My generation gets a lot of flack for being overly nostalgic before we’ve really earned the right to be. But first of all, as a kid in the 90s, I remember all of the gen-Xers were into 1970s childhood nostalgia. This is hardly new. Additionally, we were pretty much doomed to be nostalgic. I blame the American Girls Collection. It made all of us long for the past before we had even been in the present for more than 7 years. We never had a chance.
Samantha was really the it girl of the American Girl world. If you had at least one American Girl doll, it was probably Samantha. I mean, I didn’t , but that was because my teacher’s daughter had Samantha, and their dog ate it, so she passed the outfits on to me. My Molly doll was the same thing as Samantha, but with grey eyes, so once I had the outfits I was seriously all set.
I’ve read several articles and fashion blogs discussing the influence of Downton Abbey on today’s fashion, and the general consensus is “who would have thought that Edwardian style would ever be the thing?” Um, how about all of us who grew up in the 1990s and idolized Samantha Parkington’s well-tailored outfits, sleek furniture, and bangin’ Victorian mansion? Sidebar, since I was about five years old, with the exception of high school and a few stabs at bobbed hair, I’ve had Samantha’s hair ‘do. Forget Zooey Deschanel. Samantha Parkington’s are the bangs that defined a generation.
Samantha’s Middy Outfit
This outfit just kills me. Usually when I wear nautical-themed outfits it’s more on the lines of navy stripes and a jaunty scarf, maybe with some kelly green pants or Nantucket reds. But this dress is a great reminder to try out the sailor look – keep the collar smallish so you don’t look costumey. I had a red sailor coat when I was little, and I practically cried when I outgrew it, because it reminded me of Sam’s summer dress. I mean, I probably did cry.
Samantha’s Plaid Cape and Gaiters
Thus began my lifelong love affair with Black Watch plaid. So classic and gorgeous! I think Susan has a coat like this in the ’90s Miracle on 34th Street. I was so annoyed with my school uniform, which was almost black watch, but with stupid red and yellow lines in it (which clashed with our baby-blue Peter Pan collar blouses). The real beauty of this is in the adorable gaiters she has. Anyone know where I can get a pair? Also, did anyone else carry a muff as a kid because of this, or was that just me? I never realized what a vintage-obsessed child I was, but I toted around my aunt’s 1950s fur hand-warmer like it was going out of style (which it probably was).
Molly McIntire always had a place in my heart, primarily because we are both named Molly and are both sort of awkward, yet also driven and optimistic. She was like a nine-year-old, wartime Leslie Knope that way. She made me really want wire-framed glasses, although my eyesight wouldn’t deteriorate enough for that until my mid-20s. Molly had a tomboyish yet preppy style, and if you were born in the ‘80s, your mom probably liked her because the outfits reminded her of her childhood in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Molly’s Camp Gowanagan Outfit
High waisted red shorts, sassy scarf, and crisp white button-up? Yes, please. Molls looks like such a 2010s hipster here. Like, I can practically tell which Brooklyn neighborhood she lives in. As I mentioned before, thanks to Molly, I dragged my mom to about five stores in third grade, searching for saddle shoes (I found them, and they were everything I’d ever dreamed of. And I’m pretty proud that I was thinking for myself, fashion-wise, at such a young age, because I’m pretty sure they weren’t in style. And I’m pretty sure that I want another pair right NOW.)
Molly’s Slicker And Rain Hat
Yes. Yep. This is it. This is how you dress in the rain. I’ve actually not gone with a serious vinyl raincoat since I was probably in the single-digits, age-wise, but I would definitely wear this. Also, how amazingly practical is it to have a rain hat? When did we, as a people, stop doing that? You’d still carry an umbrella, probably, but think of the hair damage you could avoid! This is also a nice reminder that while novelty wellies are adorable, the classic reds and yellows will never fail you. An aside: I taught one of my nephews to call his boots like these his “galoshes” because it is adorable.
A lot of the time, my pajamas are fleece pajama pants or pajama shorts, and then some sort of t-shirt that I got for free. But when I wear legit pajama sets, I always feel way more put together and cute. It’s somehow less embarrassing to answer my door in p.j.s when my pajamas are also an outfit. Miss MacIntire understood this. While any kind of pajama set will do, these red stripes are so cheerful yet dignified, I think they’re really the ultimate in classy yet comfy, child (or adult) appropriate nightwear.
What do you think – did we miss any great outfits? Did you try to dress like these characters as a kid (or adult)? Did your parents buy you the kid-sized outfits? We’d love to know!