Sapphire & The 1950s

A curvy black paper doll with historical underwear from the 1950s and three pairs of shoes. Her underwear and shoes come from various museum collections. Her short black hair is styled based on black actresses and singers of the 1950s.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
Some themes I know I want to explore from the very beginning of a paper doll project and this was one of those themes. I knew I wanted to do a 1950s paper doll.

I love 1950s clothing. Also, historical paper dolls are what I mostly collect and were my favorites as a child. So, it is a win-win all around for me.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
I really wanted to start with a basic set of underwear (strapless to accommodate evening gowns) and four pairs of shoes. I wanted the shoes to be mix and match-able with the dresses I designed around the same time (I’ll be sharing those later.)

One of my favorite tricks for hair from this era (or any time in the last 90 years) is to chose from actresses in Hollywood. Not only did actresses set the hairstyles of their time, but they are often more racially diverse than models in magazines or catalogs (until 1970 when that improves a bit).

For Sapphire’s hair, I based her style off the hair styles worn by Dorothy Dandridge and Leana Horne in the 1950s. Dorothy Dandridge was an actress who died young, sadly. Lena Horne was a wildly successful singer who did some acting, but mostly was known for her singing.

Specific Source Images: These shoes, these shoes, these shoes and these sandals all from The Met. This corset from the V&A. Photos of Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge (Here’s the same hair again on Dorothy Dandridge in 1954). I like it when I see the same hairstyle on several actresses, because then I know it wasn’t just a quirk of one woman, but something several women chose to wear.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls &  more paper dolls from the 1950s
Around the Internet: Check out The Met and The V&A, both of which have great costume collections. Also, check out my 1950s fashion Pinterest Board.

Last Thoughts
I had a lot of fun creating a “set” of clothing for Sapphire, so tune in for the next few days. I’ll be sharing 1950s fashions. It’s going to be super fun.

Want an extra paper doll or dress each week? Than join us on Patreon.

2 comments

  1. I am excited for 1950 clothes. I saw your 1950 fashion on patreon and from this time I can’t wait for model from 1950. And the best thing is the model from 1950 is Sapphire, my favorite doll from Jawels and Gemstones. I can’t wait for clothes from 1950 on these blog

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