In contrast to the kewpie dolls that symbolize Olive's immaturity, Pearl's clothing choices—particularly her black dresses in the first and third acts—symbolize Pearl's very intentional act of maturity. Pearl desperately wants to be seen as and treated like a proper lady, and she treats her black dresses as a costume that allows her to assume the role of that proper lady. This suggests that both propriety and impropriety are costumes of sorts that the characters can choose to wear (or not wear). At the end of the play, Pearl's return to her black dress is a telling symbol of her disillusionment with the entirety of the layoff season. By reassuming her outward appearance of propriety, Pearl refuses a final time to see the magic of the season.
Pearl's Black Dresses Quotes in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll
All right. But the least you can do is to see what you've got as it really is. Take a look at this place now you've pulled down the decorations—what's so wonderful about it? Nothing! It's just an ordinary little room that's a hell of a lot the worse for the wear. And if you'd only come out of your day dream long enough to take a grown up look at the lay off, that's what you'd find with the rest of it.