As a child, I used to spend hours playing with paper dolls that could be bought from the Museum of London shop (I think I received the first one as a gift, and then was determined to find the rest of the set). They were all from different historical periods (Roman, Medieval, Tudor, Regency and Victorian) and formed the basis of my understanding of history for a long time.
As you can probably tell, I'm still secretly 9 years old, because pretty much all I did on Boxing Day was cut them out. I think I may do a sort of series on Charlotte and Patricia and their lives, so I can show off all their lovely clothes (15 full outfits each! That's a lot of stories.) I love the 1920's (so elegant!), but there are two reasons why I concentrate my everyday style on the 30s, 40s and 50s:
I don't have the figure for 20s clothes - you need to be tall and willowy, which I definitely am not!
Anything older than 1930s is generally damaged and/or far too expensive for a student budget. Oh well.
Petal details on the hat...
...and clover pattern on the blouse.
“Oh for goodness sake, just knock on the door, Pat,” rang an exasperated voice from the street as Patricia dithered on the doorstep, her hand hovering over the door. She looked round, and saw her sister gesturing impatiently. “Just knock! I want to get inside!”
“I can hardly knock on the door when I’ve got a suitcase in each hand, can I, Char?” she snapped, trying to cover her moment of uncertainty. Rolling her eyes, Charlotte paid the cab driver and came up the steps. Tossing a fold of her elegant black cape over her shoulder, she knocked smartly on the door.
“Leave the bags, someone will get them. They don’t even have a proper knocker...You really should get one of these box capes, you know, they’re much better than that old thing,” Charlotte murmured, with a glance at her sister’s sage green travelling coat. Her foot tapped on the doorstep. “Where the blazes are they?”
A sudden click, and the door was opened by a woman wearing a flowered apron and a disapproving expression. Frowning at Charlotte’s language, she looked at Patricia and broke into a smile.
“Patricia, dear, how are you? And how is your dear mother?”
She ushered Patricia into the house, chivvying her along the hallway into a small drawing room, complimenting her on her ensemble. Patricia, bowled over by the sensations of the new, would normally have been indignant about the woman’s tight grip on her arm; but was suffering from the slight nervous excitement she always felt on entering a new place. It was a place to transform, re-invent her personality; the people here had no idea who she was or what she was like. Not listening to Mrs Griffiths' attempts at conversation, she concentrated on gaining a thorough first impression of the place. She smelt the mustiness from the carpet and felt the flocked wallpaper under her hand, and decided that this would be a much better place for her - she could become her own person here.
There was one who did know exactly who she was, however, and who might well hold her back from her new and fabulous beginnings.
“Excuse me, Pat, Mrs Griffiths? Where is the manservant, to take our suitcases?”
Mrs Griffiths turned back in the direction of the haughty voice from the front doorstep. “We only have one servant here, and she is at present preparing tea for your sister in the drawing room. Why don’t you take the suitcases up yourself and then go and join her?” she said coldly.
Charlotte was left with her mouth open in outrage in the threshold, as her sister and Mrs Griffiths clattered into the drawing room. The door clicked shut. Shaking her head in disbelief, she picked up one suitcase in each hand and began to struggle up the stairs.