Beauty standards in Edwardian era

S

Sarah S

Member
Hello everyone,

this is a general question, and hopefully nobody gets it wrong. Of course there is a lot about edwardian and victorian fashion, but I wonder what the beauty standards for a woman was in those times.
I haven seen pictures of many women who have been proclaimed to have been the most beautiful. Like Evelyn Nesbit, Lily Elsie, Gladys Cooper were considered top tier beauties.
I recently watched a video on youtube with my mother that showed victorian women who were considered the biggest beauty symbols, and many times my Mum loudly wondered how some of these women were considered beautiful. Even if we apply the saying "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder", there has always been kind of a universal standard in every society. Did the edwardian period have a somewhat like a 'fixed' type that was considered desirable in a woman? Fair skin and brown eyes seemed to have been considered ideal. Do you know of other ideal physical characteristics in edwardian era?
Would modern day beauties like Gigi Hadid, Angelina Joli or Megan Fox still have been considered beautiful in those days like they are today? Whenever I read about the hailed beauties in those times, I hardly imagine they'd be considered as pretty in our modern era, which makes me wonder in the same way if our modern day models would probably be as well a mere shoulder shrug during the edwardian era.



Thank you:)
 
Kyle Naber

Kyle Naber

Member
In America, there was a very Eurocentric idea of beauty that women strived for. Thin lips and fair skin were considered most beautiful since it showed wealth and whiteness. Today, lots of women seem to strive for tanner skin, more plump lips, and upturned eyes.
 
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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
Don't know about plump lips, but the most stunningly attractive woman that I ever met was a Peruvian, back in 1995. I discovered that she had mixed Inca and Spanish heritage.

She was about 30 years old at the time. I have not seen her since, but someone who knows her said that even now, in her late 50s, she is very good looking and elegant. But it was her husband who proved that physiognomy is a false science. He looked like how actor Danny Trejo might appear in a parabolic mirror but was one of the nicest, mild-mannered guys that I have met.
 
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S

Sarah S

Member
So do you think modern day western beauties that have millions of followers on instagram like selena gomez or most Influencers, would still have been considered pretty in the Edwardian era? Make-up and styling plays a big role and we can only assume, but it happened many times that I clicked on a ET biography and found out x and y woman were considered great beauties. Then I click their pic and doubt they'd be hailed in the same way if they lived in our times because back then the great beauties looked mature and what I would describe is a bit plain, while nowadays society likes exotic, striking beauties... I wonder how edwardian or victorian men would have reacted to seeing a woman like monica bellucci or scarlett johansson or kendall jenner for example when dressed in a simple dress and delicate make-up. Yay or nay?
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
So do you think modern day western beauties that have millions of followers on instagram like selena gomez or most Influencers, would still have been considered pretty in the Edwardian era?
To a large extent, yes. BUT, as Kyle Naber said, publicized beauty in the Edwardian era was very Eurocentric and Caucasian orientated, which made a big impression not only on fellow Caucasians, but to some extent on those from "Third World" countries as well. The latter was particularly true where the latter were colonies of various Western countries. That thought prevails even today and the best example is the disgusting "colourism" that is unashamedly prevalent in modern India.
 
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S

Sarah S

Member
People back then were indeed very colourist and eurocentric with their beauty standards. White skin was probably the most obvious ideal.
I still wonder which exact facial and physical featueres they considered to be beautiful. Almond shaped or downturned eyes or completely different ones? what eye colours? Which Hair colour/stylings? nose bridge? Were moles somewhere on the face considered a beauty mark? and maybe long eyelashes? You know things like that. Did they prefer thick and dark eyebrows or rather thin and light ones? What body shape did women and men find desirable? etc etc
I have seen pictures of women of that time and still couldn't quiet figure it out
 
Kyle Naber

Kyle Naber

Member
People back then were indeed very colourist and eurocentric with their beauty standards. White skin was probably the most obvious ideal.
I still wonder which exact facial and physical featueres they considered to be beautiful. Almond shaped or downturned eyes or completely different ones? what eye colours? Which Hair colour/stylings? nose bridge? Were moles somewhere on the face considered a beauty mark? and maybe long eyelashes? You know things like that. Did they prefer thick and dark eyebrows or rather thin and light ones? What body shape did women and men find desirable? etc etc
I have seen pictures of women of that time and still couldn't quiet figure it out

I think there was a bit more room for uniqueness back then. In terms of body shape, the hourglass body is what seems to be most sought after: full hips, wide chest, and a thin waist. In the Edwardian era, I think the rule was to look healthy, so having a little extra meat on your bones wasn’t a negative if I’m not mistaken.
 
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