by Unknown on Friday, August 27, 2010

#1: Kristy's Great Idea

Back in 2007, I excerpted a passage from the book that started it all. Makes sense, right? The very first book of the series, my very first entry. Today, we revisit. No fashion left behind, that's my promise to you.

Kristy (who is so awesome in this book, especially during the incident that leads to a 100 word essay on decorum in the classroom) tells us that "Claudia has never been a close friend, and this year, the gap between us seems to have widened just since school started. Even though we're all seventh-graders, Claudia suddenly seemed . . . older. She talks about boys, and spends most of her time adding to her wardrobe and talking on the phone. In the short time since school started, she's become a different person." Aw.

The outfit from this scene "short, very baggy lavender plaid overalls, a white lacy blouse, a black fedora, and red high-top sneakers without socks. Her long black hair was carefully arranged in four braids."

Poor Kristy is baffled by Claudia's experiments with makeup:
"'Are you going to wear that' - I pointed to her face - 'to school tomorrow?'

'If I can get away with it.'

I nodded. Claudia's parents are very conservative. They don't understand her taste in clothes at all. They're pretty nice about the fedoras and stuff, although they won't buy any of those things for her. (That's why she has to baby-sit - to earn money for all that stuff.) But I didn't know how the Kishis would react to Claudia's day-glo face. I didn't know how our teachers would react, either."

I dig this bit of characterization, too -- that babysitting for Claudia is a means to an end. And that end is glittery slouch socks and spandex bike shorts. Love this bitch.

"Claudia answered it again, this time wearing a baggy yellow-and-black checked shirt, black pants, red jazz shoes, and a bracelet that looked like it was made from a telephone cord. Her earrings were dangling jointed skeletons that jumped around when she moved. I noticed she wasn't wearing any makeup.

'Mom and Dad wouldn't let me,' she said.

'Well, you got away with the skeletons.'

Claudia grinned. 'I didn't put those on until I got to school,' she whispered. 'Mimi's the only grown-up home now and she doesn't mind if I wear skeletons.'

'Oh, very sneaky!' Claudia knows every trick."

Damn straight she does.

When Stacey McGill is introduced to us, she's wearing "a pink sweat shirt with sequins and a large purple parrot on the front; short, tight-fitting jeans with zippers up the outsides of the legs; and pink plastic shoes. She was very pretty, tall and quite thin with huge blue eyes framed by dark lashes, and fluffy blonde hair that looked as if it had been permed recently. I glanced at Mary Anne. She and I were still in our school clothes - skirts and blouses*. I was wearing white knee socks and loafers. Mary Anne was wearing short white socks and saddle shoes. Mary Anne's hair was, of course, in braids, and I was wearing a blue hair band.

We looked like second-graders. Stacey and Claudia looked like models."

I like this Stacey much better than the Stacey of later books -- the 'classy' Stacey who insists on wearing turquoise trousers and shopping in sections called 'Young Sophisticate'. Come on, Stacey. More jellies and skinny jeans, please.

When Stacey meets Sam Thomas, she's "wearing a matching top and skirt made of gray sweat shirt material with big yellow number tens all over it. Her hair was pinned back with clips shaped like rainbows. Little silver whistles were dangling from her ears. It was all very cool, but it seemed kind of young-looking."

But Sophisticated Stacey is already starting to emerge . . . or at least, her wool pants obsession is: "'I went shopping at Bloomingdale's and bought this." She indicated the plaid wool pants she was wearing, which were held up with bright red suspenders. 'I got a matching hat, too.'"

First fight . . . and it devolves into fashion theory!:
"'Well, how do you think I feel, being lied to?' I shouted. 'Talk about tact. It made me feel like a little kid.'

'You are a little kid,' said Claudia. 'Look at how you're dressed.'

I looked. 'What's wrong with the way I'm dressed?'

'Really, Kristy, a sweater with snowflakes and snowmen on it? You look like a four-year-old.'

'Well, you've got sheep barrettes in your hair,' I yelled. 'You think they're adult?'

'Sheep,' Claudia informed me witheringly, 'are in.'

'Who cares? Everything's in sometime. First it was frogs, then pigs, now it's sheep. Maybe next week it'll be snowmen. And how do you expect me to keep up with that stuff, anyway? I don't have time for it.'

'That's because you and Mary Anne are too busy playing dolls.'

'Doll!' I yelled. (Mary Anne looked as if she'd been slapped in the face. I knew she was going to start crying soon, and it only made me angrier.) 'We do not play with dolls!' The thing is, though, that we just gave them up over the summer."

Seriously, Kristy is so great in this book! I can't believe she only got 42 votes. You guys have been blinded by your desire to hide candy all over your bedroom and not get caught.

Later in the series (book #89: Kristy and the Dirty Diapers was the first release with the new design, and hell yes I remember that from being a kid) they re-released the books with new covers. The original image can be seen in What Claudia Wore's header, but I kind of love the new artwork as well. Let's take a look.

Kristy is wearing the outfit we expect her to wear (turtleneck, sweater, jeans, visor) with a modern twist: Chuck Taylors! So fetch.

Mary Anne is very O.G. Mary Anne: blouse, skirt, loafers, braids.

Claudia is amazingly Claudia. Why couldn't the illustrators be this accurate on all the covers? We've got a side ponytail, three sets of beads (red, white, and purple), a black choker with a heart charm, two bangle bracelets, a yellow flowered tank dress, and sheer black tights. And let's not forget the candy bar. Frickin' magnificent.

Stacey is the worst of the bunch. Sure, she's sporting some Swedish Hasbeens, but she's also wearing some weird floral pants more suited to Mary Anne's Little House on the Prarie stylings. Whatever. Please note that her soda is clearly labeled DIET. This illustrator was not skimping on the details.

* So weird to think of Kristy in anything other than those damn turtlenecks, but I do think she looks very cute (and very young) on the original cover. That's definitely the kind of look I was rocking when I was her age. I remember I had an overall dress and pink mock turtleneck that I thought were so grown up.


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by Anna on 11:55 PM. #

I think Mary Anne actually looks really cute in the updated cover! I am pretty square, myself, so I can't really adopt ironically square fashions like socks with Mary Janes or pigtails because I just look like I actually have no style, but if I could, I'd wear MA's outfit.
Also, Kim, a couple posts ago you mentioned buying old BSC books...if there are any specific ones you're looking for I would be happy to dig through my collection and scan relevant pages to send to you. I bet others would too. Just let us know!
ETA: I looked back and apparently I totally fabricated the part about buying books on eBay. NBD but I wanted to be accurate!

by Anna on 11:57 PM. #

I think I like the original cover better because they actually look like they could be thirteen. Although, you never know--I work at a library and today a girl came in and wanted to make a library card, and I wasn't sure if she was over 18 or not, so I asked how old she was and she was like "13." Uh, never mind, you have to have a parent come in with you.

by notemily on 12:54 AM. #

I just read "The Summer Before"! Good thing my library is up with the times. Now I need to locate my box full of BSCs!
I used to dream of having my own club and hiding candy under my bed.

by ♥ Callah on 1:02 AM. #

I used to have skeleton earrings* and I thought I was channeling Claudia's cool with them.

*in the 1980s.

by cerebral e on 7:25 AM. #

i'm pretty sure all i need to do to fit into the hipster crowd is read my old babysitters and copy the looks.

by honeycomb frog on 12:35 AM. #

Wait, are you sure the girl wearing the dress on the cover of the original cover isn't Mary Anne? It looks more like MA...can't imagine Kristy voluntarily wearing a dress!

by Sadako on 12:55 AM. #

I just added Kristy's Great Idea to my list of favorite books on Facebook today. Before reading this post. I remember where I was when I opened it (a particular table in a particular Chinese restaurant--it was a birthday present but I can't remember if it was my actual bday that day). Kristy is my alter-ego in many ways. Other faves: Kristy's Big Day and The Ghost at Dawn's House.

by Bailey on 1:09 AM. #

"a pink sweat shirt with sequins and a large purple parrot on the front." One of those right here, thanks.

by Lady Catherine on 3:12 AM. #

Oh man, the illustrator even included a Nancy Drew book on the cover. I didn't read late enough to get the re-done covers, but I remember how some of them were done really really poorly. I kind of wish I had kept all of the BSC and Sweet Valley books I had; lord knows I spent hundreds of dollars of allowance on them...

by Miracle Minnie on 12:21 PM. #

OMG, I so wanted Claudia's purple shortalls and Stacey's grey sweatshirt and skirt outfit. Adorable outfits. Sassy zings. Stylish updated cover. What more could I ask for?

by SweetSapphire83 on 8:18 PM. #

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by Fan efashion on 10:36 PM. #

The first few books (maybe just the first) described SMS as pretty conservative, requiring the girls to wear a uniform of sorts. I've always thought the jumper girl on the cover is Kristy, because the one with the pigtail braids can only be Mary Anne.

by Libellule on 11:07 PM. #

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