Feathered boas go in and out of style. Searching on the wonderful home economics site Hearth, I found instructions on how to clean them in a housekeeping guide from 1908. You shake them out and then dip them in gasoline! This might have made for some exciting parties when the boa got too close to an open flame.
I am guessing that this beautiful head shot comes from the 1920s, a period when feathered boas were all the rage. For older women boas served a similar function to the fur piece, bringing softness to the face.
This woman wears an old fashioned pince-nez at a time when glasses with temple pieces had largely replaced them. I think they serve her well here, making her eyes look bigger. Her stylish long necklace is a sure marker of the twenties. Was it her idea to wrap it many times around her neck to bring the glow of pearls closer to her face? To show that she is a woman who cares about fashion, she either has short hair or has taken care to style her hair to look short.
I got this portrait from the incomparable Lizzie Bramlett, who sends me shots of old ladies in exchange for my photos of young ones. A win-win! It was obviously taken in a photo studio, and I’m wondering if some fancy hocus pocus was involved to give this older woman such incredibly smooth skin.