I was one of those little girls who loves dolls. But none of your affordable Barbie nonsense for me. No, I had the toybox equivalent of champagne taste, which meant a substantial collection of stunningly beautiful, ridiculously expensive Madame Alexanders, complete with brushable long hair, satin dresses, frilly pantaloons and elaborate bonnets. Had the American Girl line existed in my day, I would have owned three or four of the dolls and insisted on a complete wardrobe for each.
Perhaps this history explains why I was captivated by news of the 99-cent Jane Austen Dress Up app for Android, which allows you to electronically customize your very own Regency lady. First you adorn her person, from bonnet and hairstyle to spencer and shoes; then you choose an elegant indoor or outdoor backdrop; and finally you decorate the picture with a Jane Austen quote.
Then you start again and do it about a thousand more times, because you want to see what all the different combinations look like.
Jane Austen Dress Up (from a creator called Story Seamstress) is far, far from the first Austen-related app or video game (I’ve written about some of the others here and here), and I am unqualified to judge its technical merits. Indeed, since I’m still holding out against this newfangled smartphone trend – I don’t think it’s going to last, do you? – I can’t sample the wares myself. But if you fork over the 99 cents, do let me know what you think.