A Brief History Of The Paper Dress

During the 1960s styles were constantly changing and there were many brief fashion fads and trends. One such trend was that of the paper dress.



The paper dress craze began in 1966 and was started by a company called Scott Paper Co. The company decided to print coupons for paper dresses on packs of paper towels and toilet paper. Customers who mailed in a dollar would receive a "Paper Caper" sleeveless shift dress. It proved to be a popular promotion and within six months the company had sold over half a million dresses (much to their surprise as it wasn't meant to be taken seriously). 

The "Paper Caper" dress had sparked a craze and other manufacturers soon followed suit, producing disposable dresses and other garments. Designers even offered boutique versions and Andy Warhol also got in on the trend, designing a dress based on his famous Campbell's soup can print.


Paper dresses were surprisingly sturdy and although they were fire and water resistant the wearer did need to be on guard against sudden showers and lit cigarettes.


The craze for novelty paper clothing died out almost as quickly as it had begun and by 1970 the paper dress had become all but obsolete. This was largely due to changes in fashion as in the late 60s fashion began to move away from the mini and whilst initially the idea of wearing disposable dresses was seen as fun and modern, environmental concerns soon made it seem irresponsible.


I love the idea of paper dresses but I'm not sure I would go around wearing one, the chance of getting caught in a rain shower is quite high when you live in England! 

x

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15 comments

  1. Wow, I knew nothing of this phase in fashion. Sounds fun. The only paper clothes they make now are knickers! Id give a paper dress a go would you?

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    1. I'd definitely be up for wearing one if I was somewhere warm!

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  2. I thought the 60's has nice haircuts c: Xx

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  3. I'm following you at your new address, dear Sarah. Your blog is too good to miss and so is your friendship.

    Paper dresses were one of the more bizarre fashion trends of the 60s. I remember my girlfriend getting one with a paisley print and wearing it a few times. I was quite sad to see minis go out and maxis come in.

    I hope your week is off to a great start, dear friend Sarah. Good luck with Style Sixties!

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    1. Thanks for following me over here Shady!

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  4. I just love the idea of paper dresses as well. I would have loved to have had that beautiful Baby Ruth paper dress in my life back in the sixties. If I were lucky enough to get my hands on a paper dress from back then nowadays I'd be too frightened to wear it in case it were damaged. Instead I'd hang it on my wall, or even frame it as an artwork with a dolly illustration sketched behind it.
    Looking forward to see more of your new blog!

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    1. That sounds perfect, I think if I ever found one I would do the same as you and frame it. They are too pretty to be hidden away. Thanks for following me over here!

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  5. Found you! What a fabulous new blog, perfectly you! x

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  6. Random! I must say the dress with a party to match is quite tempting...

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    1. I love that one, I'm not sure what my friends would think though if they came round I was dressed to match the plates! I'd love to know if anyone actually did this back in the 60s.

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  7. Love the name change. I have done mostly 40s and 50s vintage, even a bit of 20s 30s. But I feel myself looking at bit a 69s and having a go. Some great inspiration and Really enjoyed looking trough your blog today! It's lovely!! Will be back!!!

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  8. Oh my i missed this post! I remember reading about paper dresses when i was a kid and the idea just baffled me until i got to feel a real one that my friends mum owned. they feel sort of like rayon crepe instead of printer paper. Which is what i thought initially but they did tear if you were having a particularly adventurous evening!

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  9. I really thought the paper dress was absolutely the bomb. Girls came to our school from Calif and I thought that is why I hadn't seen them. Too hip for Ohio or something. ha. I remember the feel as being crepe like too. I never heard the story how they came about with Scott paper company and others following suit. Thanks for sharing what you know.

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