Body Decorations 193045

How To Make Fork Bracelets and Necklaces

How to Make Fork Bracelets

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^The extravagant, frivolous fashions of the 1920s were replaced by more practical decorations and accessories during the 1930s. The Great Depression (1929-41) and World War II (1939-45) put pressure on both men and women to simplify their wardrobes. The fanciful purses of the 1920s were replaced by the plainer clutch purse style, for example. Rather than buying different jewelry to adorn each different outfit, women instead favored simple styles or wore meaningful pieces to which they could add decoration, such as charm bracelets.

One trend for excess continued during these lean years, however. The fashion for wearing heavy makeup started during the 1920s lasted well into the next decades. Women blushed their cheeks with rouge, darkened their lips with a variety of lipsticks, and lengthened and thickened their eyelashes with mascara. According to Jane Mulvagh in Vogue History of 20th Century Fashion, in 1931 Vogue magazine reported that "we are all painted ladies today," adding: "Now we feel undressed unless we have the right shade of face powder, and if we lose our lipstick, we lose our strongest moral support." The rationing, or limiting, of luxuries during World War II highlighted the importance of makeup. Mulvagh noted that the British government "tried to ban cosmetics at the outbreak of war, but fortunately withdrew this ruling." Lipstick and rouge, she pointed out, were "the last unrationed, if scarce, indulgences of feminine expression during austerity [seriousness], and were vital for morale."

Men simplified their looks more than women did. With the rising popularity of sporty clothing styles during the 1930s and beyond, men abandoned other forms of ornament such as canes and pocket watches. The only pieces of jewelry men typically wore were a wedding ring if they were married, pins to hold down the collars of their button-up shirts when they wore a tie and, if they were in the military, a metal identification bracelet.


Lister, Margot. Costume: An Illustrated Survey from Ancient Times to the Twentieth Century. London, England: Herbert Jenkins, 1967.

Mulvagh, Jane. Vogue History of 20th Century Fashion. New York: Viking, 1988.

Payne, Blanche, Geitel Winakor, and Jane Farrell-Beck. The History of Costume. 2nd ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

■ Charm Bracelet

A charm bracelet is a chain of silver or gold, worn around the wrist, to which individual jewelry symbols, called charms, are attached. Traditionally, the wearer, usually a woman, begins with a simple chain then chooses and adds charms that have personal meaning to her own life. Though jewelry bearing charms has been worn through the ages, the modern wave of popularity of the charm bracelet began in the United States during the 1940s and lasted into the early 1960s.

Originally a charm was an object that was thought to provide luck or protection to one who wore or carried it. Good luck charms, also called amulets, were worn on jewelry on the wrist and around the neck at least as far back as ancient Egypt, in about 3000 b.c.e. Around 500 b.c.e. the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians wore bracelets to which they attached small objects they believed had special powers. The modern charm bracelet fad began in England during the late 1800s, when Queen Victoria (1819-1901) began wearing a gold chain with lockets that contained portraits of her family. This introduced a new identity for the charm bracelet, as decorative jewelry with a personal meaning, rather than an amulet for protection or luck, and many women copied the queen by hanging glass beads and lockets from their bracelets.

During the 1940s, as American soldiers traveled through the cities of Europe and Asia, they picked up small jewelry charms as

souvenirs to take back as gifts to the women in their lives. Women attached these to bracelets that soon became quite popular, and American jewelers began to produce small symbols specifically for charm bracelets. By the 1950s charm bracelets had become a part of an American middle-class girlhood. Often the chain, in gold or silver, was given to a girl before she reached her teens, and charms were added throughout her life. Usually the charms symbolized turning points in the wearer's life, such as a sixteenth birthday, graduation, wedding, or the birth of children. Some charms represented interests or hobbies. A girl who loved horses might hang a silver horse or saddle from her bracelet; one who played tennis might buy or be given a golden tennis racquet. Charm bracelets thus became prized personal heirlooms, passed down to daughters and granddaughters.

Charm bracelets faded from popularity during the very casual fashions of the late 1960s and early 1970s, but they had a revival during the 1980s. Then, however, young women did not put together their personal bracelets but rather bought older charm bracelets that had been put together during the 1950s as part of a vintage, or antique, look. By the early twenty-first century fashion designers such as Louis Vuitton were introducing new charm bracelets.


Bracken, Thomas. Good Luck Symbols and Talismans. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House Publishers, 1998.

Ettinger, Roseann. Popular Jewelry, 1840-1940. 2nd ed. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 1997.

Payne, Blanche, Geitel Winakor, and Jane Farrell-Beck. The History of Costume. 2nd ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

A s more women entered the workforce, the decorative beaded handbags and more fanciful embroidered or tapestry purses of previous years were limited to dressy evening events. The clutch

Small Dressy Purses

Most clutch purses have a metal purse became the standard for business or daytime activities. The hinged clasp or snap closure. clutch purse was a small leather or smooth, stiffened cloth purse

Reproduced by permission of ,

AP/Wide Word Photos. with a metal hinged clasp or snap closure. Clutch purses were often neat, flat rectangles made of a plain color. Leather clutches were most often black or brown, but cloth purses could be of a color that complemented a woman's dress. Flat, tailored clutch purses were later replaced with larger purses, known as satchel purses, which women stuffed with necessities and slung over their shoulders. Satchel purses became especially popular during World War II (1939—45), when women needed to carry more things as they walked or rode public transportation to conserve gas for the war effort.


Bigelow, Marybelle S. Fashion in History: Apparel in the Western World.. Minneapolis, MN: Burgess Publishing, 1970.

Payne, Blanche, Geitel Winakor, and Jane Farrell-Beck. The History of Costume. 2nd ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

■ Identification Bracelet

Servicemen wore an identification bracelet as part of their uniform during World War II (1939-45). Identification bracelets were bent metal bands or heavy chains with metal plates engraved with the key elements of his identification: his name, rank, and serial number. Although they first wore identification bracelets only during the war, men continued to wear their bracelets once they had returned home as a type of jewelry to signal their participation in the war. Identification bracelets continued to be popular as jewelry throughout the 1940s.

In the 1970s civilian, or non-military, Americans began wearing identification bracelets with the names of soldiers missing in action or taken as prisoners during the Korean War (1950-53) and the Vietnam War (1954-75). Civilian identification bracelets were made out of stainless steel, silver, copper, or aluminum. Once a soldier returned home, those who had worn a bracelet with his name sent the bracelet to him. If a soldier's body was found, people mailed their bracelets to his family.

Military identification bracelets continue to be worn, but more often identification bracelets are worn for medical reasons. People with life threatening allergies or medical conditions wear identification bracelets engraved with information that may help save their lives in case of emergency.


Payne, Blanche, Geitel Winakor, and Jane Farrell-Beck. The History of Costume. 2nd ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

^^amed after the Spanish word for "mask," mascara is a type of makeup that is applied to the eyelashes to make them appear darker, longer, and thicker. Though women, and occasionally men,

Though women have used powders to darken their eyelashes for thousands of years, mascara has been sold in stores only since

1932. Photograph by Kelly A. Quin. Copyright © Kelly A. Quin.

rmission of the photographer.

have applied darkeners to their eyelashes for centuries, modern mascara was first created and sold around 1915, the beginning of a time when cosmetics were becoming increasingly popular.

At many different times women have used substances to alter their appearance according to the fashion of the day, so the idea of mascara is not new. For example, around 400 b.c.e. ancient Greek women rubbed powdery black incense into their eyelashes for a dramatic appearance. In the post—American Civil War (1861-65) United States, wealthy northern women shocked older society by wearing mascara on their eyes as a sign of prosperity. Mascara first became socially acceptable during the early 1900s, as women began to express their independence and seek an energetic, sexy new fashion. Along with the traditional dark mascara, made fashionable by popular film stars of the time, there was also brightly colored mascara with applicators that looked like crayons.

In 1915 an American named T. L. Williams noticed that his sister Mabel colored her lashes with a petroleum jelly called Vaseline, mixed with coal dust for color. He began to package and sell the product, calling it Maybelline. Williams sold his mascara successfully through the mail until the 1930s. Then, the heavy use of cosmetics had become so fashionable that more and more women wanted to buy mascara. In 1932 Maybelline created a special package of mascara that sold in stores for ten cents.

Early mascara was packaged in cakes with a tiny brush for applying it. A woman would wet the brush and then rub it on the cake of mascara to create a paste to carefully brush over the lashes. In 1957 famous cosmetics manufacturer Helena Rubenstein

Dramatic Eyelashes With Decorations

Though women have used powders to darken their eyelashes for thousands of years, mascara has been sold in stores only since

1932. Photograph by Kelly A. Quin. Copyright © Kelly A. Quin.

rmission of the photographer.

(1870—1965) invented a liquid form of mascara that came in a tube with a brush inside.

For women who use cosmetics, and for some men, such as rock musicians, who wish to create a dramatic impression, mascara has remained popular into the twenty-first century. Though the general use of mascara to thicken and darken eyelashes has remained the same, there have been various improvements, such as the creation of waterproof mascara, non-irritating mascara, and mascara that curls the lashes.


Maybelline. (accessed on August 18, 2003).

Peiss, Kathy Lee. Hope in a Jar: The Making of America's Beauty Culture. New York: Metropolitan Books, 1998.

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