Victorian era beauty Vs. Nowadays: beauty, makeup, fashion Part 2:

Published May 27, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

It’s no surprise that the throughout the Victorian and Edwardian eras fashions changed. And then it really changed by the Roaring Twenties. And through the Thirties, forties, and so on…
And what is there nowadays for women?

Beauty-wise we are hounded, and practically ‘shoved’ into buying beauty creams, toners, day cream/ night creams, Oil of this-and-that products, and even faced with generic knock-off versions of the expensive brands. And if you’re not ‘in the know’ then you’re seen as being in the dark and shamed to a degree.

And as the years went on we women are now becoming more aware of the hidden chemicals in these beauty lotions and makeup even sunscreens that can pose potential health risks after a long term use thanks to website: EWG (environmental watch group) that gives ratings and known chemicals and toxicity levels in beauty products.

Why then do we still rush out to buy that name brand of whatchamacallit?

Is it because that supermodel on TV is touting it as the ‘must have’ or to ‘die’ for product that will win you not one, but several boyfriends beating down your front door? Or it will promise to give you that age-defying look that men go crazy for and next day their begging you to marry them?

Or could it be just to sell their product and nothing else?

Our society is so obsessed with beauty and always has been. The only thing that hasn’t changed about it is most of these products do very little, if anything, to follow through on their false promises. Maybe even that wrinkle and age-defying serum that’s now in vogue won’t be a year from now and if it contains retinol, back off! This stuff can be harmful. It’s side effects are many! But the beauty industry doesn’t list any of these red flags on their products. And I did some research into this as well and found it here:

https://www.truthinaging.com/ingredients/retinol

That’s if you’re into reading about it.

So, what’s next for the beauty industry? And I don’t want to see where it’s all heading. I think I know.

For the past several months I did some comparison ‘window shopping’. And I even submersed myself in the current beauty and fashion trends as well. I’m not looking to buy anything I see that looks better on that Twiggy mannequin in the shop window than it would on me personally. And that skeletal plastic figure donning those skinny jeans? I do own two pairs but have to wear a belt with the… ahem, *hip huggers*. They’re not real jeans that come up to the waist and it’s no wonders I loathe hip hugging jeans. They’re just way too tight and don’t fit me properly.

And ya’ know, we had a very similar type of skinny jeans back in the late 80s/ early 90s and I feel it’s a rip-off of my generation.

Guess jeans might have come and gone with their ‘acid-washed’ look, but at least they still had plenty fabric in the crotch and behind that didn’t ‘ride’ up or feel like they were going to fall past your hips. And the leg area tapered at zipper ankles. Perhaps you might be way too young to even know what I’m talking about. Or maybe you do remember and are lucky enough to have a stash of door knocker earrings tucked away in your beloved jewelry box too.

Before I go too off track here, what do jeans of the 80s and skinny jeans of today have to do with skirts and bodices of bygone eras? Nothing, except pants weren’t readily worn by women until the 1940s. Until then, women continued to wear dresses, skirts, and blouses that seemed to fit their figures a lot better and covered more. Today’s fashion is sadly for a ‘one size fits all’ small younger society. Or the one size up that’s way TOO big and baggy or shrinks when you wash it. And nearly all of it is made in China made from inferior fabrics and bottom of the barrel cotton and polyester (recycled plastics, pretty much).

I’m not sorry but… ‘one size’ does not fit all.

What I loathe most is buying new clothes. I hate it more than walking out in midday heat with nothing more than a bottle of water on my person and a tiny backpack to go ‘find’ some second-hand clothes that will actually fit me properly.

I hate today’s fashion trends because there’s nothing left to the imagination. And long gone are shapes, styles and tailor-made for women of all sizes, statures (I add this in for all the short and petite women). And originality has been picked clean. In my eyes it’s now a hodgepodge of ‘Grunge’ aftermarket upchuck (no offense to the truly passionate of Seattle Grunge, I just couldn’t ‘get it’), paisley print 70s comebacks, 90’s ripped and shredded jeans and put into a huge blender, press the ‘grind’ button and pour out the contents.

If jeans were super ‘skinny’ back in the late 80s/ early 90s like they are now do you think my parents would have turned me loose at the mall with their hard-earned money to burn? Heck no!

Parents were a lot more strict and less compromising than they are nowadays. And the thin look I see a lot of people emulating is just unnatural. I say this because maybe the Lord made me in his image. I don’t have that athletic frame or toned abs or six pack. I don’t even have the ‘average’ online dating ‘ideal’ figure that men expect women should have (as a last resort).

And forget ‘supermodel’, I’m a far cry from that category and can’t compete anyway. I don’t even fall into the obese category. I’m naturally hour-glassed, but in no way ‘skinny’ by any stretch of the imagination (and no, I don’t reek havoc on my figure in a corset, thank god). I’m just that ‘regular’ woman that has trouble finding clothes that fit right without putting everything on display for the whole world to see.

And the beauty industry seems to be jumping on board and pushing off their cosmetics, beauty creams, lotions, perfumes, lipsticks, nail polishes and eye shadows that have questionable chemical ingredients, it makes me worried to even make myself beautiful for a single minute.

Sure corsets were damaging to a woman’s figure back in the day. It not only squeezed in the waist, but also pushed the organs out of alignment, gave a bend to the spine and thankfully the “S” form it produced was gone by 1910. However, women still had more years to endure in a corset. And by the Twenties, women were shedding those constrictive whale-boned contraptions completely.

And nowadays corsets are making a come back being (again) promoted as giving the modern woman that ‘supermodel’ appearance that will make her more sexy and enhance her figure. Although views are mixed and some think its disgusting and unnatural to see a twenty inch waist woman strolling around. Once upon a time, having a waist over 16 inches was considered ‘fat’ by Victorian and Edwardian standards.

Now fast forward to the fashion of today.

I find whats expected of a woman’s makeup and fashion to be unflattering and I must be honest about this. This is coming from a thirty-something woman. Even in my teens and twenties I would have found today’s fashion quite boring that severely lacks originality. Nowadays there seems to be only a few categories society expects women to depict: super model, Goth, EMO, punk, having our breasts and rears spilling out of short shorts and sheer v-necks comprised of thin distressed fabrics. And better pray you’re not uploaded to a “people of Walmart” 😦  segment.

Holy Mackerel I had a difficult time preventing my purple straps from taking center stage every time I took a step in a bright neon-green v-neck today. I see it all the time, women showing their bra straps under tanks, tees and what-have-you and that’s fine if they’re happy wearing that out in public.

And me? Nope. I don’t want or need the hassle today’s fashion is causing me. I constantly feel I must adjust my attire every five seconds in a distressed t-shirt that’s so sheer and too clingy that it makes me feel like I’m wearing next to nothing.

I also hate that t-shirts are now marketed toward provocative and that’s all fine and good so long as you’re an adult and don’t mind the attention it brings with it. And if you’re content dressing like that, to each their own, I always say.

But don’t they make regular t-shirts aimed at a more conservative group of women anymore? I begin to think not. I was literally surprised the shirt I donned today actually belonged to my grandma and it was something recent (not outdated or anything). Not even as a teenager would I have been caught dead or alive in a nearly see-thru v-neck shirt. Why? Because I had to sport that one ‘rock n’ roll’ t-shirt twenty-four hours a day. Not only that, it covered me—heck, I practically swam in that particular shirt. And it was black and went great with a pair of favorite pair of torn tapered-leg jeans or jean shorts. 🙂

Do I have to look like the ‘modern’ woman that’s depicted on TV nowadays? Thankfully no. I’m very thankful that I don’t have any disposable income to waste on Ugg boots, Louis Vuitton, Valentino (I doubt the late, great silent film lover, Rudolph Valentino had any stake in this whatsoever), etc. And I see Guess is still a leader in unattainable fashion just like it was marketed back in the 80s. And that’s awesome. Back then, I didn’t have parents that could buy me clothes off the rack at the Brass Buckle. I had parents with a more practical income.

I was thrift-shopping before it was in vogue. If you were a teenager caught dead in a thrift store picking over a used section of no-name brand jeans and shirts by your peers you would never hear the end of it in school. You would be the poster child that practically screamed “Welfare!” And why the two seemed to be confused with each other back then, I have no idea. It was once seen as the absolute embarrassment that followed you until the day you a.) dropped out of high school or b.) graduated. Either way, thrift store clothes shopping was the only thing when big box stores like Walmart weren’t found in every city. Sure, we had one of those too, but they didn’t sell much in way of ‘get me by’ clothes back in the day. Walmart (as I remember) was still much like a Ben Franklin’s and didn’t even have a grocery department yet.

So thrift store ‘hauls’ it was. I assume ‘haul’ means what you bring back home and finding some awesome stuff. We just called it bargains. We had paper bags stuffed with clothes, mostly second hand and not once did I ever turn up a pair of Guess jeans. Those acid-washed jeans just didn’t turn up and no teenager in their right mind would turn loose of a pair.

We had Chic jeans, Wranglers (yuck!) and Levi’s which would do, but they weren’t *expensive* enough to get you into the ‘popular’ cliques in school. Oh, and then, there were the preps. The smug-attitudes and I’m better than you are because I wear all name-brand clothing. My parents make a six figure salary and yours don’t… so, nanny-nanny boo-boo…. Give me a break. But that’s how it was back in these days. The more income your parents had to throw away, you were practically untouchable.

Heck, for a price, you could even have so-and-so do your home work for you. Pop quiz? No problem your rich parents could buy your way out of that and some of my peers actually bragged about how ‘smart’ they were being able to get whatever they wanted when they wanted… it was almost rock star status in Jr. high and so unfair… like, yeah… totally uncool. :/

And the fashion trends weren’t skinny jeans back in the 80s or early 90s. T-shirts were tucked into the waist band, then pulled slightly so it overlapped the waist band. Socks were scrunched and jean hems rolled and tucked. Shoes were always exclusively expensive high tops and Converse hi-tops weren’t even a running second… and they didn’t come in third or fourth… they were the very bottom of the social pecking order. The top name brand shoe of the late 80s/ early 90s Reebok, Air Jordans, etc.

And it comes back to haunt me even now years later. I’m totally outdated. I no longer sport the rock n’ roll t-shirts I was once proud to wear. Though I have stored a few original shirts away for safe keeping. As a teen, I tried to emulate a ‘preppy’ look, but really sucked at it. I was an imitator. The boys laughed at me and I was the butt of all their dumb blonde jokes. The girls sided with the boys—yeah, it was tough being a teenager and trying to ‘fit’ in anywhere in society.

Then again, I was never popular and was quite glad I didn’t have that careful image to maintain. I could just throw on whatever and be out the door ready to learn what again? Whatever mind-numbing, ass-backwards subjects public schools twisted around to fit their criteria. And no, I was not an honor roll student. I wasn’t even considered gifted in way of academics. I didn’t fall in with the nerds or geeks.

In these days we didn’t have a clique of Goths or EMO’s running a muck in the halls of Jr. high. We didn’t really have outcasts announce their arrival although I’m sure there were several of those. And the loners were you’re typical introverts that read magazines and books and listened to their Walkman cassette players full blast before and after school on the bus, and sometimes, they’d try to pay attention in class.

And even back then I might have blasted through my Aqua Net super hold hair spray like no tomorrow and donned nothing more than blue eye shadow, pink lipstick and maybe some black eye liner. I didn’t feel the pressing need to run out and stock up on this lipstick or frivolously blow a large amount of dough on a single eyeshadow pallet. Back then, I didn’t have access to makeup primers or setting spray and didn’t know they made them since I never saw them in the makeup departments. I used hair spray to set my makeup. I didn’t even know liquid eyeliner was invented and marketed until just this year.

Stay tuned… oh, and thanks for reading, as always. 🙂

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3 comments on “Victorian era beauty Vs. Nowadays: beauty, makeup, fashion Part 2:

  • Great post! I’m reminded of how Katherine Hepburn was considered a bit “on the edge” because she favored wearing slacks (by the way, when did that word go out of usage anyway? Growing up, there were only two words for pants: “dungarees” for the denim ones, and “slacks” for everything else!) And the two worst things for me to shop for are pants (of any type) and shoes. Coldwater Creek used to make a decent fitting (for me) pair of jeans but they’re now out of business. I then switched to a style from Jones New York which is now also out of business. Talbots pants never did fit me properly but at least they offered some traditional classic styles that were not aimed at the late twenties-early thirties urban chic market.

    Don’t even get me started on the impossibility of finding clothes made from good quality (not thin see-through material) 100% cotton nowadays.

    Your school experience mirrors mine except that in my case it was high school in the 1960s. Trust me, things were no different then, LOL.

    I always disliked the feel and smell of makeup, even the so-called hypoallergenic brands which were the only ones my super-reactive skin could ever tolerate, and so finally in my late forties I simply decided I was not going to use it anymore. Period. No eye makeup, no lip anything, nothing. It was a huge relief! The only things I ever put on my skin are moisturizer, sunblock, and aloe vera soap. I did make one concession and wore a teensy bit of makeup for my son’s wedding, but that’s it – no further exceptions, LOL.

    • You’re welcome. And yes, I agree about the makeup issue. My skin is so sensitive I can’t wear even hypoallergenic makeup or else I break out. I remember I had to wear makeup for two months and I could feel a noticeable difference and how my skin felt that was awful. I suppose it was because of the chemicals/ toxic ingredients and heavy metals. Same went for all brands of nail polish and I even found some that didn’t contain the three dangerous chemicals, but did instead contain far more harsh chemicals. I think I’ve given up on wasting my money on all these beauty products. My skin can’t tolerate it and the nail polishes severely weaken my fingernails and make them brittle and prone to breakage… seesh. I went to Jr. High in the early 90s, (1992-93) and found I had nothing in common with any cliques and really didn’t fit in anywhere because I was too introverted and reserved. Not snobbish or super anti-social, but just really inept at learning how to make friends and keep them since I moved around a lot! This didn’t allow me much time (if any) to get adjusted to a school and a schedule. Neither of my parents were in the military. My dad used to put in transfers where he worked to get better pay and a chance to put me and my siblings in better locations… can’t say much for the public schools because they pretty much taught all cookie-cutter academics. The only saving grace was when I attended religious/ private schooling. Not only did my grades improve by leaps and bounds, the class sizes were smaller and the students were more ‘real’ and genuine and less concerned with looking pretty, gossiping, who the hottest boy was, etc., etc… and it was a totally different environment too in the religious schools and more tolerant of the rock n’ roll to a reasonable degree. Unlike nowadays I’ve seen education (public school-wise) has dramatically taken a turn for the worse and almost completely capsized nowadays. And I’m so very grateful I don’t have to attend school nowadays… I think I would puke on the school lunches they serve nowadays. :/

      • Oh, I didn’t know the word ‘slacks’ was no longer used. I commonly used that and its no wonders I’d get strange looks at the service desk in department stores. What do they call slacks?… Pants– or ‘those really straight-legged pants hanging on a hanger in the half-price section?” I never knew that about Katherine Hepburn either, that’s fascinating she was such a trend setter. 🙂

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