Friday, January 20, 2012

20 January 1933 “Haircuts and Words”

30shairphoto1 I thought it’d be fun to post a quick rebuttal today concerning an anon comment about hair and girth. First off, I think a woman my age would most certainly, by 1933, have had bobbed hair. I will be wearing it more curled, as I learn, but being in my late 20’s and 30’s in the 20’s would have certainly seen my have already bobbed my hair. In fact, being young during WWI, may have even lead to it happening a bit earlier.

Here we see various shots of middle aged women in the 1930’s proudly sporting short hair and they are far from ‘Socialites’.

30shairphoto2 30shairphoto3

I love these shots of Granny’s proudly sporting their bobs, free of finger waves and curls I might add, despite it being the 1930’s.

30shairphoto4 30shairphoto5  I also had to laugh at the comment about my non-waifish or ‘matronly’ comment. Some of you certainly thought I should see it as a put down or an insult. On the contrary, Matronly, by definition means:



of, pertaining to, or having the characteristics of a matron; maturely dignified; stately.

And of course the definition of Matron:



a married woman, especially one who is mature and staid or dignified and has an established social position.

Hardly a put down in my book. And I certainly suffer under no delusions that I am a thin waifish socialite. In fact it rather made me think of how the use of words and the attitudes towards those who are older (today really anyone over 21 as far as I can discern) or anyone of normal or heavy weight (above 100 lbs if we are to use the Super Model index). Such things seem not offensive but rather a compliment. I should like very much to be seen as matronly, particularly when compared to the actual definition. Or if one were to consider it more a definition of one’s own mother, I also like the comparison as my own mother was a kind and dignified and gentle-woman and I very much aspire to her ways, though often falling rather short of them.

It made me recall an incident awhile ago when I and some ladies were smelling scents and I was asked about one scent. I replied, ‘Hmmm, smells like grandmothers’. To which the immediate response was ‘Oh, God, No” as if I had meant it in a bad way. “No,” said I, “It smells wonderful, like more spice or stronger musk scents of the 20’s. Like my Grandmother’s Chanel no. 5. I like the smell of Grandmothers” I proudly stated.

It also brought to mind a commercial my hubby had told me about he saw online for audible books. In their selling point to show how good audible books are they first have the ‘critics’ exclaim why they would at first be put off by such things. A woman looks at the camera with disgust and says, “My GRANDMOTHER listens to books on tape” as if her Grandmother were the devil incarnate and to imitate her in any way would be the very epitome of bad choice.

I think there has always been a divide somewhat between the young and old, for sure, but the continual ‘youth worship’ (which I even covered an article about in my 1955 year) has been raging onward post WWI. I often see today mothers who are older than I happily bleached blond hair, ponytail gum, low rise track pants with writing where it ought not to be, cell phone in hand and wearing Uggs in an exact replica of their 16 year old daughter. Once, young girls couldn’t wait to be like mummy and dress as an adult. Today it seems rather the other way around. It is just another way the modern world sets unrealistic expectations upon us so that we try, feel bad at the failure (Which is inevitable as we most certainly get older rather than younger) and then need reasons to feel better. I know, they may think, some ‘shop-therapy, Depression drugs, or how about a face lift’?

I have been quite thin in the past and even sometimes called glamorous, but do I aspire to look young now? I hope to look my best, but today I am where and who I am. I may lose weight in the future but even if so, I am currently who I am today and therefore still want to look the best I can as I am. And, with that look, I am proud of my often grandmotherly ways. Hat, gloves, lipstick and hose might make me look older than I am or perhaps just my age, but for me I believe sometimes those ladies dressed as 16 year old girls might be more in ‘costume’ than I in my vintage outfit.

So, lets bring back the positivity to age and terms like matronly and Grandmother. And when you smell something that has an old fashioned scent or a look of the past that you like proudly proclaim, “Oh, how lovely and matronly that is.” Or “My goodness, what a fine Grandmotherly air it has”. Any way you slice it being happy with yourself and caring more about what is in your head than what is on your head will always make one happier.

Happy Homemaking.


  1. Mary S. from Winston-Salem, NCJanuary 20, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Didn't read the comment you refer to; however, I find your blog extremely informative and entertaining. I am disappointed when you don't post. The undertaking of living in an era from the past is no small feat and I applaud you. My suggestion to "anon" is when you get ready to pay for my haircuts as well as the rest of my living expenses then you will have a vote!

  2. You are truly a strong, confidant woman and your blog is a delight. I agree with you that matronly is a compliment. If you are having trouble finding full figure vintage clothes, I am sure that with your talent you would be able to sew your own in no time. A flattering style for you would be something along the lines of what "Aunt Bea" wore in the old Any Griffith show. I know the show was filmed in the 1960s, but her clothes were decades old in fashion. Also, some of the clothes worn by Ethel Mertz in the very early Lucy show would suit your figure as well.
    Loose shirt waists were popular in the 1930s and if you wear them without a belt they would not look bad.

    I think it is wonderful that you donated your hair; such a kind and self-less thing to do.

  3. I would love to stand up and applaud this post! These very same things have been on my mind lately, right down to the disdain that people associate with the word "matronly." My own husband recently used this term to describe me and it was very much intended and taken as a compliment. I hope you don't mind if I link to this post on my blog. I have a few readers that I know would love to read it.

  4. My grandmother was a young homemaker in the 30s. She was born in 1917, and married in 1934. Even as a child her hair was bobbed most of the time. And she lived in the 'backwoods' in the South, a real 'country' person . Most of the pictures I have of her, her sisters, my grandfather's sisters, etc, show them with bobbed hair similar to the styles posted. So if the ladies way in the country in the South were up to date with bobbed finger waves, I'm pretty sure you, in the North, on the coast etc would have been too. :)

    Her mother even has bobbed hair in the pictures from her childhood in the 20s.

    Mrs P

  5. You are right. I aspired when young to be like my Grandmother and Aunts and older relatives. No I did not want to dress exactly like they did as back then each age had a different look in some ways. The oldest women different than the 40 year old women etc. But both were very womanly and never sloppily dressed. They cared how they dressed but not in a show off way. Although none of them had much money or clothes they always wore appropriate clothes and everything was ironed and in good taste. I so wish I could find more women like they looked and acted like in my town. Some had long hair and others bobbed. Back then whatever looked the best on them or they wanted a change they changed. The idea of what is the right look for me as I age is not as easy to define as it was years and years ago. I would certainly not dress as I would have at 16 or 26 but what defines a women now in her 60s? This is just something I have personally been pondering. Sarah

  6. Donna, I love your new haircut. I consider the bob a classic hairstyle that's always in fashion even when it's not, if that makes sense. I know and see many women and girls of all ages with bobbed hair. I'm talking pre-schoolers, college girls, my son's teacher in her late 20's, women my age (46), girls in junior high, older grey haired women in my exercise class, a girl selling Girl Scout cookies who knocked on my door last weekend, a 5th grader in my daughter's carpool whose mother bobbed her hair the night before because she couldn't get the knots out, and my Middle Eastern neighbor who is a retired doctor. Some are glamorous bobs and others are just plain. There's no one way to wear a bob and to say its just for the young and slim is crazy! Of course the adult style is more "styled" but it's the same cut. The mothers aren't imitating their daughters. It's just that they both like the length.

    Every few years I bob my hair and then after a year I miss my long hair and grow it out again. I was just thinking about having it cut again. Seeing your beautiful haircut is making me think about doing it next time I get my hair cut! I'll have to try some finger waves too. Thanks for sharing!

    Sarah H

  7. 50s Gal,
    I have followed and enjoyed your blog for the past couple of years and now I am wondering "what happened?" From the tone of our 1950s blog it seemed that you had embraced the 1950s lifestyle and mindset ans were living an authentic 1950s life. Was it all a game? Why have you suddenly changed decades in the way you live? I guess you want to stay current in the trendy way of switching lifestyles and tastes, but you really had me fooled into believing that you were truly a 1950s gal. I guess in our modern world we can just flip the channel and restructure our min and life to project whatever image we want. I was duped into thinking your blog was real.

    1. I can’t even fathom the point of your comment. What, exactly, is “an authentic 1950s life” and a “truly 1950s gal”? Donna was not born in the 1950s. It is not the 1950s now. I have followed this blog from the beginning and eagerly check each day to see what new things are being quite generously shared with us, through diligent hard work and research.

      If you actually thought this was “real” and Donna was blogging from the 1950s then you have a serious problem. If you are sad because you fancy yourself a “truly 1950s gal” and feel that you have lost some kind of validation then you also have a problem. You always have the choice of starting your own blog or following other blogs -- a blog by definition is a personal web log of someone’s thoughts, opinions, and experiences. I personally am excited to learn all about the 1930s and am thankful for the Kitchen Revolution. Keep up the great work!

    2. Pardon me, I meant the Apron Revolution, of course!

  8. Anon, go back to the posts from the end of December. Donna explains why she chose to change decades and it has nothing to do with trends. If you're no longer interested in the blog's content there are plenty of other 50's blogs out there.

    Sarah H

  9. Bravo! My grandma always smelled like Jergens lotion and was so soft and feminine. Never out the door without her lipstick :o)


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