Time traveling beauty consultant Carolyn Van Wyck – dishes out 1920s wardobe and beauty advice to a girl in 1928.
That all important day when you have to consider your winter beauty regime, put those summer skirts away, fold up your swimsuits and consider what to keep from last years wardrobe and what to add for the coming Fall season.
THE AUTUMN MAKEOVER is this months problem.
DEAR CAROLYN – Just at this season of the year i always seem “all wrong.” My clothes are faded and shabby, are full of sand and lack smartness. My hair seems faded, too – probably from the high hot sun, for I spend many of the summer days on the beach. And my skin has been tanned so much ( and I must admit that the aforementioned skin adds freckles to my other trouble!) that I look horrid in evening frocks, and stupid in street clothes. Does every girl I wonder have this much trouble as I at this “between” season? Just now – when summer is almost past and the cold months of Autumn and Winter are looming – is the most trying time of all. And it is in this time that so many nice things are starting or being planned – dances and parties. Oh I often think that a girls whole winter depends upon how she looks at the beginning of autumn. If she is dowdy she’s left out. But if she looks well, she’s included! What is the best way to go about the matter of a general making over? I’d like to know – for I want to be ready for a gay winter, and I’m afraid, it won’t be very gay at all, unless I do something drastic! help! ELEANORA.
YOU are a wise girl, Eleanora, to recognize the advisability of a personal house cleaning during the early autumn months. Although the violet rays of the sun are extremely beneficial to ones health and skin – they can do harm to both your hair, skin and clothing! You don’t want to look old at thirty!
1920s Autumn beauty routine.
First of all is your skin. To get that tan out, it should be treated to the best of bleaching, tissue building and astringent creams upon the market! The bleach will take care, gently of the tan and freckles. The tissue builder will create firm, new surfaces, and the astringent will give freshness to the whole complexion. These autumn ablutions are uniquely feminine and will make you feel better by the sheer act of doing them.
And then your hair. It should be brushed nightly, with a good tonic. And the rays of the summer sun often dry the hair – in that case use an oil tonic twice a week. And once every ten days, at least, shampoo the hair with a hot oil shampoo. And out a bit of lemon into the rinsing water.
If you are feeling flush – then pay a visit to your nearest beauty salon and allow the girls there to pamper you for an afternoon.
Clothing Makeover for Autumn in the 1920s.
About the clothes. of course, Eleanora, the wardrobe would seem shabby with the coming autumn. And rightly so. And equally of course, it should be replenished. One woman – a great author, almost as famous for her perfect grooming as for her fine books – gives up two weeks, every fall, to getting her frocks ready for the winter!
First of all, pack away the still good summery things. They will come in very nicely next year! The faded ones, perhaps, can be dipped in one of the splendid quick tinting preparations – the shabby ones can be made over. If, however, some things are too shabby or faded for further wear, dispose of them. Hoarding useless garments – is a miserable habit of many young women.
Choose carefully for your 1920s winter wardrobe.
Don’t be afraid of choosing frocks, shoes, blouses, evening dresses, even hosiery – that you may not have normally worn. Think of the reaction – as you stand at the bus-stop on your way to work. Only – know where to draw the line between being original and plain bizarre. If you can only afford a few outfits, then choose them in the same tones for mixing and matching! In this way you can economize on hats and shoes and accessories.
But if your wardrobe need not be limited, go as far as you like in color ranges. I personally prefer to choose a few expensive skirts and tops which I can mix and match, than wasting money on filling my entire wardrobe. You may wish to invest in a new winter coat – so choose carefully – you’ll be wearing it everyday soon!
DO NOT buy that beautiful frock that you see hanging gracefully on a slim mannequin in the store window. DO NOT waste money on frivolous shoes and lingerie. Choose carefully and try on everything. Lots of girls advise taking a friend to help. Do you know what? I prefer the opinion of strangers – though not pushy saleswomen! if there are other girls in the changing room with you, ask their opinion!
1920s Fashion – Lingerie and hosiery for the winter.
This autumn there are many beautiful frocks in Sears catalogs, so you could save yourself some trouble and buy from them. they are extremely well made and have a good return policy. As the decade draws to a close – it appears that foundation wear to shape rather than just support is making a comeback! The new long-line girdles with suspenders from Gozzard are a bit expensive, but you can avail of cheaper models from Sears catalog. In choosing winter hosiery, again I would go for Sears Royal Purple brand- as they stock some very sheer chiffon stockings in some gorgeous winter shades – such as champagne, even-glow, and various nudes.
Finding your ‘type’ for clothing in the 1920s.
Back in July – I wrote an article about “Choosing your 1920s style type.” Did you read it? I hope so, for that reading will help you now. It is quite necessary to know one’s type before one buys new clothes. A good way to know what your type should wear is to look through the lists of motion picture stars, for women who most resemble yourself. You can be sure that these starlets receive the very best beauty and fashion advice! Once you match yourself up with an actress who you fell shares your style type – hair color, skin, figure etc – then go out and buy for yourself the same sort of dresses in which your chosen star appears prettiest. Motion picture women are the most chic women in the world. We do well to follow their lead.
Also – if you observe a girl – even one you do not know, who you think is pretty in her clothing and hair etc and resembles your type – try and strike up a conversation with her for some advice. Girls should stick together when it comes to helping each other look their best
Originally published in Photoplay – 1928
Many thanks to The Media History Project – for sourcing,scanning and preserving these wonderful articles.