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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A guide to gracious living, Amy Vanderbilt, PART 5

Hey there!

This time (last part, I promise!), I will ask Amy to introduce to us a little bit of Makeup and Beauty etiquette. Feel free read my preous post on this subject (if I managed to tickle your curiosity).
PART 1, PART 2, PART 3, PART 4 are only one click away.


A practical beauty routine A woman is well-groomed when she looks fresh, neat, clean, and well-pressed. This means a daily, and often twice daily, shower or bath, fresh underwear and stockings daily or twice daily, competent home or professional hairdressing at least once a week, well-manicured hands, no chipped nail polish, runless, wrinkleless stockings, and shined shoes at all times, even for housework. 

Beauty care must be on a regular schedule, not just when social activities are planned. Excess hair must be kept invisible by one method or another at all times. Feet, pedicured and with toenails painted or not, must be kept soft and attractive, knees and elbows must receive their regular attention with emollients, and eyebrows be kept neat, though not obviously plucked. A good deodorant must be used daily or on recommended schedule. 

Hair must be brushed morning and night with a clean, firm brush and combed with a good comb that, like the brush, is frequently cleaned in cold water and ammonia, then warm suds. A dirty comb or brush is as repellent as a bath towel used beyond its initial freshness. 

A well-groomed woman is carefully girdled, if necessary, from the time she gets up until she undresses for the night. If she has heavy work to do she protects her hands with rubber gloves or work gloves and uses hand cream. For dusty work she covers her hair with a clean kerchief and she wears clean aprons or smocks to protect her clothes. Her handkerchief is always clean and when not in use, safely on her not left on chairs or tables around the house or office. 

The fastidious woman understands how much the appearance of her hair has to do with that of her whole person. If her hair is fine and hard to manage she arranges it many times a day, if necessary, to preserve the required neat look. She has it styled in the way that stays neat and attractive longest, and she never combs her hair or does her nails in public. 


It is far better to wear a simple, starched house dress, a clean one daily, if you must do housework, than to wear sweaters and skirts or wool or other dresses that must be dry-cleaned, unless you make up your mind to send them to the cleaners the minute the first spot appears ( and if you are caring for young children, this may mean fresh outer clothes daily, an expensive proposition). There are now dark, winter cottons that can be styled like wool clothes, which are perfect for housewoik, topped, if necessary, with a sweater or wool jacket. You can make them in a becoming style, or have them made, with matching bibless aprons and feel like a well-dressed "lady of the house," no matter what dirty work you're up to. 


Every woman should change for dinner, if only into a clean house dress. Dinner is the high point of the day, the forerunner it is to be hoped of a free evening. Every little girl should be clean and in fresh clothes, even if they are just clean pajamas and bathrobe for nursery supper, every night, so that the idea of changing for dinner is inculcated at the earliest possible time. Fresh clothes and make-up, even if you are to be alone with the children for a simple meal, are psychologically sound and bring a needed change in the day's pace. Fresh grooming for evening is one of the criteria of gentility. 


Our idea of what's permissible in make-up has undergone a drastic change in recent years. It is rare to see a woman over eighteen without lipstick and powder. Lipstick should follow the natural lines of the mouth. Colored nail polish is more usual than not, although it is attractive to see well-groomed, healthy nails that have merely been burled. 

Mascara, once used only at night by some women, is frequently worn day and night and in a variety of colors, from blue and green to various shades of brown or black. Heavy black mascara is often hard-looking, but the others, properly applied (to the upper lashes only in the daytime) and of the non-smear variety, can help the appearance very much, especially that of a person with pale lashes. Eyebrows, if they need darkening, should be lightly rubbed with an eyebrow pencil the reverse of the hair growth, then brushed back into place, never drawn on. The eyebrow pencil can be used adroitly with an upward stroke, especially at night, at the far corners of the eyes to give them depth and to elongate them, but the line should be blurred with the finger tips. 

Rouge, when used (and the older we grow the older it makes us look), is often best not on the cheeks. It can bring a glow to some faces if it is lightly applied above the eyelid, shading toward the temples. A little on the vertical planes of the nose bridge, on the chin or the ear lobes can play nice tricks, but experiment is needed. 

Eye shadow is perilous stuff. It must be applied with a light touch, if at all. If nature has darkened your lids naturally, that is a cue, often, that you can wear eye shadow. If your lids are small and light, shadow often makes you look dead tired. You'll be better off with mascara. 

It is often more youthful to leave all but the nose unpowdered and to allow a little shine on your face. Pancake make-up, or a good powder base, helps at night to keep make-up fresh, but daylight hours too often disclose its masklike properties. 

A pocket-sized magnifying make-up mirror is a requisite for every woman. It should be consulted regularly. 


Unwanted hair, that which is not routinely removed after the bath, as necessary, should be professionally removed as soon as it appears or, if fine and downy, bleached. Even quite young girls often have excess facial hair which causes them embarrassment, yet it is simple and relatively painless to have it removed by electrolysis. Unattractive hair lines or too heavy eyebrows can be permanently corrected the same way. The operator should be recommended by the family doctor, as inexpert, careless work can cause infection and scarring. 

Hair removal over large areas, such as the legs and thighs, is lengthy and expensive, but, where necessary, certainly feasible and often advisable. It should never be tweezed, especially around the mouth or nose, not only because tweezing injures the roots and may make permanent removal by electrolysis impossible, but because there is often the possibility of very serious infection. 

Brown moles, unless they begin to grow or are subject to constant irritation, are harmless and need be removed only if they really constitute a blemish. Often they are considered natural beauty spots. But when they are unattractively placed or in danger of irritation they should be removed by a competent doctor, not by a beauty operator. The commonest method, which is quick and painless, is for the doctor to cauterize them with an electric cautery after first anesthetizing them. After one or more treatments, they turn black and drop off, leaving, usually, an indefinable scar. Hairy moles should never be tweezed, though the hairs around them may be carefully cut off, as needed. 

The horny warts that are so familiar on children's hands sometimes appear on those of adults, along with the difficult-to-treat palmar or plantar warts on hands or, in the latter case, the soles of the feet. These warts often disappear without treatment, but sometimes respond to X ray or acid, professionally administered, as does the common child's wart. 

BIRTHMARKS, malocclusion, needs for plastic surgery There are various kinds of birthmarks, some not in the least disfiguring, and all usually subject to modification by make-up or correction by X ray or plastic surgery. Birthmarked infants now usually receive C0 2 (dry ice) treatments which eliminate or greatly reduce the newly made marks. 

Many a girl or even older woman can improve her appearance by having protruding or crooked teeth corrected by orthodonture. Although this is an expensive and lengthy proposition taking usually two years in most cases- it often pays for itself in lessening decay and delaying of gum troubles, not to mention the increased self-confidence resulting from often dramatically improved appearance. 

Plastic surgery has made fantastic strides as a result of two world wars. Its cosmetic uses are really wonderful. It corrects ugly, pendulous breasts, usually during fairly brief hospitalization, it removes the dowager's dewlap and takes layers of fat off the flabby abdomen, all with the minimum of trauma, as the surgery is connected with a sound rather than sick organism. Truly disfiguring noses are tailored to one's face, protruding ears are fastened back, and harelips made whole, all to the benefit of the ego. But this delicate work must be done, of course, by real experts approved by one's own doctor, members of recognized medical and surgical societies. Most of our physical defects need only the correction of our point of view, however, and plastic surgery, dramatic as it is, is not always advisable or really needed. 

Now - we are PROPER. :D

♥♥ Pinky Honey


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this series. I have just LOVED it.

    1. Thank you ever so much, darling.