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Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an off-broadway production of the same name!

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Posts Tagged ‘eyes’

The Eyelashes Have It

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

what I needed was false eyelashesQ Dear Miss Abigail:

Is there a certain way to look at a guy to make him want you more than any other girl?

Signed,
Mary

A Dear Mary:

I bet you never thought that eyelashes were so important when it came to making googly eyes. But they are, at least according to Eileen Ford, the head of “the world’s most famous model agency.” I found this gem in her book titled A More Beautiful You in 21 Days. Eileen wouldn’t lead us astray, would she?

1972: Eyes Are for More than Looking

In thinking about how alluring women use their eyes to convey a thousand hidden messages, I realized that there’s something very few women know. Professional beauties all over the world use false eyelashes. Eyelashes so cunningly applied that no one knows they are not their very own.

Imagine sitting next to or across from someone ~ sipping your iced tea and looking deep into his eyes, slowly lowering your lashes, then looking back into the very depths of his eyes. Even if he’s been around for twenty or thirty years, it’s not too late to learn to flirt all over again.

When I decided that what I needed was false eyelashes, I decided that strip eyelashes weren’t for me, as I was allergic even to surgical adhesive and they made my eyes red. So I went to Jean Kane of New York’s Eyelash Studio and asked for help. Miss Kane has taught many of our models and applies individual eyelashes to many of the world’s outstanding beauties. She teaches our models as I will teach you now.

You may buy individual lashes or take an inexpensive pair of strip lashes and pull the single lash from the end of the strip with a tweezer. If you are using a strip, trim the lashes first with a single-edge razor blade. Place the lashes on a sheet of white paper. Put a mirror flat on a table so that you will be looking down into it. Pick up each eyelash in turn with tweezer and touch it to eyelash glue so that you have a very small amount of glue on the lash. Attach the lash about halfway back on the underside of one of your own lashes. You can trim the lengths with blunt-end scissors (such as nose-hair trimmers). Do not cut straight across, but cut the lashes at uneven lengths for a feathered look.

I keep my eyelashes on for days it it isn’t windy, washing around them carefully. If a few fall out, I replace them. When the eyelashes finally become stiff and unnatural-looking, I take them off by pressing a hot washcloth to my lashes and gently pulling off the lashes as they come loose.

When you’ve mastered this trick, use those eyes of yours for what they were meant for.

Again you’ll find the mirror a great help. Practice various expressions from innocent to sexy, from sad to gay, and try to use them every time you look at someone. Stare deep into his eyes, smile with your eyes, let your eyes smoulder.

Where did romance go? You’ll find it never left at all.

Source: Ford, Eileen. A More Beautiful You in 21 Days. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.
~ pp. 96-97 ~

Eyes Right, Eyes Bright, Eyeglass Frames Can Pretty Your Sight

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

It’s time to replace my spectacles, due to lost sunglass clips and an out-of-stock frame style. So while I wait for my new frames to be delivered, let’s read a bit about eyeglass frame styles as enhancements to beauty. This little excerpt is from Finishing Touches, written by the lovely Candy Jones.

1961: Eyes Right, Eyes Bright, Eyeglass Frames Can Pretty Your Sight

All of us wear glasses at various times for sunning and sports as well as for aiding our eyesight. Years ago, when eyeglass frames were limited in style and shape, it was understandable for fashion- and beauty-conscious girls and women to refrain from being seen in their glasses, but not so today. The whole trick in turning a pair of eyeglass frames into a fashion accessory depends upon your knowledge of your bone structure type and the way in which the eyeglass frame can complement your appearance.

Listed below are the seven basic facial types and eyeglass frame facts.

ROUND FACE. Don’t wear an obviously round frame. Select a frame that is a bit wider than the broadest area of the face (usually at cheeks or beneath eyes). Look for a nose bridge that is wide and arched in reverse to the arch of the brows. The lower edges of frames should arch in an upward curve.

SQUARE FACE. Don’t choose an angular or square shape for your lenses. Avoid a frame that forms almost a straight line across the lower part. Make sure the frame is wider across than the broadest points of your jaw span. Look for a separated bridge that is arched.

LONG FACE. You can suggest more width to your face by obtaining frames that do not extend beyond the broadest area of your cheeks. Do not select a bridge too wide, nor have the frames highly arched. The bridge should be slightly curved. Avoid a definite downsweep to the outer edges of the frame.

DIAMOND-SHAPED FACE. It is necessary to avoid frames that have a highly arched bridge and those that are wider than the top part of the cheek. The popular harlequin style (modified in shape) with a generous sweep highlights width at the right place.

HEART-SHAPED FACE. Don’t choose large, heavy, wide frame. As for the diamond-shaped face, look for a full lower frame that suggests a downward line to the outer jaw. The broadest part of the frame should not extend beyond the hairline at the temples. The harlequin style is not for you. Seek a soft sweep to the upper nose bridge.

TRIANGULAR FACE. Avoid any lines that play up the triangular shape of your face: high bridge curve; broadness in the lower portion of the frame. Choose an upper frame that is wider across than the broadest points of your jaw span. The lower part of the frame should stretch up, joining the gently curved, broad upper bridge line.

OVAL FACE. Don’t select big, heavy, round frames with an obviously round nose bridge. The upper frame should stretch to the broadest area of the face in width.

Whenever possible, for any facial structure, allow a bit of the eyebrow to show.

Only round or square faces should wear heavily colored frames such as black or dark tortoise. As a general rule, neutral or pastel shades are the safest choice for frames if your eyeglass wardrobe is limited in quantity.

Source: Jones, Candy. Finishing Touches. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1961.
~ pp. 33-35 ~


Don’t Blink Hard When You Blink

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

don't do that!This one just had to be shared. It’s from How to Improve Your Sight. It was written by Margaret Darst Corbett ~ “authorized instructor of the Bates Method’ ~ whatever that is.

1953: Don’t Blink Hard When You Blink

Check your eyelid habits. Many people do not blink enough. Failure to blink the eye stints the lubrication and the disinfecting value of the tears that the lids should spread quickly over the eyeball. When you close your eyes to think or to sleep, do you clamp the lids down tightly? Don’t do that! The eyes are not wild animals about to escape, but gentle, tired orbs that need the curtain lowered over the vision, softly, easily, loosely ~ and sigh while you do it. Your lids won’t loosen? . . . Add a blinking drill. If you tend to snap your eyes shut and open them with a jerk, practice light, feathery, flickery, quick, little blinks, not evenly and systematically timed, but irregularly, as the normal eye blinks; an animal or a baby can teach you how.

Source: Corbett, Margaret Darst. How to Improve Your Sight. New York: Bonanza Books, 1953.
~ pp. 23-24 ~

How Well Are You Groomed?

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

are your undergarments clean?This selection comes from a fabulous home economics book sent to me by my friend Helen in Kansas. She searched the region for an addition to Miss Abigail’s collection, and I must say she found the perfect text.

1936: How Well Are You Groomed?

Following are some questions to be considered in judging whether or not one is well groomed. How many of them can you answer satisfactorily? Talk them over with others in your group and compare opinions. Perhaps you will want to show these questions to your mother or to some older girl or woman and get her opinion as to how well you are groomed. List suggestions of ways by which better grooming can be attained.

Body Cleanliness.
1. Do you take a bath or shower every day?
2. Do you use a deodorant?
3. Do you keep the armpits free of hair?
4. Are you free from body odor?
5. If perfume is used, is it fresh, faint, and not cheap?

Face and neck.
1. Is your complexion good, your skin clear?
2. Are your face, neck, and ears clean?
3. Do you use the right shade of powder? Is it entirely invisible?
4. If rouge is used, what principles for selection and use are you trying to follow?
5. What bathing, eating, exercising, and other routines are you following to create an attractive complexion? Mention several of the “facial allies” to personality, such as clean teeth, interested manner, etc.

Eyebrows and eyes.
1. Are your eyebrows natural and brushed smooth?
2. Are your eyes natural, not exaggerated with make-up?
3. Are your eyes bright, healthy? Do you look straight into the eyes of others as you talk to them?

Hands.
1. Are your hands clean?
2. Are they smooth and white, not red and rough?
3. Are your fingers a good color?
4. Are the nails manicured artistically, so that they are pleasing in shape, not too long, too short, too pointed, too square, too vivid, or too shiny?

Hair.
1. Does your hair make a becoming frame about your face?
2. Is it tidy?
3. Does it look healthy, alive, well cared for?
4. Is the color natural, not bleached?
5. Is your hair free from dandruff?
6. Do you shampoo it at least once in two weeks?
7. Do you massage your scalp at least once a week?

Teeth and mouth.
1. Are your teeth attractive? That is, do they appear to be in a healthy condition?
2. Are your lips attractive, soft, not dry and cracked?
3. Do you promote a good natural color in your lips and cheeks by adequate sleep and exercise, and by medical attention if you are anemic?
4. Is your breath free from bad odors?
5. Do you clean your teeth at least twice a day?
6. Do you have them cleaned by the dentist one or more times a year, or often enough to keep them attractive?
7. Do you have them regularly examined by the dentist and cared for when needed?

Outer Garments.
1. Are your clothes clean, without spots and odor?
2. Are they neatly mended where necessary?
3. If you wear light-colored or white scarfs, collars and cuffs, or flowers, are they clean and neat?
4. Are your clothes well dressed, without undue wrinkles?
5. Are they well brushed, without dust, dandruff and stray hairs? If necessary, do you have a brush in your locker to freshen your garments?

Shoes and hose.
1. Are your shoes clean and well polished? Do you wipe them off every night? If not, how often? How often do you polish them? Have you a cleaning kit in your room?
2. Do you keep your heels clean and straight? When you polish shoes, do you polish the backs?
3. Are your hose clean? Do you wear a clean pair of stockings every day? Do you wash your own as most business and college girls do?
4. Do you adjust your stockings straight at the back seam without wrinkles at the ankles?
5. Are they neatly mended, if necessary?
6. Is your hat clean and well brushed?

Accessories.
1. Is your jewelry clean?
2. Are your gloves clean?
3. Are they neatly mended, if necessary?
4. Is your purse clean and in good condition?
5. Are your handkerchief, powder puff, and comb clean?
6. Are they kept out of sight?

Undergarments.
1. Is your slip the right length for your dress?
2. Do your shoulder straps show?
3. Are your undergarments clean? That is, do you change them three or four times a week?

Health routines.
1. Do you get out in the sunlight every day?
2. Do you walk enough daily to stimulate circulation?
3. Do you play games once or twice a week hard enough to cause perspiration? And follow it with a cleansing bath?
4. Are you interested in acquiring a natural “peaches and cream” complexion from outdoor life, exposure to sun and wind, vigorous games, and adequate sleep?
5. Do you drink six to eight glasses of water daily? Have daily elimination?
6. Can you find among your friends those in whom good health practices are the cause of their natural attractiveness and good spirits?
7. What health practices can you add to the routines here suggested to increase personal fitness and wholesome attractiveness?

Mental health and personal appearance.
1. Do you consistently maintain a friendly attitude toward others? A person friendly to others never lacks friends.
2. Do you harbor resentments or quickly forget them? Do you allow yourself to be easily provoked and continue to feel put out? “A good forgetter of trifling disappointments is a good looker.”
3. Have you a complaining voice and unpleasant ways at home? Cosmetics will not cover faults that pull down the corners of your mouth and put crow’s feet around your eyes.
4. Whatever your religious faith, do you maintain a daily contact with the spiritual resources of life:
By reading something inspiring and worthwhile?
By reflecting on the widening of helpful relationships in your own town, nation, and the world and what you can do to enlarge the rule of good will at home, in business, and between nations?
5. Do you subscribe to the friendly code:
“Come on, let’s live and let’s help others to live, with richer lives, wider interests, fuller opportunities, for young and old, rich and poor, American and foreigner!” If you do, then you will have a personality worth grooming a bit in private; but after grooming in private, forget the art and go out with a friendly smile. The world has a place for every such person!

Source: Van Duzer, Adelaide Laura, et. al. Everyday Living for Girls. Chicago: J. B. Lippincott Company,1936.
~ p. 108-10 ~


Those Plucky Eyebrows

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

arch it, if you willQ Dear Miss Abigail:

I have a lot of hair on my eyebrows; they connect like one big eyebrow. I have been teased ~ not all the time, but you can definitely notice them. Should I pluck them to make them two separate brows? I really would appreciate your help!

Signed,
Casey

A Dear Casey:

I can’t really tell you what you should or should not do with your eyebrows; it is, after all, your life. But what I can do is provide this advice from Helena Rubinstein’s book titled The Art of Feminine Beauty, published in 1930. I really like what she has to say about the importance of a woman’s individuality. I just never knew it was so tied to our eyebrows.

1930: The Eyebrows

For taking care of the brows and lashes you will need a special small brush with which you will brush them into shape night and morning. An eyebrow cream is equally effective and perhaps more pleasant to use. The best eyebrow cream comes darkened, so that if you wish to use it in the daytime as well you may do so without fear of its being unattractively obvious. To promote the growth and beauty of the eyelashes, pure castor oil applied on a tiny eyebrow brush will prove excellent.

I am happy that the fad of plucking, shaving and otherwise slenderizing the eyebrows is far less popular than it has been in the past. I have steadily preached against overdoing it, believing that it detracted from a woman’s individuality and produced a standardized look that was far from attractive. ‘The eyebrow that goes with your type’ has always been one of my beauty slogans. Arch it, if you will, pluck stray hairs that tend to make a straggling, uneven line. Pinch it with the thumb and forefinger, so that the little fine hairs may grow properly; brush them with your little brush, and apply your eyebrow cream. A good stimulating hair tonic massaged in daily is also excellent.

The same cream that is used on the eyebrows can be used on the eyelashes at night, applied with the same little brush, and eyelashes should be brushed upward to encourage them to curl. Such a cream cannot injure the eyes themselves, and will not only preserve brows and lashes but stimulate their growth.

Source: Rubinstein, Helena. The Art of Feminine Beauty. New York: Horace Liveright, 1930.
~ pp. 52-53 ~

Eye Exercises

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

with this breathe naturallyMy eyes, my eyes, my aching eyes. This week has been particularly tiresome on them for some reason, so I did a bit of reading to help those babies out. The following tips are from Helena Rubinstein’s The Art of Feminine Beauty. I don’t know about you, but I feel better already.

1930: Eye Exercises

Either sitting or standing, fix your gaze on some center, level with your eyes, then look straight up as if you were trying to see the top of your head, and back again to center. As you do this inhale, hold a second, and exhale. Do this six times.

Look down as if you were trying to see under your chin, and back to center. Inhale, hold, exhale. Six times.

Cast the eyes obliquely up to the right and then down to the left, twice, and back to center.

Reverse, moving the eyes obliquely up to the left and down to right. Twice.

Roll the eyes all the way around from right to left, and then from left to right. Draw in a deep breath before commencing and hold it while you roll the eyes. Start with twice around on the one breath and then try gradually to increase the number of times you can roll the eyes while holding your breath.

Fix your eyes on a large piece of furniture, or a wall space, and let your gaze travel very, very slowly around the circumference, as if it were a fly crawling on the edge. With this breathe naturally. This is good for relaxation but its efficacy depends on it being done slowly.

In conclusion let me say that the vision is very dependable upon the general health, a proof of which is that a person may have normal vision at one time and not at another. It is dependent upon the kind of food you eat. Clogging up the system with poisons sends an impure or impoverished blood stream to the eyes, and this blurs the vision.

Source: Rubinstein, Helena. The Art of Feminine Beauty. New York: Horace Liveright, 1930.
~ pp. 59-60 ~

The Eyelashes Have It

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

what I needed was false eyelashesQ Dear Miss Abigail:

Is there a certain way to look at a guy to make him want you more than any other girl?

Signed,
Mary

A Dear Mary:

I bet you never thought that eyelashes were so important when it came to making googly eyes. But they are, at least according to Eileen Ford, the head of “the world’s most famous model agency.” I found this gem in her book titled A More Beautiful You in 21 Days. Eileen wouldn’t lead us astray, would she?

1972: Eyes Are for More than Looking

In thinking about how alluring women use their eyes to convey a thousand hidden messages, I realized that there’s something very few women know. Professional beauties all over the world use false eyelashes. Eyelashes so cunningly applied that no one knows they are not their very own.

Imagine sitting next to or across from someone ~ sipping your iced tea and looking deep into his eyes, slowly lowering your lashes, then looking back into the very depths of his eyes. Even if he’s been around for twenty or thirty years, it’s not too late to learn to flirt all over again.

When I decided that what I needed was false eyelashes, I decided that strip eyelashes weren’t for me, as I was allergic even to surgical adhesive and they made my eyes red. So I went to Jean Kane of New York’s Eyelash Studio and asked for help. Miss Kane has taught many of our models and applies individual eyelashes to many of the world’s outstanding beauties. She teaches our models as I will teach you now.

You may buy individual lashes or take an inexpensive pair of strip lashes and pull the single lash from the end of the strip with a tweezer. If you are using a strip, trim the lashes first with a single-edge razor blade. Place the lashes on a sheet of white paper. Put a mirror flat on a table so that you will be looking down into it. Pick up each eyelash in turn with tweezer and touch it to eyelash glue so that you have a very small amount of glue on the lash. Attach the lash about halfway back on the underside of one of your own lashes. You can trim the lengths with blunt-end scissors (such as nose-hair trimmers). Do not cut straight across, but cut the lashes at uneven lengths for a feathered look.

I keep my eyelashes on for days it it isn’t windy, washing around them carefully. If a few fall out, I replace them. When the eyelashes finally become stiff and unnatural-looking, I take them off by pressing a hot washcloth to my lashes and gently pulling off the lashes as they come loose.

When you’ve mastered this trick, use those eyes of yours for what they were meant for.

Again you’ll find the mirror a great help. Practice various expressions from innocent to sexy, from sad to gay, and try to use them every time you look at someone. Stare deep into his eyes, smile with your eyes, let your eyes smoulder.

Where did romance go? You’ll find it never left at all.

Source: Ford, Eileen. A More Beautiful You in 21 Days. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.
~ pp. 96-97 ~

The Eyes Have It

Monday, July 12th, 2010

eyes play you falseQ Dear Miss Abigail:

I am over the moon about a particular boy and I desperately need your insight. When a guy wants to talk to you, he asks you a question, so you turn to face him, and he looks at you right in the eyes as you respond to his question, is that a sign of romantic interest? Thanks in advance for your help.

Signed,
Over the Moon

A Dear Moon:

This is a tough one. What kind of question was it? Did you give an appropriate answer? What did he do after you responded? Without more information, I’m just not sure. Perhaps you can take the following advice and do a bit of interpreting for yourself. It was written by John Robert Powers and Mary Sue Miller, found in their book titled Secrets of Charm.

1954: The Eyes Have It

Eyes have a language all their own. They can smile, glower or record boredom. And although your lips may speak thoughts of which a diplomat would be proud, it would be better never to have spoken at all if your eyes register denial.

It’s possible that through unconscious habit your eyes play you false. To make sure, study the antics of your eyes before a mirror. Open and close your eyes slowly. You will discover very soon that it is the movement of the upper lid that gives the eye its range and expression. The lower lid never moves unless you frown-study some object or thought. When it does, it gives your face the expression of a Doubting Thomas. Try it, and you will see how uncomplimentary the expression is to your face or to anyone else’s words. . . .

How do you look when you are lost in contemplation? Let your lid come halfway down over the pupil and there you have it. Be guilty of this expression when holding a conversation, and you will be considered rudely inattentive.

You probably know at least one person who looks bored or indifferent most of the time. Both his or her eyelids and mouth droop. This is mainly an affectation of young people who believe that such an expression makes them appear sophisticated. But boredom is not, never was or never will be chic! Stamped on the face, it announces just one message: ‘You tire me, irk me, and I hope you leave soon.’ No expression is better calculated to kill any spontaneous feelings others might have for the wearer.

Your eyes tell quite another story and say the most appealing things about you when they are wide-open, alight with interest and look the other person right in the eye.

Source: Powers, John Robert and Mary Sue Miller. Secrets of Charm. Philadelphia: John C. Winston Company, 1954.
~ pp. 97-98 ~

1961: Eyeglasses

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

I did a stupid thing this weekend–I lost my glasses! I had my sunglasses on at the time, and my regular frames somehow fell out of my pocket while I was out walking the dogs. I retraced my steps and looked high and low for them but they are gone gone gone. So since Saturday I’ve been wearing an old pair that has an outdated prescription which hurts my head, and my regular prescription sunglasses whenever I can get away with that without looking too ridiculous.

I ordered a cool new pair yesterday that should arrive shortly, but in the meantime I thought I would see what the advice gods had to say about wearing glasses. The following is from Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, written in 1960 by Gayelord Hauser. The section on eyeglasses starts out by talking about doing eye drills and eye relaxation, enough to strengthen your eyes so you don’t need glasses. But then Hauser brushes aside that quackery and writes:

~~
I definitely do not belong to the school that says: “Throw away your glasses.” Unless you are willing to work on your eyes constantly and daily, I suggest that you consult the best eye doctor in your city and let him decide, after a thorough examination, whether or not you need glasses. There are few things so damaging to a woman’s looks as her straining, squinting effort to see. It is not only detrimental to the eyes, for tissues around the eyes become a mass of fine, squinting lines. Along with the muscles of the eyes, your whole face and even the muscles of your neck and shoulders become tense in the struggle to see.
~~

Exactly how I’m feeling! Let’s continue:

~~
The decision rests entirely with you and your eye doctor. If you need glasses, wear them boldly and confidently. Today women treat eyeglasses not as a handicap to good looks but as an accessory. You no longer need to change frames and shapes that will make the glasses inconspicuous. Quite the contrary–the bolder the better.
~~

My new ones are slightly diamond shaped. I hope that’s bold enough.