10 ways to 1920s style: part 5, the bee-stung lip

Mae puckers up in The Merry Widow
The bee-stung lip is another 1920s style that, like the flat-chested figure, is not so in vogue now. In this case the upper lip had a very defined, sometimes unnaturally pointed, cupid’s bow and the lower lip was narrow. Combined, the two give the classic flapper pout. I also wonder whether, like the cloche hat, it contributed to the overall impression of a small, rounded, doll-like head, as both the cloche and the bee-stung lips repeat the rounded line, rather than contributing much in the way of width.

Actress Mae Murray was known as ‘The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips’, so if you want to see the definitive 20s kisser, take a look at the Mae Murray gallery on Silent Ladies and Gents. Mae did actually take the colour on her upper lip way above the natural lipline, but that’s not a great look for full daylight – save it for the speakeasy.

Ay caramba, Miss Murray!
She married a prince...
good catch, that man!
The bee-stung lip is a look that’s very easy to achieve if you have a full and narrow mouth. If you have a wide mouth, simply painting the centre would look quite odd, making you look like Queen Amidala in Star Wars. For a wide mouth I’d choose to layer a couple of lipsticks, with one close to your natural skin tone on the outer edges, blending into a darker shade towards the centre, so attention is drawn to the centre but there’s no hard edge of colour. Likewise, if your lips are narrow, don’t take the lipstick far below your lower lip as you don’t want to look like you’ve dribbled it down your chin!

Want a few other ways to get the 1920s look? How about the bob, the cloche hat, the dropped waist or the knitwear?


Post a Comment

Popular Posts