Green’s Dictionary of Slang

doll up v.

also doll, dolls up, dolly up
[doll n.1 (5)]

to dress up a person or an object; esp. as doll oneself up, to smarten oneself up, put on one’s best clothes; the implication is often of excess or flashiness.

[UK]Windsor Mag. 16 293/2: ‘It’s an awful fag coming down here all dolled up, isn’t it?’ he said. ‘But, bless you, these old devils are so blind they wouldn’t notice you if you came in your pyjamas!’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Oct. 35/4: He spends his last Sunday on the place cleaning and fixing up his ‘gear,’ trimming his horse’s feet and ‘dolling’ its mane and tail. [Ibid.] 9 July 36/2: And what for? Fer to keep yer, an’ feed yer, and doll yer up in flash clobber; an’ now because I arsks yer for a paltry tray bit to get a drink y’ slings off at me an’ sez things that hupset me feelings.
[Aus]L. Stone Jonah 67: W’en I was your age, I used ter take ’arf a day ter doll meself up.
[US]Eve. Star (Washington, DC) 12 Apr. 9/1: Billy Bounce has dolled himself up in a light gray summer suit.
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe on the Job 39: ‘Got away with a hundred and fifty thousand from the local bank.’ [...] ‘Didn’t spend it dollin’ himself up, did he?’.
[Aus]Aussie (France) VIII Oct. 14/1: Then look at those pongos who dolled themselves up as W.A.A.C’s and tooted down to Paris.
[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 23 July [synd. col.] The old landmark [i.e. the NY Aquarium] is to have an additional story and to be otherwise dolled up.
[UK]E. Waugh Handful of Dust 218: They must doll up, they explained, as they were going to a party.
[Aus]H. Drake-Brockman Hot Gold I ii: I’m going t’ dolly-up the specimens.
[US]‘Ed Lacy’ Best that Ever Did It (1957) 58: She’d dolled up in that sexy outfit for me.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Mama Black Widow 232: I still drank and dolled up in drag.
[UK]B. Naughton Alfie Darling 179: I start cleaning and shaping this rose [...] like you see these barrow-boys dolling up their lettuce.
[Aus]D. Ireland Glass Canoe (1982) 157: Why did they have to doll her up like the others?
[Ire]P. O’Farrell Tell me, Sean O’Farrell 22: Silks were popular among females and each of them had one expensive piece of ‘finery’ for ‘dolling up’.
[Ire]T. Delaney Where We Sported and Played 66: We spent a lot of time dollying ourselves up every night.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Birthday 138: In spite of her brown coat and sweater he knew she could still doll up to the nines for a Saturday night out.
[UK]W. Chen Chutney Power and Stories 53: Them women dollsing up and cooking up for Christmas.