Suit From the Mid-1950s

A fitted suit from 1956 with bucket hat and matching necklace. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
When I think of the 1950s, I think of suits and dresses. Sure, pants and shorts existed, but I always think of crisp suits and soft dresses. So, I knew I wanted to do a suit or two.

There’s really two fashionable shapes for suits in the 1950s. One is tight and sleek. The other is a fitted bodice and a full skirt as in Dior’s New Look.

Personally, I love both.

Today’s suit though is of the tight skirted variety.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
I was really intrigued by this pattern from Advance, because I am always am fascinated by the idea of separates in the past. It’s an idea that has been around for as long as I think women have been getting dressed. You can see the concept as far back as the 18th century when different jackets would be paired with different skirts. I suspect you could trace it back further, but I never have attempted too.

Specific Source Images: Advance 8114

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls &  more paper dolls from the 1950s
Around the Internet: Since I mentioned Dior’s New Look, you can read more here .

Last Thoughts
My lovely supporters on Patreon will be getting another suit on Friday. So, be sure to check that out if you’re a patron.

Additionally, I am considering doing another 100 day project this year. Last year, I drew 100 dresses and took pictures of them on Instagram. You can see them all here.

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.

Regency Fashion Week: Walking Dress

An 1817 walking dress design taken from a fashion plate in the Lady's Magazine for the printable paper dolls I create. There's a matching bonnet, boots and bag.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
Okay, so I know I’m not supposed to have favorites, but I do. And this Walking Dress was one of my two favorite dresses I drew for Monday’s Regency paper doll.

My other favorite is a morning dress that is going up for my Patrons on Patreon on Friday.

Today’s walking dress was a form of half-dress, for those keeping track, which means we’re really only missing undress (the more informal of options), but if you’re a Patron, one of those will be up Friday.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Occasionally, I see something I just want to draw it. That was what happened with this amazing fashion plate. I was in love the moment I saw it. I was a little worried about the ruff at the neck, but I think it came out okay.

Specific Source Images: This Dress from 1817, these boots from the London Museum & this bag from the Met.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Regency Fashion Paper Dolls & More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: The London Museum (where the fashion plat and the shoes came from), A Nice Collection of Fashion Plates from Candice Hern, & A Quick Primer on Regency Fashion

Last Thoughts
If you’re super observant, you might notice that the cuffs on this dress are the same as the cuffs on the day dress. This cuff style was super popular. When you see a style popping up on multiple garments, it’s usually evidence that people were into it.

Friendly reminder that if you want to see a morning dress tomorrow, join us on Patreon. 2 dollars a month gets you an extra paper doll dress every Friday.

So, which dress this week has been your favorite? Personally, I’m a big fan of today’s dress. Let me know in a comment.

Regency Fashion Week: Day Dress

A paper doll dress inspired by the regency era- it's a printed cotton dress from 1810 with a bonnet and shoes. The historical paper doll clothing is free to print and play with.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
There’s a perception that the Regency era was all white dresses, white stockings and white shoes. Never mind the fact that there is still mud in the 1800s and there’s not the kind of laundry capacity we have now. I knew I wanted to do a richly colored day dress in patterned cotton.

Day dresses were a form of undress or half-dress (as I mentioned yesterday). This dress is a more middle class style and certainly casual. Printed cottons were very popular in the era and this color is called Turkey red. The “turkey” part of the name refers to the country of Turkey, not the bird.

Her bonnet is a bit earlier than the dress- it’s a soft sort of style that was super popular before 1810 and then seems to fall out of fashion a bit for harder stiffer styles. I have one of those bonnets for tomorrow.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
The dress’s silouhette comes from this gown from the V&A Museum. The print on the dress and the colors are from this swatch from Ackermann’s Journal. That was a fashion journal that included pasted in fabric/paper swatches.

Specific Source Images: These stockings, these shoes, this dress, this bonnet (bottom left) and this fabric.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Regency Fashion Paper Dolls and More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: Turkey Red from Wikipedia and Another Nice Regency Dress Overview

Last Thoughts
One of the challenges though of working in historical clothing is that I don’t know what would be considered “tacky”. Would it be tacky to combine blue stockings with green shoes and a red dress? Is this too much color? How would a woman of this period actually feel about this combination? I have no idea.

I just noticed there’s a tiny coloring error in this set. How embarrassing! I’ll get it fixed when I can. Probably not this week though (this week is a bit crazy).

I’m not planning to do a mourning dress, but how cool are these mourning dress fashion plates? I always think of the obsession with mourning clothing being a Victorian thing, but here’s the early stages.

So, what do you think of today’s dress? Love it? Hate it? Wish it was white? Let me know in a comment.

Regency Fashion Week: Evening Gown Circa 1818

A golden yellow regency ballgown for the printable paper dolls with matching bag and gloves. Free to print in color or black and white for coloring. Great history activity for homeschooling.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
This is the first day of gown for the Regency paper doll I posted on Monday. Part of why I made this the first gown is that the shoes that go with this dress are with that Regency paper doll.

In the world of Regency clothing, there were three forms of dress- undress, half-dress and full-dress. Undress was most casual. Full-dress was most formal. Half-dress goes somewhere in the middle, but isn’t as easily defined. There’s a nice overview on Full-dress here.

Ballgowns, like today’s paper doll dress, were definitely full-dress. They were also really really low cut. So low cut, in fact, that I had to make the neckline higher to cover the stays I created. Sometimes, I kinda wonder how ladies stayed in these dresses before the era of fashion tape. I mean, one wrong move and you’d be flashing everyone at the party.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
When I planned out my Regency fashion week, I knew I’d need a ballgown. And I love regency era ballgowns. I think they are so pretty! I chose a gown from 1818 in a rich gold color to illustrate and I accessorized with the required over the elbow gloves and a small bag which I’m not sure is really an accessory a women would have carried.

Specific Source Images: This Dress from 1818 and this bag.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Regency Fashion Paper Dolls and More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: A great Full-Dress overview,A Nice Collection of Fashion Plates from Candice Hern, & A Quick Primer on Regency Fashion

Last Thoughts
I think I always picture the Regency as being nothing but white clothing, but really I kept seeing this rich yellow. I love color! So, any excuse to use it.

I want to give a shout out to my Patrons without whom the blog wouldn’t be around. Thank you to all of them. Join up if you’d to get extra paper doll content & support the blog.

What do you think of today’s ballgown? Your style or not? Let me know by leaving a comment.

1960s Dresses from the Pages of Sears

A pair of 1960s paper doll dress straight from the pages of vintage Sears catalogs. Both dresses are available in color or black and white.
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First off, I know this is Christmas Eve and while I don’t celebrate, I wanted wish a Merry Christmas to everyone who does. I hope your holiday is full of laughter, joy and a minimum of family drama.

And now… paper dolls!

If you’re interested in the history of clothing (as I am), Sears catalogs are a goldmine. Unlike the fashion magazines which often show the latest styles of the top designers, Sears (and others) show what most women actually wore day to day. The pricing and color information also provide a valuable window into how much items cost and what sorts of colors were popular.

Due to copyright, full reproductions of Sears catalogs aren’t always possible, but Dover has a series of books that reprint selected pages. Everyday Fashions of the Sixties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs was the source for today’s dresses.  The dress on the left is from 1967 Sears catalog and the dress on the right is from 1960.

The purse is from 1960 and you can see it on The Met’s website.

On a slightly sad note, today’s post is the last Dames & Dandies post for a while. There have been over 120 Dames & Dandies paper doll posts, so there’s plenty to explore there.

For the first quarter of 2019, I plan to be working on a new series called Jewels & Gemstones (yes, the ampersand is my favorite piece of punctuation). I am super excited about this new series and it will debut on December 31st. Wednesday, there will be a longer preview post and Friday the last of the Paper Doll Collaborative 2018 will post.

Questions? Ask me in a comment and I will reply.

Need some clothing for today’s paper doll? All the A Pose Dolls & Clothing

A 1960s Twiggy Inspired Aisha

A 1960s paper doll with three pairs of shoes and a Twiigg
A 1960's Twiggy inspired paper doll with three pairs of historical shoes to print in color or black and white. Her Rudi Gernreich inspired underwear is also historically accurate.
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If Monday’s Abigail was an ode to the beehives of the early 1960s, than today’s Aisha is a nod to Twiggy and the styles of the later sixties. Twiggy, real name Lesley Hornby, was a famous model of the later 1960s. Her androgynous look was long eyelashes, short hair and big eyes. Well, all my paper dolls have big eyes, but I did add additional eyelashes to Aisha. Here is the official Twiggy website with photos of her modeling work in the 1960s.

Interestingly, Twiggy was the beginning of the fashionable obsession with youth. She was only 17 when she reached her stardom. Today, trends are driven by younger and younger consumers. There has always been an interest in “looking young” in fashion, but the late 1960s really instilled it into our culture, I think.

As with all my historical paper dolls, there are sources. The hair was obviously Twiggy inspired. Her underwear is based on this Rudi Gernreich bra from the Met Museum. Rudi Gernreich is most famous for his topless monokini. The bra she wears is based on his “no bra” concept, which was a bra, but without any support or padding. It is notable that this design was only available in small cup sizes. This highlights the obsession with the “youthful” boyish figure of the era.

Let’s talk about shoes (one of my favorite things to draw). The black and white pair of shoes are from 1966-1968. The white strappy pair are from the 1960s. The ones with the bow were originally pink from 1962. All are from the V&A museum which has a great costume history collection.

One last announcement, I should make the Dames and Dandies series will be going on hiatus in 2019, so I can debut my new series called Jewels & Gemstones (Thank you Patrons for voting on that). It will be a single doll pose for the first quarter of 2019. After that quarter, it will be time to reassess where things are. I’ll share more Wednesday of next week. Monday will be the last Dames & Dandies post for the foreseeable future. It’s more 1960s stuff.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have and I’ll answer if I can. You can see a preview of the new doll on my Patreon page.

Need some clothing for today’s paper doll? All the A Pose Dolls & Clothing