War Make-Up

Life Magazine, April, 1943

Here’s an interesting ad from the 1943 Life magazine I’ve been perusing. While I had heard of women painting black lines on the backs of their legs to mimic stockings, I didn’t realize that skin cream would go on first. Aren’t we women lucky nowadays to just pull on some jeans? Imagine having to put make-up on your legs before heading out. No make-up could cover the goosebumps in our frigid weather. 

I’ve been working on a book focused more on my dad’s past and inevitably that leads to music and to the dance floor. My dad’s dancing days ended along with the war. But at one time, his Luftwaffe uniform made him eye-candy for young German women. My dad’s first wife was a dancer, who liked to show off her shapely legs into her old age, always in a pair of red pumps. I wish I’d asked her about the leg make-up. 

The generation who experienced the Second World War is fading fast. And so are their stories. We forget how all-invasive those years were ... even if the battles were fought in Europe, the whole world was involved. 

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