I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what Vintage Charm School is, and what it isn’t. The manuals that we learn from were written in the 1940s-1960s and I think we all know that times were very different then. While some of the wording and customs can sometimes feel quaint there are some that do not have a place in 2019.
There is a general assumption that women were trying to “reduce” or attain a physical ideal of the times. Much of a woman’s power was to be found in her look or her charm. Inordinate amounts of time were spent trying to retain their beauty or mystery.
If you’ve seen Mrs Maisel you’ll remember the scenes where both Midge and her mother, Rose, go to bed fully made-up, hair perfectly coiffed and looking “done.” Then, as soon as their husbands fell asleep, they stole away to the bathroom to wrap a scarf around their head, take off the eyelashes and makeup and slather on their cold cream and headed back to bed. Only to wake up before their husbands, redo their look and head back to bed to seem as if they “just woke up that way.” This is a common practice that was recommended in many Newlywed Handbooks.
Some people question if there’s a need for something like Vintage Charm School. Perhaps this is something that needs to be filed away like those Midnight Beauty Routines. I don’t think so. I believe that we learn from the past while keeping our modern sensibilities.
Many things that women did or learned were focused on “landing a man” and that topic certainly comes up A LOT in these manuals. We’ll talk about them. We’ll mention them. But this is NOT the focus of Vintage Charm School. I, myself, am single and not looking to snare a man. I enjoy my single life. Granted, my love for these manuals was born from that unfortunate beau, but I still use all of tips, all of these lessons today. For myself. I love the way I feel. I love being able to chat with anyone at a party. I love knowing that I carry myself with confidence even when some days I may feel less so.
Just as there was the assumption you wanted to land a man, there was also the assumption that you wanted to be slender or petite. If you had curves you were often portrayed as a man-slaying bombshell. I DO NOT ascribe to this. I believe a woman can be whatever she wants. Women of all sizes and ethnicities are beautiful and can be charming, elegant, coquettish or a vixen. It’s attitude. It’s how you feel. It’s what you know and how you use it. In the Beauty & Style Module of Vintage Charm School we use the lessons in the manuals to accentuate our positives. We learn to identify what we physically love about ourselves and show that off. If there are things we are less excited about, we learn how to change that or to downplay it.
My clients run the gamut from “feminist executives” to “1950s ideal-embracing housewives.” Their beliefs could not be more different. They way they live their lives could not be more different. But, they all believe that learning how to smooth out some rough edges, carry yourself with poise and how to deal with situations gracefully breeds confidence.
And my darlings, confidence is Power.
Confidence is Timeless.