For hundreds of years little girls have played with dolls. Dress up too has been a game that's enjoyed a great popularity for many, many years. No doubt at first little girls would simply alternate between playing with dolls and playing dress up. Then gradually the juxtaposition in young girls' lives of the two games led to the evolution of various dolls dress up games.
Now the earliest dolls did not remain undressed. Girls have always liked to dress their dolls. Dress up for dolls though seemed to vary little until the 1920s. Until the fall of 1920 most girls would normally provide a doll (It was always a female doll.) with a simple house dress and apron. If the child imagined a reason for the doll to dress up, then the doll would wear a more elegant dress.
Then in November of 1920 the women of the United States finally had a good reason to get out of the kitchen, to get out of the house. They all had a chance to use their newly-won franchise. They all had an opportunity to vote. Thus little girls began to mimic the actions of their mothers with their dolls. Dress up then began to include preparations for a new activity-the act of going to the voting booth.
Many of these voting booths were located in places more appropriate for a man, places like a billiard hall. Thus women were forced to adapt to visiting areas formally occupied only by men. After that women slowly took-on the challenges of various careers. Teaching and nursing remained the careers for women throughout the next forty years. Thus little girls sometimes chose one of those careers for their dolls. Dress up of course followed suit, with dolls wearing the attire of a nurse or a teacher.
By the 1960s however, women had begun to move beyond the traditional female occupations. Many women had become doctors, lawyers, scientists or inventors. And these changes in the workforce led to changes in little girls' playrooms. So now when dolls dress up they wear all sorts of different attire. They might wear a white lab coat, a pair of overalls, a scuba-diving outfit, a fireman's uniform, a military uniform or any number of other uniforms.
Toy manufacturers have eagerly focused on the number of women in the workforce by placing on the shelves of toy stores a great number of different working outfits for the dolls that are on those same shelves. The toy manufacturers have in addition made it possible for a little girl to dress a doll in attire from various periods of history.
And the changes seen in the wardrobe of the standard doll have also occurred in the "closet" of the paper doll. Dress up for those dolls too has come to include a wider selection of clothing. So even though the clothes are made of paper, doll dress up for these paper thin dolls has mirrored the varied dress of the women in the workforce.
The great variety in the occupations currently pursued by women has led to increased variety in the clothing provided for the game of dress up. And the great variety in the dolls' dress has encouraged the creation of new and different doll dress up games.