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.

Spotlight on Blouses

Todays spotlight is on the blouse. A wardrobe classic, it is the perfect garment to wear with this winters 1940s look. Elegant and simple it looks perfect with a pencil skirt, wide leg trousers and even with your jeans.

And you don’t have to actually find a 1940s version..there are loads of great vintage blouses out there from all eras to help you create the look.

One of the 1940s looks was utility: crisp white blouses were worn with trousers or skirts creating a functional look. They were quite masculine in style often with breast pockets and uncovered buttons.

For a more feminine look, women wore light weight blouses with rounded Peter Pan collars. Buttons were often concealed with fine belts added to highlight their curves. Some styles were collarless with a small bow at the neckline.

They were worn at work, in the fields, baking, going out….the blouse was an everyday item long before the introduction of the basic T.

Pretty patterns were seen but nothing too bright. Polka dots and small flowers were on blouses as well as dresses.

These images come from 1940s Woman’s Own magazines.

We have some lovely ones in stock in our eBay shop at the moment and a lot more coming this week. Whether it has a pussy bow neckline, gentle padding at the shoulders, is belted, has ballooned sleeves or patterned…one thing is for sure this autumn. We all should be wearing a blouse.

They’ve been framed

For all the people who have read our blog “We’ve got it covered” all about our lovely collection of 1940s/50s Woman’s Own magazines…here are some pictures of them now framed and hung up in our home.

In the hall, above the telephone table we chose the 1945 cover of a woman on a red phone which matched her lipstick perfectly. Another favourite is the 1939 cover of a woman with quite a bit of flesh on show…she looks beautiful.

To complement the yellows in the phone cover, we chose the 1954 lady in lemon.

In the bedroom, we chose classic 40s and 50s ladies with hourglass figures to match our Sanderson Fifi wallpaper.

The gent in a tux has also been chosen to sit alongside all the beauties. For more pictures of this room check out our blog “Fabulous Fifi

We’ve got it covered

I treated myself to 12, yes 12, vintage Woman’s Own magazines last week. They date from as early as 1939 with the latest being 1957. They are great inspiration for my magazine articles for Vintage Life magazine….sometimes a tiny piece, even an advert will trigger an idea off in my mind.

For those who regularly follow Your Vintage Blog, you will know we are totally renovating our 1920s home (read Our Patterned Palace for reference)….and the conversation cropped up about pictures  for the walls.

 I love the 1950s furniture and design, Adam loves the 1960s therefore selecting  original prints that we both agree on is quite hard. Also, finding them is a challenge in itself.

The plan is to frame the covers from these magazines so I chose them wisely. These are some of my favourites.

The lady on the red telephone dates amazingly from March 1945. Anyone who has read my articles on vintage phones will know in the 40s and 50s everyone had the choice of black or a bright red one is so rare. The colour matches her lippy perfectly. This will hang in our hall above the vintage telephone table and our 1950s Ericofon phone…which is…green!

Now this one is stunning with quite a lot of flesh on show for….1939! Her skin is flawless and the red/white/blue towel is patriotic.

The next one will go in our bedroom. We have just hung 1950s wallpaper (soon to be blogged) which will offset this image perfectly. A lady is being tied into her tight bodice dress in an eye-catching emerald colour.

This dates from November 1948 and totally reflects Christian Dior’s New Look range launched in 1947 with tiny waists and full skirts. I love her shocking pink gloves!

The next dates from 1954 and is a Christmas edition. The model is called Audrey Dalton and I love her tassle edged hood.

This one dates from 1954 and shows the hat of the day. This Chinese influenced style was so chic (and I bought an original one in fantastic condition last week..but thats another story!)

I chose 2 more from the 1940s which are a lot smaller than the later and earlier ones. A dapper gent with a lady playing with his bow tie dates from August 1946.

I love the Winter Wonderland feel to this one from December 1946. Her dress is edged in yellow fur with matching gloves..she looks gorgeous.

I chose this one for the headline on the front “Good Homes on a Low Budget”. Dating from 1957 this will be great for my articles….as well as the 16 page pull out Holiday Guide. The model is wearing what looks like a hooded kagoul..maybe summers back then were are wet as now!

I chose the Coronation special for inspiration for any writing next year. Our Queen looks so young here.

Lastly, “So you want to a model?” has an elegant lady on the front from 1952. Her hat is so unusual, with curved sides and netting covering the bottom half of her beautiful face. Her black eye liner is great too…need to study this well to get mine looking better!

I have already chosen old soap powder adverts from the 1950s to frame and hang in the utility room.

So for pictures for the wall and ideas for the magazine, I would say We’ve got it covered!