her meet outfit, her school outfit, her birthday outfit, her harvest outfit, and this outfit.
Note that this did not mean that these outfits couldn't be beautiful. The rebozos were often art quality, and the colors of the skirts were intense. But these outfits were uniquely Mexican in style, combining elements from European and Pueblo Indian fashion into an entirely new (practical but beautiful) style.
When a girl or woman truly wanted to dress up for a formal occasion, however, she would wear European inspired clothing. Josefina's Christmas dress and mantilla is an excellent example of a European style dress. You'll notice the long tight sleeves, the Empire/Regency style waist, the fancier fabric. This is a more formal look. Josefina's fiesta outfit is another example.
The European outfits involved stricter undergarments, and therefore hampered movement. In 1846, when the United States claimed New Mexico, many cultural changes occurred.  Soon, most women wore European style clothing year round. I am not 100% on this, but I am sure that this change of clothing also reflected a change in activity for New Mexican women like Josefina. It is harder to get around in a corset and hoopskirt (which would have been in fashion during the change over) than in a full skirt and long undershirt (it is my belief that many female fashions throughout history, including things like high heels and tight jeans today, are meant to impede physical movement and therefore freedom and self defense). Yay, progress....  
But of course Josefina, who likely died a United States citizen since she was (I hope) alive in 1846, couldn't have known that the days of practical but pretty clothing were numbered. The weaving outfit is an example of one of Josefina's Mexican outfits. A camisa was an essential element of these ensembles.
This camisa features burgundy embroidery on the chest with matching trim on the neckline. The embroidery showcases a flower and two leaf vines. The neckline is square.

The sleeves are capped with a bit of gathering for fullness and also feature burgundy trim.

I didn't capture a picture of it, but the camisa velcros up the back like most AG clothing.
The only issue with this camisa is that it won't really go with any other skirt combination. Josefina's camisa from her meet outfit will go with any skirt you pair it with because of the lack of colorful detailing. These outfits are supposed to mix and match, but in this case, the other skirt would also have to be burgundy. Still, the camisa is absolutely lovely so no complaints from me.
The skirt is full and calf length. The top part is white-when Josefina has the entire outfit on (including the belt) the top part of the skirt makes it look almost like a dress because it matches. A burgundy ribbon separates the white top half from the patterned bottom half. The ribbon of course matches the trim on the camisa.
The pattern is stunning-small burgundy flowers with brown vines against a beige background.

Along the hem, there is a kind of thick, crochet lace. It is barely noticeable but it really adds a nice, pretty detail to the outfit. Here's to all the haters who say Josefina and Addy (I need to review one of her outfits to prove this) don't have pretty clothes. Yes they do! Who can look at this outfit and not admire the copious detail that went into it? This outfit is gorgeous.


The rebozo is a much wider piece of material than the other rebozos that Josefina typically wears. It is a burgundy color with fringe on the side.

Rebozos were necessary for remaining pale (and also to prevent premature aging caused by sun exposure, but I'm going to focus on the cultural implications of remaining pale). It's hard for many white Americans to believe in this day and age of worshipping the sun (recently at the hairdresser I was asked if I have ever considered spray tanning-I'm of Irish descent and my coloring reflects that, I cannot tan, and I have a history of skin cancer in my family-I wasn't insulted, I just informed my stylist that I have come to terms with my paleness), but once upon a time, being tan was considered a terrible thing. Not because of skin cancer, but because people who were tan theoretically acquired their tan while working in the sun. Since working, especially outside with your hands, was seen as something only poor people did, women tried to keep their skin was pale as possible.

Josefina and her family did work outside with their hands. But they didn't want people to know that because it would reflect badly on their social status. The women could use other methods-some women spread mud on their faces to protect against the sun.

This hasn't changed. I said above that white Americans don't get it. But people of color around the world try to lighten their skin all the time, and being dark skinned can sometimes be viewed as aesthetically unpleasing within communities. There's a documentary available for viewing on Netflix called Dark Girls. It's hard to watch but I think it was an important thing to see. Western beauty standards of skin color, hair, and facial features have had such a huge impact on ideals of beauty around the world. It hurts me to hear a kid say that they feel ugly because they're "too dark."

I don't want to get too into that because I'm not in these communities and so my understanding is superficial. But I do want to say that your skin is beautiful. My skin is beautiful.

Back to the matter at hand.

This rebozo has a very light pattern consisting of lighter and darker burgundy colors interlocking.

Fringe is cool. This rebozo isn't an example of this, but many women created elaborate designs with the fringe of their shawls to add a pretty detail.


This belt is a woven strip of thick material. The colors are yellow, black, burgundy, and blue. You tie this around Josefina's waist to conceal the waist of the skirt.

Picture time!

I choose to wrap the rebozo around Josefina's pretty face. The Josefina mold is definitely my favorite out of all the molds AG has ever used. No, I'm not biased....that would be wrong...definitely not.

To really shield her from the skin cancer causing sun, the rebozo would have to be pulled forward a bit. But I couldn't resist showing off her pretty brown eyes and thick hair. I think this might be my favorite picture of her that I have ever taken.

Josefina getting her learn on! When she becomes a curandera, maybe she'll write down her herb knowledge.

You need a light to read!


One day Josefina will get love letters and she'll send responses by letter as well. Or...maybe she'll just send them a squash!

Notice that Josefina is wearing her moccasins with this outfit. Those are the only acceptable pair of shoes for this set.

Josefina and Nina (who is wearing a copy of a European ensemble).

Anyways, that's all for this lovely outfit! I still haven't done any reviews for Kaya, Felicity, Elizabeth, Marie-Grace, Addy, Nellie, Kit, Molly, Emily, Maryellen, Julie, Ivy, or Saige. It's irrational but it's starting to make me feel bad. So my goal is to not do another clothing or furniture review for Josefina, Samantha, Rebecca, or Caroline until the rest of the dolls get some coverage.

Also, who would Addy be in the future? Hopefully that post will be up soon!


Now am I in support of covering your skin when you go outside? Yes! Slather that SPF on, wear a big hat, cover up. But it isn't because darker skin (or paler skin, unlike what my hairdresser implied) is ugly. It's because you can get skin cancer. Everyone, no matter their race, can get skin cancer. I feel forced to add because I have no idea who is viewing this that people of color can sometimes be more likely to die of skin cancer. Why? Because there is a myth in our society that only white people get skin cancer, so people of color often think they're safe. Often skin cancer is seen as a white person's disease. Doctors often think their patients of color are safe and don't warn people of color (especially African Americans) that they are at risk. Then by the time they realize they have skin cancer, it's way too late because no one was checking.

I posted a link to back up what I was saying. Check for moles and marks. Go see a doctor. Be safe. This is the perfect time since the summer just ended. This applies to everyone.

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