Bratz!!!

I don’t think anyone interested in play-line dolls has missed that the Bratz re-launch has come. I’ve been pretty excited for it, certainly. I had some Bratz as a child, when they were a relatively new line, and since then I’ve been aware of the line going off in all sorts of directions, some I liked, and some I definitely didn’t. They did all sorts of different fashion themes, feathers, cats, several night out lines. I think that the different outfits got a bit repetitive for them, because we also had the bratz babies, kidz, countless new characters, then there were the mermaids, superheroes, taller dolls. Everything, basically. I think they definitely lacked direction after a while. What I had hoped for in the relaunch was that they would take the best of all the previous ideas; for instance, Bratzillaz have much better articulation, the outfits have been really good quality throughout, and my old bratz had bags made of fabric, not just moulded from plastic. I was slightly disappointed to see that the new bratz only have articulation at the knees, since bending the arms really helps to create expressive poses, but their softened faces seemed like an improvement. Being newly released, the dolls are currently kinda expensive, but my birthday is around now, and my grandparents sent me some money, so I decided to indulge. Also, hoping Id be able to get one of the new dolls, when I saw an old bratz doll in a shop, I bought her in preparation for a comparison.

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The ‘old’ Bratz I got is a Bahama Beach Jade.

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This doll is from bargain buys, which is one of those shops that tends to have stuff after its gone out of the main shops, sometimes a long time after. This doll says Giochi Preziosi on it, an Italian company, and theres no English on the packaging. Im guessing this line made it to parts of Europe after it did in America and then England, and I suspect this has then made its way back here as leftover stock. She is different in a few ways to the English release I think, but not drastically so.

Once I’d looked at the new releases, the two dolls I liked the look of the most were the Selfie Snaps Chloe (Pink hair!!!), and the study abroad Sasha, because she just makes me laugh with her portrayal of my own country. You can definitely tell it was designed by americans. I popped into Argos on the way to work, which had neither, but it did have one fierce fitness doll in stock. The way argos works, if anyone reading this lives somewhere that doesn’t have them, is that stuff isn’t on shelves where you can pick it up and buy it. You have to order it from the catalogue in store, and then it will be sent to you from a warehouse in the back. When the computer said they had one fierce fitness doll instock, I had no idea who it would be. The situation was exactly the same with the fashion packs too. I decided that a surprise would be fun, and ended up with a Yasmin doll, and this fashion set;

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Its cute, but the sandals have feet in them with a darker skin tone than Yasmins.

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Really, only Sasha can wear them. Ths is the one issue Ive always had with the Bratz pop-off feet. I love the greater range of shoes you can make like this, but it limits sharing when there is a skin tone difference. Still, seeing as one of the dolls I had my eye on anyway was a Sasha, and I did have that chequeue from Grandad, I figured that that was ok.

I do quite like my Yasmin doll.

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Her makeup is very plain, she has flat shoes, and the only jewellery is a sporty-looking watch, so they’ve definitely toned down the glamour factor in favour of practicality. Yasmin is supposed to be a fan of yoga, and so she has a mat, although its a little short for her

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That’s the best yoga pose she can do, since her hip flexibility is limited. The mat has a loop to hang under her handbag, but it got damaged just from being put in there, its quite fragile. I also would have thought you’d do yoga in your bare feet, but hey. I can totally see why they didn’t, with the pop-on foot thing.

When I went in search of study abroad Sasha, I got a chance to look at the Selfie snaps Chloe, and Im not so keen on her in real life. Her outfit isn’t that good, and I like the softer eyebrows that the study abroad line has. The selfie snap ones are arched, more like the older dolls. I decided that I wanted to get the study abroad Jade, to compare with my Bahama Beach Jade. She has great outfits too.

So, here they are

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Heres Jades other outfit

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The long trousers don’t work as well with her knee-high boots though, I think she looks better on Sashas doc marten-style ones

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She has this crimped hair that looked much cooler when it was still solid with styling product, once brushed its gone a bit frizzy. Accessories wise, Im in two minds. This is what she has

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Here’s my best effort at a close-up of her jewellery

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I couldn’t manage to get the bracelets on her, or one of the earrings. Its now precariously close to the pist breaking off from my attempt to get it in. Its a shame, cos its cute jewellery.

The Russian nesting dolls on the other hand, I do like. They actually nest

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And I feel like they are something that someone would be likely to bring back from a visit to Russia as a souvenir, so that’s pretty realistic. I love the poncho top that Jade has, although it didn’t have anything underneath it, which was disappointing.

Heres Sashas second outfit

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Shes wearing the sandals from the fashion pack, because Jade stole her boots. All her jewellery works, but I kinda think she looks like a spice girl in this get up, with the union flag and the baggier trousers. I don’t know enough about Russian culture to comment on Jade, but I certainly have plenty to say about Sashas stuff. Firstly, I don’t think that the bearskin hat would be easy to pull off. Most of her clothes look good, although maybe a bit much at once, but that hat is just too much. Heres her accessories

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The phone box earrings are an odd choice. Claires accessories do earrings shaped like all sorts of funky stuff, but its usually as studs, not massive danglers. Souvenir teacups are kind of a UK thing, but Im not sure what the stuff on the plate is. Tea and Scones is an English thing, but scones are not that small, so I don’t know. Its a very London centric doll overall, which isn’t that unusual. That’s all a lot of americans seem to think that the entire british isles consists of. On the back of the box Sasha lists a some places she wants to visit, all but one of which is in London. She also hopes to meet the Queen, which Ive heard before from Americans. That so doesn’t happen. I wish people recognised the north of England as a place, or maybe Wales. They both have a really rich and interesting heritage, same as London.

Both the dolls came with a thing I had to assume was a handbag, for lack of other ideas, but Sasha actually also has another handbag, so I don’t know.

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I don’t know who would have that rabbit as a handbag, but I don’t know what else it is. I wondered about a keyring for the human, but they open, and you couldn’t fit anything inside that wasn’t doll-sized

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The other sad thing is that both dolls have quite clear marks on their wrists from the packaging

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Hard to capture with the camera though.

Now, lets talk about the new vs old Jades. I didn’t think that they’d changed the body shape at all. At a casual glance I saw no difference, but then I tried to put old Jade in some of the new clothes. I was very pleased to be expanding her wardrobe, since all that she has is a swimming costume, but it didn’t quite work, and after that, once I looked I could really see the difference.

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The lips haven’t changed, but the eyes are wider, the eyebrows are softer, and apparently Jade now has green eyes. I swear she didn’t used to. She did however always have black hair, so Bahama Beach is the anomaly there. The makeup is more subtle, but I think the head is even bigger. And already, I think you can see that the bodies are different.

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The body difference really surprised me. Bratz have always faced a lot of criticism for how unrealistic and overly mature and sexualised they are, and with the softened faces and toned down make up, and the fitness line, I had assumed that they were now going for a more youthful, child-friendly look. But they actually have a smaller waist, bigger hips, and thinner arms and legs. The leg difference isn’t so apparent in the photo, but its much more difficult to get the trousers on to old Jade than the newer dolls. They’re just tighter. New Jades bum sticks out more, her head is bigger, and look at the shoes

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Huge! It seems like overall the Bratz have got less realistic, portraying an even less attainable body than before, even though the softer makeup might convince parents that theres been an improvement. Im not exactly criticising them, I think its silly when parents claim that dolls are the cause of all the self-esteem problems, eating disorders and girls who generally place looks as a higher priority than things like their education. There is definitely a bigger problem at hand there. Its just definitely not what I expected.

Next, I tried a clothes swap for the girls

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The swimming costume is stretchy, so it goes over her lower half, but the top is too loose, and the sunglasses don’t fit. The shoes do work, but not perfectly.

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With her smaller hips, Jade can manage the skirts fine, and the loose poncho is also pretty forgiving. The boots even look ok, although they wont snap on properly, her foot-pegs are too big.

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Its a different story with this outfit though. neither the top or the trousers are done up at the back. I did get the trousers up her legs, but I had to pull a lot, and they’re stretched really tight.

Finally I had a go at messing around and coming up with my own outfits for them all. Fashion is definitely a focus of these dolls, and I wanted to have a go at diluting Sashas London-themed stuff, show what could have been.

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First, Bahama Beach Jade. Shes back in her own shoes, since they’re the only ones that fit, along with the stretchiest top from the fashion pack, and Sashas tartan skirt. She has to wear the suspenders hanging down, because of her different body shape, but I think a lot of people would wear them that way anyway, its more casual. I like the skirt better when its not just surrounded by red, it needs breaking up a bit.

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New Jade has Sashas jacket and boots, and away from the rest of the outfit they look a lot tougher. I think the hat and jacket together looked like a costume, but with the stripy trousers its all a bit hipster-ish. Something I might expect to see in London near the expensive boutiquey shops, possibly with a trilby hat or a t-shirt with a moustache on it.

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Poor Sasha didn’t get to keep anything. The trousers and sandals are supposed to go together, and I added Jades top, which also has a paisley-type pattern on it. It doesn’t match, but its like a theme. Very hippy.

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And finally Yasmin. That top looks much less cheesy without the rest of it, and I think the yellow skirt and high boots have a bit of a ‘mod’ air to them.

So yeah, they’re fun. I feel similarly about them to how I did with the original Bratz; they’re cute, and different, but the foot thing is annoying for swapping sandals, and I just wish they could share clothes with other dolls. Most of my dolls can share with each other, which means they all have a much bigger wardrobe

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