The History of the Vanity Dressing Table

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If you are any sort of girly girl you surely can’t be without a vanity dressing table with huddles of lotions and potions alongside a beautifully lit Hollywood Mirror.  A most wonderful place to begin and end your day.

Where did this girly indulgence begin?
Egyptian Times
It began way back with the Egyptians using decorative table top boxes to house cosmetics and grooming implements. The evolution of the toilette in Europe saw theses boxes progress.  The word toile was used for the pretty cloth that would be draped over a table used for applying cosmetics.
The 17th Century
However, it was the 17th century that saw the arrival of the dressing table as we know it today with the level of ornate crafting fast becoming a show of affluence. In fact it was Madame de Pompadour the mistress of King Louis XV and Marie Antoinette who made the dressing table fashionable displaying morning rituals of sitting at grande tables. Although there wasn’t as many apartments to the table to store all of your loose glitter pigments as we have today.The style of the tables become more and more ornate as they were being designed for aristocratic women who might receive visitors whilst seated at their dressing table. This saw the introduction of combination tables, which included an adjustable mirror as well as many compartments to house items for grooming and dressing as well as for writing. These bespoke designs were crafted to meet the needs of its user.

The 19th Century
The 19th century saw work tables becoming popular with women.  These were used as writing tables, sewing tables as well as a dressing table. Hidden surfaces and mirrors were used to change the purpose of the table.

Gentlemen
Dressing tables where not just for the ladies.  Many were designed for men to carry out their grooming, although as many men carried out these rituals standing the tables were much higher than those designed for women.

Today
The only striking difference to the dressing tables of today is that the dressing table mirror appears to take far more prominence as these purpose of the table is that of grooming alone. I certainly don’t think you would find writing or sewing items buried within the tables compartments either.

Do you still use a dressing table, perhaps with an ornately etched tri-folding mirror or a beautifully lit Hollywood  mirror? Let us know in the comments.

Over the last 25 years there has been an increasing demand for cruelty free makeup people have even been pushing to make it a law, but not actions have yet taken place.  What is your opinion on cruelty-free makeup?

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