May 30, 2011

A Vixen's Charm School Guide to Wearing Vintage Jewelry

Upon consulting our Charm School textbook (first published in 1962), we Vixens found a number of indispensable tips - and a few archaic ones - about how to wear vintage jewelry. According to the charm school headmistress:

  • Pearls are ideal for both day and night, and are quintessentially classic.
  • Bracelets that don't jangle are both understated and proper.
  • Earrings with a matching necklace "speaks of good taste".
  • Gold or silver bracelets can be worn in great quantity "if they fit you and the costume".
  • Rhinestones may only be worn after noon, if paired with a dressy outfit.
  • If purchasing an entire parure of rhinestones, wear only one or two at a time.
When selecting a necklace, keep in mind the length of your neck. The charm school says "A high choker, for example, is not for the woman with a short neck, for it tends to make the neck appear even shorter. A brooch or clips are more flattering ornaments in this case. But, if a necklace is really wanted, it should be long enough to fall well below the base of the throat".

And when shopping for earrings, "the woman with a large, round face should wear massive, bulky ear clips for better proportion. Little ones will look lost". For a long, narrow face, choose "ear clips triangular in sharp - with the base at the lowest part of the lobe and the point at the top" to create a "more becoming" oval appearance.

And for prettier hands, choose according to their shape as well:
  • Long and slim hands require a flexible mesh bracelet or several slender circlets. Rings should have stones with wide settings, as wide as the finger, and dark fingernail polish.
  • Large hands use wide rings best, or rings with high dome-shaped settings. "Wear a massive bracelet with high ornament, pushed up on arm" and dark or medium polish with clear moons & tips.
  • The slim little hand needs narrow bracelets and rings with gems set as rosettes.
  • And the broader hand can use substantial bracelets pushed up the arm to balance the proportion, with rings in elongated settings and light polish.

Author Unknown (1969).
State College of Beauty Culture Guide to Beauty - Charm - Poise. New York: Milady Publishing Corp.