How to Be a 1950s Hostess in a Modern World


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You can picture her now, the quintessential hostess decked out in her retro shirtdress and pristine white apron.  She is perfectly coiffed, spotless, smiling and ready to entertain.  Have you ever wanted to be that pulled together, that  prepared, that seemingly perfect vision of a domestic goddess waiting to serve?  In our modern day world of high energy, run amuck, half-hearted attempts at entertaining, maybe we should take some cues from our predecessors. Here are some great tips for how to be a 1950’s hostess in a modern world.

Back in the day we had June Cleaver and Donna Reed to set an example of the perfect homemaker and hostess. These days we've lost most of their social graces, but there are a few things we can do when we entertain to impress like the ladies of the 1950s.

Slow it way down

In today’s fast-paced society, no one takes time to hand letter a beautiful invitation to an event, this was something that our predecessors took the time to craft.  Delicate lettering, maybe a hint of perfume, the invitations to the event were often as beautiful as the event itself.  No skimping here, a quick email and text will not do. You need to invoke snail mail and plan ahead so that your guests feel like royalty with their special invitation to the ball in hand.

Connect with your inner Cinderella

Those women from the 1950’s knew that a welcome guest feels at home in a pristinely clean house.  Pull out all the stops, clean it till it shines and sparkles.  You are the domestic engineer after all, and all of the nooks and crannies of your home should scream perfection from your efforts.  If your guests will be staying the night, crisp clean sheets and a small token of affection left on the pillow should suffice a smile.  No clutter in sight, and be sure to dust.

Dress the part

No, you don’t have to channel your inner Audrey Hepburn here (unless you want to, afterall, retro is in fashion) but pulled together and nicely accented should be the goal.  Don’t make the home and meal perfect but then forget to match your clothes and touch up your makeup, that will never do.  In fact, take the time to make yourself up in advance and then spruce up a bit just before the guests arrive.

Serve the hungry

Whether it is a sit down meal with a fully dressed table, or delectable finger foods make sure to have a cohesive meal.  Another lovely touch is to have small candy or nut dishes about for your guests’ simple snacking.  Pay attention to color and have an eye for detail by dressing the serving plates with sprigs of parsley, slices of lemon or other colorful enhancements.

Show your gratitude

Thank you notes have long been fading from our collective social memory and are an antiquated way of showing thankfulness.  Break out the notes, handwrite them, and deliver them expediently after an event.  Put some thought into the recipient and recall something in the note that distinguishes their attendance as standing out in your memory.

We live in a modern world, one that often does not place as much value on tradition, societal graces, and good old-fashioned manners.  By following tips such as these, you too can be a 1950’s hostess in a modern world.

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