How any age can be attractive

This is my last part of the 1956 Woman’s Own feature “The art of being more attractive” This is the centre fold and it reveals secrets to be more attractive across 5 decades.

Some is the usual stuff, but some is a little more surprising!

In the Nursery

This a beauty advice for 3 year olds which in itself is something we wouldn’t read about today. Phyllis Digby Morton’s says “At 3, a girl has got all it takes to be effortlessly bewitching. She can say what she likes, do what she wants (within reason)! She can dress in the scantiest panties and get away with it.” Pardon?

Phew, at least no one thinks toddlers have beauty issues. Apparently though she NEEDS dancing lessons to “limber up little arms and feet”. This age is about needing:

  • needing thoughtful haircare with “thrice weekly shampooing”
  • needing mild soap and water and lots of it
  • needing protection against accidents
  • needing love

“Lucky Miss 3, not to have a beauty problem!”

In the teens

“Meet Miss Teenage, the girl whose life is a spell of fickle April weather. Days, she wakes up feeling light as a cork with sheer joy of living. Other days she looks at her reflection with loathing.”

Remember that feeling as a teenager? To be honest I don’t remember much of the light as a cork feeling (especially in my stompy doc martins!)

This decade is all about discovering:

  • discovering cold cream to soften her skin
  • discovering pale pink nail varnish (I seem to remember more black nail varnish)
  • discovering the right bra
  • discovering the “value of a night and morning face” wash with soap
  • discovering different hair styles (mine were shaved, purple hair dye, orange hair dye)
  • “the way to shed spots and puppy fat is a firm no thank you to fried potatoes and gooey cakes”
  • and the most important discovery is “charm, nice manners and a ready smile- and that being a girl is more attractive in  a man’s eyes than being just another tomboy”. So as early as this a girl shoudl start thinking of being attractive for men!

“Cheer up, Miss Teenage, remember that your beauty’s still in the shaping!”

The Twenties

Oh no….this is apparently the “age of roses and wedding bells and high romance”. Beauty comes to its peak now (gosh how depressing). Although I agree with “at twenty, a wise girl starts laying the foundations of the person she wants to be”

This age is all about learning:

  • learning all about clothes, about accessories ” good gloves are plain, simple shoes make legs inches slimmer and longer”.
  • learning to discriminate about face creams and cosmetics
  • learning the value of money (not sure I did this in my twenties). She should “plan thriftily before each major expenditure”
  • learning to count to ten before making an angry comeback.
  • learning to wear hats on important occasions without feeling funny
  • this is the time to turn from  a girl into a delightful woman

The thirties

A woman in her thirties (my age…just) is at the peak “of her attractiveness, assurance and poise”. But as she has now more responsibility she should care more for her looks. Being 30 is all about caring:

  • caring for her bandbox freshness “defending it against the wear and tear of household chores”.
  • caring for her skin
  • caring for the right cosmetics, being “lavish with toilet water for the splash of elegance”
  • “and above all, she cares for her man. taking pains to ensure that she’s more than ever worth loving, now she’s in her thirties”.

WOW! you definitely wouldn’t read words like this today. Nothing about looking after yourself just for you.

The Forties and after

Now as I’m to turn 40 next year I better get reading this section!

“Time was when any attractive older woman was liable to be labelled “well preserved”.” Now though, in 1956 an older woman was seen as slim, eager, vital although “never making the mistake of aping kittenishness!” Ha Ha..I think I plan to ape kittenishness, whatever that may be!

The 40s is all about knowing:

  • knowing her skin will lose firmness, muscles will sag, firm contours will disintegrate
  • without exercise the “firmest body will become flabby”..gosh how depressing!
  • knowing that chin firming exercises will help
  • rose tinted powder and foundation are key
  • knows the value of an odd day in bed (I wish!)

And finally, she knows “that serenity, humour and a lively interest in people and things-outside the home as well as in it- keeps her, in many eyes, the most attractive age of all”

Hurrah, Phyllis at last feels attractiveness comes with age and knowing..there’s hope for me then!

In the mean time, what have I learnt from this and the last 2 articles?

That I need rose tinted powder, that my daughter is lucky as she can dress in the scantiest of underwear, that I need to work on my beauty and personality EVERYDAY, and that I need to do this for my man.

Oh well. Finally, here I am approaching 40 embracing the inner kitten!


The art of being more attractive part 2

So, yesterday we should have established what our friends thought of our appearance. How many of you were brave enough to actually ask them?

No, don’t worry I havent gone mad. I was sharing an article called “The art of being more attractive” from an old Woman’s Own magazine dated 1956.

Now its time, in the words of Phyllis Digby Morton to discuss our personality. It’s a survey again…and yes, you guessed it..we are supposed to ask our closest to analyse what we are like.

She does remind us, “Don’t be dismayed or discouraged, whatever the results.”

So here is the personality test. You or a friend are supposed to tick which one you are…so you can learn what you need to “work on”

Manners: charming, easy/mostly pleasant and considerate/a bit abrupt, ill at ease/sometimes ungracious

Conversation: always lively and stimulating/fine with friends but you dry up with strangers/painstaking-just a little on one track/lacks sparkle

Intelligence: above average (lets not say a lady is intelligent huh?)/good/brighter than you let on/just ordinary (heaven forbid)

Sense of humour: terrific/fairly keen (what?)/you usually see a joke/needs cultivating

Tact: you invariably say the right thing/generally pretty good/you try but often fail/you’re always putting your foot in it

Popularity: tremendous, you can’t help collecting friends/pretty high, most people take to you/just fair, you’re not the best of mixers/you just don’t get along with others

Sympathy and responsiveness: universal, you’d charm a bird off a tree/strong-but not to strangers/not very marked/cold, unsympathetic

Poise: outstandingly perfect (for real?)/good, seldom embarrassed/obviously nonplussed in strange surroundings/still a bit gauche

Temper (mine is starting to show with this character assassination): sunny, even tempered/good, except for the odd outburst/patchy, you need more control/ a little spiteful or sulky

PHEW! Well I think I will need a lot of work to be the perfect 1950s lady and be more attractive.

So if you have done this with me, you will now have a list of which areas need work. Phyllis, suggests “every morning read this aloud until it is etched in your mind”.

“Dont dismiss this advice as childish (as I clearly am). It was a method advocated to me by a psychiatrist who finds it of practical help to many of his patients.”

Gosh being a perfect 1950s woman is tough. Not only did she have to look after the family and home, often working too….she also had to work extra hard to ensure she was attractive. This is probably the expectation now to be fair…maybe things havent changed that much in 50 years.

In the mean time lets look at some real attractiveness….stunning….and they may even be a bit gauche, or catty, or need a bit of cultivating…just like you and I!








and finally, Maralyn

The art of being more attractive

Think you’re quite attractive? Well before you answer that, let me share with you an article from Woman’s Own magazine  written in 1956.

It is a 6 page guide with the opening questions:

  • Why do some women attract friendship and success
  • How can you make the most of your looks at any age
  • Men, what is it that draws and holds them

It is in 3 parts: the first being a survey to establish how attractive you really are. The second is how to be attractive to men. The third is how to be attractive at any age. I thought I’d share it with you to see how opinions differ today (or not). And maybe enlighten you so you can work just that little bit harder!!

Lets start with the survey. “How to discover the true you” is to “set you thinking-possibly to test your courage”.

Phyllis Digby Morton writes this article. She asks “attractiveness, what is it? Lovely figure, pretty face, soft voice, smart clothes? All of these. None of them. Some women have a way with them despite an almost lack of dress sense or a single lovely figure. They can draw attention away from the most stunningly pretty rival”….Ok, true so far I suppose.

“Could the secret lie in infectious good humour, or in a capacity of enjoying life?” Maybe

Or “could it be the art of making other people feel themselves attractive?” Now I’m getting a tad lost here. Does she mean that if I convince you I’m attractive then I am. Or am I attractive if I make you feel attractive? Gosh this is beginning to be hard work.

She goes on: “Sympathy, placidity, serenity will prove irresistible to some. Gaiety, impetuousness, vivacity will lure others. Haughtiness, stand offishness, even arrogance have an undoubted appeal for a few.” What?

“While wit in any shape, even wit strongly spiced with cattiness, will attract, round its owner, a pretty-near-permanent circle of fascinated admirers (particularly men)”

Ok now I’m even more confused. Should I be catty, stand offish, arrogant and still be attractive..surely not?

Lets move onto the questionnaire. We can answer this ourselves or get someone else to answer it. Apparently leading psychologists have been consulted for this.

Your Appearance. You need to tick which ones you are, or what your friends think you are so you can understand what you need to work on. Are you ready for this ladies????

Face: pretty/quite pretty/plain but nice (how kind)/ordinary

Hair: lovely/could easily be lovely/don’t make the best of it/rather neglect it

Hair style: tops, always/tops,sometimes/doesnt really suit you (hey let me down gently)/spoils you

Complexion: clear and lovely/nice most of the time/never looks really clear/bad

Figure: perfect/fairly good/too scrawny/too heavy

Posture: noticeably good/good when you remember/not too good/ungraceful

Hands: pleasure to look at/lovely on special occasions/just get by (hey I’m a working mum remember)/neglected

Make up: work of art, always/good sometimes/slapdash/just don’t bother (ha ha)

Dress sense: excellent/mostly good/somehow a bit lacking/undeveloped

Teeth: white, lovely/nice , average/could be whiter/time you had them seen to

Personal daintiness: bandbox fresh (er what?)/mostly perfect/not always particular/in need of a helpful hint

And that’s it. How to enlighten your friend on how attractive they are. There is more…we will move onto your personality later. For now have a think ladies…maybe ask a friend to help! By then end it will be a help, Phyliss promises.

Fair advice

I have been asked over the last year for my advice on trading at vintage fairs….well after 15 years retail experience, with 8 in Visual Merchandising, I thought I better put pen to paper (well finger tip to keypad)

Here are my top tips for preparing and doing a fair!

1. Research, Research, Research!

Don’t blindly accept every fair that comes along, instead do your research to discover if this fair/event is the best for you. Remember that the aim is to make money and there’s nothing worse than turning up with the wrong stock package for the location and then lose money. So, check out the type of customer that will be there and consider which stock you have that would be suitable… for affluent areas take your best dresses, students love a bargain. Ask questions of the event organiser: What was the footfall last fair? (do you want to do one with only 200 visitors vs 1000 visitors) When was the last fair there which could include with another event organiser? There is nothing worse than turning up and discovering there was a fair in the town the day/week before! Who else will be trading at the event? If you sell vintage jewellery you don’t want to do a fair where there are 10 other jewellery sellers! How many traders vs the footfall? Think that 20 traders for 800 customers is better than 50 traders for 400 customers. Just basic maths really! Will there be a fitting room and will it be manned? Be demanding of the organiser with all your questions up front.

2. Preparation is key!

  • Choose your stock considering the customer that is likely to be there. Then it all needs to be clearly priced with your brand on every label. This is for 2 reasons: purchased items leave with your brand label on to remind the customer who you are but also, if stock goes walk about/left in the fitting room it can successfully find its way back to you. This doesn’t have to be expensive…think about getting an ink stamp made so you can add it to basic labels. Think about your pricing structure….flat pricing (all dresses £20) or Good, Better, Best (£15/30/40) for example. Customers get confused by random pricing so be clear on your strategy
  • Establish how you are going to Visual Merchandise your stall. Drawing  a plan on paper at this stage will ensure you pack the right kit and save you time on the day. Are you having mannequins, tables, signs, rails etc. Think that your stall is your shop, your needs to be eye-catching and stand out from the rest. Also think about how to merchandise your stock…are you product blocking (all shirts together), era blocking (all 60s together)? The problem with vintage is it’s all one offs…the only time this happens on the high street is in sale time, so be careful your stall doesn’t look like a bargain basement.
  • Consider how you are going to communicate your pricing at high level. Point of Sale (P.O.S) highlights key prices along with your brand to help customers as well as excite them. This should look professional not a badly hand written sign on the back of A4….always think that this is your shop, your brand! Again, this doesnt have to be expensive..just think about your finish.
  • How are you going to market you and your brand? When customers leave they need to remember you, and hopefully join you on Facebook, Twitter, read your blog etc as well as go online and shop, shop, shop! Think business cards, postcards, carrier bags with your brand on…whatever you choose, give them to everyone even if they don’t buy from you!

3. Shout about it!

Tell everyone where you are going to be, spread the word about the fair on social network sites, your website, blog etc. Take pictures of your best stock and show people to get them excited.

Send these also to the event organiser…can they shout about the traders through their blogs? Are they telling the press about the event…if they are wouldn’t it be great if they used pictures of your stock!

4. Pack up!

Gosh I’m not a fan of loading the van! Be organised with this part, don’t just throw your beautiful dresses in the back and hope for the best. Lay them in suit/dress bags or rail out your van if you have one. Put the clothes  rails in last as you will need these first when you set up. Think that it could be raining when you get there. Write a checklist to ensure you don’t forget anything: especially float, credit card machine, P.O.S, and other bits you may need like scissors, pen, etc

5. Unload and set up!

Hopefully there wont be too many steps to the venue! Set out your stall to your plan and then stand back and review. Look from every angle…what will the customers see when they approach you.

Hang your brand sign in a prominent place. Put out your postcards, remove all rubbish, empty boxes etc which will detract from the overall impact.

6. Choose your attitude

This is a phrase I have learnt in business but rings true through life. If you have done all of the above the only thing you can now impact is how you come across to the customers. What are you wearing? Are you smiling? Where are you standing? Sounds obvious but sitting at the back of your stall reading a paper isn’t going to get you sales….nor is it a great impression of your brand! Don’t go for the hard sell either, relax, have fun, make friends!

7. And finally…

Afterwards you should take time to evaluate how you did. Firstly put away your stock in an organised way to help for next time. Then it’s time to talk money. Whether it’s a business or a hobby the objective is to take money! So now you need to do your sums>Your sales minus your cost price of the stock is your Gross Profit.  Then you need to take off all your expenses: petrol, car parking, lunch, stall price….this will then give you your Net Profit. Hopefully this is a healthy figure! But remember your time is money too…whats left should be your pay (or what you can re-invest)….if its only £20 you need to ask yourself if this is enough? If you’re doing it out of love then  great but really….would you work a whole long day anywhere else for £20?

It’s not easy but it is great fun. You meet people and feel part of a vintage community! I have done fairs and made a major loss…but through experience and following these tips, I now ensure the events I do are likely to give me a good return

Good Luck……

P.S. Your Vintage Life will be appearing at a venue near you…check out the Events page on the webite!


Cheer up the rainy days and your autumn wardrobe with This Weeks Giveaway! This lovely vintage necklace in glorious autumnal colours could be yours….

Simply: 1. Sign up to the blog 2. Let us know which brolly you like best in yesterdays blog by leaving us a comment 3. Tell your friends through Facebook, Twitter etc so they can join in the vintage fun!

Winner will be drawn on Thursday 29th September x