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Dolly Girl was a fashion style and feminine archetype popularized during the mid-1960s in the United Kingdom, closely related to the Mod subculture[1]. The trend was at its peak during the Swinging Sixties period in the city of London, and the Dolly Girls would dress up in child-like and tight clothing, and in some rare cases, they would buy their clothes at the children’s section of a fashion store and wear them, which was considered both controversial and chic at the time.

Some of the most iconic features of the look were mini skirts, which were still not completely socially acceptable at the time. This garment was first popularized by Mary Quant, and they were typically worn above the knee, and sometimes as short as mid-thigh. Other defining features of the style are long, slightly teased haircuts, a charm of feminity and childish innocence. The dresses were characterized by their patterns, laces, frills, Peter Pan collars and ribbons, worn alongside white tights.

History[]

During the 60s, the Dolly Girl fashion trend most likely represented some type of social progress in the United Kingdom and also western society in general. Mini skirts were still seen as immoral or uncomfortable by a majority of people, and along with that, participating in such fashion trend that involved wearing child-like clothing was considered really risky socially and culturally. Yet the Dolly Girls claimed back their feminity and the garments were as short as they could've been at the time. The style was considered childish and sweetness yet somewhat provocative, mixing childlike innocence with an grown-up touch.

The style was at its peak popularity during the Swinging Sixties, and it was most worn by Mod girls and people who frequently shopped at the Carnaby Street in London. The most well-known model who was really representative of the Dolly Girl style was Patie Boyd[2]. Britt Ekland, Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton also influenced it and participated in the fashion trend, with some of the most iconic elements being the hairstyles.

Fashion[]

The style generally embodied childlike innocence, unapologetic feminity and flirtatiousness through playful combinations. The look was completely inspired by little girls, with the Dolly Girls looking like babies but at the same time like stylish adult women[3].

The dresses are often loose-fitting and use the "Babydoll" style, including elements like pastel colours, patterns, prints and Peter Pan collars. Handmade dresses were typically made with the crochet pattern, which was really prevalent in 60s fashion. Another commonly used pattern is gingham/vichy. Miniskirts were also popularized during the decade, and they were as short as they could've been at the time because of the estabilished social norms. Skirts that covered the knees were seen as unfashionable during the decade.

Knee high socks were typically white and patterned, and they were often worn along with school girl shoes. Other accessories include bows, lace and ribbons, which were included in both clothes and their hairstyles. Overall, a lot of these accessories were also purchased from the children's sections at fashion shops.

The hairstyles were also another important defining feature of the Dolly Girl look. Their hairstyles were often long and slightly teased, and multiple models at the time also wore pigtails. However, pigtails were mostly used with matching outfits and accessories. Some icons of the style also posed with plushies in their photos.

Makeup was kept simple and natural. Pale skin, rosy cheeks and a small touch of mascara were common. Some Dolly Girls also wore fake eyelashes to further exaggerate the youthful look.

Media[]

Figures[]

  • Britt Ekland
  • Jean Shrimpton
  • Pattie Boyd
  • Sharon Tate
  • Sue Murray
  • Twiggy

Magazines[]

  • Rave
  • Queen

Criticism[]

The Dolly Girl fashion trend was considered controversial in the 60s due to the social norms of the time, and due to some specific aspects it could probably still be seen as such today. The focus on shorter clothing, mini-skirts and attire designed for babies and children was often seen as weird and problematic and sometimes misinterpreted as "sexualizing" younger people, although the style itself focuses more on cuteness and innocence than sexuality. However, the rise of the feminist movement in the United Kingdom during the decade also changed the common perceptions of "modesty" and traditional feminine gender roles. Therefore, the Dolly Girl style was considered both controversial and chic or "empowering" at the time.

Gallery[]

References[]

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