“Is there any particular historical reason for certain of the girls having moles, or just Jeanex’s whims?”
I commented on this earlier and much of the design concepts here stand true even to today.
Beauty spots themselves are a little hard to explain, since in different cultures there are different views on what the beauty spot itself symbolizes. In general, though, beauty spots are meant to emphasize a particular “personality.”
Okie’s, specifically, is meant to emphasize “sorrow” – we talked about this in vol. 1, where we just sat down and looked at the history of the USS Oklahoma, and went, man, that’s really unlucky.
Iowa, well, I think we all just wanted to make her a quiet beauty. Again, see the above post for a better explanation for the thoughts that went into Iowa’s design. We think of far more than just the ship, but also the state and the symbolism and everything else that might be associated with a particular shipgirl.
As for Yorktown? That’s a draft. If we do give her a beauty mark, it’d be to distinguish her personality from Hornet and Enterprise. 🙂
“Or, for that matter, girls with half updos and big hair ribbons, like Missouri, Wisconsin, Phoenix and WeeVee?”
Think about it from a girl’s perspective (not saying that November thinks like this – since I do it for him xD), why would you wear a big ribbon in your hair?
Well, you could say that it’s because it’s cute. What do you think of a ribbon, or rather, who wears ribbons in their hairs? Schoolgirls. Cheerleaders. Generally “youthful” or “vigorous” characters.
Or maybe you wear it because it’s a fairly simple way of displaying femininity. We’ve got a couple of tomboyish characters up even in that list, but again, I do want to re-emphasize that they’re young women, first and foremost.
These are just examples of two reasons (both in and out of universe) that contribute to the design of each character. We’re in the business here of making shipgirls, after all.