Monthly Archives: September 2014

“Tattoo Your Lips” Ads for Tattoo Brand Cosmetics, 1930s

Tattoo Lipstick Ad, detail. from Woman's Home Companion, March 1937.

Tattoo Lipstick Ad, detail, from Woman’s Home Companion, March 1937.

“The New Tattoo gives lips exciting South Sea redness that’s transparent, pasteless, highly indelible . . . yet makes them moist, lustrous, smooth, soft . . . endlessly yielding. . . . How his heart will pound at the touch of lips so smooth, so caressingly soft!”

When I tried to find out more about the Tattoo makeup brand, I discovered that these Tattoo ads which appeared in black and white in Woman’s Home Companion appeared in full color in other magazines, such as Vogue. It was called “the New Tattoo” in the ad dated 1930, but here is an ad with only four colors, so it may be even earlier.

Tattoo lipstick ad, Woman's Home Companion, March 1937.

Tattoo lipstick ad, Woman’s Home Companion, March 1937.

To see this ad in color, click here.

This ad for Tattoo brand lipstick stresses that the color is “highly indelible” — although not, fortunately, as indelible as a tattoo. It’s a lip “stain,” available in five colors:  coral, exotic, natural, pastel, and Hawaiian. (Don’t you wonder what “exotic” and “Hawaiian” meant? Presumably one of them was darker than coral red.) There’s a lot to like in this ad:  shoes that would be impossible to walk in on a beach; the cutout below the bow on the reclining woman’s swimsuit (I bought a suit like that in 1978); the man’s tank-top swimsuit (men had begun to bare their chests by 1937; I’ve even seen a man’s transitional swimsuit with a top that zipped off!)

Me's bathing suits in an illustration by Cordrey, Woman's Home Companion, april 1937.

Men’s bathing suits in an illustration by Cordrey, Woman’s Home Companion, April 1937.

The Tattoo lipstick case had a topless, grass-skirted dancer on it:

Tattoo lipstick tube from ad, 1937.

Tattoo lipstick tube from ad, 1937.

I didn’t find a history of Tattoo makeup online, but the earliest dated color advertisement I found was from 1930. (Click here) It included a coupon for a trial sample in your choice of color. The latest dated color image online was from 1949 (Click here.) Both were posted on flikr by totallymystified.

Tattoo lipstick ad, Woman's Home Companion, April, 1937.

Tattoo lipstick ad, Woman’s Home Companion, April, 1937.

“The New Tattoo gives lips a strangely intoxicating redness; a sweetly tempting moistness and luster that only South Sea colors have…. There’s a magical ingredient blended into the New Tattoo that give lips a thrilling new kind of softness . . . an endlessly yielding softess!”

Pacific Tourism Grew in the 1930s

Tourism to Hawaii, via luxurious cruise ships, increased in the 1930s. The “white ships” of the Matson Line sailed from San Francisco to Hawaii and the South Seas. Quite a few movies with a tropical setting were made in the thirties, including Mutiny on the Bounty (1935),  The Hurricane (1937) and Her Jungle Love (1938) — both starring queen-of-the-sarong Dorothy Lamour, Charlie Chan in Honolulu (1938), and Honolulu (1939). Bing Crosby and his movie Waikiki Wedding (1937) popularized the song “Sweet Leilani,” written in 1934.

Tattoo lipstick ad, Woman's Home Companion, February 1937.

Tattoo lipstick ad, Woman’s Home Companion, February 1937.

I can’t help noticing (Grrrr….)  that the “South Seas Enchantress” in these ads is always subordinated to the one with fair skin, even though a “healthy” tan was very fashionable in the 1930s.

"Don't worry darling, you'll look quite respectable in a day or two." Sept. 1936; from The Way to Wear'em.

“Don’t worry darling, you’ll look quite respectable in a day or two.” Sept. 1936; from The Way to Wear’em.

Perhaps a tan made darker lipstick more generally acceptable and less artificial looking.

Tattoo Waterproof Mascara

Ad for Tattoo Mascara, Woman's Home Companion, April 1936.

Ad for Tattoo Mascara, Woman’s Home Companion, April 1936.

“Needs no water to apply.” By the 1940s, Maybelline also sold mascara in a tube . . .

Maybelline products from an ad in Vogue, August 1943.

Maybelline products from an ad in Vogue, August 1943.

. . .but, well into the 1950s, mascara was more familiar in that red plastic tray —  as solid-form mascara which you moistened with the included brush. You were supposed to use water, but many women used spit. (Ugh!)

Maybelline Mascara ad, from Delineator, 1924.

Maybelline Mascara ad, from Delineator, 1924.

By 1929 Maybelline sold both this familiar “matchbox” of mascara, and a waterproof liquid mascara in a bottle; both came in brown or black.

Mabelline liquid mascara with round brush, 1929.

Mabelline waterproof liquid mascara with round brush, 1929.

Tattoo’s waterproof mascara came in a tube in the 1930s:

Tattoo waterproof mascara in a tube. Women's Home Companion, April 1936.

Tattoo waterproof mascara in a tube. Women’s Home Companion, April 1936. It cost 50 cents, but you could get a 30-day sample for a dime.

Tattoo mascara in a tube came in three colors: black, brown, and blue (!)

Read More About the Development of Lipsticks:

My search for “Tattoo” ads led me to a really excellent Australian site: Cosmetics and skin.com

For their well written and beautifully illustrated article on lipsticks, click here.

Readers of Moby Dick may be interested to learn that spermaceti was a major ingredient in 1930s lipsticks….

Actual lip tattooing in 1933

The modernmechanix blog found this article from 1933, headlined “Lip Tattooing Is the Latest Fad” in Hollywood, and commented, “I hope she doesn’t change her mind.”  A reminder to anyone thinking about getting “permanent makeup:” your face will change as you age, your eyebrows won’t stay in the same place, and fashions in makeup will change, too. Imagine if Lucille Ball had had her lipstick permanently tattooed all over her upper lip in 1950; she’d have been stuck with it for the next 39 years!

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Filed under 1920s-1930s, 1930s, 1930s-1940s, Bathing Suits, Cosmetics, Beauty Products, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Shoes, Swimsuits

Letting Your Skirts Down, Putting Your Hair Up

A mother with her children, 1879. Notice the girls' hair and skirts. Cartoon from Punch.

A mother with her children, 1879. Notice the girls’ loose hair and mid-calf skirts. The girls are showing this much leg because they are still young enough to play with rolling hoops. Cartoon from Punch.

Lynn Mally, of American Age Fashion, recently commented on skirt length as a signifier of age for young women, as seen in this 1930s pattern illustration.

Back-to-School Clothes for ages 14 to 20, left, and 8 to 15, center and coat, top right. Delineator, August 1931.

Back-to-School Clothes for ages 14 to 20, left, and 8 to 15, center and top right. The Delineator, August 1931.

There used to be rules for “proper young ladies.” The stages of wearing longer skirts, and putting your hair up, were important milestones for girls — and the men who might be attracted to them.  For many decades before the 1920s,  short skirts had been reserved for girls too young to marry. Then, in the twenties, women shockingly kept wearing short skirts after the age of 16. (For a previous post with illustrations on this topic, click here.)

The persistence of fashion: Older people cling to the fashions of their youth.

The persistence of fashion: Older people often cling to the fashions  — and hem lengths — of their younger days. The youngest woman (left) wears the shortest skirt in 1921.

September, 1925. The oder woman shows persistence of fashion; the younger woman -- being mistaken for a man -- has shockingly 'shingled' hair. From The Way to Wear'em.

September, 1925. The older woman’s long skirt shows the persistence of pre-war fashion; the younger woman — here being mistaken for a man — has shockingly ‘shingled’ hair. From The Way to Wear’em.

Part of the shock of bobbed hair and 1920s fashions was that adult women were showing their legs to men who had grown up in the previous century, when showing the legs was considered indecent. The father of a 1920s’ flapper would certainly have been an adult in the era when married women still wore floor-length fashions, and pinned their long hair up off the neck. It’s not surprising that those men were upset when their wives and daughters bared their legs and cut off their long hair.

A male toddler, a girl 10 to 12, and two adult women, 1870.

A male toddler (r) , a girl 10 to 12 (s), and two adult women, 1870. The twelve-year- old girl still wears her hair down, and shows her legs and ankles.

Generally speaking, throughout the 1800s, when a girl reached marriageable age — known as “being out” in society — her availability was signaled by her putting her hair up (as opposed to letting it hang down her back) and wearing skirts that completely covered her ankles, and, in some periods, her feet.

Mother and children, 1884. The girl "6 to 8" has hair cascading freely down her back.

Mother and children, 1884.  Mama’s hair is worn up. The girl aged 6 to 8 has hair cascading down her back. Her skirt barely covers her knees.

I’m currently re-reading Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (published in 1814.) There is some discussion of whether the heroine — and other girls — are “in” or “out,” and the confusion that ensues when a girl appears to be older than she is. (In Pride and Prejudice, younger sisters Kitty and Lydia are “out” at a surprisingly early ages. Disaster ensues.)

A girl might come out by gradual stages, beginning by sitting at the dinner table with the adults in her family instead of eating in the nursery with younger siblings. Another step was dining with the adults when guests were present (she was not expected to volunteer conversation,) and later, of being included in dinner invitations to other houses.  She would not attend balls until she was completely “out;” at that point, she was officially on the marriage market.

Children, 1868: (a) at left, is a girl about 6, (g) standing right with folded parasol, is 12; (g) left, with the longest skirt, is 14 or under; (e) sitting, is 8. The older the girl, the longer the skirt.

Children, 1868: (a), at left, is a girl about 6, (g), standing right with folded parasol, is 12; (b), left, with the longest skirt, is 14 or under; (e), sitting, is 8. The older the girl, the longer the skirt. There’s an appreciable skirt length difference between ages 12 and 14.

The closer she was to being out, the longer her skirts became. When a girl’s skirts reached her instep, and her hair was put up instead of hanging loose, a young man might reasonably deduce that she was “out” or soon would be. These rules were generally followed through the Victorian era, but were sometimes subject to changes in fashion:  in the late 1860s and early 1870s a grown woman might put up her hair but allow some hair to hang down her back; her skirt might also be short enough to show her shoes.)

1869 caricature of a lady wearing the popular "Dolly Varden" style. From The Way to Wear'em.

1869 caricature of a lady wearing the popular “Dolly Varden” style. From The Way to Wear’em.

Other exceptions were sometimes made for sports clothing and for “the lower orders.” (Housemaids had to carry trays of food, pitchers of hot water, and heavy coal scuttles up and down stairs; they did not have hands free to daintily lift the front of a floor-length skirt out of their way.)

The servant is being reprimanded for wearing a hoop. Her skirt is shorter than that of her mistress, who is a lady of leisure. Dated 1863, from The Way to Wear'em.

The servant is being reprimanded for wearing a hoop. Her skirt is shorter than that of her mistress, who is a lady of leisure. Dated 1863, from The Way to Wear’em.

Shorter skirts were permissable for some sports: Left, mountaineering, 1891, and right, cycling, 1901. Both women have their hair up, so they are adults.

Shorter skirts were permissable for some sports: Left, mountaineering, 1891, and right, cycling, 1901. Both women have their hair up, signaling that they are adults.

The concept of “the persistence of fashion” explains why older people often cling to the clothing of their youth. We also have to make allowances for social class, economics, urban versus rural areas, and the likelihood that young people will adopt the newest fashions. The mother (at left) in this photo looks very well-groomed (the grandmother, right, does not!) And the youngest woman, center, has contradictory hair and skirt length:

Three women, probably around 1910. The woman in the middle has her hair up, but her skirt is much shorter than her mother's (left.) She might be dressed for a walk, she may be a teenager, not an adult, or she may be anticipating the shorter skirts of 1915.

Three small town women, pre-WW I. The young woman in the middle has her hair up, like an adult, but her skirt is much shorter than her mother’s (left.) She might be dressed for a walk; she may be a teenager, not an adult; or she may be a young adult anticipating the shorter skirts of 1915.

This cartoon from 1898 shows a teenaged boy (who does not speak French) unsure of how to address a pretty young woman on the beach at Ostend:

1898 cartoon from Punch. The young lady is clearly a Mademoiselle, because of her loose hair and ankle-length skirt.

1898 cartoon from Punch.

Master Tom (knowledge of French — nil):  “I say, do I call you Madam, or Madymoiselle?”

Mademoiselle:  “When one does not know, one says Madame, n’est ce pas, Monsieur?”

The joke depends on the reader’s understanding the dress code. In 1898, readers would know from the girl’s loose hair and ankle-length skirt that she is definitely unmarried:  a Mademoiselle.

 

 

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Filed under 1860s -1870s fashions, 1870s to 1900s fashions, 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Children's Vintage styles, Costumes for the 19th century, Hairstyles, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Sportswear