Friday, March 30, 2012
The headband with a feather stuck in the side of it has become kind of a symbol of Flapper fashions of the 1920s. However, I have not personally ever seen a real picture from the 1920s featuring a feathered headband arranged in such a way: I've seen 1920s headbands with no feathers, with many feathers (usually arranged symmetrically on both sides), or with one, usually very large, feather placed in front or back.
However, I've seen quite a few sources indicating that the lone side-feather headband was all the rage right about 1915.
For comparison, this would be like using Blossom hats as the symbol for the 2000s. You're about a decade off.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
"In those convenient little powder books there are pretty new books that have satin covers blue, pink, heliotrope, red—all colors—and they do not cost more than the ordinary books, There is more to them, too, than the attractive outside. Whoever will polish away the soil of a Summer day’s trip through the streets may do it with a sheet of powder which has her own particular tone of complexion; there is rose, white and “Rachel”—named for the famous actress—and a brown tint for brunette."(New York Times, 1905)
Cleopatra's Boudoir has an excellent article about common powder colors of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, and the history of the mysteriously named "Rachel" powder. Also throws in some useful information about theater history to boot!
It is of note: period beauty books often include recipes for ladies to make their own powder at home. The instructions for tinting suggest that "Rachel" was just a deeper shade of the pink/rose.
Monday, March 26, 2012
I have often seen old advertisements for Pompeian Massage Cream and old texts recommending it. I was never clear, though, on just what it actually was. Cleopatra's Boudoir clears up the question:
Stecher’s Pompeian Massage Cream was a casein-based rolling cream that also contained benzaldehyde (artificial almond oil). It was coloured bright pink, probably with carmine, and was preserved with benzoic acid. It was pressure sensitive and was used by first rubbing it in and then rubbing it off.After a shave the face was wiped clean with a towel and then Pompeian Massage Cream was rubbed in and then rubbed off taking any remaining soap and loose skin cells with it. This action may have helped reduce skin irritation caused by soap left on the skin and as it exfoliated the skin may also have reduced the likelihood of ingrown hairs.As casein was a milk protein Stecher labelled Pompeian Massage Cream as a ‘skin food’. This was not illogical for the time. Back then it was thought that the skin was a good deal more porous than we know it to be today. Consequently, many believed that the skin could be ‘fed’ externally by applying a cream. In 1909 the words ‘Skin Food’ quietly disappeared from the label and the cream was primarily promoted as a cleanser that removed material that soap could not get to.
While the original Pompeian Cream seems to be long gone, a similar product that I am familiar with is Earth Theraputics Foot Peel (and yes, it is safe for the face -- at least it was on mine.)
The modern familiarity with the concept of exfoliating makes products like Pompeian cream a little less useful, but Gibson girls seemed to love its ability to both stimulate and clean the skin.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
For an Edwardian style shampoo, I used the Yardley. According to the direction in the original post about old time shampoo I grated it and dissolved it in water. Or tried to. This bar of soap actually seemed very disinclined to dissolve, and even after two weeks in the bottle there were still pieces floating in there. I also found this soap to not lather very well in the hair (Octagon has the same trouble.) Fortunately the Yardley is a lot more moisturizing than Octagon, and gave my hair good body during the time I employed it. My hair seemed to incline a little to the oily side while I was using it, but not as bad as with some other soaps. I actually started to find going for a wash only every 3 days was possible with this, without my hair looking too gross or full of dandruff.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
On a recent trip to the Dollar Store, I found not one but two authentic brands of period soap: Yardley, and Pears.
This of course means it is time for more Gibson Girl Shampoo Experiments.
This of course means it is time for more Gibson Girl Shampoo Experiments.
Monday, March 19, 2012
I've received a One Lovely Blog Award! To accept this award, one lists 15 other blogs which are also deserving of the award, and (for some reason) 7 random facts about yourself.
7 Random Facts
- There was a time when I could wear a corset laced down to 17.5 inches, but these days due to infrequent corseting and a slight weight gain and accompanying change in measurements, I think about 18.5 would be as small as I'd dare.
- I sing opera.
- I practice hoodoo folk magic.
- I love old Bollywood films.
- My all-time favorite actor is Buster Keaton.
- My favorite still-living actor is Daniel Day Lewis.
- I gave this award to myself through my Goth blog - nothing in the rules that says you can't!
And now, the 15 blogs I award are, in no particular order:
- Old Rags
- Vintage Savoir Faire
- Edwardian Promenade
- Cleopatra's Boudoir
- Stalking the Belle Epoque
- Vintage Spirit
- Edwardian Era Clothing
- Great Grandmother's Kitchen
- Beautiful With Brains
- American Duchess Historical Costuming
- Old Fashioned Charm
- Career Romances for Young Moderns
- Edwardian Era
- Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire
Sunday, March 18, 2012
The Edwardians didn't seem to have a concept of hair conditioner. They only seem to speak of the "natural" oils of the hair (sebum), hair oils or pomatums applied for cosmetic use, and of tonics.
Tonics often seem to fill the function of conditioners, but that's not to say they always do so. Some are astringent in nature, or have purposes entirely unclear. One old beauty book described sitting in the sun after washing the hair as a "tonic." Recipes of the era show that tincture of cantharides (a.k.a. Spanish Fly) was a popular ingredient in many of the mixtures, probably because it would produce a desirable, stimulating tingling/burning sensation.
The dictionary definition of tonic is merely "A medicinal substance taken to give a feeling of vigor or well-being." This is a fine and meaningless word that can really be used to described just about anything. Nevertheless, here are a few tonics to try for yourself:
Hair Tonic Recipe #1
92 parts alcohol
8 parts glycerine
4 parts tannic acid
Hair Tonic Recipe #2
2 ounces olive oil
3 ounces alcohol
3 ounces strong salt water
1 ounce spirits of lavender
Hair Tonic Recipe #3
1/2 ounce oil of mace
1 pint deodorized alcohol
All of these mixtures would be well combined, then applied to the scalp and hair by rubbing with the fingers or by a thorough brushing-in.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
4 parts black tea, strong
1 part bay rum
2 parts spirits of rosemary
1 part glycerine
"Black tea is supposed by some persons to be a promoter of the growth of hair. However that may be, my formula, if the tea have not any effect, will make a good hair wash."
--Richard Cristiani, chemist.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
"The human hair is of such delicate structure that it should be given the most delicate and painstaking care. It will reward its owner by smiling up and looking fine. The hair has its seasons of health and illness, like other parts of the body. When it is shaggy, unmanageable and lifeless it is because it is not having proper attention. Brushing the hair for five minutes every night will give ventilation to the hair and exercise the scalp and will be helpful in every way. The rubbing in of a good tonic once or twice a week will prolong one’s hair for many years."
Friday, March 9, 2012
The toque hat has been mentioned before, as it kind of ate up the originally separate Turban style headgear. Though they were worn around at least since 1900, these were mostly popular in the 1910s era, and stayed in the mode through the early 20s till the cloche overcame them.
The toque was a bit more of a "sporty" hat than the alternatives, having no cumbersome brims to interfere with bicycling, or tennis, or any other girl-appropriate activity, though most of the models still had the problem of not offering any sun protection. They became a favorite of suffragettes as well. They could also be decked out with as many feathers and veils as any Merry Widow, so don't imagine they were inherently a tomboy's hat. Earlier toques tend to be more elaborate in their trim than latter-era ones. Their emphasis was usually on height, rather than width -- an interesting opposition to the evolutionary steps of the Gibson girl period's hairstyles.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
WearingHistory.com has a little feature about making a very simple Edwardian style hat. Pay them a visit and find how to make your own creation!
Apart from that, I was recently visiting a Sephora shop and got an excellent new lead on a rouge. Tarte Cheek Stain is a solid paste (think about like lip balm) that sits very naturally on the skin an blends extremely well, meaning it's nearly impossible to look too "made up" with it on. It is excellent for rubbing on in abundance to get that rosey look desired by Edwardian era ladies and fun-loving Gibson girls.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
What is Implied.—When an entertainment, socially extended, exceeds the dimensions of a dinner or luncheon party, or the limits of an ordinary reception, it assumes the proportion and formula of a party or ball, to which certain well-recognized rules of etiquette apply. Either of them, or rather both, for sometimes they can with difficulty be distinguished in form and function, imply music and the dance.
Management.—The ball may be either public or private. In both space becomes a first consideration. The public ball, almost as a matter of course, requires a large, well-ventilated space, which is usually procurable only in the halls of buildings erected for the purpose. The private ball is better suited to the dimensions of ordinary dwellings, where a single large room, or two or more rooms thrown together, may furnish the requisite space. In any event, a rectangular space is preferable to a square space for the arrangement of music and dancers. Flooring should be stripped of carpet, and prepared for the occasion by some application, such as wax or stain, calculated to make gliding motion easy. A decoration of flowers on mantels or in corners, contributes greatly to ball-room effects. There should be convenient side or reception rooms for guests, with facilities for the accommodation of the sexes separately, and for the separation and card-marking of wraps, hats and other laid-off clothing. Such a room, or rooms, should be well provided with toilet articles. A good orchestra is an essential appointment of the public, or any large party or ball. In the smaller or private ball, the piano is a usual resort, but, if possible, it should be accompanied by a violin, banjo, cornet, clarionet or other suitable instrument.
The Public Ball.—The details of a public ball are usually left in the hands of a committee or board of managers. They regulate the questions of time and place, and, for the most part, the choice of guests. They send out the invitations, which are, as a rule, directed only to gentlemen, some two or three weeks in advance of the date of the ball. An invited gentleman is expected to invite the lady of hi6 choice. A gentleman should respond to an invitation within a day or two, accepting or declining. Such invitations and responses need not follow any stereotyped form, but should be simple, clear and direct. An invitation of a gentleman to his lady may say:
October 9, 1904.
May I have the pleasure of your company to a
ball to "be held at on Tuesday evening,
October 20, at nine o'clock.
Yours very respectfully,
James R. Mercer.
She may reply, saying:
October 11, 1904.
Mr. James R. Mercer:
It will afford me pleasure to accompany you to the ball at the on the evening of October 20, at the hour stated.
Jennie D. Yates. If the invitation is declined, the reply may run:
October 11, 1904.
Mr. James R. Mercer:
In reply to your hind invitation to the ball at
on October 20, inst., I regret to say
that a previous engagement (state any real cause for refusal) will deprive me of the pleasure of accompanying you.
Jennie D. Yates.
The Private Ball.—Management of the private ball remains in the hands of the persons giving it. Invitations should be sent out two to three weeks in advance by mail or messenger and should be accepted or declined within a day or two. The forms vary, but may run somewhat thus:
Mr. and Mrs. Rodgers extend their compliments to Mr. and Mrs. Pardee, and request the pleasure of their company at a ball on Thursday evening, November 6, at eight o'clock.
Whether this invitation is accepted or refused, the reply should be prompt and in complimentary terms. Invitations to a family, all of whom you desire to attend, may be made to the parents separately, and to daughters and to sons. 1" foregoing form will suffice, names being changed. Keplies should come from each. It is customary to place on the lower left-hand corner of private ball invitations the letters R. S. V. P.—reply if you please—but omission of these presupposes that the invited person knows enough about etiquette to reply without any suggestion.
General Boles.—In settling the number of attendants at a ball, it is best to over-count than to under-count, for there will be some declinations. Moreover, some of the attendants will wish to rest while others are dancing.
- Guests should appear at balls promptly at the time set.
- Invited guests to balls should proceed to pay their respects to host and hostess at once.
- For private balls, dances should be arranged so as to equalize in number quadrilles, polkas and waltzes, and these should be interspersed with a fair proportion of other dances. At large balls, a printed list of dances is provided on cards, with blank spaces for the names of partners. Most halls open with a march.
- An introduction of a lady to a gentleman in order to dance together is not necessarily an introduction based on friendship, and permanent.
- Refreshments usually follow the adjournment of a ball. These may be light or heavy, according to the means of the host or hostess. Public or large balls are, as a rule, succeeded by suppers, and frequently the invitation is to "A ball and supper." If refreshments or suppers come on at midnight, as is frequently, and very properly, the case, dancing is frequently resumed.
- Guests should be paired for refreshment or supper rooms, and duly escorted, as at dinners.
- When a dance ends, a gentleman should thank his partner for the pleasure she has afforded him, and escort her to a seat.
- The gentleman who has invited a lady to accompany him to a ball escorts her thither, presents her to the hostess and participates in the first dance with her.
- A lady should furnish a good reason, such as a previous engagement, unacquaintance with the dance, or something equivalent, for refusing to dance with a gentleman when invited.
- Many dances can be participated in by those unacquainted with them, a graceful carriage and attention to figures being the only requisites demanded of novices.
- Coquetry, conversation foreign to the occasion, and undue contact of persons, are entirely out of place in dancing.
- A lady without an attendant should be provided with one by the host or hostess.
- Dancing engagements should not be forgotten or broken. It leads to embarrassment, if not disgust.
- Do not cling to one partner through several dances. It is an evidence of selfishness and bad taste.
- A bow to a partner is proper at the beginning of a dance; also at the end, when the gentleman expresses his pleasure and escorts his lady to a seat.
- Ball room acquaintances need not be kept up, except at the option of the parties.
- Misunderstandings at balls should be referred to the host or hostess, or to the master of ceremonies.
- A gentleman should never insist upon a lady dancing who is tired out.
- A gentleman should ask permission before taking a seat beside a lady.
- When a gentleman calls to escort a lady to a ball, a present of a bouquet or bunch of flowers is a nice compliment.
- At a public ball, a lady may refuse an introduction to a gentleman; but at a private ball she should accept an introduction.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
The Ladies Treasury has a reprinted article, ca. 1912 on making Handkerchief Camisoles. These were little camisoles fashioned from handkerchiefs, with the lace edging used to provide the joints.
"Some may think there is a clumsiness about a garment that is not gored to the waist, but the softness of the handkerchiefs prevents their looking in the least bulky."