Smart Set, Stories from Life – December 1927

Yesterday we looked at The Literary Digest from 1911 in all its affluent glory. Today we look at Smart Set Magazine from the 20s. The two audiences couldn’t possibly more different. Smart Set is just the sort of magazine that one of our 20s Flappers would sit down to read between flaps. Most of the content is vacuous romance drivel and the ads seem to focus fairly firm on makeup.

Usually I don’t bother with the covers since they’re not really advertising but this one struck me very firmly about the eyeballs. She makes quite a fitting icon for the times.

From Classic Ads – Misc

The majority of ads were for makeup and various accessories related to it. On the back of the front cover we find Norida powder cases. Who would have thought such a thing existed and deserved such a prominent spot in the zine?

From Classic Ads – Misc

There are a few familiar names. Irene Rich (yes, THAT Irene Rich) uses Maybelline. Never heard of that Maybelline stuff but Irene Rich… WOW!

From Classic Ads – Misc

Tangee Beauty Aids offered a wide range of women’s make-up goop stuff. You can tell how attuned I am to this particular line of marketing.

From Classic Ads – Misc

And Kissproof seems fairly suggestive of potential not-really-related-to-makeup activities though the woman in the picture looks like she might just be wielding a knife.

From Classic Ads – Misc

When our flapper friends weren’t making themselves up for a night out, they were having a smoke behind the barn. They’re better because they’re toasted! We haven’t yet gotten to the Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco era.

From Classic Ads – Misc

I do notice too that retailers are practically jumping out of their skins to hand out credit to customers. Send only $1! Take a year to pay whether you want fine jewelry…

From Classic Ads – Misc

…or a Buxkin Velour Mandell Fur coat!

From Classic Ads – Clothing

Lastly, we know that any Flapper worth her salt can dance up a small storm. Since you can’t dance without music, we bring you the Mello-Phonic Console Phonograph. You’ll have to draw lots though to see who gets stuck with the job of winding it up.

From Classic Ads – Music Equipment

If you prefer your grinding without the winding, check out the All-Electric Radio. This beasty would cost you the equivalent of $700 back in the day.

From Classic Ads – Music Equipment

Oh, but wait. I found this last little advert just hanging tenaciously on by a thread. Even flappers, it seems, suffered at times from irregularity. Luckily though there’s Feen-a-Mint.

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

1 Comment

Filed under Food and Drink, technology

One response to “Smart Set, Stories from Life – December 1927

  1. Very interesting. These ads sound more respectful than the majority of today’s communication which, only apparently, seems to be more sensitive and politically correct. Old ads maintain a purity and sheer simplicity which is unknown to sophisticated consumers of today.


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