Launching my first series on Gloriously Vintage writing about Beauty.
Welcome to Gloriously Vintage today, dear Reader. It is exciting for me to begin this new series of posts which will enable me to write about Hair, Makeup and Beauty related subjects, close to my heart.
Where do you put on your make up? How do you get ready to face the day? Dear Reader, I would love to know the answer to those questions.
The one thing I can never be without is my Dressing Table.
It is so important to me that, I have one I can use for travelling and if I am staying in an hotel and there isn’t one I will create one as a matter of priority.
What is a dressing table or vanity as it can be called?
It is the place to sit and apply moisturiser, make up, to dress the hair, apply touch ups and to create the makeup “look” vital to the day’s activities. It can be simply a table and a chair. It does not have to be elaborate, but it allows you to have everything needed, easily to hand, laid out like an artist preparing to paint a picture.
This love of a dressing table started at the beginning of my life. My mother had one. A solid 1950’s design with drawers and a very large triple mirror. Here was space to keep makeup, perfume, hair combs and drawers for handkerchiefs and lingerie. She would sit at her dressing table to put on makeup. So dear Reader, I learned at an early age what a dressing table was for!
Today I am so blessed to have the most glamorous dressing table.
It is by far the most beautiful incarnation of my 60 years.
It is a Georgian dressing table with a large oval toilette mirror on top. There are two turn of the century crystal lamps either side of the mirror. Finding those lamps is another story.
Just sitting up to it on my Victorian piano stool makes me feel wonderful.
I go through my makeup routine so quickly because everything is laid out on the dressing table and in the wide drawer that houses my colour make up, moisturisers for daytime in fact, everything I could possible require is in there ready and waiting.
My make up brushes are in cut glass vases and containers, separated by use. The lip and eye pencils are also in small vases just waiting to be applied. The order that I see on the dressing table is calming. It enables me to create the look I want – be it a simplified version of my look for work, or a more carefully crafted makeup and hairstyle for going out.
There is also a Georgian chest of drawers with another toilette mirror on it to my right. I share this with my husband. Here is a photograph of my tray.
You can see my powder box, beautiful sterling silver hand mirror engraved with an “E”, a favourite lipstick, “Parisian Red” by Bobbi Brown and my magnifying glass. The tray is from the 1930’s and I have matching candlesticks to go with it. I have found some of the vases and trays in charity shops and vintage fairs.
Sitting at my dressing table is where I think about “me”. Nothing is allowed to spoil those precious minutes sitting there getting ready. My day always starts well, after sitting at my dressing table. No matter what else is happening or tasks clamouring for my attention, when I am at my dressing table I am making my preparation to create the appearance that will complete what I plan to wear.
Of course not every single day is planned so precisely. I have make up free days and days when I just wear casual “house clothes” that are clean and comfortable. For days when I am dressing up – well that is when the Dressing Table comes in to its own! Even when I am not using it – I can see it there, ready, the very glamorous space where I can make myself look how I want. Wearing makeup for the sheer love of it, not to hide from anything, but as an expression of who I am.
Fashions and ideas for interior design change. In these modern times having a dressing table and giving space for one is not the main concern it used to be. Without one there is a clear choice where to apply makeup. This can be in the bathroom where the light is usually good. I will always check colours in the bathroom because of good light there, but I would never forsake my dressing table, in front of the window with maximum natural light and the arrangement of the bedroom it dictates.
So this occasional series is called Tales from the Dressing Table. Stories of adventures into style and image that will enable me to write about hair and beauty. This is another area of wearing vintage style that means a great deal to me. I have loved wearing make up since I was 13 years old. Actually I was 9 years old when my face was powdered for a formal portrait photograph. I was amazed at the effect that powder had on my skin, it looked so creamy and so different to just being “scrubbed”.
I have always loved to read books on makeup and style. The stories of the founders of the great makeup houses, Elizabeth Arden, Helena Rubenstein, Christian Dior, Coco Chanel and Este Lauder to name a few have fascinated me. The changing make up styles through the 20th Century is also of great interest. My dressing table embodies this activity, this influence and how I interpret it in my make up style today.
Make up application is an Art. To do it well it is essential to have brushes, applicators, sponges, in fact many tools. I have collected a lot of brushes over my life, and now have the best kit ever, due to the passing of time and moving to a stage of life where I can set the pace. This is rather than having it set for me by the school run! When my family was young I would get up at 6.00am to have time at my dressing table so I would be ready and dressed first. There to assemble the troopes!
It is important to keep developing, reading, looking – trying out testers in shops and constantly updating your makeup look. I wear a Marilyn Monroe inspired make up look now, that is complimentary to my 1950’s style. Following experts like Bobbi Brown and Lisa Eldridge and I am very interested in the makeup look of Dita von Teese.
Your make up can change and develop with your lifestyle and age.
One great bonus of being 60 years old and wearing vintage style is the pleasure of freedom. I have nothing to prove now and am not competing with anyone or anything. I can be me. I can look how I want, develop statement looks at will. What could be better?
The look I have now, I intend to tweak and play with forever. Thus achieving a sense of timelessness. This is what HM The Queen has done, and it is working very well for her at 90 years old!
How do you feel about hair and makeup? Do you keep changing your look? I would love to know. The next tale from the dressing table will be about blending lipsticks, especially red lipstick. I hope you will join me on that post coming soon to Gloriously Vintage.
It’s been great to be with you today.