When I first heard that the Sims 4 developers planned to release a Carnaval-themed kit, I was overjoyed. After all, Carnaval is the caliber of world-wide party that encompasses nearly every aspect of my unique Simming style: it celebrates and centers people of color, often highlights the exuberance of queer culture, and embraces all that is over-the-top and breathtakingly indulgent. The unapologetic debauchery of Carnaval is a luscious luxury-experience of the senses, and I am here for every inch of it. Dubbed “Carne Vale” or “farewell meat” by the ancient Romans, Carnaval actually originated in ancient Egypt as a ceremony that ushered in the spring season and bid the winter months goodbye. It is the period of absolute jubilation and feasting that comes before the season of Lent, when many Christians abstain, or fast, from meat, a favored food, or a vice.
Sims 4’s Carnaval Streetwear Kit is a Create-a-Sim kit that toes the line between classic Sims ready-to-wear styles and the unapologetic neons, sequins, feathers, and cut-outs of Carnaval. The kit boasts stunning party pieces in eye-pleasing ice-cream colors and knock-out neons. It offers tight skirts, glimmering tops, quaint overalls, floral rompers, and feathered accessories all unabashedly inspired by the colors of various queer pride flags. LGBTQ+ people and their allies will quickly recognize not only the quintessential rainbow flag but also the flags for lesbian pride, demi pride, pansexual pride, and many more.
The kit comes stocked with one new nail set, two new makeups, three accessories, twelve feminine pieces, and six “masculine” pieces. I aim to review my favorite pieces, but not all of them. For example, I left off the watermelon shirt because, well, it’s dorky. Deal with it.
It should be noted that although I have divided this review into “masculine” and “feminine,” a major selling point of this kit is that each piece is designed to suit all body types. This is a necessary and highly-requested change that the Sims team appears to whole-heartedly embrace. By challenging the very idea of “masculinity” with their recent “Modern Menswear Kit” and creating new looks that are designed to fit all body types, the Sims looks to stay on the cutting edge of culture, fashion, and the arc of history that bends toward justice.
I’ll be honest. Most of the Sims in my save are masculine. I enjoy making male Sims more than perhaps any other gender, so I am always incredibly excited to get new menswear. But, perhaps more specifically, I love menswear that retains the hyper-masculine silhouette – broad shoulders, clean lines, narrow waist – while challenging the hyper-masculine stereotypes with flashy colors and head-turning textures. Before Carnaval Streetwear Kit (and Modern Menswear) I was beginning to grow tired of the scores of boring button-ups and formal suits. Custom content became my saving grace when I dressed my men, though I did also find immense joy in the Fashion Street Kit as well.
I realize, too, that I am perhaps in the minority when it comes to my enjoyment of kits in general, but listen, I’m just that dedicated to my Black masculine Sims. I am, ahem, perhaps part of the problem.
But let’s get to the meat of what I must say about the masculine looks.
The star of this kit is, undoubtedly for me, the floral romper. Available in nine pleasing swatches, this gorgeous get-up comes with an open v-neckline and a head-turning leafy print that gives the feeling of floral without actually edging into flower print territory. God, is this outfit perfect. Both bold and clean, preppy and fun, the romper is perfect for the high-fashion Sim ready to party for days in the Brazilian sun.
A close second for me is the colorful mesh top. This top, available in the many colors of the queer flag rainbow, is exactly what any self-respecting man in a pride parade should strive to wear. It does also come in plain white and black swatches, which somehow manage to feel even sexier than the other variants, and that is saying something. Alaeryn, my main Sim, with his long and narrow torso and broad chest looks smoking in this top.
There is a sequined top for men as well, and it comes in several cute colors. As much as I live for sequins, this top is just okay for me. The sequins are certainly shiny, but the texture of the top leaves much to be desired. Upon closer examination, the sequins appear flat and a little boring, though the shine is almost distracting enough to warrant forgiveness. Almost.
Another absolute winner is the half-sleeve tied-off top that comes in twelve stunning swatches. Although this is far from a traditional masculine silhouette, it pleases me to no end. Alaeryn can’t say no to a gorgeous midriff moment, and he never will, I dare say. The top is, again, floral without being too sickeningly sweet. Its vivid palm frond patterns and peacock adjacent feather prints are so abundantly lovely that they pair perfectly with island jewelry. Alaeryn looks ready to sip a colorful beach drink and soak in some sun.
The last two looks I'll cover – a pair of denim overalls and some floral swimming trunks – are also very cute. The overalls slip down the SIm’s left shoulder to offer a peek of, again, a variety of queer flag-inspired tanks. The shorts stop just above the knee and would work acceptably, if not a little unremarkably, as swimming trunks. We got plenty of colorful swimming trunks from Island Living, and there is nothing -outside of the pretty print - that is showstopping about these shorts. These two options are adorable but not Alaeryn’s style. He prefers a swimming outfit that allows him to show off more of his juicy – er– you know what? Let’s just move on.
In true Sims fashion, the women get the lion’s share of the fresh looks in Carnaval Streetwear Kit, and nearly all of them are knockouts.
Perhaps the winner of the entire repertoire is a sunny, beaded top, again available in many shades of the queer rainbow. It is a beautiful, skin-baring, jewel-toned work of art that is shiny and colorful and absolutely delicious to behold.
But the fun does not even begin to stop there. Another favorite of mine is the pride-flag crop top, a quaint little thing that thrives on bold colors. Its form-fitting fit and pleasing design is an easy win, though I’m sure many Simmers feel more than inundated with wave upon wave of crop-tops for women. I am inclined to agree. It is pretty difficult to dress a more a feminine Sim more conservatively in this game, which can be frustrating, particularly when dressing elder Sims. That being said, this kit is for Carnaval, a world-wide party known for the sexy and indulgent, so I’ll let it slide this time.
The tight seductive skirt of the pack comes in ten different swatches. Hip-hugging and sporting a strappy slit along the sides, the skirt is another gorgeous addition to the Sims 4 catalog, though there is nothing extraordinary about it. It’s a lovely skirt sure to inspire many a woohoo session.
The incredible feminine looks continue in this pack with a tutu like rainbow skirt that comes in twelve vivid swatches, a pair of very short denim shorts in ten different colors, a plain pair of shorts with an accompanying fanny pack, a head to toe elegant dress with tempting cut-outs at the waist, a beachwear outfit with vibrant peacock patterns and a long, loose cover up, and a sequined halter-top with an A-line skirt and gold, criss-crossed belts. All of these looks are good, a welcome addition to any feminine closet, and it would be difficult to pick a clear winner if not for the amazing crop-top and suspenders combo.
This lovely look continues the tradition of finding inspiration in the many flags of queer culture, but it adds a dreamy, almost celestial star-studded quality to the shorts, which I just love. It is flirty, with an off-the shoulder lace up top, bright suspenders, and somewhat modest shorts in several appealing colors.
All right, fine - here is a montage of items also included in the pack which I find - uninspiring at best:
For me, there is not much to hate when it comes to this pack. It is bold, sexy, and just plain fun. With its constant nod to queer culture, it is a must-have for any self-respecting, parade-loving, over-the-top Simmer.
That said, I wish the Sims team would have pushed the envelope even further. I wanted the massive, full-bodied feather costumes that I associate so closely with Carnaval. I wanted the shining beads and body paints of Mardi Gras. I wanted thigh-high strappy boots, impossibly steep heels, body glitter, and just more.
This pack gives me glitter and shine, but falls surprisingly short in the texture department. As many Simmers have already noted, the fanny-pack which comes with the shorts looks flat and painted on, lacking believable dimension. The sequins are shiny but in no way 3-D, and if I’m honest, when putting a feminine Sim in the masculine clothing, the clothes changed her body composition jarringly. Her torso became longer, her shoulders broader, as if to accommodate the masculine mesh, which, you know, isn’t really the point of unisex clothing, is it?
All in all, the pack is a keeper if you’re an extravagant Simmer like me. Grab it now for $4.99 on Origin.
Bottom line: Hot or Flop?