Friday, October 10, 2014

A Lady's Maid

From History of the 18th and 19th Centuries:
The job of a lady's maid was, according to one author, "far from laborious, and [was], in most instances, little more than an agreeable exercise of useful qualities." Besides serving as a confident and secret keeper, a lady's maid was also responsible to attend to all of the personal needs of her lady and acted in ways similar to a gentleman's valet. To achieve this, a lady's maid needed to have an arsenal of various skills, and many of a lady maid's talents were connected with her mistress's toilette and wardrobe. Duties included selecting clothing and millinery that highlighted and improved her mistress's complexion and figure. It also meant a lady's maid was responsible to protect, maintain, and repair her mistress's skin so that she would be less likely to suffer from age spots, freckles, pimples, moles, warts, wrinkles, or other skin imperfections. Headdresses and hairstyles were another vital component of a mistress's toilette, and no woman wanted to look ridiculous just to be in vogue. A lady's maid also had to balance the latest fashions, makeup, and millinery styles with her mistress's physical advantages and disadvantages. Moreover, the lady's maid had to ensure that when her mistress stepped into the street, the mistress reflected her best work. (Read more.)

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