Thursday, January 20, 2011


I collect vintage woman’s magazines, particularly, those from the 1930’s – 40’s. They have some darling photographs that recall great fashion eras when women dressed to kill every single day, often on shoestring budgets. I love culling the magazines for images and articles that pertain to working women since I am one, and I often wonder how women managed their lives while working long hours away from home.

A beauty of an article caught my eye in a 1942 Woman’s Home Companion. This one was about good grooming habits while working and I was all over it! The image above was the photo that was used to illustrate this interesting article.

One of the highlights was the recommendation to employ a used candy box in the office. Apparently, every 1942 working woman needed a supply of grooming products for the office which could be charmingly placed within a candybox (for that matter, a cigar box or other shallow box would work as well).

I passed the article along to a few working friends who admitted they had some slap dash and messy cosmetics tucked away in their work desks including crushed eye shadows held together with rubber bands, compacts with broken mirrors, and wrinkled up bandaids.

I purchased a lovely box with dividers that is about the size of a Whitman Sampler. Soon, I filled it with two new lipsticks from the drugstore, some dental floss, a toothbrush and a tube toothpaste, a petite box of bandaids, travel sizes of handcream and hair spray, and a spare set of contact lenses. Later I added a wee sewing kit and some small first aid items. Also, some packets of nail polish remover pads which are immensly convenient when that red polish begins to chip and needs to be removed quickly before a meeting.
The sense of control and organization my little "candybox" has given me cannot be underestimated. It's discreet, organized and always at the ready to make my work day more lovely. Do you have a candybox and what is in it that is essential?


  1. At last! The Candybox column! I *do* have a candybox, in my case, it's a divided "bath products" box...very nice and neat. In it, I have everything you've listed, plus deodorant, talc (for when I get back from walking at lunch, if the weather cooperates), a small can of hairspray, mini-mouthwash and a teeny sample vial of my favorite perfume, Chanel No. 5. I feel very, very Office Gal whenever I reach in to the drawer and "freshen up". A few soap leaves might be a nice addition, too? Can't wait to see what others tuck away. Lovely column, Donna! Love, Marline

  2. I have a 'candybox' too! Along with the petite hair spray, breath freshener, clear nail polish for a run in the stockings, I have tiny gold safety pins to pin inside the hem of my skirts or pants to keep static electricity at bay and a tiny lint brush.

  3. Hi, I just discovered your blog and have loved reading it, starting from the beginning. The topics you write on bring back wonderful childhood memories for me. I am looking forward to more!