Shop Talk redux: Age is a sad feminine truth


shop talk logo

Jane Austen once wrote, "one of the saddest feminine truths of our times is the fact that we gain over the hips and lose under the eyes."

Actually, she didn’t write that. But she totally would have, had she concerned herself with wrinkles and aging instead of the mating rituals of the aristocracy in 19th-century England.

No, that line was written by Joan Klein, JTA’s fashion and beauty expert who speaks to us from the grave (or more accurately, our online archive). I’m sure if she had been writing 15 years earlier, she probably would’ve considered lack of suffrage to be a sadder feminine truth than middle age spread or crow’s feet. But in 1934, she’s right: Women had nothing bigger than wrinkles to worry about. And we all lived happily ever after. Hooray!


This witty line was merely an introduction to Klein’s review of Kathleen Mary Quinlan (has JTA ever published a more goyishe-sounding name?) cosmetics line:

And what’s the use of a lovely seventeen-year-old figure, if your face is haggard. For those laid waste by strenuous reducing or illness, Kathleen Mary Quinlan is a life-saver. Her treatments practically guarantee to keep the face and figure within the same decade. Her special Herb Mask is a deeply penetrating circulation treatment. Her creams and lotions will fix you up in no time at all. A little expensive, naturally, but no one will ever notice afterward that you only have one hat.

I’m glad that the tradition of telling women what is wrong with them in order to sell them creams of questionable utility is a longstanding one, dating back at least to the 1930s.

Honestly, what is the use of being trim and healthy if your face accurately reflects the number of years you’ve spent on this earth?

Recommended from JTA