As long as we’re on the subject of childhood nostalgia, this one had been rolling around in the back of my mind for a long time now, compounded by the fact that I start each work day listening to the most excellent podcast by two guys discussing the finer points of one of my favorite childhood guilty pleasures: The Baby-Sitters Club books. I didn’t like the movie or the TV series at all, but I was the right age when the first books came out and it was a real treat because the girls in the books were so relatable and most importantly, they were focused and business oriented, something my peers certainly were not. At the time I had to make a decision as to whether or not to enroll into LaGuardia High School for music or Art and Design for art, a choice I knew would dictate my future and I had no one my age to discuss this really important decision I had to make because their futures were more fluid than mine. I felt that the BSC books, especially the character of Claudia Kishi had made me realize that it was okay to know exactly what you want out of life even at the tender age of 13. Looking back, I realized I did make the right decision because, let’s face it, I’d be a pretty mediocre pianist. And unemployed.

I’ve stopped reading the books after I went to high school, which meant I didn’t know who Abby was nor did I realize that Mary Anne had a drastic makeover, or that Stacey McGill’s splashy tropical themed fashion morphed into urban sophisticate. The outfits on this set are based on the earlier versions of the girls in the series.

The first doll is of course Kristy Thomas the founder and president of the BSC clad in her Kristy’s Krushers uniform rather than her other notable ensemble of turtleneck, sweater and jeans. I refused to read “Kristy and the Snobs” the second time because it told the tale of the death of her dog Louie and reading it the first time made me bawl like a baby.

My nine-year old niece and I agreed that Claudia is our favorite because of her artistic skills, creative dressing style, and a penchant for junk food and mysteries. This outfit is straight out of this description from “Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls” BSC book #2:

I’m [Claudia] wearing purple pants that stop just below my knees and are held up with suspenders, white tights with clocks on them, a purple-plaid shirt with a matching hat, my hightop sneakers, and lobster earrings. Clothes like these are my trademark.

Since I stopped reading the series before Stacey’s style became sophisticated, I compromised by painting her outfit a “New York Black.” This outfit is taken from the description from “Kristy’s Great Idea” (BSC book #1)

Stacey [McGill] had on a pink sweatshirt 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.

Mary Anne’s first makeover consisted of her getting rid of her braids, but in “Logan Likes Mary Anne!” BSC book #10 she got permission to buy a new outfit for her first ever school dance with the titular Logan Bruno and this was the ensemble, with the help of Claudia the fashion maven, that was described:

Then Claudia handed me [Mary Anne] a full white skirt with the words Paris, Rome, and London, and sketchy pink and blue pictures of the Eiffel Tower, the Tower Bridge and other stuff scrawled all over it. She matched it up with a pink shirt and a baggy pink sweater. I would never, ever have tried on that skirt, but with the shirt and sweater it looked really cool. In the shoe department we found white slip-ons with pink and blue edging that matched the pink and blue in the skirt.

Dawn’s outfit as described in “Mallory and the Trouble with Twins” BSC book #21:

Dawn was wearing this cool oversized (really oversized) blue shirt. One of the coolest things about it was that it was green inside, so that when she turned the collar down and rolled the sleeves up, you could see these nice touches of green at her neck and wrists. She was wearing a green skirt – and clogs. I’d never seen a person actually wearing clogs, just photos of people in Sweden.

Jessi’s outfit, also from book #21:

Jessi and I looked dull, dull, dull. We were both wearing jeans. Jessi was wearing a T-shirt that said You are looking at perfection. And she was wearing running shoes.

Mallory’s outfit from “Hello Mallory!” book #14:

I threw on a pair of jeans, a sweatshirt that said I’D RATHER BE WRITING MY NOVEL, and a pair of sneakers.

This was a fun one to paint and certainly took me on a long hard stroll down my formative years. Every now and then I would catch myself wondering what had happened to these girls since we’d be roughly around the same age, but then I’d have to remind myself that they’re fictional characters.