Thursday, November 10, 2011

Holiday Shopping Guide--Yardley

I have always had a soft spot for the scent of Yardley lavender. Yardley has been around since the 1700s, and that makes it one of the oldest cosmetic companies in the world. Yardley started exporting to the U.S. in 1879 and began its U.S. branch in 1921. If this isn't vintage, I don't know what is!

Yardley has provided perfumes and soaps to the royal family for generations, and has had as its spokesmodels such important faces as Twiggy and Linda Evangelista. And oh how I wish I could go back in time and get my hands on some of these, from Life, December 6, 1943:

"Wish good cheer this year with Yardley."

"Bond Street" Perfume, favorite of charming women the world over. $2.50, $4.50, $8.50, $13.50.

Handsome harvest! Men's Shaving Bowl, Invisible Talc, Lavendar Hair Oil, Shaving Cream, After Shower Powder, Lavender Soap. $5.

Yardley English Lavender in a lovely array of 3 tablets of Lavender Soap, Talc, and Hand Cream. $2.35.

Beloved "Lavender," as young as next year. Bound to be on every one's list! $1, $1.50, $2.50, $3.75.

Yardley's Shaving Bowl has no match for pleasing men. In the familiar container, $1.

Present perfect for him: Yardley's Shaving Bowl, Invisible Talc, famous Lavender Soap, $2.55.

Duet to delight men of any age...Yardley's Shaving Bowl and popular Invisible Talc, $2.

Grand gesture gift. "Bond Street" Perfume, Bath Dusting Powder, Toilet Water, Talc and "English Complexion" Powder, $10.

Now...remember 1940s prices are about $10 to our $1, so some of these are quite expensive, especially in war time! Talk about a "grand gesture"! And imagine the men's sets... they must have smelled divine!

As I'm sure you know, Yardley is still around. Most drugstores in the U.S. have the lavender soap for a pittance. has a couple of varieties of soap, some talc (in a great vintage looking tin), and some lotion. But if you really want to drool over the lovelies, check out Yardley's U.S. Web site or U.K. Web site. Prices seem to vary wildly, so shop around! Or, for some really vintage gift ideas, do an Ebay search for vintage Yardley. Some of these very sets in the ad can be found!

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