‘Use a pumice stone and bleach to achieve smooth white legs!’ reads one of the more unusual beauty tips published in Woman and Home during it’s incredible 90-year history. Founded in 1926 the lifestyle tome was one of the very first women’s magazines and offered helpful tips on everything from fashion, beauty and home.
From the very beginning the magazine was aimed at the new generation of busy women who had the job of working, looking after a family and running a home. For example: recipes and cooking tips for the mother who doesn’t have time to attend a cookery class but wants to cook delicious food for her family.
As times, and women’s role in society, changed so did the magazine. Becoming slimmer during wartime, due to a shortage of paper, there was also a focus on women’s work and W&H even featured profiles of female pilots and signallers. Fashion too, evolved, with trousers and looser blouses making an appearance during the thirties, and in the fifties and sixties, there were features on how to emulate movie stars’ style, like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly.
Fashion and beauty trends have come and gone, housework and parenting has changed and is shared more equally between partners, and in general women have found more freedom in society, and the magazine reflects this and has grown with its readership. But the most fascinating part of W&H's history is not what has changed, but what hasn’t. It reveals that women have long striven to achieve the impossible and strike a perfect balance between home, work and family; there has also always been a focus on achieving a slim waist in the easiest way possible, but also positive advice on pursuing a career and women’s burgeoning independence; and we have always been obsessed with the Royal family!
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