The 20th century has seen a huge upsurge in the importance placed by Western society on physical beauty, particularly for women. The fashion, cosmetics and plastic surgery industries have thrived on 20th century preoccupation with physical appearance. It is a preoccupation that affects women in every sphere, whether they choose to pander to it or not.
For the first two decades of the 20th century, many of the attitudes towards beauty associated with the 19th century remained. In Victorian society, it was considered a woman’s duty to make herself beautiful. In the early 20th century, this was coupled with the idea of “self-presentation” as enjoyable, expressive and creative. However, some of the more bizarre and painful “beauty aids” of the Victorian age continued to be marketed well into the 1920s. A particularly unpleasant example is “M.Trielty’s Nose Shaper,” described as a “metal object … held over the nose by straps buckled round the head and adjusted with screws.”
The Model 25 has “six adjustable pressure regulators, is made of light polished metal, is firm and fits every nose comfortably. The inside is upholstered with a fine chamois skin and no metal parts come in contact with the skin. Thousands of unsolicited Testimonials ….”
It’s incredible how long this company lasted, considering its offer of “your money refunded if you are not satisfied.”
Here, below are some Trilety’s ads from 1920s magazines: