Green Dress, Khaki Jumper, White Cap and Gown and Michigan Shirt from Liana’s Paper Doll Boutique

Click for the doll.

I drew a handful of my own clothes for the Boutique, too. There are a couple of forgettable shirts that I won’t bore you with… Most notable, to me, is my rendition of my favorite green dress from the time, which was a beautiful light olive green which complimented my skin and hair perfectly. I wore it to death, and if I saw another dress like it, I’d jump on it even today. I don’t know what I was doing wearing that khaki jumper, though. Although I spend my free time doing a page like this, I have zero fashion sense. (Actually, perhaps that’s not so surprising, considering my penchant for eccentric, entirely unrealistic dresses.)

There’s a story behind the graduation cap and gown. I was born in Missouri, but my family moved to Kansas, then to Alabama, then to Ohio when I was in fourth grade. In my junior year of high school, my dad was transferred again, this time to Michigan. As it happened, though, I had been a particularly diligent student: I had taken summer classes and hadn’t taken homeroom classes or lunch periods all through high school, so by the end of my junior year, I was actually only three courses away from graduating. I took those three courses that summer at the local community college, and by the end of the summer I was set to graduate a year early. (Amusing anecdote-within-an-anecdote: my parents and I met with the principal to sign off the final paperwork one afternoon. “Where are you planning to go to college?” he asked me. “University of Michigan,” I said. “Oh,” he said sorrowfully, “I can’t let you graduate, then,” and he pointed to his Ohio State class ring. Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with college football in America, University of Michigan and Ohio State have a long-standing, intense rivalry. As it happened, as I wasn’t really from the area and had not the slightest smidgen of interest in college football, I initially had no idea what he was talking about. For a frightening second, I took him completely seriously. Then, I considered the context, remembered there was some irrelevant connection between the two universities and laughed dutifully. My memory may or may not be reliable, but I seem to recall that my parents had a similar reaction.)

Now, at the time I was a geeky, sarcastic little thing well ready to be done with high school life, and I was hardly broken up about the prospect of missing prom, senioritis, a large picture in the yearbook and all the other useless things I hadn’t looked forwards to in the first place. I didn’t even much care about missing graduation; as a member of the school choir, I had attended the previous class’ graduation, and it wasn’t like the substance would be different just because my name would be in the program.

Ah, but that cool facade didn’t mean there wasn’t just a touch of wistfulness, though. Not much – not nearly enough to shade into anything approaching regret. (Saying I was well ready to be done with that stage of my life is technically a massive understatement.) But just enough to draw the cap and gown I wouldn’t ever wear for my paperdolls.

It all ended well, though, as I did get into the University of Michigan… Although, from the safe vantage point of having successfully graduated a decade ago, I can say that only applying for that single school may have been the dumbest, most overconfident thing I ever did in my life – I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t gotten in! My mom bought me this celebratory Michigan shirt, and I did have it for a very long time, but it wasn’t so shiny in reality. I drew everything shiny at the time, even blue jeans. These days I compensate by just simply not drawing blue jeans. Life is too short for such dullness, pass the ribbons.

Red and Yellow Raas Outfit with Mirror Embroidery and Red Dupatta

Click for larger version; click for the list of dolls.

Yesterday Brian and I went to see Dandia Dhamaka, which was an intercollegiate raas dance competition. Raas is a folk dance from the Gujarat region in western India, and it’s great, very high-energy and fun to watch. (Here’s a video of the University of Michigan group from 2007.) I say “folk” dance but it was a competition between ten college teams, so a lot of the groups worked in cute themes with their introduction videos — one had a Willy Wonka theme, there were two circus themes (probably a source of some consternation) and a couple I couldn’t figure out what precisely the teams were going for because I couldn’t hear very much over the clown with drums leading the “Go Blue!” chant a few rows over. (I was grateful to the group that subtitled their video.) I haven’t found out who won yet, but I really liked the University of Miami’s overall energy, Michigan State University’s choreography and University of Michigan’s costumes.

Of course I loved the costumes in general, which were all brightly colored and dripping with mirror embroidery, bold designs and metallic fabrics. From our balcony seats I couldn’t get a great look at the details (specifically I’m a little sketchy on how the dupatta is fastened to the top of the skirt) but the overall effect was dazzling, especially for the moves where the girls get flipped over the guys, which fans out their skirts. I liked Michigan’s costumes best because they looked sophisticated and very nicely done. The skirts had a huge amount of shiny decoration covering the front, and then the back was only lightly decorated, so the audience saw both the front pattern and the rich-colored fabric as the dancers moved. They kept to just maize and blue, too, but with the guys in mostly maize and the girls in mostly blue there was enough contrast to be interesting. MSU’s group, to me, went over the edge in the costume department: their costumes looked to be the most sumptuous with rich jewel tones and gold accents, but from where I was sitting the men and women looked to be wearing the same thing cut differently, and it was just a little too busy. Still, I liked their dancing best, so let it not be said I’m biased against Spartans!

Anyways, this is my version of a raas dancing costume, although it may not be accurate. The dupatta (the red veil part) was, I think, for most of the girls fastened at the waist, but I can’t really figure out how it works in real life and how to make it work for a paperdoll, so I’m afraid this version is just loose. (Cut it on the black dotted line, below the silver part.)

Anyways! Yeah, hello. Brian says that’s why he never makes New Year’s resolutions, because then you never do them anyways. So I decided to make a New February resolution, which was not to take any guff from my husband. In entirely unrelated news, here’s a paperdoll outfit.