Collecting 1950’s: Makeup Compacts!

Retro Dee writes about music, fashion and other trends of the 1950s on this site.  Check out her blog, Retro Dee’s Guide to the Best Era Ever here, and her column here every Wednesday.

Hello, everyone and Welcome to Collecting 1950’s where we’ll be having a look at some of the wonderful items that you can collect from The Best Era Ever!

In this post we’ll have a look at one of my favorite items: compacts!

When we talk about compacts for a lady, we’re talking about makeup. There are compacts which hold powder and blush, which usually come with a powder puff and a mirror.

In the 50’s, compacts were much more than just a case for makeup. They often times held other items too such as combs, coins, and some even served as cigarette holders!

Compacts back then were special. They were both beautiful and useful accessories that accompanied ladies on an evening out. Some were gilded, some were enameled, and some were even adorned with rhinestones and pearls. Some even had the option of being engraved or monogrammed.

Popular brands of the day were Stratton, Volupté, Dorset Fifth Avenue, Evans, Elgin and Zell.

Look at all the beautiful designs (and low prices!) in this Zell ad from 1955!

These beauties have become quite popular on the collector’s market. Depending on a compact’s condition, features and rarity of the design, prices will vary.

Now let’s have a look at a few of the compacts in my personal collection:

(I believe these are circa 1950’s-60’s)

Here’s a 3.25″ gold round compact by Dorset Fifth Avenue with the prettiest rhinestone design. Simple, yet elegant!

Gold and rhinestone compact by Dorset Fifth Avenue

Next, I have two enameled beauties: One 3″ round cloisonné with painted roses and hearts, and one 3″ x 2.5″ rectangular one with violets:

Painted roses and hearts cloisonné compact, unsigned
Painted violets cloisonné compact, unsigned

This next compact is an amazing example of charm meets multi-purpose use. There are two compartments: one with painted blue flowers… and on the other side a cigarette! Then on the side of the compact itself is a lipstick holder. The whole thing closes up into a little 3.5″ x 2.5″ purse. It even has a handle!

Beautiful multi-compartment compact with lipstick and handle.
The back side has a charming painted cigarette on it!
Compact purse, standing up.

To make it even more special, this compact purse was a gift from a special relative of mine from her very own personal collection!

Finally, here’s a 2.5″ cutie by Evans which once held blush. It’s also got a mesh bottom that feels good in your hands. 😉

Thank you for reading Collecting 1950’s! For more, stay tuned and please follow Retro Dee’s Guide to the Best Era Ever here on WordPress.

You can also follow Retro Dee on Twitter @RealRetroDee and Instagram @mariepascal82.

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