If you are new to Sew for Victory, you might not yet know about my deep adoration of vintage women’s magazines. Although mostly for the ads (which are SUCH an insight into the life of women from past eras), it’s also a lot about the articles. Dated as they often are, it’s pretty incredible to be reading about the concerns, hopes, and preoccupations of the women to whom these magazines presumably catered.*
Mrs. Marryat is one of the strangest, most fascinating characters that I’ve come across so far in my intellectual journey into the life of the ‘1940s woman’. Some of you long-time readers might remember that she has made an appearance on this blog once before. Mrs. Marryat was the advice columnist for Woman’s Weekly in the 1940s. And although she often comes out with the sort of advice that turns the stomach of my modern-day feminist self, sometimes I do actually learn a thing or two about 1940s etiquette. As an engaged person, this tidbit caught my eye. I thought I would share it with you to answer a concern over which I am sure you have all, at some point, lost sleep:
“I am to be married shortly, and I would like your advice as to whether it is unlucky to wear jewellery on my wedding day. My lovely white dress has a square neckline, and I would like to wear a cross and chain to take off the bareness, but I have so often heard that it is unlucky for a bride to wear ornaments of this kind. – MARY.
I can set your mind at rest by assuring you that it is not in the least unlucky for a bride to wear jewellery on her wedding day. Most brides wear a necklace, a brooch, or some ornament; and nearly all brides wear their engagement ring as well on the right hand. So follow out your own wishes and wear your cross and chain, and dismiss any superstitious ideas which have no meaning at all.
Let’s hope this marriage survived, otherwise Mrs. Marryat may have a LOT to answer for…
*This is by NO means a suggestion that (1) the experience of women has ever been the same across the board, or (2) that the roles often cast on women by society are correct, preferred or acceptable. In fact, I’m vehemently opposed to both of this ideas (see Sew for Victory: A History, if you want to read more about how I reconcile sewing/vintage/feminism as things that I love).