1955 Summer Dress With Hat and Purse

A lovely Mid-1950s Summer Dress with hat. The dress is from Vogue in 1955. The hat is from Montgomery Ward in 1950. The purse is from Sears.

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
There’s a few silhouettes one tends to associate with retro 50s fashion. There’s the tight waisted, full skirt look (like this) or the narrow fitted suit look (like this). There’s also a few variations on this and one of those variation is the dropwaist version of the full skirted look.

A dropwaist is when the waist (aka seam where the bodice meets the skirt) is lower than the natural waist on a person. A highwaist is when the waist is raised above the natural waist, but below the bust. An empire waist is when the waist of a dress is located right under the bust.

More than you maybe wanted to know about fashion terminology. I digress.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Summer is coming rapidly to Alabama. I love the Fall in Alabama and I like the Winter. I could leave the Summer without any sense of guilt at all. It’s hot and humid and my allergies are exploding. Ugh!

Anyway, I always think women in retro spring fashion ads look so wonderfully cool and calm and it probably sucked living in Alabama in the 1950s when air conditioning was rare and petticoats were common. None the less, I loved the concept if not the reality.

Specific Source Images: Vogue 8596, Montgomery Ward Spring/Summer 1950 hats pages and Sears (I used Everyday Fashions of the Fifties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs)

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls & More 1950s Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: Closet Historian regularly posts images from vintage catalogs in her collection and they are fascinating.

Last Thoughts
I’ve done two more 1950’s paper doll dresses and shared them with my Patrons. They are a 1950s suit and 1950s day dress. Join Us on Patreon if you’d like to support the blog (and get more paper doll content!)

Also, if you’re thinking- Well, I wish I had a 1950s paper doll to wear this stylin’ 1950s dress, I’ve made a version of the ever delightful Sapphire in 1950’s underwear. So, you can print her, but, as always, this dress will fit any of the Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls. Retro 50s fashion is so popular right now.

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.

Summer Dress from 1951 with Hat & Purse

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Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
Vintage clothing, like the 1950s, are fascinating to me, because really women’s clothing hasn’t dramatically changed in the last 80 years or so. So, I think what makes the 1950s really the 1950s are the accessories- the hats, purses and gloves that women don’t wear anymore.

Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
I wanted to draw a summer day dress when I stumbled across these digitized images from Montgomery Ward Spring Summer 1950 catalogs posted by the Closet Historian. Basically, I wanted an excuse to draw one of those fantastic straw hats.

Specific Source Images: Simplicity 3572, Montgomery Ward Spring Summer 1950 catalog and this purse from the Met.

Learn/See More
On the Blog: More Jewels & Gemstones paper dolls &  more paper dolls from the 1950s
Around the Internet: Check out the Vintage Pattern Wiki for more 1950s and other vintage pattern goodness.

Last Thoughts
Because I might be a tiny bit OCD, the green in today’s dress matches the green in the sandals from this set.

Patreon on Friday will also be a 1950s dress. Also, I think this is a collab Friday, but I haven’t even drawn mine yet. I should get on that.

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.

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

1960s Dresses from Sewing Patterns

1960s sewing pattern cover inspired paper doll dresses. One from 1961 and one from 1967. Both dresses are historically accurate and free to print.

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One of the fascinating things about fashion is that it is never one thing. Simultaneously to the mod fashion movement that the 1960s are so associated with, there was a second thread of fashion that was more sophisticated and modest. Think Jackie Kennedy vs Twiggy, you know? (If you don’t know, check out the books at the bottom of this page.) So, today’s dresses are both of the more conservative, clean styles that were popular as well.

(And yes, yesterday’s Abigail paper doll can wear that hat, despite her insane beehive, I made sure.)

The dress on the left is based on this sewing pattern cover, the dress on the right is based on this sewing pattern cover, the hat I sort of cobbled together based on a bunch of different hats and the purse is Gucci and you can see it here.

But wait, you’re thinking, what if I want more 1960s costume history? What if I want an actual bibliography of the books you used for this week and Monday?

Well, I’m so glad you asked.

1960s History Fashion Sources

Hill, Colleen. Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968. Yale University Press, 2017.
Magidson, Phyllis, and Donald Albrecht. Mod New York: Fashion Takes a Trip. Monacelli Press, 2017.
Olian, JoAnne. Everyday Fashions of the Sixties As Pictured In Sears Catalogs. Dover, 1998.
Walford, Jonathan. Sixties Fashion: from ‘Less Is More’ to Youthquake. Thames & Hudson, 2013.

These are all great books that I highly recommend. You can probably get them all from the library. 

Need a doll to wear today’s paper doll clothing? All the A Pose Dolls & Clothing

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