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Gazing at the glossy covers of SVH I often wondered where Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield shopped – and doubted the written poshness of their purchases, oh sure , Bibi’s for Lila’s parties – but on a day to day – er cover to cover basis I was guessing – Sears? Maybe Benetton. Or any other department store featuring a Sporty Casuals nook. I mean check it out – on the very first cover -Double Love – Jessica , in her trademark shoulder length waves, ( she was so ahead of the times – eat your heart out Kelly McGillis! ) is wearing a black denim jacket – faded to a stone washed finish – and whats under it – probably one of her standard tank tops. As for Liz – a soft peach sweater. Not exactly the cutting edge of fashion but lets be honest for the most part none of the offerings of 1983 blazed a fashion trail – real models on Wildfire and First Love From Silhouette , Caprice and Wishing Star normally wore regular sweaters , blouses and Izods with the occasional knock-em-dead dresses glitzing up the covers.
Was Jonna Leigh Stack , the model for the covers encouraged to dress the part of all-American girl in casual clothes? Possibly or perhaps – the artist James Mathewuse given this fab paper doll opportunity thumbed through a few fashion magazines and dressed the girls in whatever caught his fancy.
How I would’ve loved to have a paper doll book of SVH when I was little – even if I wasn’t the paper doll type! Oh well I can always attempt some paper doll magic via Photoshop.
( If you’re wondering why the above pic is so choppy it’s cause it was taken from a Sears underwear layout – they have lots of little pics on top of pics! – Notice I made Lila the curvy one! )
Most Paper dolls do start this way you know.
The inspiration for this jaunty look at Sweet Valley’s fashions was a flip through a Sears catalog circa 1983 which offered many amazing comparisons.
Let’s start with Jessica’s top on the cover of #19 Showdown. I was positive this was a Camp shirt – they were very popular – and paired her with part of the Cheryl Tiggs collection – however if you can spot the little detail on Jessica’s sleeve the shirt actually looks part of a safari/army type collection , no pocket and no buttons. Hmmm. I’ll have to look into this.
Onto Tricia Martin’s dreamy high necked blouse on the cover of #12 When Love Dies – certainly no Sears catalog would offer such an old fashioned but posh trend – not with the onslaught of Western blouses still rearing their ugly ruffles so I moved onto Woman’s Day which had a layout for Romantic Blouse kits and featured models in cascading ‘Regina Morrow’ hair wearing some of the prettiest blouses ( they certainly kicked Western blouses butts! ) – love the weathered wood paneling!
The Cheryl Tiggs collection proved to be a most fruitful honing of SVH fashions – recall the boat shirt? – it was one of those nautical themed trends ( stripes ahoy!) that came out and were usually paired with clam diggers or pedal pushers and canvas slip ons. Liz wears one several times most notably on #13 Kidnapped with pale blue stripes. Of course it’s not an exact replica ( none of my comparisons are ) the stripes on the sleeves are different, but you get the idea.
Enid unconscious and still fashionable on cover # 20 – Crash Landing , looks almost to be wearing a Sears shirt – part of the casual collection – though her’s isn’t terry cloth ( but it might have proved difficult to paint terry cloth. ) It’s a little crazy to think that Enid actually has some of the better styles on her sparse cover appearances!
How about Jessica’s many bikini covers? Well there was only four but out of her 47 cover appearances that seems to be a lot – considering Liz only showed up in a bathing suit once. Her string bikini on cover #5 All Night Long is quite distinct but I found one like it via a 1984 Sears catalog. Can you imagine Jess in such a groovin print?!
And if Jess wasn’t wearing a bikini it was probably because she was showing off her sculpted arms in a versatile tank top – I didn’t find any fab Sears ads for tank tops but found this great looking model in a 1984 Glamor magazine layout – look she’s even wearing the walking shorts – She’s a freakin’ ode to California Prep!
One of my Favorite LOL spottings was this shirt in a 1980 Sears catalog ad paired with my fave SVH book Perfect Summer – Liz in her two tone polo shirt. It’s almost an exact copy! Wild! And with her t shirt tucked in , she almost looks like she’s wearing one of those sunsuits a.k.a rompers.
Notice how Liz was totally polo crazy – I thought Jess was Bikini crazy – out of the 47 covers she graced , eight of them featured her and her three button polo shirts! Liz -I look just as hot as Cheryl Tiggs …maybe hotter!
I could’ve gone on and on with the fashion – there were so many opportunities like Cara’s nautical top on the cover of #24 Memories , and Enid’s Bananarama inspired layering on #43 Hard Choices – Todd’s leather bomber on #23 – Say Goodbye or Steven’s velour shirt on #24 Memories? but oh well maybe another time for now I decided to stick with a manageable handful – Here’s one I didn’t want to leave out – because it was an important 80’s trend – Regina’s purple sundress – I couldn’t find a really terrific example of an 80’s sundress – but that’s part of the problem – these dresses were light-weight practically disposable. Once the spaghetti straps were shot that was it. But the model is cheery-looking and her hair is too much! I couldn’t leave her out.
Ever wonder why Lila was dressed rather like an old lady? –she was hardly a stylin’ teen – usually garbed in an ecru colored sweater and pearls – Sears definitely wouldn’t do for Lila – but I found this ad in a 1983 copy of Town and Country – totally posh. Pearls and a sweater! I guess Lila was actually in style!
I was positive I could find Jessica’s striped shorts on the cover of Perfect Summer – but alas nope! However I did find this hilarious pic in an old sewing book that matches the whole vibe Jess gives off – Satin shorts with piping – hysterical!
The easiest place to spot Jessica’s 80’s style was the obvious cover of #21 Runaway – need a hint – What a feeling! Another? What’s in the tote – legwarmers or a welding mask?! Okay, Okay kidding aside – it’s a complete rip of Flashdance – I tried to find a pic of a model wearing a tank under her off the shoulder top but couldn’t –( that was the very hip way of wearing it because it mashed two of the hottest trends – the work-out and layered look. )
Just because I didn’t want to take everything so seriously here’s the possible inspiration for Jessica’s Cheerleading outfit – Dotty Dog from the Get-a-long gang. Don’t tell me you’ve never thought of it!
Here’s some hairy trends – Amy’s totally straight page boy!
Well long hair was the trend ( just not that long! ) – here’s a curly version in a layout labeled – Dreamy Hairdos!
And now for the piece de resistance ever wondered how Jessica or Lila would’ve looked in a new wave outfit. I mean we’re talking not just vivid bright clothes but make-up! Well here’s to Photoshop – my favorite paper doll enabler who allowed me to have some fun with this one. Jessica with purple make-up , Lila with turquoise! Hysterical!