American Girl Outfits I’d Wear Today: Kirsten and Addy

Last time around, we brought you (potentially) wearable outfits from American Girl characters Felicity and Josefina. Now that you’re – hopefully – done seething about unfair taxes on tea, we’re bringing you two more. Use this as a shopping guide if, like Angela from The Office, “sometimes the clothes at the GapKids are just too flashy. So, I am forced to go to American Girl store and order clothes for large colonial dolls.”

Kirsten Larson

On Christmas day in first grade, I opened a small box from Santa. There was a note to look under my bed – and there, in a maroon Pleasant Company box, was Kirsten Larson. If you got a Kirsten doll, it may have been because you were blonde, or of Swedish descent, or from the Midwest. For me, it was because Kirsten and I were both fairly outdoorsy. Granted, for Larson it was more of a default situation, since she lived in the Minnesota wilderness. As such, Kirsten’s outfits are casual and practical, but there was a budding fashionista under her pragmatic Scandinavian exterior.

My fourthhand claim to fame is that this character was named for my friend’s aunt (?) or something. If you’ve ever wondered about the historical accuracy of American Girl main character names — well, first of all, we should be besties forever, and second of all, they’re almost all statistically quite unlikely for the place and time the books were set. I’m terribly sorry to tell you that the name Kirsten is Danish/Norwegian, and wasn’t really used in Sweden in the 1840s when our girl K. would have been born.

Kirsten’s Summer Outfit
These faded blue pinstripes are soft, crisp summer perfection. And those red booties! What is Kirsten, some sort of Swedish-Minnesotan fashion genius? The red is echoed in the fresh berries on her hat, because Kirsten Larson is brilliant and I’m still really sorry that she lost her friend Marta to cholera (…spoiler?).

In third grade or so, I was sorting through a trash bag of hand-me-downs from my cousin (did everyone get those or was I just poor? They were the BEST). I pulled out a pale blue striped number, and could not believe it. It was Kirsten’s summer dress! On closer examination, it was no dress at all – it was culottes. This was probably the first of many times that I was disappointed to find that what looked like a skirt or dress was actually culottes or a skort. It’s like taking a sip from what you think is Sprite and finding out that it’s water. And it’s a life lesson that I think all of us have learned. [This was also my first time thinking that I could alter a clothing item, and failing miserably.]

Kirsten’s Winter Outfit and Scandinavian Woolens

If this were a catalog for adult humans, she’d wear that outfit on a dock with an adorable Yellow Lab. Her gentleman friend would have a coordinating sweater set. And I’d hate them.

Damn, Larson. Look at you. Cozy and adorable. When I wonder if it’s too cold to wear a skirt, I just remind myself that Kirsten did it, and Minnesota is probably colder than upstate New York. For real, a full wool skirt is a great addition to your winter wardrobe, and the ribbon detail is just bonus.

Addy Walker

Addy was a truly groundbreaking American Girl character. No, I don’t mean because she was the first African-American girl featured – although that was a big deal. I mean, she had pierced ears. This was HUGE. I think if I’d had one more American Girl doll, it would have been Addy. In an age when everyone had Samantha, Addy owners were real originals.

Addy’s School Dress
Look at what a professional Addy is! Little kids in suits kill me, probably because – according to photographic evidence – I wore a little pink skirt suit for Easter when I was 7. I wouldn’t wear this whole thing head to toe, but the cropped blue jacket with skinny jeans? Absolutely.

Addy’s summer dress
Cute floral, adorable peter pan collar, waist detailing – what more could you want in a summer dress? Maybe leave off the visible pantaloons if you are an adult in the 21st century.

Hope you enjoyed our stroll down sartorial memory lane! Check back for our final installment – Samantha and Molly.