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American Girl Doll Alternative : Madame Alexander Dolls

Updated on January 3, 2013

American Girl Dolls are Popular, But Prohibitively Expensive!

What little girl wouldn't love to receive an American Girl doll under the tree? And what parent wouldn't like to save a little money rather than spending $199 - or more - on a single doll? Fear not, frugal parents ... there are alternatives to the wildly priced American Girl dolls!

Madame Alexander Dolls

Madame Alexander has been making dolls since 1923, while American Girl began in 1986, so guess which one is a "knock-off" of the other?

American Girl dolls are the same size and shape as Madame Alexander dolls, and the same clothes and accessories will fit both dolls,

for just a fraction of the price!

Both dolls have:

Soft, cuddly bodies with hard vinyl arms, legs, and head.

Articulated joints at neck, shoulders, & hips.

Long hair that can be styled.

Eyes that open and close.

Complete clothing outfit included.

Extra clothing and accessories that fit both 18" dolls equally well.

DIFFERENCES:

MA doll's soft body starts under breastbone so doll can wear tank tops or swimwear.

AG doll's soft body start higher, so the cloth line shows with lower-cut tops.

MA hair is slightly less full, AG has wig-style hair.

MA Party Perfect doll: $39.00 ~ AG Chrissa Doll: $269.99

American Girl v. Other Dolls - Are American Girl dolls worth the money?

Is the name worth $100 or $200 - or MORE - difference in price?

Madame Alexander vs. American Girl Dolls

The dolls below are paired up -

a Madame Alexander Doll next to a very similar American Girl Doll. You can compare and decide if the large price difference is worth the small physical difference!

American Girl Nicki - Doll of the Year Nicki with Paperback Book

American Girl Doll of the Year Nicki and Paperback Book
American Girl Doll of the Year Nicki and Paperback Book

A cream eyelet bodysuit with pearlescent buttons A faux-wrap skirt with floral embroidery Faux-leather boots with lace trim Plus, she has long caramel-colored hair, blue eyes, and pretty freckles on her face Nicki's 18-inch doll body is soft cloth; her head and limbs are smooth vinyl. She's posable for hundreds of playtimes and can be treasured for years to come. The Nicki book enhances playtime with her story of growing up on a Colorado ranch and all the responsibilities she has. Her life gets even busier when she agrees to train Sprocket the pup to be a service dog. Can Nicki juggle it all?

 
Madame Alexander 18" Spring Fling Dance - Favorite Friends Collection
Madame Alexander 18" Spring Fling Dance - Favorite Friends Collection

This 18 inch play doll has blue eyes and long, curly Tosca hair. She wears a white dress that has a tiered skirt which is scattered with a mixture of large and small multi-colored flowers. With the dress, that has a light blue ribbon trim at the waist, she wears a vibrant, long sleeved, wrap-around, turquoise sweater. With the addition of white strappy sandals, her look is complete.

 

DOLL: Blonde Curly Hair

American Girl Nicki: $523.90

Madame Alexander: $36.80

PRICE DIFFERENCE: $487

American Girl Lanie - American Girl Doll of the Year Lanie with Paperback Book

American Girl of the Year 2010 Lanie Doll and Paperback Book
American Girl of the Year 2010 Lanie Doll and Paperback Book

The Lanie doll is 18 inches tall with a soft cloth body, with hazel eyes and curly blond hair. Her movable head and limbs are made of smooth vinyl. The Lanie book is the first story about this energetic girl who discovers the world in her own back yard.

 

Madame Alexander Too Cute In Boots Doll - Madame Alexander Favorite Friends Collection

Madame Alexander, 18" Too Cute In Boots, Favorite Friends Collection
Madame Alexander, 18" Too Cute In Boots, Favorite Friends Collection

This blonde with blue eyes, and curly hair worn in a side ponytail with bangs, is wearing a pink and white patterned dress with a black belt that has white polka dots. The dress is worn with a blue denim jacket and pink and white striped tights. Pink vinyl cowboy boots and a pink and white striped ribbon in her hair completes her outfit. She has fun-to-style rooted hair and eyes with long lashes that open and close.

 

DOLL: Blonde Curly Hair

American Girl Rebecca: $140.65

Madame Alexander: $39.95

PRICE DIFFERENCE: $100

My Girl is Thrilled with Her Madame Alexander Doll! - She named her Allie.

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What Is American Girl? Why So Popular?

American Girl began as a book series.

The first American Girl catalog was published in 1986, debuting a line of historical dolls that came with book-length stories. According to the AG website, "The 9-year-old fictional heroines live during important times in America's past, providing "girl-sized" views of significant events that helped shape our country, and they bring history alive for millions of children." Each historical doll has a series of books that delve into the fictional life of that doll. The company has expanded its doll line since then, but the historical dolls and the stories that come with them are still the backbone of the company's popularity.

Fortunately, since American Girl dolls and Madame Alexander dolls are compatible in size, a Madame Alexander doll with similar features can be purchased as a go-along for the book series, and the clothing and accessories for that historical doll can be purchased separately from American Girl.

American Girl of the Year 2009 Chrissa Doll & Paperback Book
American Girl of the Year 2009 Chrissa Doll & Paperback Book

ChrissaTM arrives in an outfit that shows her creative flair: A flower-print, faux-wrap dress with ribbon trim and a fabric bloom at the waist Sparkly purple ankle-strap shoes A floral ribbon bracelet Lavender underwear The Chrissa doll is 18 inches tall with a soft cloth body, with blue eyes and dark-brown hair with highlights. Her movable head and limbs are made of smooth vinyl. The Chrissa book is the first story about this friendly, creative girl who finds the courage to stand up for herself-and others.

 
Madame Alexander Dolls, 18" Party Perfect, Favorite Friends Collection
Madame Alexander Dolls, 18" Party Perfect, Favorite Friends Collection

She has long dark brown hair with bangs and blue eyes. She's wearing a cute black and white checked outfit, with red shoes, headband and purse

Her rooted hair can by styled, and she has eyes with long lashes that open and close. Articulation at the neck, shoulders and hips allows for multiple poses. Additional outfits available separately.

 

DOLL: Straight Dark Hair

American Girl Chrissa: $269.99

Madame Alexander: $39.00

PRICE DIFFERENCE: $160

American Girl Emily - American Girl Emily Doll and Paperback Book

American Girl Emily Doll and Paperback Book
American Girl Emily Doll and Paperback Book

Emily opens up a whole world of play with authentic styles from the World War Two era: * A dress printed with cherry blossoms and tied with a red dotted sash * Knickers, cherry-red ankle socks, and shiny T-strap shoes * Long, gingery-red hair held with a cherry-blossom headband Emily's 18-inch doll body is soft cloth; her head and limbs are smooth vinyl. She's posable for hundreds of playtimes and can be treasured for years to come. Her Brave Emily book enhances playtime with her story of growing up during World War Two-and offers lessons that still touch girls today.

 
Madame Alexander 18" After School Cool - Favorite Friends Collection
Madame Alexander 18" After School Cool - Favorite Friends Collection

She has short red hair in a nice contemporary style. She is wearing jeans, sneakers and a periwinkle windbreaker. Her rooted hair can by styled, and she has eyes with long lashes that open and close.

 

DOLL: Short Red Hair

American Girl: $95.00

Madame Alexander: $39.56

PRICE DIFFERENCE: $55

When to Buy an American Girl Alternative

New AG dolls are expensive; retired AG dolls are exorbitant!

New American Girl dolls run from over $100 to over $200. But the dolls are not kept in circulation; they are retired after a period of time. The price then goes up to $300, $400, or over $500! Perhaps you could afford a current doll, but what if your daughter wants a specific specific historical doll that is no longer being made? That is an ideal time to find a well-made doll, such as a similarly featured Madame Alexander doll, and outfit it with the historical doll's AG outfits. I would not recommend trying to do this sneakily, but be honest with your daughter about why this is a better use of your family's hard-earned money. That is a lesson that she will carry with her just as much as any historical lesson learned from the doll and books.

American Girl Marisol - American Girl Limited Edition Marisol

18" American Girl Limited Ed "Marisol Doll"
18" American Girl Limited Ed "Marisol Doll"

Marisol arrives fresh from the dance class, in cargo pants, purple wrap-around top with a pink tank underneath, and Mary Jane shoes with metallic vinyl accents. Her stylish crocheted hat and scarf, pendant necklace, and three pairs of stick-on earrings add flair.

 
Madame Alexander Dolls, 18" Oh So Groovy, Favorite Friends Collection
Madame Alexander Dolls, 18" Oh So Groovy, Favorite Friends Collection

This ethnic doll has brown eyes and long black very curly hair held back from her face by a wide pink headband. Her pink and white tie-dyed dress features a tier of three ruffles that are edged in dark pink trim and accented with green and orange. Green leggings along with green jellies on her feet add to her overall appeal.

 

DOLL: Brown Skin & Hair

American Girl Marisol: $423.95

Madame Alexander: $35.50

PRICE DIFFERENCE: $388

Madame Alexander Playfully Pretty - Madame Alexander Favorite Friends Collection

Madame Alexander, 18" Playfully Pretty, Favorite Friends Collection
Madame Alexander, 18" Playfully Pretty, Favorite Friends Collection

This doll with wavy brunette hair and brown eyes is wearing a grey dress with patterned, multi-colored owls. Over the dress she wears a pretty red sweater. Pink shimmer tights, a red knit headband and red vinyl, sling-back clogs completes her ensemble.

 

DOLL: Wavy Brown Hair

American Girl Rebecca: $199.90

Madame Alexander: $39.96

PRICE DIFFERENCE: $160

American Girl Nikola

Nikola 18"
Nikola 18"

Nikola is a brown-haired, brown-eyed beauty with a definite sense of style. She loves the color purple, and comes dress in coordinated purple plaid shirt, cuffed purple shorts, and funky purple/blue striped leggings. Of course her lace-up boots are purple too! She is smartly accessorized with a trendy knit cap and plush cat-head purse. These exquisite 18" dolls are by world-renowned German doll designer and sculptor Sonja Hartmann. All dolls have wigged hair, set-in eyes with eyelashes and are jointed in 9 places. Clothing and accessories are of the highest quality and adorable designs. This doll collection is called "Kidz 'n' Cats", because each of them has a cat component.

 

Madame Alexander Urban Cowgirl - Madame Alexander Favorite Friends Collection

Madame Alexander 18" Urban Cowgirl - Favorite Friends Collection
Madame Alexander 18" Urban Cowgirl - Favorite Friends Collection

Let your imagination run wild with the Urban Cowgirl Doll! The 18 doll is wearing her cowgirl outfit of a denim skirt with a pink top and pink heart tights. Her cool pink cowboy boots complete the look. Her long hair can be brushed and styled to create awesome hairdos.

 

DOLL: Long Brunette Hair

American Girl Nikola: $164.96

Madame Alexander: $37.95

PRICE DIFFERENCE: $127

American Girl Julie

American Girl Julie Doll and Paperback Book
American Girl Julie Doll and Paperback Book

Julie opens up a whole world of play with authentic styles from the 70s: A crinkle-gauze peasant blouse over a turtleneck Two-tone bell-bottom jeans and butterfly screen-printed underwear Platform sandals and a braided, beaded belt Long, straight blond hair with a single braid Julies 18-inch doll body is soft cloth; her head and limbs are smooth vinyl. Shes posable for hundreds of playtimes and can be treasured for years to come. Her Meet Julie book enhances playtime with the first story of this fun-loving girl growing up in San Francisco in the 1970s. It also offers lessons about choices and friendship that still touch girls today.

 

DOLL: Long Straight Blonde Hair

American Girl Julie: $154.19

Madame Alexander: $34.99

PRICE DIFFERENCE: $119

Doll's Hair Care Tip

If your doll's hair gets the frizzies, try this tip.

If your doll's hair begins to snarl or to fray on the ends, try this tip: put a TINY dollop of conditioner in your hands and rub it around, then lightly massage into the doll's hair. Gently towel the conditioner out, then comb with a wig comb.

Make a Gathered Smock Dress for Your 18" Doll - A gathered dress to fit American Girl or Madame Alexander dolls.

Make Bunk Beds for Your 18" Dolls - Inexpensive bunk beds for your American Girl or Madame Alexander dolls!

This video is in four parts. Only the first is linked on this page.

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    • profile image

      Waters.com 20 months ago

      American girls r way better in my opinion but I don't want to be bias!

    • profile image

      Rachel Bain 2 years ago

      We were disappointed that american girl / doll do not ship to UK so we found http://mylookalikedoll.com who were very helpful and the prices are very reasonable

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Yeah ag is way better

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image

      Kay 4 years ago

      Great information. I think I do like the look of the AG girls a bit better. I definitely know the quality is there. We don't pay $200 though. My daughter has purchased a couple of her dolls through E-Bay. Yes, they are used but they were only about $50 to $70 and in great shape. She loves them!

    • profile image

      love2share 4 years ago

      wow such a great lens

    • karMALZEKE profile image

      karMALZEKE 4 years ago

      Super good lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      all of your ag vs. ma american girl dolls were either discontinued or more than the real price. ag is better

    • profile image

      MintySea 4 years ago

      I didn't know madam Alexander dolls were cheaper.

    • VictoriaHolt profile image

      VictoriaHolt 5 years ago

      Impressive collection of information. We haven't sprung for the AG doll yet. My daughter has two MA dolls!

    • bechand profile image

      bechand 5 years ago

      we have not gotten either yet - we were planning a day to go down to the city (NYC) and make a girls day of it to get the special doll. If I was just getting one in the store it would so be the cheaper one - but since we plan the special day - it will likely be the expensive one in the city. I will surely get the cheaper accessories for sure !

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My niece wants one of these American Girl dolls, but I think that she may know the difference if I tried to replace it with a cheaper one. What to do, what to do?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Since I had Madame Alexander dolls as a girl, I knew that the dolls would be well-made, and the price appealed to me. I bought my daughter a Madame Alexander Favorite Friends doll, and she loves it. I think it is much prettier than A.G. dolls, and the clothes are nice.

    • profile image

      AdorableDollClothes 5 years ago

      Nice lens. We've recently created a lens for Bitty Baby, if you'd like to visit it here is the link: http://www.squidoo.com/bitty-baby-doll-clothes

    • profile image

      aselka 6 years ago

      great lens! AG dolls or alternative dolls choice is up to patents and their wallets.

    • profile image

      Joan4 6 years ago

      This is a great discussion! I have a preference for Madam Alexander's-- I still have an MA doll from my own childhood!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Madame Alexander is a great name in dolls and any little girl should be delighted, but if she's expecting American Girl and gets a substitute, no matter how nice, she needs to be prepared in advance. Just speaking from a disappointed childhood memory, and I suspect my boys have memories of disappointment, too, but we all grew up to be pretty normal. If money were no object, I'd probably go with the American Girl doll if that is what my child asked for. (I can't believe I just said that.)

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 6 years ago from Canada

      Very nicely done, Carma. I don't have any little girls to buy for.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 6 years ago

      Wow, I had no idea the American Girl Dolls are so expensive! The Madame Alexander dolls are just as cute. The reasonable price tag makes them even cuter!