Friday, November 22, 2019

Cosmetics Advertising and Usage in Nazi Germany

I have touched upon this topic more than once and I want to go into it more this time talking about cosmetics advertisements and usage. like in my previous post, there were plenty of advertisements for cosmetics in Nazi Germany even through the war years. These advertisement were " . . .for deodorants, body powders, and antiseptics . . . " (pg. 104 in Nazi Chic? Fashioning Women in the Third Reich by Irene Guenther). There were even ads for hormone creams for breast improvement and hair removal creams for " ' . . . legs, armpits, face, and nape of neck' ", and wrinkle reducing creams as well (pg. 104 in Nazi Chic?). In addition to all of these advertisements there were even magazines that offered how to steps on how to apply these lotions and potions as well as how to apply lipstick and mascara. The goal of these magazine how to's was to show women how to apply all this stuff as naturally as possible ((pg. 104 in Nazi Chic?). Funny enough, in a regime that wanted to keep their women as make up free as possible they did not seem all that successful and in the 1930s I think make up usage seemed to increase or stay consistent rather than decrease despite all the efforts to keep their women natural. In fact, make up usage seemed to decrease as the war continued only because of a lack of it when the cosmetics factories were gradually shut down and shifted over to the production of war goods. It seems it was not ideology then that stopped women from wearing make up but the gradual consequences of war. In fact, as the war dragged on, make up ads continued but in the margins tips were included to use as little as possible, or statements adding that the product was concentrated so less would be needed (pg. 106 in Nazi Chic?). As a side note, some vintage make up products you can still get today. One such brand is Tangee and although it is an American brand it was around in the 40s. I recommend checking out its product review here by Royal Vintage where they review other products as well.

Funny enough, many German magazines promoting beauty featured American film stars and American beauty products! The irony! One such American film starlet was Katherine Hepburn who was featured on the cover of Koralle in 1937 (pg, 105 in Nazi Chic?). Some American beauty products that were advertised included Ponds, Elizabeth Arden, and even Palmolive (pg. 105 in Nazi Chic?). I think this is really interesting but it shows that even German women were interested in American fashion trends and wanting to know ways to look their best (with German or American products!).
A German Fashion Magazine from 1941. Note the rouged cheeks and lips. She is definitely wearing make up

Aside from cosmetics, hair products  deserve their own discussion. To achieve that blonde curled look that was so popular one could get that look in one of two ways - through nature or through synthetic means. As far as synthetic means so, many women flocked to salons to color their hair blonde and to get permanents to get that curly look. As the war continued, hair products dwindled and salons could no longer offer permanents (pg. 106 in Nazi Chic?). In fact permanents became forbidden but salons still remined open until " . . . the fourth year of the war . . . " as officials turned a blind eye allowing women of means to still get their beauty fix (pg. 106 - 107 in Nazi Chic?).

There is lots of documentation, primary and secondary,  available proving that make up was advertised in Nazi Germany. As for its usage, the 1930s saw a great deal of it being sported by women of all kinds even though the regime pushed for it not to be worn (calling women who did use it impure and deceptive). When it comes to the war years its a different story but women either stopped wearing it or reduced its usage not because of ideology but because of the war draining it away as a necessary resource to continue fighting.

One question that I think stumps most of us is the question of who actually wore make up in the war years of WWII in Germany and how many?? How do we answer these questions? Where do we get our evidence to support our answers? With the information we have, how can be accurately represent the German woman in WWII?

A nice group of lovely German gals. Note that three of them are wearing curled hair with waves swept up and away from the face. Not all the girls are wearing curled hair though, note the lady wearing the darker dress.  . . Her hair is the smoothest of them all and it would appear it is not curled. It looks like it is smooth and secured in the back of the head possibly in a bun.

I think to answer these questions it will require a lot more research such as  looking at primary sources and case studies of average women (if that is who you want to represent). One primary source that I have is a collection of photos of German women and civilians in the form of two large photo albums. I love these examples to study from because these were real life women and people wearing real clothes, real hair styles and doing real things. Much better study material than fashion magazines filled with illustrations of the ideal (although these magazines are still great resources for fashion but I think that is a post for another day). These photos are of real women but sadly these images don't show real life color - real life color is not in black and white. . . These are  . . . .Studying these images we cannot know if they are wearing make up  - no matter how light or heavy it may be. Regardless of if they are wearing make up or not, I think these women are still so beautiful and are managing to make the best out of the worst. Although we cannot know what they are wearing on their face, we can see their hair.

Here are some great examples of hair that is not curled, it is smooth but secured in a bun of some sort.
A close up. Here you can see another example of hair swept up and secured.

As far a hair styling goes curled hair was the fashion norm in the 40s even in Nazi Germany. This I can prove with photographic evidence of real women and even in fashion magazines promoting it. In the 1930s hair dying to blonde and getting permanents was a normal scene but by the time we get into the war years that does change. Hair products with chemicals could no longer be used for the average household but now were shifted to sustain the war. Despite achieving curled hair through chemical means leaving the average fashion scene, women are still sporting curled hair. How can this be? Simple. There are lots of means of achieving curled hair with no chemicals such as pin curls and rag curls. Both of these methods can get a gal curly hair with ease if she is not naturally blessed with it. Wearing hair straight and plain was simply not seen (sorry!!) unless it was styled in an up do of some sort.  . . . Basically I do not have now any evidence of plain straight hair being worn down in this period unless it was confined in braids or a plain bun. A pony tail? I have not seen any evidence of a pony tail in this period really being worn.

Cosmetics for face hair were advertised before and during the war to women and some women made use of these lovely luxuries if they had the means. For those who did not, they still managed to look their best using the methods that they could. Through out the photos that I have seen they are making some sort of effort. I find it so interesting that these women still appeared to have a desire to look decent and when crafting a period look for a German impression I think that is a point to be considered. Of course, your final impression will decide the details but as a whole care and consideration seems to be taken then as it should now.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Traveling in Vintage Flair . . . . All About Packing

This year I have found myself doing a lot of traveling, much more than I ever would have thought. I do enjoy a good trip and I actually enjoy the packing process too even though I'm not too good at it. In all honesty, I am a terrible over packer! If it fits, it goes and I will take as many shoes, hats, and what evers you can think of. Some I wear and use and some I don't. Part of it has to do with the fact I like to be prepared for anything.  Last year I got a lot better but I feel that I can still do better. So, I did some searching for 1940s and 1950s travel advice to improve my travel and packing skills because I have a feeling that I will be doing much more in the future. One of the reasons why I chose to seek out vintage travel advice is because I do travel in vintage . . with vintage luggage. . . so . . I think you understand.
When I travel, I do so in full vintage. . . .no cheating here (seriously). Normally I choose a suit because its easy to wear and its one less bulky item to pack. A suit also looks super sharp in my opinion. So anyway, back on topic. . . since I do travel in full vintage I wanted some advice about 50s travel because I knew it was going to suit my needs much better. Of course in my research I found stuff on modern travel too. When I compared the two I found some interesting trends! But I will cover those later on here.
First, some 1950s travel advice. Thankfully I was not the only one who wanted to know more on this topic and its was already covered before by Last - Year Girl. I think the article there on traveling in vintage style was really well written and uses great primary course material. A very good read and highly recommended if you too want to travel in vintage style. In summary I thought this advice was really cute and it focused an a few main points (if you want to see them all and in detail look here).
  • Interchangeable separates are a must; as are good shoes and scarves
  • pack easy wear and care fibers like wools, cottons ,and others that do not wrinkle too much and do not require too much care
  • accessories! The more the merrier!
  • when packing, clearly the more the better so that you are prepared for any event. Again, the more the better!
  • Pack good looking luggage and an extra bag too for shopping or treasure hunting abroad. Attractive luggage also ties into having a good appearance because once you are traveling you are in the public eye. First appearances matter like always.
  • Pack a good coat for poor weather.


These were only some of the points that I found to be really interesting and the theme of the more the better I think is really unique. Why? Because I looked at modern packing tips as well and I got the opposite advice! Yes, according to modern travelers the less you can take is the goal according to Travel Fashion Girl.  Also According to Travel Fashion Girl, aside from packing light, you want to pack and dress for comfort including jeans, flipflops, etc. There are some really distinct differences in the packing advice offered on these two sites I really spent time on.
Of course, there were some striking similarities such as packing scarves, separates, and some "fancy" attire in the event you do need it.  The modern travel site also advised packing browns, navy, and other  neutral colors for easy mixing and matching. It seems no matter the time period, some things are the same.

One theme that I thought was very different between the two was how well you dress. According to the sources by Last - Year Girl dressing well was so important because it was a reflection of you to the rest of the world. It seemed too that your appearance did not stop at what you were wearing but your luggage as well. The value placed on personal appearance and dressing well was not sacrificed even when on the road, in the air, or just on the go. On the other site, Travel Fashion Girl, comfort was top priority while traveling, giving personal appearance a second place (if that). Of course I am not too surprised by that at all given today's own personal attitude about fashion and comfort.

So how do I plan to use this advice in my own packing? well for starters I feel good about packing more scarves, hats, and shoes . . . accessories rather than actually suits and dresses. I definitely have lots of scarves but I may consider looking for more and also packing more as well. I will admit that these are super handy. As for a coat, I always try to travel with one and I am glad that the 50s travel mavens called for one too!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

A Floral Corsage Tutorial - Red Berries

Think you can only use floral elements for your corsages? Of course not! Berries (or cherries, other fruits )work great as well! This one was so easy to make and it kind of assembled itself. I started with the bunch of red frosted berries (or maybe cherries depending on the season) and then wrapped the smaller leaf stems around them until nice and full. Just that easy!

For this one, the berries were already wrapped together but I did have to re glue a few of the berries back onto their stems. Once the glue had dried I got to work adding one stem of leave at a time unit I was happy with the end result. I used a fine wire to secure the whole piece together.

To wear this fun number I chose to pin it to my fur jacket instead of my suit so that it would not be hidden  . . . Doesn't this bunch of berries pair so well with greys and mello browns? I have a feeling this corsage will get lots of wear . . .

Friday, November 15, 2019

Fall Colors

Although it was a bit brisk, I really wanted to take advantage of the fall colors that remained. I wanted to stay warm so I chose a vintage 40s suit and a fur jacket for added texture and warmth. For a pop of color, my green felt bonnet, green pumps, and my red berry corsage. I had some fun with this look and the setting really could have not been better.

This is a suit that you may have seen many times before and for good reason. It is a great suit! I think this is one of my favorites for sure because it pairs so well with most of my accessories and seems to work all season long. As you can see, a good suit goes a really long way and you don't always need a whole closet full of suits to rock a good vintage look (although I do confess it helps!).

In addition to a good suit, a nice fur is kind of nice to have too. I always look out for vintage furs for my wardrobe because they add a nice natural layer for warmth which I always seem to find my self needing. Fall is the best time for furs I think. . .But that's just me. They serve as a nice layer that is as warm as a jacket but not nearly as restrictive or bulky. Furs are a nice texture addition as well. My green bonnet has made plenty of appearances on here too. This bonnet is one of my favorite hats - I love the dramatic veil, the shape of the brim and the color. Its the kind of green that is like a neutral green and not one of those wild or novelty greens. Here I added a berry corsage and that I will talk about next time as a part of my vintage corsage series. Until next time!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Floral Corsage Tutorial - A Bunch of Posies

Here is a simple corsage that uses only one find of flowers, small ones, grouped in a way to spread them out so you could see them all. I bought these to supplement the large lot of flowers I bought over the summer because I knew white would pretty much go with anything and everything.
To make this one, you will need a few flowers or more with decently long stems. To get them clustered so that you an see all of them arrange them layered and with the flowers you place at the last or bottom layer take those stems and wrap them around the lot. That way no sewing thread or glue needed and if you need to break them apart that will be easy to do.
Layering or staggering flowers in a corsage allows for a nice full piece but one that is not too full or round that it is hard to wear (because it is too bulky) and layering allows all the flowers to be seen. This method also allows playing around with the overall shape of the corsage too.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Floral Corsage Tutorial - A Large Creation for My Suits

Big or small, a floral corsage can work. Here is a big one, actually this is my biggest floral corsage and is one that I reserve for my suiting or coats. I think its too large and overpowering for a dress. This one was fashioned from a few different kinds of flowers and leaves. To start with this one I chose three large flowers and wired their stems together.
 Behind these three large flowers I added my more unusual are large leaves and wired them to the stems.

To fill in the gaps, I added some foliage . . . .

 Then I added some small white flowers around the base of the large blooms. The hints of yellow were a pop of different color that I thought was needed.

 Once I wired the rest of the flowers to the stems I added a white bow to hide my wiring and then this was done! There is no safety pin as you can see and I don't use safety pins in any of my corsages. I prefer to use a large corsage pin (which you can buy at Joann's) or a small hat pin.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Second German Photo Album - Part 6: The 40s Wedding

Here we are wrapping up the second German Photo album and with the last wedding in the book. This was a 40s wedding based on the clothing in the book and compared to the first wedding, this one was not as heavily photographed. I think this may have been due to the war but its is so hard to really ever know as there are no notes in the margins. One thing is for certain: this was a lovely wedding and it looks like the guests dressed their best. The clothing is quite fashionable and yet still simple.

Compared to the first wedding, the bridal party does not have matching attire which was a custom but instead at this one I am guessing we are looking at the best attire the party could muster. I would love to know the year these images were taken because the attire is very well maintained ( it looks like . . . ) and there is formal attire here too. There are NO rags, tatters, and the like .Instead the clothes are of a fashionable cut. The setting is an urban one and I am not sure if that makes a difference in the choice of attire for the guests. . . .These folks could have lived in the urban setting or just paid a visit for the sake of the wedding . . .No matter though, the wedding must have been quite the event and boosted many spirits.