Nov 302015

20″ Sweet Sue Sophisticate doll by American Character wearing “Romance”
Photo courtesy of eBay seller dreamalong.

American Character‘s Sweet Sue Sophisticate was introduced in 1957. A year later, the company began marketing the Sophisticate doll with different outfits and slightly different face paint under the Toni name. Toni most often has painted lashes at the outer corner of each eye, while Sweet Sue Sophisticate has painted lashes below each eye. It should be noted that while this is the identifying feature, it is not a hard and fast rule. Dolls have been found with Sweet Sue Sophisticate face paint in Toni outfits and boxes.

Another doll with the same face as Sweet Sue Sophisticate, but with jointed ankles and a smaller bustline, was sold as Sweet Sue with Flexible Foot.

The 20″ version of Sweet Sue Sophisticate was also made in an unmarked version and sold to Dee an Cee, a Canadian doll company, who dressed her and marketed her as Sweet Sue Teen Age Doll.

Sweet Sue Sophisticate’s “Romance” outfit features a full length evening coat.
Photo courtesy of eBay seller dreamalong.

Body Construction
Sweet Sue Sophisticate is a walking doll, 14″ or 20″ tall and all vinyl. She is jointed at the neck, shoulders, waist and hips. Her shoulders are flange jointed and only move forward and back, close to her body. The neck and waist joints are articulated to allow them to tilt as well as rotate. Her rooted hair is good quality and was made in blonde, red and brunette shades. It is most often styled in a curly bob with bangs but the Romance doll has a short bubblecut hairstyle (see photo above). She has blue sleep eyes with brush lashes, and pierced ears with pearl drop earrings.

Sweet Sue Sophisticate in “Cocktails” outfit.

The 14″ version of Sweet Sue Sophisticate is completely unmarked. The 20″ version has “AMERICAN © CHARACTER” in a circle on her back.

14″ Sweet Sue Sophisticate in “Tea Time.”

Sweet Sue Sophisticate was sold in a variety of glamorous outfits. Underneath them all, she wears taffeta panties, a strapless stretch lace bra and nylon hose. Her elastic-strap heels are accented with two rhinestones.

  • High Society is a taffeta bubble dress with cap sleeves edged in lace and jeweled decoration at bodice; matching hat; black heels. Available in black, pale blue and deep blue, possibly other colors.
  • Bride is a white satin wedding gown with a knee-length skirt of rounded panels over full-length tiers of nylon tricot ruffles, matching ruffles on the neckline and long sleeves; hooped petticoat; pointed satin bridal cap trimmed in pearls with fingertip veil; bouquet; white shoes.
  • Cocktails is a dress of Chantilly lace over white satin, with attached chiffon stole. Also includes black lace-trimmed petticoat, black shoes. It was available in 14″ and 20″ sizes. See photo of black lace version above. See the red lace version here. The 10″ version of Toni has a similar outfit.
  • Romance is a ball gown with silver lamé bodice and two-tiered nylon tricot skirt; long hooded satin coat with silver lamé lining; petticoat; purse; rhinestone ring; shoes. Available in pink or blue versions. See photos above and below.
  • Tea Time is a short-sleeved dress with satin bodice and cotton two-tiered accordian pleated skirt. See rose version above. See blue version below.
  • Town and Country is a black and white tweed skirt and jacket with teal waistband and collar. This is the hardest outfit to find.

Sweet Sue Sophisticate’s box is shown in the photo below. All dolls came with a wrist tag with a pink and black poodle illustration, that touted her as “your grown up doll.”

Learn More:

American Character Dolls
by Judith Izen
Find it on eBay.
Dolls & Accessories of the 1950s
by Dian Zillner
Find it on eBay.
The Doll & Teddy Bear Department
edited by Thomas W. Holland
Find it on eBay.

Copyright Zendelle Bouchard 1999-2015

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