Monday, 10 May 2010

Lessons from a princess

This weekend I went to the Grace Kelly Style Icon exhibition at the V&A museum in London showing her beautiful clothes from her days as an actress and the crown princess of Monaco.

Grace was 5 foot 6 tall and a size 4-6 when she married Prince Rainier in 1956, perhaps a little on the slim side, but there has been an undeniable trend of expanding female waistlines since the 1950s and it got me thinking - how did women stay so slim before the advent of the gym, pilates and MBTs?

Women walked a lot more: Not everyone had a car and even princess Grace walked her children to school every day. Leisure activities were also more physical - playing tennis, swimming and dancing, rather than sitting for hours in the pub or vegging out on the sofa with a copy of Grazia!

Cheating with corsets: These cinched in the waistline creating an hourglass silhouette however they also stopped over-indulging. The advent of the tracksuit has made gorging a lot more comfortable - it's just not possible to eat a whole bag of doritos whilst wearing a tight-fitting boned corset.

Clothes were more expensive and less disposable: Nowadays if you go up a dress size you can buy a whole new wardrobe for £50 at primark ... in the 50s clothes were relatively more expensive and made to last. Even Grace re wore her designer clothes to red carpet events - now unheard of in celebrity circles.

Snacking was not socially acceptable: It wasn't the done thing to eat on public transport or whilst walking down the street and if you did want something to eat snacks were not so readily available. You didn't have the plethora of corner shops and fast food outlets we have today, to grab a quick bite.

Unhealthy food was expensive: Nowadays eating junk food and ready made dinners can be the cheapest way to feed a family, however pre-prepared foods were practically unheard of in the 50s and unhealthy foods such as butter and sugar were expensive and reserved for treats.

Being a housewife was hard work: Along with spending more time preparing food, more time was spent on chores which were much more physically demanding in the absence of todays modern gadgets. Being a housewife burnt alot more calories than sitting at a computer for 9 hours a day. I doubt Grace did the cleaning but she was apparently a keen gardener and also liked to prepare her childrens dinners.

So if you can't face the gym, hope is not lost - take some inspiration from a princess!

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