Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What Would June Cleaver Wear?

When I write (and think) about vintage perfume, especially bottles from the 1950s and early 60s (some released during those years, other older but still popular), I usually turn to the super-sexy ones. Leather chypres, smoky dry-downs, civet, real musk and other dirty animalics. Of course, there are just as many the lady-like perfumes from that era. After all, Audrey Hepburn didn't wear Bandit and neither did Grace Kelly. We usually think of icons like Jacqueline Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor who represented the glamor of those days, and perfumes such as Miss Dior, Le De, Chanel No. 5 and various Guerlains. I also remember that moment in the first season finale of Mad Men when Joan prepares for her date by dabbing Shalimar.

I was reading the news today about the death of actress Barbara Billingsley, who will forever be June Cleaver to most of us. She wore pearls, an apron and a wholesome smile, got a peck on the cheek from Mr. Cleaver every morning and night and dreamed about... what?

June Cleaver probably had a couple of perfume bottles on her dresser. What did she wear with her pearls every day? Did the Avon Lady come a calling for her? Did she wear L'Interdit for special occasions, or maybe Le Dix? Do you think she had a bar of No. 5 soap tucked away for use when she and Ward went away on vacation without the boys? Did he buy her a bottle of Fleurs de Rocaille for her birthday? Or maybe L'Air du Temps?

For some reason I can't imagine June Cleaver in Arpege or My Sin any more than in Tabac Blond or Mitsouko. But then again she might have had a secret life we know nothing about. I actually like this thought.

What do you think? What would June Cleaver wear?


  1. Gaia~ I think June Clever wore Coty Emeraude to a T!
    It's soft, fuzzy , warm and stays with you with the tenacity of a TV's mom's devotion to her kids!
    I wore it last night(vtg. of course!) while watching the Season Finale of MadMen ( @ Don- WTF!) Anywho I found myself in a furry cloud like a dark green boa , towards the 4th or 5th hour of wearing, it almost became too much for me, I smelled so good but so rich , so of a era that I wish I belonged....but didn't.

  2. I think she wore Jean Naté during the day, Diorissimo for an evening out, and had a secret little bottle of Bandit that she wore with a usually well-hidden black lace teddy and fishnets for when they sent Wally and the Beav to camp.

    That's why Ward always looked so happy...

  3. I second the Emeraude, warm powdery goodness. If she did wear Avon, it'd be Topaz, very similar, I think but with an amber base.

  4. I agree- Emeraude was the first scent that came to mind. Maybe Evening In Paris for a night out....although the Diorissimo is also a contender...

    Tamara*J you made me laugh- @ Don-WTF! Really....ugh.

  5. I'm thinking for everyday wear she might have dabbed a bit of vanilla extract behind her ears (hee!). And I bet she had a bottle of Chanel No. 5 on her dresser (a Christmas gift from Ward and the boys) which she only used on special occasions.

  6. I actually did a blog posting about June awhile back...http://bloodyfrida.blogspot.com/2010/07/unlocking-mystery-joint-blog-project.html

  7. I wonder the same thing about old movie/TV stars. Since I got sucked into the world of perfume I'm always looking out for the scene of a vanity or bathroom counter so I can see what bottles the props department have put out. Lucy always seemed to have DANA bottles on her bedroom dresser. Was she more Tabu or 20 Carats? And I've seen several episodes of Bewitched where she also has a DANA bottle on her dresser. But my favorite is the one where I caught a glimpse of a huge bottle of Crepe de Chine. Yea, I can see Samantha wearing that. I'm thinking June may have also had a DANA bottle or I can even see a little blue Evening in Paris bottle sitting next to her cold cream. I REALLY like the image of Bandit, the teddy and a happy Wally!!

  8. There are some ordinary perfumes from back then that no one ever mentions. My aunt wore Blue Grass, which I can imagine on June. My mother wore Bond Street by Yardley, which was also more "clean" and less "sultry." Then there was the perfume they gave me when I was a child: Friendship Garden. I'm almost afraid to smell these again, but I can kind of conjure up Blue Grass for some reason.

    Another one for June might be Muguet de Bois, the lily of the valley fragrance from Coty, I think.

  9. Oh, Gaia! You (almost) cut me to the quick about June Cleaver not wearing Arpege!

    I could see it as a "special occasion" scent, not as an "everyday" one, but, my Mother wore Arpege, even after Dad died. Mostly on vacations and Sundays, however.

    Mothers are generally women first.

    Everyday? Something brisk and spicy, maybe Coty L'Origan, or Avon Persian Wood.

    Rest easily, dear Barbara Billingsley.

    Lawrence in Ohio

  10. I think classic daily but something a little sassier on date nights. Especialy when I think of Barbara Billingsley on the movie Airplane! when she was the Jive Interpreter...'cut me some slack, jack'...RIP Mrs. Clever!

  11. she looks like a diorissimo or l'air du temps woman, but i'll go with something much, much sexier, revlon intimate.


  12. I think she would wear Balmain Ivoire. Dignified. Just the right touch of ladylike aldehydes. Florals that don't giggle. That "expensive soap" phase, but without anything that comes off as standard sneezy white musk. Not sexy, but not a little girl. And very pretty.


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