Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

I wanted to write this out but fashion-era’s site is very comprehensible. So here are three links which will show you how hair was worn during the nineteenth century!




A site with many articles on everything hat-related:

Victorian Hats

“Wearing every article of the same colour is fashionable only on condition the strictest uniformity of tone is maintained. “There is nothing more distressing than seeing a dress of deep blue, inclining to purple, with a bonnet with sky-blue ribbons.”

Beauty advice from a 1863 Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine.

Unrelated: Catherine Sherman posted a review on a book which seems very interesting: Kate Summerscale’s “The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher.” you can read the review here. The book is a detective novel, set in 1860. It’s definitely on my to-read list! (On Amazon)

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Something I found on the Decayed Lace blog, which features some interesting writing and trivia:

[D]ear reader, let me kindly introduce you to the wonders of the so-called ANTIMACASSAR.
In order to fully grasp what’s to be understood by the concept of an antimacassar, one has to undertake a voyage back into the 19th Century- a voyage into the curious world of Victorian fashion and cosmetics, to be accurate!
As the devoted connoisseur of Yesteryear knows, it was the style in these days for a Gentleman to wear his hair in a carefully clipped coiffure [often in combination with sideburns, which were a token fashion item of the era] that was combed back rigorously and, in order to make it appear sleek and glossy, trickled with macassar oil. Thus, one could say macassar oil was the precursor of brillantine, which reached the height of its popularity during the rambunctious days of the Jazz Age. Today, the prospect of oily hair might appear to us as an outlandish fad, but back in the dear Golden Age gentlemen sporting an elaborately brillantined haircut were the pinnacle of elegance!
To the mistress of the Victorian household however, the lubricious
headdress usually was a mere nuisance- grease spots all over the backrest of your sofa! Therefore, the canny Lady would pin pretty white doilies on the spot of the furniture where the Gentleman’s head would be. These doilies -as you might have guessed by now, dear reader- were called antimacassar, pragmatically named after the principal purpose they had to serve.
[Considering the fact that Victorian Gentlemen also used other, rather revolting substances like beef suet or bear’s grease to control their hair, macassar oil might not have been that bad after all.]

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Last time I gave a link to some great mustaches. But it was not easy to maintain such an accessory for the face. In the movie ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ (highly recommended!) you can see Hercule Poirot wearing a special mustache-protecting device when he goes to sleep, in order to keep the ‘stache in the right shape. But, more drastic measures were taken. Fellow blogger Rob Campbell from Dumpdiggers told me:

We sometimes find ‘mustache cups’ when we are digging in century old dumps here in Toronto.

A mustache cup was no different than a regular tea cup (or coffee cup) except it contained a flap of porcelain on the top of the ceramic cylinder that would protect a man’s moustache from becoming soaked with beverage whilst he was sipping the brew. Of course, ladies suffer for beauty, also. Here is how one puts on a hoop skirt:

Found on the great site engelfriet.net, which is sadly all in Dutch. He also mentions that, at the ultimate width of hoopskirts, ladies carried little dogs on them…I so wish this was true, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any picture evidence.

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