Sunday, September 7, 2014

Dollar Tree Beauty: Review and Clothing Fit Comparison

On the way back to the train from Walmart, I stopped at Dollar Tree to see what they had in the way of $1 fashion doll knock-offs. To my surprise, they had $1 fashion doll dresses (but horrible quality, with serged hems) and a plethora of ambiguously brown fashion dolls in better quality dresses.

The ambiguous brownness sucked me in. Usually Dollar Store Beauties, along with Swap Mart Beauties, are a whiter shade of pale, with the exception of the eerily glowing African-American baggie version at Dollar General. This gal also has a face comparable to the higher end of Swap Mart Beauties and the Just Kidz dolls, rather than the unfortunate raccoon-eyed look of the Barbie knock-offs at the 99 Cents Only.

Here, all the ambiguously brown gals gather, with varying levels of enthusiasm and skepticism, to check out Dolores. (Non-keepers don't usually get names, but calling her "the Dollar Tree Beauty" for much longer is going to get tedious.) What they're most curious about is which of them can wear her clothes.

Clockwise from bottom left: Liv Alexis (AA), Briony (EAH Briar Rose), Krys (lighter Alexis),
Dolores in box, Cleo de Nile, Hattie de Nile (Cleo #2),
Elena (Fashionista Sporty), Rebecca (Pocahantas head on Fashionista Artsy body).

The back of the box tells us that she's a fashion doll and gives the trademark information. The silhouette on the box has nothing to do with the dolls (I've never seen a short-haired one) and may have escaped from the 1970s.

It's difficult to brand more minimally than "fashion doll."
To nobody's surprise, Dolores is made in China. Greenbrier International is Dollar Tree's importing subsidiary.

She slides right out the box -- no twist ties, no plastic tags through the head, nothing.

Free at last!
She cannot stand on her own but must be propped up. Her skin tone appears most similar to Glidden Weathered Bronzetone (10215), the third shade down on the paint chip card.

If the color of my skin is "weathered," I may want to stock up on sunscreen.
Sitting in a lady-like manner is not going to happen, but she can raise her arms. Sideways arm motion is also out. It's also immediately obvious that her limbs are hollow: she's very light-weight.
Whee! Pink shoes with a blue dress is fashion!

Dolores has grayish eyes, violet eye shadow, and very pale pink lipstick. The eyes look downright sticker-ish to me, but I'm scared to pick at anything. Getting a face-up with the lips mostly painted required going through the rack. Dolores' ears are pierced but she does not come with earrings.

"I'll bet 'Brown-Eyed Girl' wasn't even written in the reality that fashion dolls come from."
Dolores' shoes are fairly conservative, as fashion-doll shoes go. There is zero chance that they will fit any name-brand fashion doll's feet.
We are so tiny that not even Cinderella can wear us!
Here's why. Dolores' culture apparently practices foot-binding.

We are marketed as dolls to stick in cakes. Seriously.
Her back repeats the Greenbrier International information, for an effect similar to being tattooed with a long poem or possibly a small-town phonebook. Dolores' molded-on underwear either is a thong or is giving her a serious wedgie.

My waist turns?
Front-to-back splits are a breeze. Sideways splits ain't happenin'.

My future in gymnastics is limited. Also, my hands look like
I always wear mittens.
Taking the rubber band out of Dolores' hair does remarkably little to alter its style. Her hair feels slick and harsh, like cheap doll hair from 30-40 years ago.

It's my sexy bedhead look!

Styling Dolores' hair into anything other than a ponytail is not a good idea, thanks to most of her rooting being around the edges of her hairline.

If I were punk, I'd do the middle section in pink and call it a look.
Combing results in perilous amounts of shedding, while boil-washing does nothing to relax the shape of the hair. There's a reason people buy these dolls to practice rooting hair.

Rogaine, take me away!
This is how Dolores' hair looked after four dunks in hot water.

It takes two to tangle!
Her dress, however, looks surprisingly well made. The seams are hemmed, not serged, and the inside is probably less of a mess than I'd make. However, when I belatedly took the dress off Dolores again to try it on a beheaded Bratz body on the kitchen counter, a thread caught in her leg joint, and my fruitless tugging ripped a shoulder strap out in a frayed way. I ended up cutting off the shoulder straps and the dress stays up just fine.

On Briony (Ever After High Briar Beauty), Dolores' dress is embarrassingly loose in the bust. So there's no point in even trying it on the thinner Monster High gals.

Can you say "gaping"? This is embarrassing.
Liv Alexis volunteered to be the Liv model, since her current outfit has a belt with snaps rather than ties, so she's easier than Krys to undress and redress. Dolores' dress doesn't exactly not fit, but it doesn't do a thing for her, either.

That is the LAST time I set foot in Forever 21.
Elena Rodriguez (Fashionista Sporty) can wear Dolores' dress just fine.

Even a little cheapie looks good when you know how to accessorize!
Since Dolores has a pretty extreme difference between bust and hips, I wondered how the dress would fit on Akilah Nichelle's 1990s Barbie body. Answer: badly. It's way too tight in the bust.

I feel like I'm posing for a fetish magazine, and it's not a fetish I'd like.
I then thought to rummage through the body farm and see how the dress works on a "belly button" body. Here's a mid-00s Kayla, who despite her usual bitch-face, fits the dress great.

The bitch face is because I want to be a permanent resident,
but Pocahantas got the first available brown-skinned articulated body.
A quick comparison of body types suggests nothing about this "fit" thing is logical, also that Dolores is a bit shorter and narrower across the shoulders than Barbie figures.

L-R: 1990s Barbie body, Dolores, 2000s Barbie body
As Dolores' hair dried (swiftly), I thought it would be interesting to try putting it in a pony tail and then braiding it. This is true for values of interesting that do not overlap with good.

I feel like a Dr. Seuss character.
However, her hair then voluntarily tamed itself into a sort of flipped-under ponytail.

I've gotten used to people reading my back aloud when standing in line.
Her face is similar, but not identical, to Fashionista Sporty, who is supposedly Teresa. Sporty/Teresa has a narrower chin, more defined lips, and generally better detailing, but this is clearly the generation of Mattel face-ups that's being knocked off.

Elena Rodriguez befriends everybody.

Play-doll potential. As a low-articulation play doll, Dolores is fine as long as hair play isn't on the agenda (don't TOUCH the hair). She has a pleasant face that doesn't suggest past or present addiction issues, nor encourage six-year-olds to go hogwild with Mom's eyeliner. It's possible to do much worse for a buck.

Modding potential. Dolores is your no-regrets girl for re-rooting practice.

Clothing source. Dolores' dress fits the Barbie "belly button" body and its articulated Fashionista equivalent, but it's too small for the 1990s Barbie body and too big for Bratz, Monster High, Ever After High, and Liv.


  1. I got a couple of these from Dollar Tree as well. It's that same styled dress but in different patterns. I was mostly curious and figured it was worth a buck to see what they were about.

    1. Yeah, there are endless dresses! The barrio Dollar Tree had a really good floral dress, but I can't feel responsible for an entire pack of Doloreses.

  2. We have one of these ladies in our collection, too. She came in a pretty floral dress. I wanted the dress. Mara begged me not to toss her out, so we named her Ginny and she does odd jobs around Dollton. She is also the only doll that Maya (22 months) is currently allowed to handle : )

    1. The floral dress almost got me to buy a second one.

      Dolores is getting re-rooted with yarn dreadlocks for no reason I can fully justify, and then she'll likely have a future in odd jobs. I was on the fence about that, but I like her face a lot and it's handy to have one "person" that small children can handle.