12 Things a Trad Wife Does to Look Good Every Day | Look Like a 1950s Housewife

A Tradwife is the modern aesthetic social media vision of the classic 1950s housewife. She’s not your typical stay-at-home mom – oh no! Instead she floats around your home in flawless gracious living. Her domicile is spick and span, and her children are clean and neat. With a penchant for cooking family meals from scratch while adorned in an impeccable dress and flattering apron, she could easily be plucked right out of a 1950s sitcom scene – and she’s exactly who I want to look like.

Get Our Mid-Century Mom Daily Routine FREE!

How To Look Like a Trad Wife

If you want to be a trad wife, or a vintage housewife, there are 5 areas to focus on, and today,it’s all about how to show pride in yourself as a married woman and a homemaker.

Your courtesy and appearance as a housewife represent your home, your family, and especially your husband.

Your appearance as a housewife tells others what to think of you without saying a word. It tells others what to expect from you. And it tells others what your attitude is toward your life and your marriage and your housekeeping.

No Trad wife should let herself be too busy for self-care.

And, because everything needs a disclaimer, this doesn’t mean that you have to hide when you are feeling ill, or anything like that. I have a whole article about taking care of yourself when you are ill as a vintage housewife. 

But being your best self as a trad wife, or a vintage housewife, means aiming for radiant health, inner happiness, and a joyful and feminine appearance.

Vintage Books About Being a Real Trad Wife

This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive, at no additional cost to you, a small commission. Find out more on my Disclosures page, and thank you so much for your support!

The quintessential Trad Wife book is Fascinating Womanhood by Helen Andelin. I really prefer the older, unrevised versions from the 1960s.

Another of my favorites is How to Help Your Husband Get Ahead by Mrs. Dale Carnegie. And there’s also The Total Woman by Marabel Morgan. All of these talk about being a Trad Wife to some degree.

You can also look for vintage books on dress and personal beauty if you want to work specifically on your appearance. I have a whole list of these books in my article about making a Winter Vintage Capsule Wardrobe.

12 Things To Do If You Want to Look Like a Trad Wife

So where do you start to achieve that neat, tidy, pretty 1950s housewife look? Start with these 15 things.

1. Stay clean and fresh

 A woman is well-groomed when she looks fresh, neat, clean, and well-pressed. 

This means a daily, and often twice daily, shower or bath, and fresh underwear and stockings daily or twice daily. Shoes should be clean and shined even for housework. Excess hair must be kept invisible by one method or another at all times.

Beauty care must be on a regular schedule, not just when social activities are planned. 

2. Use deodorant daily

A good deodorant must be used daily or on a recommended schedule.

There is no problem with using a natural deodorant like magnesium oil or a homemade thyme-oil version as long as it works well.

3. Have a signature scent

A special fragrance is a most effective expression of femininity- and one that men always notice. 

A woman’s special scent should not be chosen because it smells good on another woman, or because it’s the latest thing from Paris. It should be worn long enough to determine whether or not it blends properly with her body chemistry.

To be most effective, perfume should be applied to the pulse spots of the body-at the temple, behind the ear, at the throat, cleavage, wrists, bend of the arm and behind the knees.

4. Keep your mouth sweet and pretty

So there are a couple of aspects to this one!

First, that lovely, innocent smile is a priceless asset to a woman. And as a housewife, you should make a point of letting it come to your face easily and spontaneously. After all, the housewife’s sweet and friendly expression will, like the sun, dispel small clouds of discontent and irritation that sometimes threaten the domestic sky.

At a bare minimum, brush and floss your teeth after every meal and use a mouthwash during your morning and evening beauty routines. (Tongue scrapers are also great.) If you feel self-conscious about your teeth, get them fixed up by a dentist. (Yes it might cost your husband a lot of money, but when he sees you smile confidently, he will know it was worthwhile.)

Having your mouth and teeth looking their very nicest makes you more kissable, too.

5. Don’t smoke or chew gum

First of all, chewing gum is simply unattractive. It makes you less kissable – it feels like kissing someone with food in their mouth. Gross!

Smoking is so unhealthy, and so unpleasant to non-smokers, and it’s unfeminine. And what a terrible example it sets for our children. Nearly all men loath the smoking habit in a woman, especially non-smoking men.

Also, avoid tranquilizers and sleeping pills, amphetamines, and other drugs if possible. Not only are they addictive, but they often can mask serious problems. It’s much better to find ways to radiant health than to cover up a lack of it with medications.

 6. Take care of your hands

Hands have a way of showing lack of care faster than any other part of the body.

Wear rubber gloves whenever possible –  for dishwashing and other kinds of “wet” housecleaning. Keep a pair at the sink, another in the cleaning closet for floor scrubbing, and a pair for each bathroom. Put hand lotion on before you put your gloves on every time.

Wear fabric gloves for all other cleaning. Put a rich hand cream on your hands befre you put your gloves on. Wear washable white cotton gloves to hang out the wash, and dark cotton or outdoor gloves when you work outside.

Always massage hand cream and lotion into your hands in long graceful strokes down your fingers and palms. I always heard it described as massaging in your lotion like you are putting on gloves.

When you are about to start a dirty cleaning task – even while wearing gloves – dig your nails into a cake of soap so that each nail is full. Afterwards, a nail brush will leave your nails fully clean. Always brush your nails whenever you wash your hands.

Exercise your hands after housework:

Use a mild soap, like Ivory or Pears, to wash your hands. Use lotion or hand cream after every wash. A thick layer of hand cream with time for it to “soak in” during cleaning or sleep is particularly efficacious.

Always keep you nails immaculately clean and neat. Use a cuticle oil and care for your nails during your morning and evening beauty routines. Manicure your nails weekly and touch up chips promptly.

7. Keep your hair neat and smooth

There are 3 rules of vintage hair: keep your hair healthy, keep your hair clean, and find the hairdo that is best for you.

Keep your hair healthy by keeping your scalp healthy with brushing and massage. Keep your hair and scalp clean with regular shampooing and washing your combs and brushes regularly. Keep your hair clean between washings by covering it with a dusting cap or kerchief.

As a tradwife and a vintage housewife, you should always pick a feminine hairstyle that flatters your face. Do you know which hairstyles men find most delightful in women? Mor importantly, do you know what hairstyle YOUR husband finds most delightful and flattering?

Fashion is irrelevant when it comes to what a man finds attractive in a women. Flowing, lustrous hair on a woman is highly appealing to a man. He finds it delightful, especially when she smiles.

Most men prefer longer, soft, flowing hair on a woman. Hair with a natural shine, not permed or bleached. Short boyish hair, teased hair, or frizzy tight curls are unappealing to most men. (But you should always make sure of what is appealing to your man. Ask him!)

Shiny, natural looking hair, styled femininely, is highly attractive to men, especially with a feminine ribbon, or a hair band, or flower, or other ornament added. And it’s good practice to always tie your hair back with a ribbon in the kitchen, so you don’t get any hair in the food!

8. Have good posture

Your posture is key – it’s the first thing folks notice about you, affecting every step you take. 

A slouched stance can wreak havoc on your looks, charm, attitude, confidence, and healeth, leading to all sorts of figure flaws. But fear not! With the right posture you’ll find more energy for what you want to do, help straighten out those flaws, and rock a timeless elegance. 

Slouching or stiffening up messes with your breathing, digestion, and more, leaving you worse off. Your posture speaks volumes to others about your confidence and character – stand tall, and you’ll dazzle everyone you meet. 

So what is your ideal posture? Lining up your body so that all parts, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, fall into the balanced position where nature intended them to be. When you carry your body in this manner, topflight posture results. 

One thing you can do for posture improvement is posture exercises to address specific problems. A good place to look for these are in vintage books and in modern physiotherapy guides. Another is learning how to stand, sit, and walk like a vintage model.

Fixing your posture will help with everything from fatigue to figure, and having good posture will be an asset for your health.

9. Take care of your feet

You’ve got to learn to lavish a lot of care on our feet. 

There’s an important reason for foot care. Whether they’re covered up or not, the condition they’re in has a tremendous effect on the rest of you. Next to the heart, they carry the greatest load of any part of your body. 

Tired, weak, badly fitted feet-any of these can make your face tense, your expression unhappy. They can give you bad posture, backaches, and a number of other ills that just don’t go with good looks. What’s more, you tend to drag such feet-and that ungraceful habit alone can make you seem years older than you are!

It doesn’t matter how pretty your feet are, or how nice your pedicure is, if you do not keep your feet healthy. Again, one of your most attractive feminine attributes is radiant good health and happiness, and another is joy! It is exceedingly hard to feel good and act joyful when your feet hurt.

Once in a while you may have a foot problem serious enough to require medical attention. But on the whole you can keep your feet in tiptop shape all by yourself. Here’s what you have to learn: 

  • How to bathe your feet properly (sounds silly, but you’d be astounded at the number of people who don’t know how!)
  • How to relieve your feet when they’re tired
  • How to exercise them (and incidentally slim down your ankles if they need it)
  • How to cope with minor foot disorders; how to make sure your footwear fits
  • How to do a pedicure

Wear good, comfortable shoes with arch supports to do your housework. Rundown heels and soles will throw you off balance, make you more fatigued, and make you look slipshod and frumpy. You can also buy nursing or food service shoes, if you are on your feet a lot.

Getting dressed means all the way down to the shoes. Never ever, ever wear bedroom slippers to work in the kitchen or around the house. You are better off having barefoot hours around the house – while dressed – to restore foot health and flexibility.

If the feet are calloused, you can wear little pink moleskin pads over the calluses. Once a week soak your feet to remove the pads and you will find that much of the callus can be scraped off. Changing your shoes during the day also helps relieve your feet.

If you have tired feet, that really give you trouble, soak them in a good hot foot bath at night. Use epsom salts in very warm water and have the feet, immersed above the ankle for fifteen to twenty minutes. Feet won’t get that much soaking when you take a quick tub in the morning so soak them at night. 

Listen to your favorite radio program, or better still, do your manicure while your feet soak. When you remove them, immerse in cold water for a few moments, dry and powder them. This should be a once-a-week procedure at least.

10. Avoid looking rumpled and shoddy.

Rumpled, messy, and worn-out clothes look quite as bad at home as they do on the street.

If you want to be a tradwife, or a vintage housewife, it is important to remember that your appearance reflects not only on your attitude toward your marriage and your homemaking, but also on your respect for your husband, and – for yourself.

Do not wear old, worn, out-of-style going-out clothes to do your work. Invest in pretty “uniforms” that bring you joy and a pretty smile. You are doing very hard work – your deserve the treat!

If the bulk of your wardrobe is concentrated on functional clothes for home wear, make them imaginative and appealing. I actually recommend frequent changes during the day – a different costume to suit the work you’re doing. It is simply fun “dressing up” instead of “down” to housework.

Bring back the joy of playing dress-up and house as a little girl by putting energy into looks that make you feel happy as part of being a housewife.

11. Too much makeup is worse than none at all

As a general rule, the makeup you choose and how much you wear depends on your husband!

If your husband began dating you and married you while you you in your glam era, than by all means, do not present a face that he won’t recognize in the morning! Get up early and put on your makeup – at least lipstick – before you greet him.

On the other hand, if your husband courted and married you when you didn’t wear much (or any) makeup, then that’s probably the look he prefers on you.

Regardless, make sure you know what he prefers and follow it! He is the one person whose preferences you should seek out and cater to. (If he isn’t, you should have married!)

If you want to change your look, make changes slowly, and try to keep his preferences in mind.

And make sure you apply your makeup skilfully, and with a light hand. You are trying to create a traditional home, not a nightclub.

12. Keep your jewelry restrained.

In the first place, too much jewelery should be avoided during housework. 

Honestly, no one thinks that the “Mob Wife era” look is about washing dishes! (Although a real mob wife will feed you pasta until you burst, and have a clean kitchen.) June Cleaver only wore a string of pearls while she worked.

Looking pretty and feminine does not require mountains of jangling bracelets or chandelier earrings. If they make you happy, then keep them nice by saving them for your leisure hours. Wearing jewelry to do the cleaning will definitely destroy some types of jewelry.

The more easily you manage the household and the more contentment you create, the happier you will find yourself. 

Sing while you work. Find the little things that bring you joy in homemaking and make time for them. Find the little things that make you feel happy and cared-for, and ask for them.

Whether you are a vintage housewife or a tradwife, you deserve to be surrounded by love and to feel joy sparking every day.

Get Our Mid-Century Mom Daily Routine FREE!