Sunday, December 11, 2016

Building a Reliable Doll accessories Collection - Part 1


Luckily for us doll collectors who mostly enjoy styling our dolls, there is a vast ocean of ways, resources and options as to how we can grow our doll accessory collection. There are the major doll manufacturers, who bundle these doll accessories with their doll offerings as well as a few options released in accessory packs. Major miniature toy companies, although produce better products, charge more. And the artisans, the ones who hand create hyper-realistic, limited edition, often times OOAK doll accessories, will of course ask for the right price - something we don’t just buy on a whim.

I believe that with all these options we have in this day and age, what we need to start thinking about is how to focus, and really think about what we want out of our collections. We might want to ask a few questions, before we start swiping the plastic. What do I like to see in my dolls? What “lifestyles” do my dolls “lead”? Do they portray the lives of regular people with regular stuff, or are they celebrities with luxurious goods always in tow? Or, what if your dolls are not characters in your own doll universe, but act as models for your fantasy, editorial-like photo shoots? For sure, they would often be caught in rather uncommon accessories, maybe in haute couture or even avant garde creations. 

It always pays to be this mindful, so that you can avoid buying things that pile up and left forgotten in your storage. Story of my life there. Once you’re set with that, it’s easier to not be overwhelmed with all the dreamy, wonderful possibilities each 50-item eBay page can bring. So why do we want to accessorize your dolls in the first place?

Accessories add more realism to your end result

In a survey I conducted among my favorite doll people, the topmost reason why we love to accessorize is because we wanted our dolls to look realistic. 

Edel says, “Generally speaking, accessories add this realistic touch to the photo.” 

“My main reason for using accessories is to give more realism to the doll I photograph”, puts Rebeca.


Loving how the accessories play up to give that realistic feel to this photo of Rebeca's doll

Kenya likes her accessories collection because they help bring everything to life. “Plus, the added detail makes photos more interesting.”


Vana's Adele is about to have fun out!
Marcela of KoTori Couture further agrees. “It makes the doll look like a real person, it gives life to the photos, increases the number of nice poses you can put your doll in, and the right accessories really make any look unique!”

“Aside from giving the ensemble a realistic look,” Javi tells, “All of them, I think, make my pictures more classy and original.”

“Accessories that the dolls can hold with their hands add more interest and realism to the picture”, observes Vana.  “I like it when it looks like the doll "would do" something. A styling with accessories looks twice as interesting as one without.”

I like how Vana describes the dolls being more realistic when they are doing something. Personally, I prefer my dolls to be “unaware” of the camera and just go on with what they’re doing at the moment. This to me is much more realistic than the usual smizing or the basic modeling of the garments I make. I don’t accomplish this desired realistic effect often as I don’t have enough accessories, as well diorama setting and props to help give more realism to the setup, but that is one of my goals as a doll collector and photography enthusiast.


Accessories complete the outfit


I like to complete my graphic print outfits
with neutral or white accessories

Other than making our photos and styling more realistic, we also just want to complete the outfit. I think, for most of us, we wanted to initially give our dolls a complete look. That I think was the initial goal why we accessorize - to kind of decorate the clothes, to complement some pieces, to give balance to the whole ensemble, to enhance the message we’re trying to convey and ensure that it is sent across the viewer.


But I think, with the way the manufacturers improve their products these recent years – like fully articulated dolls and much more realistic accessories - we collectors upgraded our goals, too. 

It used to be that most dolls were non-articulated. They just stand, pose and model complete outfits, never really "do" other things. They just hang out at the doll shelves with the other model dolls.


This time though, our dolls are partying at the pool, dining at a café, rock climbing, doing yoga, even having a baby, and hundreds of other things, just because they now can!

Completing the outfit isn’t anymore the accessories’ topmost function, but this will always be its original achievement. Don't you guys agree with me? 


Accessories spark up a theme or help tell a story

And speaking of theme, an accessory item can easily spark up our imagination when we style a doll, or a photo shoot with an open mind.
Eli's Ayumi in her Samurai-inspired shot

“The accessories drive home the theme of the photo I'm taking. Sometimes I use the accessories as the major point of the photo”, tells Eli. “In the case of Samurai Ayumi, the sword was the inspiration. The Chopper bike, on the other hand, gave me the idea to have a Biker Auden photo shoot.”

Leslie’s inspiration to photograph may come from the doll, a piece of clothing or sometimes a great hat that she wants to incorporate in. “Thinking of accessorizing more broadly, little details can set a scene: a diorama bedroom isn't realistic unless we see an alarm clock, house shoes or our dolly's socks from the day before at her bedside, etc.” 
“They can help me create the proper angle for a photo. For example, I might approach a close-up photo of a doll wearing a hat differently than just a forward-facing shot. The accessories help my photo composition as well. They can fill empty space in a photo or add the little extra dimension or color a photo would otherwise lack.”

“Dressing and accessorizing a doll is like telling a story. Where is she going, what is she going to do, what is she like... It's all there in the choices of clothing and accessories!”, adds Marcela.

Nick, who often uses cigarettes in his photos, says that these accessories are a necessity. “I find that accessories really help tell a story or express the doll’s personality. I do not smoke in real life.  However, I have always associated smoking with rebelliousness.  My Skanky dolls are always rebelling it seems like.   I tend to always keep a dark element to my photos. ”


A photo posted by @skanky_doll on
Tell me, what's more bad ass (and still gorgeous) than a woman smoking?

Accessories allow us collectors enjoy playtime even more

We have to admit, that styling our dolls is one of the most enjoyable activities in this journey of doll collecting.

 “I enjoy more as my dolls' paparazzi...”, shares Edel, who likes taking his dolls out and photographs them like a paparazzi.


“I could spend hours with my accessory boxes open, just choosing the right ones for each look and testing and complementing. Or sometimes I already have a clear vision of what I want, so I just go for those I already have in mind... It's like taking your time to dress up for something nice that you gotta do.”, explains Marcela.


Look at all those accessories that Marcela has for her dolls! A day is too short to even play with half of these!

Rebeca enjoys choosing the right shoes, too.

Leslie loves the way these accessories remind us of our style, our individuality. “We all might buy the same Barbie or AtelierniShasha dress, but we make it our own by how we style it.”

Terri adds, “I love finding the right shoes for the outfit I put together.”

Terri's girl is so ready for something exciting!



These are just some of the things that my friends and I gain from accessorizing our dolls. I think that if we focus on our goals as doll enthusiasts/collectors, doll accessorizing can mostly give us a positive experience. And thanks to our favorite, versatile accessories, that we are pretty much assured of having a great time. 


Here’s a list of top doll accessories from the info I have collected from our dolly friends who contributed to this article.


---- BAGS ----


Michaela's Agnes and some of her bag collection

For Michaela, bags are a must to her doll styling and photography. She collects doll bags “ in every imaginable shape”, as she puts it. Seems like her girls are off to somewhere important, they gotta dress to kill, as they say it!

Vana also stocks up on as many purses she thinks would go with her personal taste.

One's of Vana's favorite bags on this lady in suit.

“I love handbags!”, exclaims Terri. “ I have acquired a pretty impressive collection, mostly from PetiteBoutiqueDeMode on ETSY.  Rolly is the shop's owner and he makes the most authentic mini designer bags for low prices. My dolls cannot live without their designer handbags.”

Terri's girls in two of her most treasured designer hand bags

Kenya shares, “Handbags are also a favorite, though I don’t have nearly enough.”

For Marcela, if her dolls were stranded on a deserted island and looking fabulous all the same, they would die without these couple of bags: fringed and tassel bags. Her favorite are from Kotori’s very own collection, the Green "Grace" bag, Brown "The Maiden" Bag and Red "Pride" Bag, or the “Dernhelm" Black Bag and "The Mother" Bag.

Modern Arda Look 08 - Sea Foam Dream (OOAK) - Sold Out.
Marcela's Colette is so chic in this whole ensemble - the white bucket bag is just fabulous!!!

Leslie thinks that Nautical Striped tote bag from my shop is genius. Awww, thank you, Les!

For Rebeca, there are many bags that she likes, but the one with her muse Audrey Hepburn printed on it, is her absolute favorite.



Indeed that bag is special!


---- HATS, BEANIES, CAPS ----

Most of our friends have at least one hat, beanie or cap in their accessories wardrobe. Head accessories add that attitude you want injected in the photo, but they can also be functional, too!

Zayday in Tenerife Island.
Javi's Zayday chills in the sun, but occasionally needs her straw hat


“The black cap not only improves a look, but is perfect for taking care of my dolls’ hair, especially the girls with bangs.”, says Rebeca. “When I travel or go outside for a photo shoot, their hairstyles are preserved inside the bag, thanks to this black cap.” 

I just love how realistically at ease Rebeca's girl is in this shot - the beanie is key!

Rebeca also has a wool cap, which she says is perfect for those outdoor photos in the winter. “I have it in many colors, but this one is my favorite.”

---- SUNGLASSES, EYEGLASSES ----


Sunglasses are also one of the most often reached for accessory items because to me, aside from giving an oomph to an outfit, glasses are pretty much hard to produce in all its details and small size, it’s amazing. Oh, I’ve destroyed (accidentally stepped on, dropped, broken, lost) lots of glasses and I feel so sad every time that happens. It’s because I know how important they are to me, and that it’s not easy to acquire really nice ones.

“I’m especially fond of doll eye wear. I wish there were more varieties available”, tells Kenya.

Kenya's Poppy needs her sunnies more than a dress ;)


Edel’s dolls are always out traveling so eyewear is one of his favorite items in the accessory wardrobe. He even would love to edit a sunglasses collection someday.

One of Leslie’s favorite accessories is a pair of sunglasses to rest atop her doll’s head or block the sun. The Barbie Basics sunglasses in the various accessory packs are some of her favorites to reach for.

---- BANGLES, BRACELETS ----


It’s always good to have one or two in your favorite colors, as well as neutral and metallic. When I was just starting out, I only had earrings and bracelets, and these saved my day!

Bead bracelets in different colors for every outfit ;)
Oh, here's a link to a quick video on how I make these bracelets.

---- NECKLACES, CHOKERS ----


Necklaces are pretty much one of the must-haves because they easily perfect a look, especially if it’s a portrait photo. Like bracelets and bangles, which are the main stars in the jewelry department, we should keep a few good quality ones that are versatile for our clothes wardrobe and durable enough to last a long time. 

Leslie has been making doll jewelry, which includes necklaces, bracelets, among others because she wanted her dolls to have pieces she would like to wear but couldn't find for them. She’ll be opening her shop soon, so we are so excited for Leslie to showcase her beautiful creations to our wonderful doll community.

Isha
Leslie's Isha modelling perfectly her own handmade boho necklace/headdress and bracelets

Marcela loves her boho necklaces as they go with many boho-inpired outfits. “I make doll jewelry, so I love the way it complements the looks, and the way it sparkles in the right light!”, says Marcela. Her favorites? KoTori's "Les Travailleurs de la Mer" and "Gift of a Gentle Heart".

Rebeca likes that minimalist atelierniSHASHA Peace Sign choker because she says it is very beautiful and it represents the fun spirit of her own dolls and herself. “Plus, it looks perfect with just about any clothing.”

---- SHOES ----


An outfit is mostly never complete without foot wear. For Michaela, shoes are not accessories, but are a part of the outfit.

Nick’s dolls will never be complete Skanky Dolls without their thigh high boots.


A photo posted by @skanky_doll on
She ain't this bad ass without those boots!

Ankle or below the knee boots in brown and black are one of Marcela’s favorites. She reaches out for  Wolf Kumi's combat boots and FR2 Shoe Pack Brown Ones from 2014, most of the time.

Vana has to have the shoes that match her vast wardrobe, in every style and color. She admits to needing tons of these pairs.

Rebeca enjoys so much choosing shoes for the outfits she combines, but she is most amused by a pair of sneakers that she says are very nice and could fit with any casual style.


---- TAKE-AWAY DRINKS OR COFFEE CUPS ----



A photo posted by @edelmo on
A warm drink on a cold day is so perfect!

This trend could be inspired by fashion bloggers strutting the streets with drinks in their hands, or paparazzi shots of celebrities grabbing coffee on their way to work or to the gym, or maybe, take-away coffees have just been so popular it has already crawled its way even into the plastic, sixth-scale world.

I may be wrong, and that these drinks may not even be stored in the wardrobe like clothing and other wearable accessories, but we consider them great hand-held accessories to our dolls because they definitely add realism and a chic feel to our doll photos, don’t they?

---- MAGAZINES AND BOOKS ----


Modern Arda Look 11 - Ocean Gypsy. One Sold
Loving how this beautiful face is also a book lover

Magazines and books are perfect companions for dolls chilling by the pool side, the beach or on the picnic mat by the park. I use these often as I myself love to read books and browse through pages of a magazine.  


Fashion magazines are some of Javi's favorite accessories


---- CAMERAS ----

This one cool photographer just like the one who took this photo - Michaela

Isn’t it so cute for our dolls to travel and take their own photos with their cameras? My guess is that for this trend to rise, we are probably inspired by travel bloggers! Maybe, since we ourselves are photo enthusiasts, we like our dolls to be having the same hobbies, too!

This vintage one of Kenya's Adele perfectly completes the ensemble!

And this trend won’t be possible without the help of miniature makers sharing with us their painstaking detailed works of art. I mean, come on. A sixth-scale DSLR camera or that vintage one from Kenya's collection.  I wanna have one of those so bad!

---- SCARVES AND EARRINGS (tie spot) ----


A-Z Challenge: U - Urban Streetwear
Leslie's Poppy in her colorful handmade scarf


Two in the last spot, but these accessories are I think such perfect items to frame our dolls beautiful faces with, don't you agree? For sure, no doll fashion collector could deny the value of having both scarves and earrings in their styling arsenal.

***

And so that is it for now, my loves. Whew! That was again a mouthful. We still have a few things to talk about in Part 2 of this article, including important notes to remind ourselves when we are on a hunt for accessories so please stay tuned for that! Our post contributors aka doll friends have so much to share with you still on that part.

As always, allow me to express my deepest gratitude to these dolly friends who patiently took some of their time to share with us their ideas, tips, opinions and wonderful experience that doll collecting has given them. This feature will never be possible without you guys, you know that!


Thank you so so much again!

Til next time, dollies!

xoxo,
shasha

13 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You sweet little one, thanks so much to you, love!

      Delete
  2. There's also gadgets like phones, laptops, tablets, headphones... then the usual: belts, earrings, hair accessories... I like the coffee cup idea! I wonder if I could make that myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True that, Oly! So many wonderful accessories to choose from!

      Delete
  3. Awesome post, information and pictures!! Now I must go back to review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Georgia Girl! The photos are mostly from our contributors of this post, so I am forever grateful for all the support they give... xoxo!

      Delete
  4. Nice post. I agree and I keep collecting all these accessories to make my photos more realistic.
    As for the shoes, maybe you will be interesting in my playscale dolls shoes review (please let me know if links are allowed).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Milena... Yes, please give us some of your shoes review.. I know you have a vast collection of amazing Momoko pairs <3

      Delete
    2. Thank you. My playscale shoes reviews for Barbie, Momoko and Poppy Parker are
      here on my blog.

      Delete
  5. Wow! I've just seen the post Shasha! It's amazing! I love all the beautiful pics from everyone, and how they really reflect our individuality as Leslie said. The post is super well done and I love every bit of it!
    Looking forward to the next!
    Big hugs,
    Marcela.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey hey Marcela... Thanks so much, love.. Glad you love the post --- we still have part 2 for this so I hope you guys stay tuned ;)

      Delete
  6. I enjoyed this post a lot! I was such a pleasure to read what everyone said about accessories and to look at the pictures is pure joy!
    I also appreciate Milena's link to her blog where she wrote about shoes. Great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy New Year to you, Vana dear! I'm happy you liked our little post! Truly, I enjoyed Milena's reviews - and her doll shoe collection is amazing!!!

      Delete

Let's chat!