Sunday, January 3, 2016

A New Beginning

First of all, best wishes to all my readers!

I haven't forgotten about my historical research project from last year, but since the magazines I was reviewing were from spring and summer months, it seemed a bit strange to post about Easter and Midsummer Eve in November. The good news is that I have more vintage stuff at home, including vintage Libelle issues from 1940, starting with January 5.

Besides recipes, articles about fashions, knitting patrons and advice on how to take care of your house plants, it deals with more serious things, as you may well expect. Anything to do with politics is studiously avoided, though, but war is looming in the background. The editorial urges women to be like a sun in those dark times, and to meet the dangers with smile upon their lips.

The lady author reminds her readers that not only the inner qualities such as self-sacrifice are important, but that the outside matters, too. If you want to support your men who have to fight, pretend that nothing is wrong, she suggests. Conceal your tears, put on some make-up and nice clothes and try to cheer up those around you.

She goes so far as to state that a woman has a duty to look her best, to be the jewel of her surroundings and to create a warm, cheerful atmosphere wherever she goes.

While our circumstances are luckily not so dire, sometimes when you read the news it's difficult to stay cheerful, so this advice is not so dated as one would believe. The world keeps promoting "strong independent womyn" whose chief achievements seem to be throwing tantrums whenever they don't get their way and slutting it up with scores of men. They'd probably scoff at the idea that women have any duties to their men, let alone the duty of looking her best and smiling, and yet those women who had lived through the war were a real life example of strong women.

Cursing like a sailor doesn't make you stronger. Controlling your emotions and smiling through your tears does. So may be, it's a good idea to make a New Year's resolution about trying to always look and behave your best?


  1. I don't fancy New Year's resolutions, but I really do agree with you to look and to behave your best every day. To me it's more like a challenge of a New Day :-)

  2. Housewife from FinlandJanuary 4, 2016 at 5:13 AM

    I hesitate to agree since the effort at "looking your best every day" can be really double-edged sword. It can lead us to be too vain and to focus too much to ourselves. This effort can also lead us to waste money very easily... It can also make someone feel really bad, since somebody's best can be really -well, mediocre.

    But we have been trough this before. :) My guide is the same as always: look as tidy as possible at all times and behave as well as you can. But there is a catch, too: my idea of optimal behaviour is rather stiff-upper-lip and I find very few people appreciating it. How I wish I lived in pre-wars England. At least I imagine that back then and there people were supposed to keep certain distance and not to get too emotional.

  3. Housewife, I don't think being reasonably well-dressed is wasting money. I found I waste more money on buying clothes in cheap stores since they are of lower quality and get thrown away more easily (because cheap). That's really the modern idea, that outside isn't important and I think it's somehow connected with the attitude of "letting it all hang out" which you so decry. It's easier to keep a stiff upper lip when you look the part, too:) The idea behind the article was also that the women should support their men by being cheerful and looking well, since that's what soldiers appreciated (according to research).

    Miriam, I think people make New Year resolutions because every new year is a new start, so to say or that's how it feels. Or may be, I'm just superstitious...

  4. Housewife from FinlandJanuary 4, 2016 at 10:18 AM

    I did not say that people should buy CHEAP clothes. Or at least I did not mean to say such a thing -people, like my mother or sisters, are usually quite shocked when they hear what my clothes have costed, since they have jet to realize that quality has it's price. I have rather small, but functioning and rather pricey wardrobe.

    I meant that if woman is displeased with her appearances and she is uncertain about herself, she can waste a great deal of money in desperate try to "look her best". I have done that, too. And it seems to me that most western women are doing that all the time.

    Ladies can also use the idea of "looking their best" as a excuse to buy unneeded clothes and make-ups and such when they try fulfill their emotionals needs in buying.

    So I think it is sometimes better to take a time-out and just focus on looking tidy.

    And of course we all need a new clothes every now and then. :)

    And I agree that we should support our husbands by every way we can think of. :)

  5. Housewife from FinlandJanuary 4, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    Disclaimer: I propably should not rant so much about this subject. Maybe I just feel -I don't know, pressure, when people talk about "looking their best" since I am personally so keen to be as plain as possible. It is no religious conviction or such, I just love clothes that are -well, plain. The highest quality I can afford, but plain.

  6. Housewife, I guess there is some misunderstanding about what does "looking your best" really mean. In the context of the article she meant to put some effort into looking feminine and attractive so that the men would be cheered up by the way you look. She implied that women shouldn't become slovenly just because there is war going on and they have some extra duties.

    BTW, if a woman can afford it why not buying some extra clothes? In the times past when someone was sad they would tell her to go out and buy a new hat, nowadays they tell her to go to the doctor and get some pills. We don't all have to be minimalist, you know:)

  7. I'll upload some pictures tomorrow illustrating what they meant under "being well-dressed" in those times. Their clothes were rather plain, at least for daily wear, but they had hats and bags and shoes and gloves and stuff like that...

  8. Housewife from FinlandJanuary 5, 2016 at 3:47 AM

    I would really appreciate those pictures! It can very well be, that I do not quite get what is meant by "looking you best".

  9. I'll probably do it tomorrow.