Vintage beauty tips for when time and money are scarce?

Discussion in 'Beauty' started by MurderOfGoths, Jul 15, 2014.

  1. MurderOfGoths

    MurderOfGoths New in Town

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    Location:
    Herts, UK
    Hope I'm not duplicating a thread, did a quick search but came back empty.

    I used to dress up quite a lot, but over the last few years disability and two children have left me with very little time or money, and I don't want to be a frumpy mummy in jeans and t-shirts! I want so glamour and class back in my life.

    I was hoping some of you would have some advice? Thank you in advance
     
  2. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Couple of quick questions: can you sew? What's your preferred vintage decade? Also, if you don't mind answering, what's your current beauty routine? The answers to these questions will make it easier to brainstorm.
     
  3. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    I'm a mother too, and I've found a couple simple things that help a lot:
    1. Get a vintage hair cut. I'm not sure what decade you're interested in, but having a vintage haircut really cuts down on processing time.

    2. Set your hair and shower less. I'm not sure if you have a partner who can watch your kids for 20 minutes or so (you can also do this after they go to bed), but I found set hair in a vintage cut to be the best style for me. Once you get the hang of it, you can set it in less than 20 minutes. My sets last three days (or at least they did when I had hair long enough to set), and took all of 2 minutes to brush out and put in combs in the morning. There is the night prep, but the morning prep is as easy as a ponytail. If you shower daily, space out your showers (you don't need to wash your hair everyday) and replace two showers a week with setting time.

    3. Invest in several outfits that are your everyday clothes. I am a stay-at-home mom, so I no longer have work clothes. (I do, but they are put away until I go back.) This means that it would be very easy for me to just wear nothing but jeans and t-shirts because I am always getting muddy, dirty, covered in food, etc. I have several "vintage inspired" thrift store dresses and separates that I wear as everyday wear. I get mud on them, get covered in cooking grease, and have food smeared all over them. I don't care- I throw them in the wash when they get dirty. (Try to invest in a few cotton and/or rayon dresses/ separates; stains come out of these fabrics better than synthetics and they are more comfortable.) Women in the past weren't dolls, so I figure this is authentic. Even a non-vintage inspired dress makes me feel better than a pair of jeans. Stay away from anything that takes more time to throw on than a pair of jeans and a t-shirt- no complicated buttons for instance.

    4. Buy a nice pair of saddle shoes if you can afford them and/or a cheap pair of white keds. You don't have time for heels or stockings. You want something comfortable to run after the kids. A nice pair of flats does nicely. You can wear a dress/ skirt with Keds; vintage ladies did. If you like ballet flats, there is that option too. But honestly, I find my saddles take anything.

    5. Two things related to number 3: Invest in some Resolve Spray and Wash stain remover for aforementioned messes. I've never had it not get a stain out or at least lighten it to the point it was undetectable without looking quite hard in the past year I've been using it. Also invest in some "biker shorts." These are short, tight fitting spandex shorts. (The ones I have I believe are designed for volleyball.) If you have young children, you are likely climbing all over play equipment (or your kids might have my daughter's tact in lifting up my skirt in front of strangers). Biker shorts make you feel more secure in doing anything that might cause a temporary wardrobe malfunction. They also double as mild shapewear.

    6. Make accessing your everyday outfits easier than your jeans. I hang my "everyday" dresses, skirts, and tops for the season on pegs in my closet so I don't even have to invest the time to take them off (or put them on) hangers. The jeans are folded in a drawer and the t-shirts are in a rubbermaid box under the bed- out of sight, out of mind. Meanwhile my dresses, slips, biker shorts, and bra are all hanging on a peg right inside my closet door next to where I hang my housecoat. I can't hang up my housecoat without going by them on exiting my closet. Much easier to grab them on my way out of the closet than cross the room and open a drawer to find a pair of jeans or crawl under the bed for a t-shirt.


    These are more tips for a casual look rather than a glamorous look. But at least you'll look dressier than a lot of people- without too much added effort.
     
    Annie B likes this.
  4. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I'll second the sewing recommendation -- once you've learned to do it, it's a skill you'll never lose, and you won't be paying "vintage dealer" prices for clothes. A good sewing machine can be picked up for peanuts at any Goodwill or Salvation Army store, and serviceable cotton fabric can be found for less than $3 a yard if you know where to look. It takes about four-and-a-half yards to make a typical wartime dress, throw in another five dollars for notions, and you've got a perfectly serviceable garment styled exactly the way you want it for $20.

    Once you're sewing, run up four or five simple cotton dresses and rotate them. Work on them in the evening or whenever you've got a free moment or two, and you'll build up speed to the point where you don't even notice the time it takes. For household chores, make a couple of button-front cotton housedresses using gingham or some other simple colorfast fabric. You can get these as dirty as you want and they'll wash right out, and you can put one on in less time than it takes to tie your shoes.

    I second Sheeplady's saddle-shoe recommendation, but if these aren't your style, look into a pair of nurse-type oxfords. The Clinic Coquette is still the best housewife-shoe out there, for my money.

    The best way to deal with hair when you're doing a lot of housework is to tie it up under a head-rag. Leave the pincurl pins in place, cover the pins with a hairnet, and then tie any cheap bandanna over it, Rosie-the-Riveter style. You won't risk losing your set while doing washing or dishes or other steamy jobs, and when you're going out somewhere nice, just take the cloth and the net off, take out the pins, brush out the curls, and off you go.
     
    queen of jacque likes this.
  5. Lily Powers

    Lily Powers Practically Family

    Until you get up and running with sewing, you could try these simple "oomphs":
    Red Lipstick - A little bit can make you look far from frumpy, even when you have on a simple outfit. Even more so, as Sheeplady suggested, with a vintage hair cut.
    Vintage Collars - quick, (usually) affordable way to dress up a t-shirt or a basic pullover sweater or buttoned up cardigan. These are two collars I have and they really do change a basic shirt into something more fun and stylish. I hook a dress clip over the button of the white one to make it smarter.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
  6. MurderOfGoths

    MurderOfGoths New in Town

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Herts, UK
    I can sew luckily, so will have to dig out my sewing machine etc. Will have to look around for cheap fabric and a simple pattern - if any UK members know places to get cheap fabric that'd be great.

    The shoe suggestions are great, I have problems with my back, hips and knees so flats are essential nowadays.

    And I love those collars, such a simple idea and look pretty easy to make myself.

    I'm pretty happy with anything from the 20's to the 50's tbh, though 40's/early 50's stuff seems to suit me best.

    For hair I've been thinking about doing a wet set at night as mornings are the most hectic, but have always used hot rollers in the morning so unsure which type of curlers would be best for overnight?
     
  7. W-D Forties

    W-D Forties Practically Family

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    Location:
    England
  8. MurderOfGoths

    MurderOfGoths New in Town

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Herts, UK
    Wonderful, thank you
     
  9. MurderOfGoths

    MurderOfGoths New in Town

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Herts, UK
    Well I've ordered three patterns
    Butterick B6018
    B6018.jpg
    I figure I can change this one up with detachable collars and cuffs.

    Butterick B5882
    B5882.jpg

    and Vogue V8728
    V8728.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
  10. Heather

    Heather Practically Family

    Messages:
    657
    Location:
    Southern Maine, USA
    Those look wonderful! Let us know how they come out. Would love to see photos!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. Vera Godfrey

    Vera Godfrey Practically Family

    Messages:
    915
    Location:
    Virginia
    If you're comfortable with pin curl sets, you could always do those.

    If you prefer rollers (I do), I have found foam rollers work best for me.
     
  12. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    In my experience pincurls are easiest to sleep on. Whatever type of curler you use, though, you'll find sleeping easier with a "sleep cap" over them. Not very glamorous looking, but eminently practical.
     
  13. MurderOfGoths

    MurderOfGoths New in Town

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    18
    Location:
    Herts, UK
    I haven't had much luck with pin curls so far, will have to give it some more practice.
     
  14. AvavanBlythe

    AvavanBlythe Familiar Face

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    US
    For pinned curls, I've used a simple wooden peg to roll them up before slipping it off the peg and adding the clip. They really are the most comfortable, but if you're using the size of a peg (same size as the famous tool), the locks you choose will be smaller, which is period accurate. On Ebay you can find foam rollers that will give the same size. I believe 7/8" are most accurate in size, though I prefer 1" for my personal taste. Pinned curls do take time, and it took me awhile to figure out what I wanted. For me it's a balance between practicality in my daily routine, and how much 40s I want in my lifestyle. I save the hardcore stuff for reenacting.

    As for being glamorous while setting, I know that in the 40s women were encouraged to wear a turban and dress it up. It was considered rude to have your curl set showing around even family, because you weren't giving them your best. After rummaging through my bookmarks, I'd found this article I remembered reading awhile back.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
    queen of jacque likes this.
  15. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Getting back to the question about lacking time, I've found one solution recently that seems to work very well. Over the past four months or so my work life has become downright unmanageable, to the point where I'm just too tired to do anything more with my hair than to keep it clean. So I put my hair back in side combs and roll up the end in a gibson roll, over a "rat." That's a fairly good period style for a middle-aged lady, though I'm pretty sure women of the 1930s and 1940s would have set their hair on pin curls first. They would undoubtedly have been so used to that as a night-time routine that they could do it quickly, even when exhausted. I also think many women would have had perms to help keep the style in shape.

    My own grandmother, who lived through WWII, never had her hair cut or permed--she always wore it up with side combs and a chignon or bun in the back.
     
  16. Vera Godfrey

    Vera Godfrey Practically Family

    Messages:
    915
    Location:
    Virginia
    I love the idea of this. How would you do the bangs? Just a part on the side and incorporate into the sides if it's long enough?
     
  17. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Anybody have any ideas on how to style a short middy on days when you didn't bother to set it?

    I bought some hot sticks, but they fall out of my hair (still working on that) and I'd like something better than a Bandanna. It is too short for a pony tail or pig tails, as the front and upper layers aren't long enough to be gripped.

    I was promised curly hair, poodle tight curls, following chemotherapy, but it's as straight as ever. It looks fantastic set and takes a set well, it is just what to do with it when unset.
     
  18. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    To answer the "bang" question from Vera: I don't have bangs, but I think you can twist them into the side combs by taking up a little at a time as you twist (if that makes sense?) I guess it also depends on the decade of your hair style.

    Sheeplady, my sister-in-law (who also lives in Syracuse, btw) was also promised the same thing, but as soon as her hair had grown out for a year, she lost her curls again. I can't advise on really short hair, but I imagine that side combs and bobby pins might help if you just want to get it back from your face?
     
  19. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    I never even got close to curly, I had some waves that I was sure were going to curl but come July (9 months out) it totally went straight.

    I think my real problem is that I used to have bangs, but I have grown my bangs out to be middy style and I think I look horrid without the bangs when my hair is straight (love them curled, so recutting is NOT an option). I think I need to find some way to just curl the bangs, I think that would make me feel better about pulling it back. I am wondering if steam rollers might be the way to go? I was really disappointed in the hot sticks falling out/ no curl. I have heard to leave your hair damp and then put them in, I want to try that, but I don't have much hope.

    I just need to get off my lazy butt and start setting my hair twice a week. Last time I set my hair I got 5 decent days out of my set, so I shouldn't complain since I get at least 3, normally.
     
  20. Vera Godfrey

    Vera Godfrey Practically Family

    Messages:
    915
    Location:
    Virginia
    St Louis-Thanks! I know exactly what you mean :) I have worn this look for the past few days now (love it!) and I just took my bang section and pinned it back in small pomp. Looks very nice with the side combs and back roll.

    Sheeplady-I despise hot sticks. Even when my hair was "long enough", they would still fall out and pull at my hair. Way more trouble than they are worth!
     

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