Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fresh Floral Accessories, 1941

Today, I want to share this lovely article I found in a Life Magazine from June 9, 1941
 ... Almost exactly 72 years ago! (Yes, that just occurred to me now, and I'm geeking out about it.)

Fresh Floral Accessories


The lady spy of a vanished era was always pictured on a leopard skin rug languidly smelling a single flower and luring state secrets from a devastated male. Whether it was the flower or whether it was the lady, history does not report – but florists nowadays are encouraging all kinds of ladies to wear single flowers for reasons other than state.
Flowers today are being worn as decorative accessories to a dress. A blue flower in the hair compliments blue eyes. Flower shoe buckles enhance dancing feet. Twin boutonnieres widen narrow shoulders. A flower necklace conceals a scrawny neck, and a flower, a hat pin and a mite of veil make a hat.
Fastidious men support a daily delivery service of a single boutonniere. A man’s flower costs 10 cents, but a lady can spend up to $15 for one orchid.
        Many single flowers will last a second day if refrigerated overnight. Raw stems should be placed in water and wrapped stems should be placed in airtight cellophane bags, which are supplied by most florists. 

.... Now here's where the novelty nerd in me freaks out: a hand brooch holding a flower, a little sign brooch saying "do not pick the flowers", and a rabbit & egg brooch holding flowers. Ahhh, stop it!

I'm so obsessed with all of this. First of all - their hair! Seriously dreamy, on all fronts. I'm really happy they did part of this in color. First of all, we get to see the vivid flowers, but we also get to admire (and maybe replicate!) her makeup tones, which are often hard to see in black & white.

The written intro... well I'm more into it in that "lol, what?" sort of way, which is often what I end up thinking while reading old magazines. (But sometimes that's the best part!) From the out of place vamp fatale opener, to the "how flowers can hide your awful flaws" part, to the idea of spending $15 on one flower - that is about $230 factoring in inflation - Ummm. What's going on, guys?

But what I found most fascinating is when this was published. This was June 1941, so we weren't technically in the war yet - Pearl Harbor didn't happen for another 6 months. So while they are suggesting that "some women" spend a ridiculous amount of money on a flower (doubt it), they are also unwittingly encouraging a trend that will gain serious momentum through the war years. It's an accessory that requires no scarce materials, can be completely free, and is incredibly versatile. It's genius.

I also found this primo ad - featuring the insanely gorgeous Dorothy Lamour! - in a 1945 magazine. I forgot to note the date of this one, other than the year, so I'm a bit unsure whether Japan had surrendered yet. The tone of the ad makes me think they hadn't, but I'm unsure. It's not as if the war ended and people were instantly mass-consuming wasters... that took a bit of time. Not only is this an exact replica of the 1941 article's 2nd photo, but the whole selling point is how DIY it is, plus... built in perfume!

Serious tangent: has anyone seen Masquerade in Mexico? Any good? Edith Head did the costuming, so I'm sure it's worth it, but... I'm always rather wary of old movies that take place "elsewhere," for they tend to be even-more-racist than the already-super-racist films set in regular old America. I rewatched both Algiers and Lady of the Tropics last week, and was reminded why they are slightly agonizing. You'd think it would be a match made in heaven, what with the dreamy combo of Hedy Lamarr and Adrian's costuming, not to mention some Charles Boyer (Oh I'm sorry, Pepe le Moko?) But instead I just can't. Sorry for the rant guys - just be glad it wasn't the Woman of the Year rant Jaynie got to endure last week;) Anyways, I could blather on all day, so I'll spare you and wrap it up.

What was your favorite floral look? I'm having a hard time picking one.. it's a tie between the hand brooch holding the flower (now on my shopping radar), or the "do not pick the flowers" (now on my craft to-do list)!



  1. I'm sharing in your obsession something fierce. My stars (or should I say, "my blooms"), this is one of my favourite vintage fashion articles of all time. I'm a die-hard flower fan myself (real or faux, and of course floral print garments) and so, so adore each and every style sported here. Huge thanks for sharing, sweet gal!

    ♥ Jessica

  2. Okay, so (hey look at me commenting here!) I love the Bud Bangs best! Especially because -- and I don't know if this is crazy or not -- might they OPEN throughout the day as she wore them?! I mean, really. If that were even remotely possible...plus they are HUGE! And then of course the hand-pin is to die for. And a diy signpost brooch?! You know what that would go perfect on... ;)

    Also, the Woman of the Year rant was not that bad. I recall lots of gesturing while storming up the street like mad women and me in laugh-tears at some point. That's a good rant. <3 <3 xoxx

  3. These ads are so wonderful! I love everything about them! The hairstyles are gorgeous, and the flowers are so pretty. My favourite is the 'don't pick the flowers' one - what a cute idea! :)

  4. I'm actually quite fond of the big flower earrings! Plus I totally agree that the hairstyles are awesome!

  5. This is awesome. You always stumble across the neatest stuff. And this part: "A man’s flower costs 10 cents, but a lady can spend up to $15 for one orchid" still rings so true today. It's crazy how much shops seem to mark up anything targeted toward women.

  6. Really cool ! The flower earrings is fantastic !