As She Was: Soiled Doves & Painted Ladies

In the old west in the 1800s, ladies of the night (prostitutes) were called Soiled Doves. Don’t judge me, but I like that term for some reason. It’s a mix of something innocent and sweet with something well, not innocent or pretty.

The history of prostitution is a very sad tale and it is sometimes haunting to look into the faces of these women and wonder who they are, what became of them?


No matter what they were called or how they were perceived, the doves were there for the taking and taking all they could get because as you might imagine, this was not a lifelong career and when it was over, it was over. ”  / source Soiled Doves


Have you seen the vintage movie Pretty Baby starring Susan Sarandon and a fresh faced Brooke Shields? If you haven’t, you need to go see it! Susan Sarandon is a prostitute and also a young mother to teenage Brooke Shields. The movie is controversial because Brooke Shields appears nude in this movie and she was only 12 when the movie was in production and barely 13 when the movie was released.

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Some just had no other skills to provide a means of support. Others were the daughters of prostitutes, already tainted in the business.” – Legends of America, Painted Ladies

If you would like to see more photos of Painted Ladies, check out photographer E.J. Bellocq’s portraits of prostitutes in Storyville (a red light district in New Orleans that no longer exists). This image below is one of his photos and I just find them so delightful. Here’s another E.J. Bellocq link (with more pictures!) at


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Inspiration: 18th Century Fabric Sample Book

I love vintage and antique fabrics and textiles especially those originating from Europe. What an absolute treasure it must to have this antique 18th century fabric sample in your collection!


This particular antique fabric textile sample book is in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum and was put together by Barbara Johnson (not sure who that is?) between the years of 1746-1823.

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I just adore the little notes and how the fabric swatches are pinned on the papers and the attached fashion plates and inspiration images. There is something so modern about this! Makes me want to start a DIY project just so in 200 years someone can find it and get super stoked about it.

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These two above are probably my favorite. While I adore the floral prints so very much, I love the understated and classic fabrics in muted colors even more. These prints and patterns will never ever go out of style. They are everlasting!

To view more pages from this 18th century fabric sample book, visit the Victoria Albert Museum.

image source: All images are from Victoria Albert Museum Website

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