Modern Retro HouseWives.

By Alison October 4, 2005 8 Comments 3 Min Read


In a parallel universe we are not Vintage HouseKeepers, we are "Modern Retro Housewives"…

In a fabulous article on "Port Halycon", Ami Thomas says;

"Her alarm clock chimes before the sun rises. She’s not only up and at ’em, she’s dressed to the nines in heels and a full face, wearing perfume. Her apron is starched and matches her outfit, and breakfast is on the table. Her husband and children come to the table dressed and pressed: they’ve been raised that way, and she’s done the ironing.

The year is not 1944, or even 1954…it’s 2004, and the modern retro housewife is keeping house like Grandma did. She’s starting early and staying up late. Her day begins just after daybreak, when she gets up and gets dressed. No sweats or boxer shorts and t-shirts for her, she’s wearing silk pajamas and pin curls. She bathes, dresses, combs out her hair and does her face. She’s a modern-day Donna Reed, and she doesn’t wear Donna Karan…"

And she goes on to describe a rather scrumptious (surely imaginary?) world of the woman I ache to be…

"She may be just an old-fashioned gal, or a semi-retired bombshell. She’s mastered the art of cleaning the cat box in a pencil skirt and stockings. She can sweep, mop and clean the toilet without chipping a nail or losing a bobby pin. These dames can keep house and keep the home fires burning. And really, what’s sexier than a woman who can cook and doesn’t mind cleaning up afterwards?"

Now I don’t know about you, but I have yet to master the art of doing anything in a pencil skirt and stockings, but Ami strikes a chord with me, when she goes on to say:

"For the modern retro housewife, our lifestyle is a show of respect—respect for ourselves and others. Housewives dress each morning just as if they’re going to an outside job because keeping house and caring for their families is a job. It’s a serious job and we respect that work. We show that respect by not showing up for work wearing velour sweats and un-brushed hair. (And for the record, flip-flops are not shoes, just in case you’re on the fence about that one.)"

..mostly because there are days when I have hardly got the energy to drag a brush through my hair, let alone put on my face and totter off to the village store in my high heels, but the thing is this: I know I should. I know how much better I feel when I approach my day looking and feeling a teeny bit glamorous. I suspect I get things done a little better, smile a lot more and generally feel like I’m not death warmed up to something resembling Finley’s mad Mummy…   

So here it is: resolution number 776- As a thoroughly Modern Retro Housewife, I resolve to say hello to the bombshell I used to be at least once a week…

Are you with me?

** This Article First Appeared in My Vintage HouseKeepers Gazette**


  1. ~Vicki says:

    oh definately with you all the way!

  2. designboy24 says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE your site….as someone who is very into retro and vintage finds…Just thought you would love to know that there is a free NEW pattern of amy butler fabric in this months issue of better homes and gardens quilters mag……IT IS GREAT!! Also …..the mag gives a place to purchase this cute lil kit that has everything to make the bag ( ) not to mention the store is wonderful as well 🙂 its great great great i love it….

  3. ami thomas says:

    I'm glad you enjoyed my article!
    Your site is fabulous, by the way!

  4. Michelle says:

    I so wish I could have that life. I'm 27 and my husband is 29. My husband knows that's what I want but he's flat out dead certain that all adults belong in the work force. "It's the adult thing to do. It's part of growing up." But then he expects me to do all these things when I get home. I'm wiped. When I was unemployed, I tried to be the perfect housewife to convince him that "Hey this really is a good thing. Let's keep it up!" But to no avail. I keep trying to convince him that housework and balancing the home life is just as important as working in the world. He covers life fiancially, I can cover all our home needs and it would be a great balance. He wouldn't have to do anything after work and I'd get everything done during the day so we can relax at night and one weekends. Nope. He's already trying to secure my life's career right after the first kid is born (which isn't even thought of yet) and is hellbent on making me choose a full time career… that I honestly don't want. It's not that I'm lazy… when I'm not working, I'm cooking, cleaning, vacuuming, buying food, taking care of the cats, taking care of my mom's dogs and finishing off by doing laundry til midnight or 1am. I just prefer the domestic life.
    It doesn't help that my mother is a feminist who works 60 hours a week, makes more money then her laywer husband, cooks, cleans and feels she can do it all… even if it means barking orders at her new husband like he's the family dog. If you are able to secure this life, then I envy you. Maybe one day I can join you… but I doubt it.

  5. becca says:

    I read this article on another blog and have been thinking about it all week long. It's so challenging!

  6. Jennifer says:

    I try so hard to live up to this image. Well, maybe not a pencil skirt and stocking…LOL! I am on a mission to look my best EVERY day.
    By the way, where can I find pretty dresses that don't cost a small fortune? (I am in the US)
    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this blog!

  7. sally says:

    I try to live up to this idea. I straighten my hair every morning, I may not wear a dress but I put on a trouser/skirt/top ensamble from next or m&s. I make sure I look as good as if I was going out to work.
    Me & my husband are both very oldfashioned , he works and I stay at home with the kids. I couldnt be happier AND i wouldnt want it any other way.
    Oh I always get the comments, 'so and so's daughter works and has kids' or 'id go brain dead with just kids to talk to all day'. But I dont care im proud of being a housewife. I love the domestic life.

  8. Buy Bark Off says:

    As a new puppy owner I truly appreciate all the information in this article. I really want my new puppy to get very well trained and have a healthful atmosphere to live in. I am grateful for the tips.

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