How to dress like a dolly girl

February 11, 2020
How To Dress Like A Dolly Girl

“Dolly” is a sixties fashion trend that not just anyone can pull off. If you do it wrong, you’ll end up attracting the kind of men who own vans and stock sweets in their back pocket.

The “dolly girl” look was a part of sixties mod fashion and completely inspired by little girls. But not teenage girls that knock around with their short skirts and too much impulse spray. Not even the nine-year-olds who wear Barbie tee shirts and plastic sunglasses. Even younger. Like almost fetus age. But somehow, the sixties made looking like you still shit your pants seem very chic.

Take the photo of Twiggy (above) for example. Everything that she is wearing in the photo looks like it was borrowed from Mothercare. The white tights, the school shoes and the girly patterned baby doll dress. This is one of the most typical looks of Dolly Girl fashion; dress like a little girl but still look like a stylish adult woman.

I’ve explained more about who the Dolly Girls are in this blog post.

But how do you dress like a ‘dolly’ without getting it wrong?

Key Dolly Girl Looks

Dolly Girl Trend: Gingham


Gingham always reminds me of bruised knees in the summer and tin men with no hearts. But Brigitte Bardot changed that. At the begining of the sixties, Brigitte Bardot got married in a pink gingham dress and sparked a trend that would last throughout the decade. The gingham was then paired with bows and pigtails to give it that back-to-school look. 

Dress Like A Dolly & Wear Pigtails


If you flick through Pinterest, you can find that almost every sixties celebrity was rocking pigtails like Bardot, Raquel Welch, Pattie Boyd… Especially in this picture (above) of Colleen Corbey who somehow managed to pair her pigtails with daisies. But you can easily get it wrong, so pair it with the right outfit. Otherwise you’ll end up looking like you love your food in animal and letter shapes.

Dolly Girl Trend: Collared Dresses

Collared Dresses

I am always on the hunt for gorgeous collared dresses. The tab collars were trendy from the 60s all the way until the 70s. One person who rocked this look was the daughter of Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli as seen in the picture above. She looked like a dolly and a girl who pays her taxes at the same time.

Dolly Girl Trend: Baby Doll Dresses

Baby Doll Dresses

And then they borrowed from the bedroom. They would often come in pastel colours or patterned. You can see a few examples of the baby doll dresses in the catalogue photograph above that also features the sixties love of pleating. If there was a sudden burst of wind, they’d be in trouble. 

Catherine Denueve Wearing Dolly Girl Trend

Bows & Ribbons

Because little girls were the chicest thing on the street, teenagers and women in their 20s were plastering bows and ribbons in their hair and all over their dresses. The French actress Catherine Deneuve (as pictured in the photo above) often planted them in her hair to add extra oomph. The result? She looks like she should be shoved under a Christmas tree.


Crochet was huge in the sixties. A lot of people were still making their own clothes and crochet was easy. Although to me, it has the same difficulty level as understanding K Pop.

A lot of DIY crochet patterns came in a matching mother and daughter set so you could dress exactly like your child. Twiggy also released her own crochet pattern as shown in the scan above.

The Sixties Dolly Girl Trend

Knee High Socks

Borrowing from the back to school look, girls pulled their socks up to just below their knees.

With knee high socks, make sure you get a good pair that fits well otherwise they’ll lose their elasticity and end up in a rumpled sagging heap around your ankles.

This girl in the picture above does not look like she had that trouble at all. Socks were usually white and came patterened (similar to tights at the time).

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P.S. If you LOVE sixties fashion, you’ll enjoy my book How To Dress Like It’s The Sixties, available now.


All photos were sourced online (mostly pinterest) and have been used as a reference. If you know the source, please get in touch so I can credit.


  • Bee
    February 19, 2020

    I love gingham! I’d wear all these.

  • Joan Wellborn
    November 20, 2020

    Correction to 60’s icon American model. It’s Colleen Corby (not Corbet).

    • MandyMorello
      December 10, 2020

      Thank you Joan! xx

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