Let’s face it ladies, it’s been a hot one here in Indianapolis, historic or otherwise! And sadly, I don’t mean my latest date. No, I’m referring to this grueling hot, sweaty summer. And I don’t know about you, but I find it challenging to be any shade of my most fabulous self whilst being wholly enveloped by this oppressive heat. Unless you have the option of lazing poolside at all times or never have to leave the house (where it’s perfectly acceptable to wander around in attire befitting of Eve), how do you stay looking fresh as a daisy? Seriously: how?
In the Victorian era, burying your nose in a bouquet of flowers was one of the few reprieves your olfactory senses were allowed…
Luckily we may escape to the welcoming refrigerated coolness afforded us in the current era, but just think of our fore-sisters who had nothing more than a paper fan, an occasional breeze or had to rely on economy of movement to tolerate the heat. None of this sounds friendly or tolerable, so what else could be done? Sure perfumes have been around since the time of the pharoahs and do help in the battle against offensive scents; or rooms be-decked with a profusion of flowers might help quell the smell, but what else?
One nifty trick of those earlier eras was allowing sweat to soak into the many under-layers of clothing. And for underarms, a nifty invention, of profound assistance to schvitzing women everywhere, called “dress shields,” which you can still find today (and would be well-advised to utilize if you are prone to wearing vintage clothes). The above advert is from April 1897. And below, the brand still selling these today, Kleinert’s, in an advert from 1948. Much easier to launder these inserts than the entirity of an expensive dress made of a rare and/or fine textile.
What else? Deodorant, rather than a perfume aimed at covering an aroma, was aimed at preventing it. The brand “Mum” is generally acknowledged as one of the earlist personal deodorants developed during the Victorian era. The inventor’s name has evidently been lost to history, but his invention, created in Philadelphia in 1888, was originally applied by using your fingertips–fun! The product was acquired by pharmaceutical company, Bristol-Meyers in 1931. And though it is no longer available in the United States, it has been re-introduced elsewhere around the globe. (You fashion-forward, retro-loving jet-setters reading this can let us know if you come across one sometime.)
Below, an advert for MUM from 1932
and an advert for MUM from 1948
BAN followed MUM in the deodoratn evolution (or revolution?), a woman named Helen Diserens who worked for the MUM company was inspired by the ballpoint pen. (Yes, we ladies are a creative problem-solving bunch, thankyouverymuch.)
Above BAN advert from 1956.
Here’s a lovely 1939 advert:
And a few other deodorant adverts from July 1948
And below, June 1956
I don’t know about you, but I’ve tried them all. Sprays, crystals, roll-ons, gels, and even men’s, but when it’s 115 outside (I lived in the San Joaquin Valley of California AND spent some time traveling in Greece) absolutely nothing I’ve found can keep moisture away from me.
If anyone knows a brand that doesn’t muck up your clothes, I’d love to know about it! I’ve been wearing Donna Karan Cashmere for 15 years now and has worked the best so far. Wonder what the next development will be? (Other than injecting poisonous Botox into your armpits to prevent your sweat glands from functioning properly, I mean).
I will say, you’ll love this tip if you haven’t heard it before: if you do get deodorant on your clothes, don’t try dampening a wash cloth, you’ll notice it won’t remove the deodorant. Just wad up a pair of nylons and wipe it across the spot with deodorant, and voila! Spot gone! (You’re welcome, ladies- with love from my fab side to yours.)
Wishing you freshness in all the right places!