Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"If you're sad, add more lipstick and attack." ~ Coco Channel (1883-1971)
Some classic 1950s Revlon lipstick shades you can still buy today are: Love that Red, Cherries in the Snow, and the famous Fire and Ice! And although today lipstick on the knee is probably the result of a beauty or dance mishap, in the twenties, flapper girls would apply blush to their knee caps to draw attention to this part of the body (which was frowned upon to reveal at the time.) . Instead of relying on cumbersome garters to hold stockings up on the thighs, the younger generation would roll them down under the knee, creating a bump effect at the top of the stocking below the shocking mid-length skirt, and lightly rouge the knee, another way to draw focus to the exposed leg above. Trends like that were consider "the bee's knees" in the latest fashion! 23 Skidoo!
Lipstick on my Knee
Whether sheer and light or dark or bright, today is the day for all shades of lipstick.
Throughout the ages, controversy has surrounded lipstick. The actress Sarah Bernhardt created an epic scandal by applying lip rouge in public, and Queen Victoria considered makeup hugely impolite. Yet, Winston Churchill found lipstick to be a wonderful morale booster and refused to limit its production during WW II.
Though used from ancient times, lip colouring only started to gain wide popularity in 16th-century England. During the time of Queen Elizabeth I bright red lips and a stark white face became fashionable. At that time, lipstick was made from a blend of beeswax and red stains from plants. Only upper class women and male actors wore makeup.
After this period, however, the acceptance of lip rouge waxed and waned.
British Parliament banned it in 1770, calling it a devilish attempt to trick men into marriage. They likened it to witchcraft.
In 1915, a bill was introduced into Kansas legislature that would have made it a misdemeanor for a woman under 44 to wear makeup because it “created a false impression.”
Dark red was one of the most popular shade throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Popular in the 1920s, flappers wore lipstick to symbolize their independence. At that time, it was acceptable to apply lipstick in public and during lunch, but never at dinner!
In the 1940s, a more natural look was stressed with books and magazines warning girls that wearing cosmetics could ruin their chances of popularity and a career.
But by the 1950s, lipstick had regained its popularity, particularly red shades popularized by Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. Queen Elizabeth II even commissioned her own lipstick shade to match her coronation robes at the 1952 ceremony, a soft red-blue dubbed “The Balmoral Lipstick,” named after her Scottish country home.
In the mid-2000s, a poll found that 80 percent of American women wore lipstick, about ten percent more than French women.
The "lipstick effect" is an economic theory stating that when facing an economic crisis, consumers are more willing to buy less costly luxury goods. That is, instead of buying expensive fur coats, for example, people will buy expensive lipstick!
To learn more about this effect, click the 1917 illustration by Jacques Julien Leclerc titled "L'Arsenal Feminin" with the caption, "Desarmer? Jamais!"
Whatever the color, wear your lipstick with pride today.