Empire Waist Light and Dark Purple Prom Dress with Sequins and Scroll Embroidery

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

So I got an e-mail from a reader named Brittany who also likes to draw paperdolls, and she suggested that I do some more up-to-date outfits, maybe some pants, shorts, bathing suits and dresses “that are actually in this time period.” (Her e-mail was very sweet and not snarky at all, I just thought that phrasing was funny!) I wrote back to her, but for some reason the response didn’t go through, so I’ll post the reply here:

I think that’s great that you design your own outfits! (It’s fun, isn’t it? :) ) The problem with more fashionable outfits is that I, personally, am possibly the least fashionable human being in America, I wear boring clothes myself and don’t watch much TV or read fashion magazines. So when I think of what’s going on in my life that I might want to draw a paperdoll about, I don’t often think of something cool ;) But you’re really right, that it would be interesting to have more modern, stylish outfits as well, so I will consider some outfits like
that for the future. I used to draw prom dresses when I was in high school, but I haven’t paid attention to prom styles for a while… maybe I’ll start there! Thank you for the suggestion. :)

And it’s true, I mostly wear pretty but unfashionable dresses and skirts. Pretty clothes are one thing, but fashion, constantly changing clothes and adornments that send messages about class, taste and individuality, that’s a whole different animal. To me, style is like a language where my mastery is limited to asking “Is this vegetarian?” and “Where is the bathroom?” So for this particular project I’ll start with something I can get into: prom dresses. After all, it looks like your average prom dress is as far removed from catwalks and Vogue as I am.

Now, looking through prom dresses, they don’t seem too different from the kinds that were around when I was in high school — except that the pick-up skirt is a new one on me. I can see it as a design element, part of a well-balanced dress, but the full pick-up skirt that looks like a poofy, sloppy, satin pineapple? Let’s just say I think the pick-up skirt ought to get off of my darn lawn. I can sort of understand the appeal on an intellectual level, I didn’t mind this one, but it just seems that the line between “opulent and romantic” and “sloppy trainwreck” is just so easily crossed. Well, the children of 2030 need something to laugh at, I guess. Aside from that, it seems like the ball gown skirt is out, sleeves of any sort are out, fussy (aside from those pick-up skirts) is out, and a more classical look – albeit one dressed up with sparkles and pretty designs – is in. Here’s my take on one — and yes, the white paint pen is definitely a new toy.

I didn’t end up going to prom (graduated before the year was over, it’s a long story — although I doubt I could have talked my husband, then my boyfriend, into it anyways) but for those of you who did, what kind of dress did you have?