Huzzah, an informative post for once! This is the full version of a short article recently published in Milkcow Magazine. Much of it is probably teaching vintage girls how to suck eggs, but newbies on the scene might find it of interest. Either way, enjoy!
We’re currently in the height of summer (or so the calendar says), and although this doesn’t necessarily guarantee us good weather here in the UK, there’s no doubt that it’s been rather warm recently. Of course, as fate would have it, this post is going to go up on a dreary grey and drizzly day in the Home Counties, but it’s still on the muggy side!
We all know that vintage ladies never sweated, only glowed; and the same can certainly be said today. I never sweat, no siree! But in case you find yourself ‘glowing’ rather a lot, as I *ahem* tend to do, here are some of my top tips for keeping your cool, and maintaining your pinup porcelain complexion!
Firstly, I’ve professed my love of cold cream on this blog before, but I must confess I find it far too much in the summer. I switch to a lighter organic cream cleanser to keep my skin bright and clear, but still with my beloved witch hazel as a toner. Sweeping a cotton wool ball loaded with witch hazel is a fabulous summer refresher, too, although you may have to reapply your foundation afterwards!
I can’t wear sunscreen on my face – I’ve completely failed to find one that doesn’t look like I’ve thrown a bucket of chip fat over myself, so instead I rely on Lily Lolo mineral foundation, which contains a natural SPF, and makes you look radiant in natural sunlight. I find it’s good enough for the UK summer sunshine. However, thanks to riding my vintage bike about, I have had to go up a shade from Porcelain to Blondie!
Try to keep your hair off your neck – Betty Grable-inspired updos, plaits and rolls are perfect for this! The rat that I use in my faux bangs tutorial can be used at the back of your head for a quick and easy vintage ‘do.
The rat-roll! I just start at the bottom and roll up, sticking lots of bobby pins in to secure. Simple! Do rolls or faux roll ‘twists’ of hair at the front.
Two plaits wrapped over the head is quick, easy and very 1930s Teutonic!
Invest in some chiffon headscarves to tie around a French pleat for a super quick, easy and cool (in the temperature sense) ‘do. And procure yourself at least one of those absolutely essential vintage accessories – a parasol! A few years ago (at least in the UK) you would have attracted looks of disdain for carrying a cute paper parasol around, but I’ve spotted many ‘normal’ ladies sporting umbrellas as sunshades recently – you’re more likely to be complimented than criticised these days! They’re a particular must when you’re bargain hunting around car boot sales, with the sun beating down relentlessly.
(Do excuse me just posting pictures of myself to illustrate these points, but I am too lazy to search beyond my own Flickr photostream today!)
A hand fan is also an absolute must-have, especially if you’re unlucky enough to have to use public transport…ever! Vintage souvenir fans can be picked up on eBay for small change, and fragrant sandalwood ones are a fabulous alternative. I have bought quite a few parasols and hand fans from this UK store, Exotic & Oriental. They don’t seem to have many paper parasols in stock, but they do have lovely fabric ones.
Finally, a tip from those who are more averse to machine washing vintage cotton frocks than I. My theory is that vintage housedresses are meant to be laundered, and all mine are absolutely no worse for multiple washes. I halve the spin speed though… it’s the high speed spins that put strain on seams and fabric. However, if you have more precious pieces, do invest in some dress shields. My granny, being a lady of the 1940s, was also an advocate of bathing once a week (having a wash around the key areas every day, of course), and cleaning her clothes much less often; and she swore by dress shields.
Granny, looking a little like Ingrid Bergman here!
It’s these little wonders that enable one to go a whole week in a single frock, as this nifty little video demonstrates. Though I do still believe that Lancelot might be slightly put off if you leave your date until Sunday after a hike or a bike through the country on Saturday! There’s only so much a dress shield can do!
Put all of these things together, and hopefully you’ll manage to beat the heat, even in your most exquisite 40s dress. And that, in a rather long nutshell, is that.