Dutch Beauty, Post WWII

Marry gets married

What did beauty mean when you were in your 20s?

My 20s started just after World War II. I lived with my family until I married at 28.The first few years after the war we couldn’t buy clothes or make-up; nothing was available. We had little money and a big family (dad plus 8 children), so we all contributed to survive.  I first worked as a housekeeper. In the mid 1950’s I worked as an assistant in  a shoe shop and later I worked a grocery.

I had a lot of dates in my early 20’s, and I always tried to look nice. We didn’t have much make-up but I remember one of my friends had a little piece of lipstick we always shared.

I met my  husband-to-be at 26. We married 2 years later. I worked full-time until my son was born in 1961 and then for a few years on Saturdays to earn some extra money.

I  liked to look pretty. I used to put on foundation, powder, lipstick and used day and night face-creams. I also had some nice jewelry – rings, earrings, a chain and a bracelet. I always had a perm and  used rollers every Saturday to look good on the weekend. I followed the trends for my clothes and shoes and wore shoes with heels.

Before a party I would visit the hairdresser and sometimes a beautician.   Some people  called me vain, standing in front of a mirror they  humorously recited from Ecclesiastes: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

I didn’t really do diets, although I wore a step-in and sometimes ate less snacks to keep the same weight.

What does beauty mean to you now?

I use face and hand cream and sometimes a bit of powder and lipstick. My hair is white and I still got the perm. I like to wear quality clothes and also shawls. I always wear earrings, a chain and a bracelet. My shoes have smaller heels.

I eat fresh food…not too much because I want to keep a certain weight. I keep fit by walking and cycling.

If different, why have your ideas about beauty changed over the years?

In my 20s there were not many beauty products available and we had less money to spend. Nowadays there is more then enough of everything – abundance.

Marry, 81 – Holland

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Out of the Box: Women, Beauty and Aging | The Illusionists
  2. GutsyLiving
    Dec 21, 2011 @ 05:15:19

    Interesting how much beauty seemed to matter in the past. In a way I’m glad that other personality traits and intelligence are valued more today. Thanks for making me aware of this. Sonia.


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