Sunday, August 18, 2013

vintage read: pain parties work

I have read the Bell Jar and I quite liked it. I never delved any further into Sylvia Plath until I read a review for a new book based on her 1953 summer internship at Mademoiselle in Macleans. After reading the review I promptly ordered the book from Chapters.
The book itself isn't really a  typical "book" it is comprised of tiny vignettes on the time leading up to her internship, the internship and afterwards, Written by first hand accounts from others around her at the time. Each chapter is a mere 3-4 pages long so it is an easy read but ooh so addictive.
It is based in the late forties and early fifties and it was a time when and to quote the book
"single women were flocking to New York...the idea of girls living in the city with no family or husband was a point of curiosity, even voyeurism"

The vintage charm from this books comes from the drool worthy descriptions of the clothes, hair and decor.
(all quoted from the book, so many to choose from)
"Her room was the size of a decent closet-beige walls trimmed in maroon paint. A dark green carpet, ferny bedspread with rose pattern ruffles like Snow Whites muted forest....A white enameled bowl bloomed out of one wall--useful for washing out white cotton gloves (within days there would be damp little gloves hanging in each room like tiny white flags)
There is an excerpt from Life magazine that explains the rooms of 6 girls living in Greenwich village that sounds like I want to live there right now!

"Sylvia had shopped...and spend a grand total of $85...first a black shantung sheath in pure silk, with slippery shoestring straps and a matching bolero style jacket. The dress was cut lissome and lean---it left a lot of skin bare and was perfect for dancing"
Pretty much anytime a character is referenced it describes what they are wearing in great charming detail.

"She was certainly less made-up. Natural brow, no heavy cheek contouring. Mascara and liner applied with a light hand. Her mouth would be stained amaranth or rosy, not painted carmine cruella red."
There are lots of references to popular shades and brands of the time, the shade names are just too much!

Overall I am very pleased with my purchase, although I don't recommend paying full price for it if you can get it on a deal definitely check this book out if you love vintage, and the idea of girls working at what they love.


  1. This looks great I am going to order this, ha ha I am reading a book called the "Liar The Bitch and The Wardrobe"

    Ali of

    Dressing Ken!

  2. I really liked 'The Bell Jar' too! Now I'm very curious about this book.

    Loved the descriptions. Thanks for sharing!