Doris Day's White Dress in The Pajama Game (1957)

Marylin Monroe made famous a white, halterneck summer dress designed by William Travilla in The Seven Year Itch (1955).

It's elegantly sultry. As exciting as that dress is, there is another white warm-weather dress which deserves a bit of attention - the one Doris Day wears in The Pajama Game (1957).

With a square neck instead of a plunging v-neck like Monroe's, Day's dress screams innocence and wholesomeness. Perfect for a character who is a bit naive.

It's sleeveless with a fit and flare silhouette. It closely lines the torso then falls away from the hips with multiple layers of underskirts.

The Eckarts ---Source

Jean Eckart and William Eckart - stage and screen designers- are credited with costume design for this musical. The married couple was so popular that the critic for Cue magazine suggested, "a growing number of theatre buffs ... go to musicals primarily to see the Eckarts' sets."

They leave you with an eyeful in the cinema as well. With Babe they've decided to keep things simple. This is perfect for the character and the setting.

Everyone at the pajama factory is going to the annual picnic. Babe, a member of the employee grievance committee, is in love with the superintendent (John Raitt). They make their relationship official in this scene. They are jubilant just in time to help sing the rousing number "Once a Year Day," a picnic song where everyone's entitled to be wild, mix things up a bit.


Appropriately, Babe -who usually wears standard issue pencil skirts or the occasional hot pants- goes fun and flirty for the picnic. She pairs the dress with a white belt and matching turquoise neckerchief and heels.

Babe works in a textile factory. One can imagine she makes her own dress from leftover material there, using, say, this vintage Advance brand pattern #6914.

Or maybe its from this 1950s Simplicity pattern #4350.
1950's Misses Blouse Simplicity 4350 Size 12 Bust 30

This was during a time when sewing your own wardrobe at home was a matter of course. No big deal. And for many of you out there, it's still no big deal. For me, it's fascinating.

You'll see her wear the same silhouette again in a different scene. This time it's in black and they are in the dark. Perfect attire for a home sewer on a budget to use the same pattern again.

Simple. Elegant. Sometimes a costume's subtlety catches your eye.


  1. Doris would look classy in a Piggy Wiggly potato sack...You can't disguise true beauty.

    1. Very true. Speaking of potato sacks, I finally ran across the Marilyn Monroe in a potato sack photo on Pinterest:


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