Each era has its own fashion icon, a trailblazer that defines the period as a whole. In the 1950s, one of these icons was Doris Day. With her bold smile, charming confidence, and bright demeanor, she set the precedent for 1950s fashion as being fun and down to earth. To compliment her complexion, she opted to wear mostly floral, pastel, and peach tones, which proved to be the perfect match and helped to inspire fashion trends at the time.
Today, many people still take inspiration from the gorgeous Doris. At Bésame, we are among those that are endlessly obsessed with vintage style and fashion, which is why we’re diving a little deeper into Doris Day’s impact on makeup and beauty, and how you can replicate some of her iconic looks.
Who Was Doris Day?
Doris Day was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1922 to first-generation German-American parents. Doris’ father was a music teacher and choirmaster, which may have played a role in Doris’ early musical interests. At first drawn to music and dance, Doris began her career in her childhood, dancing in competitions around the U.S. After a car accident left her unable to dance as she once could, Doris switched her focus to singing.
In the hospital after the accident, Doris began to sing along to songs on the radio, and discovered a new talent. Hearing the magic in her daughter’s voice, Doris’ mother immediately signed her up for singing lessons. Doris quickly began performing and accepting gigs, and adopted the stage name ‘Day’.
Doris Day’s first recorded song was released in 1945, and was titled ‘Sentimental Journey’. An instant hit, Sentimental Journey became an anthem for troops wishing for home during WWII, and their families awaiting their return. Today, this remains Doris Day’s biggest hit, and can often be heard sung by the world’s most talented jazz singers.
In addition to her musical career (which also featured names like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra), Doris also performed on countless radio shows, and delved into the film industry. Her most successful film was “I’ll See You In My Dreams,” which also starred Danny Thomas, though she participated in several other films including musical comedies, and dramas like the highly successful “Love Me or Leave Me,” and Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much.”
Doris’ career was long, and marked with much success and the occasional scandal. By the end of her life, her passions still included music, acting, and art, but also centered on animal welfare and activism. Following her death in 2019 (at the ripe old age of 97), an auction of Day’s items raised $3 million for the Doris Day Animal Foundation.
Natural Beauty & Vintage Hollywood Glamor
Despite living a glamorous life and enjoying a privileged lifestyle, Doris never dressed provocatively or to draw attention. Often seen in fashions of the time, the 50s were the height of Doris’ style. Pencil skirts, cinched dresses, simple tailored trousers and button up blouses, and shoulder-pad filled baggy jackets were staples in Day’s wardrobe, enabling her to be as active and exuberant as she wanted while still looking chic and modern.
Doris Day embodied modest elegance, and her simple, minimalist approach to fashion inspired women everywhere to embrace their natural beauty. Often, Doris styled herself in monochromatic looks, favoring a single shade to create a simple, but effective statement.
Get Doris’ Makeup Look
Doris’ skin was always clean, clear, and bright, beautifully blushed and highlighted to emphasize her heart shaped face. To help even out your skin tone and to blur fine lines and pores, try using 1955 Silver Screen Shimmer on its own or with a foundation/concealer of your choice. This is the starting point for a Doris Day inspired look, since you’ll need your skin to look glowy without looking too red. A finishing powder helps to make your skin’s color more even, so that you can intentionally place makeup where you want rosiness and mute redness where you don’t.
To add that natural looking glow to your cheeks, add a light layer of Poppy Cream Rouge to the apples and up towards the ear. Depending on your skin tone, you may need to add a few more coats, just don’t overdo the glow - you want to look natural. If you need even more glow but have already added enough cream rouge, you can always add a Rose Gold Highlight to your cheekbones.
Like many stars of the 50s, Doris Day drew attention to her bright, glimmering eyes with mascara. Not a particularly frequent user of eyeliner, Doris always coated her lashes in mascara to add length and volume. Most women in the 50s used Black Cake Mascara, which is perfect for layering and applying multiple coats. If you want to feel extra-natural, try a Brown Cake Mascara. While she may not have liked eyeliner, Doris Day did like to fill in and darken her eyebrows. Likely using a brown cake mascara or pencil, Doris created natural but perfectly arched eyebrows
Doris typically wore pink and neutral lipsticks - like Portrait Pink - but may also have used products like Cream Rouge to lightly stain her lips and add a subtle gloss. While Day favored more natural looks, she occasionally sported a classic red lipstick. Colors like Red Velvet are perfect for achieving a vintage glam, and look like shades Doris herself might have worn.
Find all the products you need to achieve a beautiful, natural, Doris Day inspired makeup look when you shop online with Bésame!