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Caroline Abbott - Newest Historical American Girl Doll

Updated on August 6, 2012

Caroline Abbott - 1812 and what we know so far....

Doll collectors and enthusiasts alike are all very much excited for the release of the new historical American girl doll named Caroline Abbott. Though the doll and the books have not been out yet, there are a lot of information and teasers surfacing on the web already. For one, the story is set in 1812 at Sackets Harbor, New York on the shores of Lake Ontario. Caroline is a girl with light blonde hair that is long and curly and bluish eyes as seen in this photo which was posted in the American Girl's official facebook page. The author of her books, Kathleen Ernst, confirmed that there will be six stories in her collection namely:

Meet Caroline: An American Girl

Caroline’s Secret Message

A Surprise For Caroline

Caroline Takes A Chance

Caroline’s Battle

Changes For Caroline

Update about Caroline

As per article released by dated Aug, 4 2012, it was revealed that Caroline is an "independent and adventurous 9-year-old girl whose story is set near Lake Ontario during the War of 1812". Her father is a shipbuilder who was captured by the British as a prisoner. Throughout her journey, she showed bravery, teaching the girls of today that life's challenges can be overcome by being strong and making good decisions. She went above and beyond with helping everyone around her making her a hero that every girl can be.

The doll is set to be released on Sept 4.


The War of 1812

American Girl Doll company is known to chose dolls that are timely or has significance with the present time. The girl of the year McKenna is a gymnast which is in time for this year's celebration of the Olympics. As for Caroline, she maybe historical but this year 1812, marks the bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812.

In the war of 1812, the United States defeated Great Britain which was then the greatest naval power in the world. There were many conflicts that time such as the British restricting US trade, the forcing of American seamen to join the Royal Navy and United States' desire to expand its territory. Though the United States suffered greatly during this war such as the burning of the state capital, Washington D.C., their victory boosted national confidence and gave them a new sense of patriotism. They were able to repulse British invasions in New Orleans, Baltimore and New York.


Fashion During 1812

Since a lot of Caroline's collection will be based upon her era, I thought it would be fun to make a research about how people dress up during that time. I was excited to do since since I am a fan of Jane Austens' novels like Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Sense and Sensibility. I watched all these movies and am always amazed at how the women looks so sophisticated and refined during those times. It was called the Regency Fashion Era.

Regency Clothes

As you can see from movies set around in 1800s, it was incredibly elaborate with women wearing several layers of clothing at the same time. With flowing skirts that fully cover their legs, regency clothes were influenced by different factors during their time.

Regency Fashion Influences

Regency fashion has undergone numerous changes during the 1800’s. In fact, Bonaparte himself took part in predicting women’s fashion when he was crowned Emperor in the year 1804. His interest was not on the fashion itself but in reviving the textile industry which was then heavily relying on the English. Through Napoleon, the Valenciennes Lace industry was reborn, producing fabrics like batiste and tulle. Some of the fashion styles that managed to weave their way in 1800’s fashion included the military, gothic, Egyptian and even Grecian.

Undergarments for the 1800s

Since the fabric used during the 1800’s were light, women need to wear layers of clothing in order to remain warm. The first layer is the chemise followed by the corset and finally, the petticoat.

Pantaloons may also be worn underneath to ensure that the leg stay warm. These pantaloons are flesh colored, allowing women to appear naked underneath their skirts. The concept is no different from today’s flesh-colored bras and panties. Overtime however, the fashion evolved to wearing a slip under the folds – typically made in slipper satin. This allows the skirt to flow freely downwards while extra support was added in to widen the hips.


Types of Regency Dresses

Like in today’s society, Regency dresses were fashioned to fit specific situations in the life of the privileged. There were walking dresses, riding clothes, gowns for parties, in the ballroom and some that are worn when simply luxuriating in the house. Women during the Regency days had quite a collection of dresses especially since Napoleon forbade them to wear the same gown twice in court.

· Empire Dress Style - The Empire Style was the cut of choice during the 1800’s. You might know it today as a high waisted style with the fabric tightening just below the breasts. The Empire style itself started around 1790 and developed well into the next decades. The square neckline was fairly low, showcasing the neck and creamy skin above the breasts. The sleeves were puffed and were tight enough to restrict movement, ensuring that wearers would need to move daintily so as not to rip the dress. The skirt itself is full, emphasizing the hips.

· Chemisette - The chemisette is not a dress per se but rather, a modesty filler for low-necked gowns. It is worn by women around the neck, effectively hiding the skin beneath.


Dresses for Different Times of Day

Regency fashion is quite extensive. Unlike today when individuals can wear the same clothes the whole day, the same cannot be said for Regency women.

· Morning Dress - A sheer gown with a very simple cut, morning dresses is highly modest, has no adornments and practically covers the full body. They are never worn outside the house – or even the room – and are typically made of sheer fabric for comfort.

· Afternoon Dress - An afternoon dress is simply any dress that can be worn when around other people. There are different types of dresses under this category ranging from a walking dress, a riding habit and a travelling dress. All of them are well adorned with thicker fabrics to battle the weather. As the name suggests, a walking dress is meant for walking in the park, riding habit for riding horses and the travelling dress for carriage transportation. Riding habits are typically longer since they would need to cover a woman’s legs when astride an animal. A jacket is also draped along the dress, covering the simple bodice.

· Evening Dress - Evening dresses are clothes meant to be worn during a soiree or a gathering. It is heavily adorned with beautiful designs mainly to attract attention. Made from the finest fabric like silk and taffetas, they often have very low necklines. The type of fabric and color worn actually corresponds to the status of the female wearing the garment. Typically, the clothes are also adorned with crystals or metallic elements to make them stand out at night.

Decoration on Dresses

The type of decoration adorned on the dress may actually help with dating it. Typically, the Grecian influence can be found on clothes worn around 1800 to 1803. This is characterized by borders and geometric shapes. After that however, the Egyptian design become more popular thanks to its elaborate design. It is believed that Bonaparte gave his Empress Josephine the first gown designed with an Eastern taste and everyone followed suit.

Regency Accessories

Fashion accessories for both men and women may include hats, bonnets, shawls bags and gloves. The use of gloves is interesting and the length used depends on the situation. They are often worn outside however and taken off when visiting and dining.

Women usually pair off their hats and bonnets with afternoon dresses to protect themselves from the elements. Since hats were worn outdoors, they are often designed in the best styles and grew wider as the years advanced. It is not uncommon to find hats that boast of large, extensive and colorful ribbons. Another interesting accessory during this era is the pelisse which is their version of a coat. Unlike today however, a pelisse is full length and usually made from the same material as the dress.


Regency Era Footwear

Since the shoes were often hidden from view, they are typically made for practicality. Metal patterns are combined with the shoes, ensuring that women are protected from dirt or mud. It raises the feet a few inches and helps in keeping the skirts from dragging.

Men during the Regency era also weren’t spared when it comes to fashion dictates. Theirs however wasn’t quite as extensive as the women’s fashion line. In most cases, they are seen wearing a Gentleman’s Wardrobe, Neck cloth and Jessamyns.

Scene from Pride and Prejudice


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      6 years ago

      I have to admit, even as a grown up I love the American Girl dolls and like to read the books sometimes! I was never a big doll person but the inclusion of books andn stories to go along with the dolls made them so fascinating to me. Looks like they've created anotehr great doll for girls to love.


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