In 1995, Pleasant Company expanded their line to include contemporary dolls and introduced American Girl Today. They started with 20 dolls of varying skin tone, hair and eye color. The dolls came in a Starter Outfit. Coordinating accessories were available to purchase separately.
In addition, there was a substantial line of American Girl Today clothes and accessories. In 2006, the contemporary line of dolls was renamed to Just Like You. They were essentially the same, just a new name for the dolls. In 2010, the name was changed once again to My American Girl. New dolls were been added and some retired, with a net result of 39 dolls to choose from. Just last month, in May of 2015, the contemporary line was changed to Truly Me, with 3 new dolls added and 2 retired, bringing the new total to 40 dolls. I think the dolls are more beautiful than ever and I love their new look.
AMERICAN GIRL TODAY DOLLS
The first 20 American Girl Today dolls were introduced with the idea that every girl has a moment in history. Even now, is a part of history. Therefore, there were matching outfits for girls and the dolls came with 6 blank books so that each girl could create her doll’s story. I think this was a great idea and I wish American Girl hadn’t dropped that aspect. It encourages girls to write and use their imaginations. Of course, it’s easy to acquire blank books these days from Barnes and Noble or Walmart. I’m thinking of doing that for my own Truly Me Doll.
The dolls ranged in skin color from light to medium to dark; their hair was either blonde, red, light brown, dark brown or black (including a textured black hair choice). Eyes were either blue, green, hazel, light brown or dark brown. American Girl is certainly the first and may still be the only doll company to make such an effort to offer dolls that look like all ethnicities. It is amazing that they offer so many different combinations.
1995 STARTER OUTFIT AND ACCESSORIES
The first starter outfit featured a magenta tee shirt and leggings covered by an oversized white button-down shirt and reversible denim vest. It included matching magenta underwear, black suede flats, a magenta scrunchie and 10 mini grin pins.
The accessories included a wide-brim denim hat accented with a big yellow sunflower and plaid bow, a black leather wallet-purse, an American Girl pendant, a library card, lunch tickets, a mini magazine, 3 mini one-dollar bills and 10 mini grin pins.
1996-1998 STARTER OUTFIT AND ACCESSORIES
Late in 1996, the Starter Outfit was changed slightly. It was similar to the original in many ways, but featured a striped tee shirt with black stretch velour pants, a bright yellow fleece shirtjac, turquoise anklets and black suede flats. It also included magenta underwear, a hair scrunchie and 10 mini grin pins. In late 1997, the six blank books were reduced to just one book. Still, it encouraged girls to write and be creative and was an excellent part of the American Girl Today concept.
The accessories included a black velvet hat with a felt flower motif, a black wallet-purse, an American Girl pendant, a library card, lunch tickets, a mini magazine, 3 mini one-dollar bills and 10 mini grin pins.
1998-2000 STARTER OUTFIT AND ACCESSORIES
The Starter Outfit and Accessories were redone once again in late 1998. This time the change was quite dramatic. The Starter Outfit now included a red vinyl jumper and black turtleneck sweater, argyle tights, polka-dot underwear and black lug-soled boots. You also received a full-size copy of American Girl Magazine and a blank book with your doll. The previous Starter Outfit was then sold as a separate outfit in the American Girl Today collection. In 1999, a plaid ponytail wrap was added to this Starter Outfit.
The Accessories included a black beret with a plaid bow, a notebook necklace, a metallic lunchbox purse, lunch tickets, a library card, 3 min one-dollar bills, a mini American Girl Magazine and 10 mini grin pins.
2000-2002 URBAN STARTER OUTFIT AND ACCESSORIES
American Girl Today had another dramatic change again in late 2000 and the Starter Outfits began to have names. The Urban Outfit was made up of a gray hooded striped shirt, a blue ripstop cargo skirt, a reversible quilted vest, gray socks, blue suede Mary Jane shoes and white underwear. A full-size issue of American Girl Magazine and a blank book arrived with your doll. This outfit and the accessories could also be purchased separately.
Holiday 2001, a new doll was added, bringing the total dolls offered to 21; she had light skin, curly blond hair and hazel eyes. She is my personal favorite and she is still part of the collection. I was lucky to have acquired her just this month.
The Urban Accessories included a watch, hair chopsticks, a nylon purse, flower-and-dog-tag keychain, a library card, 3 mini one-dollar bills and a mini magazine.
2002-2004 GO ANYWHERE STARTER OUTFIT AND ACCESSORIES
Holiday 2002, the Go Anywhere Outfit became the American Girl Today Starter Outfit. It represents another dramatic change and is one my all-time favorites. It features a white mock turtleneck tee shirt, a green ruffly herringbone skirt, and a lilac cardigan sweater, lilac tights, purple low-top boots and lilac undies. The full-size American Girl Magazine and blank book were replaced with a Friends Forever book to record your doll’s likes and dislikes, her favorite foods, etc. Like the Urban Outfit before it, the Go Anywhere Outfit and Accessories could be purchased separately. In 2003, a special starter collection was offered, in which Coconut, the dog was included.
The Go Anywhere Accessories are comprised of a color-blocked purse, a crocheted hair band and a charm bracelet, a compact, 2 sticks of pretend gum, 3 mini one-dollar bills, a library card and a mini American Girl Magazine.
2004-2006 READY FOR FUN STARTER OUTFIT AND ACCESSORIES
Ready For Fun was the outfit makeover of Holiday 2004. It included jeans sprinkled with beads, sequins and embroidery, a rhinestone-studded tee shirt and a zip-up hoodie, tennis shoes, colorful striped socks, underwear and a ponytail holder. A Friends Forever book was included with the doll. Ready for Fun Outfit and Accessories were also sold separately. The Starter package including Coconut continued to be offered.
In 2004, three new dolls were added, but the total number of dolls available remained at 21. All three had light skin and long hair parted on the side. One had curly blond hair, light brown eyes and freckles. The second had light blond hair and blue eyes, and the third had light brown hair, blue eyes and freckles. Though, the dolls were still called American Girl Today, the phrase “she’s just like you,” was used in the advertising. In December 2005, another new doll was added. She had light skin, long black/brown hair and dark brown eyes.
The Ready for Fun Accessories included a vinyl purse, a Coconut keychain with two charms, a vinyl bracelet with AG logo, a library card, pretend lunch money and a mini American Girl Magazine.
JUST LIKE YOU DOLLS
Early in 2006, the name was officially changed to Just Like You. The Ready for Fun Outfit was kept at first. But Holiday 2006 saw a change for the Starter Outfit and Accessories, as well. New dolls continued to be added.
2006-2008 “I LIKE YOUR STYLE” STARTER OUTFIT AND ACCESSORIES
The Starter Outfit makeover in 2006 was dubbed “I Like Your Style”. It included a long-sleeved tee shirt with a flower graphic, a matching periwinkle skort, periwinkle boots with silver trim, underwear and a ponytail holder. The doll also came with a Sparkle, Sprit, Style! book and CD. As before, the “I Like Your Style” Outfit and Accessories were sold separately.
The “I Like Your Style” Accessories included a drawstring purse, a Coconut charm keychain, pretend money, a library card, two beaded ponytail holders and a mini American Girl Magazine. It appears that the Accessories were discontinued sometime in 2007. At least, they no longer appeared in the catalogue.
2008-2010 JUST LIKE YOU STAR HOODIE STARTER OUTFIT
In Fall 2008, the Starter Outfit was changed to the Star Hoodie Outfit, one of my personal favorites. It included a bright pink hoodie dress with mock-layered sleeves and a plaid star applique, grey cropped leggings, a matching plaid headband, bright pink ballet flats and pink underwear. This outfit could be purchased separately.
No accessories were sold for this outfit. Instead, you could purchase a Phone and Charms Set option when you bought the doll. This set could also be purchased separately and included a pretend cell phone and case, a wrist strap, three metal charms, sparkly jewel stickers, graphic stickers and screen stickers. This set was also sold separately and wasn’t part of the Star Hoodie Outfit, as such.
For the first time, an ear piercing option was offered, as well.
MY AMERICAN GIRL DOLLS
Just Like You did not last very long. Holiday 2010, the name was changed to My American Girl. The dolls were updated and new dolls added to bring the total to 39 beautiful dolls. There were a variety of skin tones, hair and color combinations, so that any girl could choose a doll that looks like her.
The purchase of a My American Girl doll gave you access to innerstarU.com, American Girl’s interactive website where you could play games, make friends and earn awards.
2010-2012 MY AMERICAN GIRL REAL ME STARTER OUTFIT AND ACCESSORIES
The first outfit in the My American Girl lineup was the Real Me Outfit. It included a lavender graphic tee, purple cuffed capris, underwear and lavender ballet-flat shoes. In addition, the Charm Keeper necklace was introduced and American Girl started selling charms with each My American Girl outfit. This time, this outfit was not sold separately.
The accessories were dubbed Everyday Accessories and included a purple messenger bag, a bright pink knit hat, a school binder, a notebook, 3 pretend dollar bills, and a library card. The accessories were sold separately, but they didn’t last long. They are not offered in the January 2011 catalog.
2012 TO 2015 TRUE SPIRIT STARTER OUTFIT AND ACCESSORIES
In Summer 2012, the Starter Outfit was changed to the True Spirit Outfit. It featured a pink graphic tee and gray knit skirt, tall boots, pink underwear and a Charm-Keeper necklace. This outfit was not sold separately, though the Charm-Keeper necklaces began to be sold separately in 2014.
The True Spirit Accessories, which are sold separately, include a cropped white denim jacket, an embroidered lavender purse, an Innerstar University library card, 3 pretend dollars and a bright pink cable-knit hat.
2015 – PRESENT TRULY ME STARTER OUTFIT & ACCESSORIES
May of 2015 saw the revamp of the contemporary line. My American Girl has become Truly Me with a brand new outfit. It includes a lilac dress with sparkly waistband and sequined mesh accents, cotton underwear and turquoise shoes.
The accessories are called Love to Layer. They include a moto-style vest with an asymmetrical zipper, a stand-up collar and screen-print badges; a flouncy mesh skirt with attached bow; a yellow sparkle bow headband; 3 colorful hairclips and 6 bright ponytail holders.