Vintage beauty/train case

My mother taught me about proper skincare when I was 10, because she (a redhead with fair German skin and lots of freckles) had not taken care of her skin and she didn’t want me to be the same. When I was about 12, she gave me my first vanity case. I was delighted.

Travelling was very different then – you did not have today’s space constraints, and women often travelled with these hard, so-called train cases to hold their beauty products. I guess there were more porters then, to wheel your luggage from the train to your car on their trolleys.

I have not had one for decades, but recently found this one brand new in a charity shop. I would say it comes from the 1970s because it does not have the little hard carrying handle. It cost $14 and had the original key on a matching keyring. The inside bottom is waterproof and there are little straps to hold bottles. No smells of being stored for a long time either. I use it to store my medication.

Other things that were carried then were hat boxes and travel jewellery boxes, which also make for great storage cases if you can find them.

The source of the two old photos above (plus many more), and a very interesting article on these items is here. There is also a lovely article on vintage ballpoint pens here. If you browse the site, it is a hive of nostalgia in terms of fashion, cars, homes from the 1800s to the 1990s.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

One thought

  1. I love these vanity cases, always wanted one of the Delsey hard-case ones from the 1970s and still keep my eye out. I had a 1950s/1960s vanity bag which opened more like a framed handbag, but had the waterproof lining and straps for bottles. I used that as a handbag/briefcase for several years, but got rid of it when I finally banished black from my wardrobe for good.

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