Why we love some dolls and not others Part II: Ambivalence by guest blogger Milady Blue

by Alison Rasmussen


What happens next--when you open that doll you've searched for, waited for, expected for sol long, and what you feel is... ambivalence?

Special guest blogger has some alternatives to immediate sale on the secondary market. Check them out!

Why We Love Some Dolls and Not Others
Part II: Ambilvalence
by Milady Blue
Special Guest Writer


This is the most delicate and tricky part of doll purchasing, especially when one is dependent upon the internet for buying dolls. The hoops have been jumped through – all costs paid, including shipping, whatever import/export taxes are expected of you. The box has been opened. It is sitting in front you. You are looking in at the doll, trying to decide whether you actually want it.

In most cases, this is pretty easy: you either want it or you don’t.

But some collectors fall into the category of, "I like this doll, but..."

This is not an easy one to pin down. Sometimes, a collector will get a doll that they loved initially, but somehow fell out of love with it. Others will be on the fence immediately, once the box is opened.

The reasons for this, aside from potential flaws in the manufacturing process, are not really clear. The doll company showed pictures of the doll on their website, other collectors have taken “real life” pictures of this doll, and based on those pictures, you decided you
wanted it, too. Much like King Henry VIII of England really wanted Anne of Cleves, based on her portrait, until she arrived in England.

Maybe the faceup is not what you thought it would be. The lips might be too dark, or an odd color. Perhaps the eyes are not the right color, or even wonky (meaning the eyes are not looking in the same direction). The hair might be rooted in too thinly in spots, the hairstyle might have flaws, or the wig is wrong for the doll. The costume might be a big disappointment--the fabric choice is not in scale, or it might just seem poorly made. The doll’s body, too, is a
major selling point. What if the doll is not very articulated?

Sometimes, ambivalent collectors might try to put a brave face on their disappointment, and just live with the doll’s flaws, whatever they may be. But a doll’s problems can be corrected. If you do not have the technical skills to do it yourself, there are many options to choose from:

  • OOAK Artist – An artist skilled at painting faces, they can correct wonky eyes, or badly applied lipstick. Some of these artists also do reroots of dolls, so the hair color or arrangement can be greatly improved.
  • Frankendolly – Many doll companies either offer doll bodies for sale, or a different doll can be purchased for just the body.
  • Wig Seller – If your doll’s wig is less than adequate, it is simple enough to buy a wig you do like, and put it on the doll instead.
  • Tailor – There are many skilled designers and seamstresses available to doll collectors, to either recreate the costume, or to make a different costume the collector thinks would work better on the doll.
Of course, ambivalence might just boil down to something as simple as the doll not fulfilling your expectations. The doll itself might be a great sculpt, have terrific articulation, a lovely outfit and hairdo, and just for some reason, not be what you envisioned it would be.