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My Style: Vintage Compacts

There's something alluring about vintage compacts. Not everyone gets it.

These compacts were used to keep powders in and that was precisely what I intended to do with it. If I was purely in it for the sake of collecting, I'd probably buy them in mint condition, with box and original sifter and puff.

I'd imagine someone like Dita Von Teese would carry her powder around in one of these ornate compacts. She probably does. I think it really does add that touch of glamour that makes touching up on powder a little more enjoyable. Particularly when some cheaper high-street makeup doesn't come in sturdy packaging.

Of course, compacts aren't limited to Stratton. Kigu and Estee Lauder are just some other brands. There are various guides online that help you date the compact and how to reuse a compact. There are websites out there that offer replacement puffs and sifters too, if using another brand of puff doesn't feel authentic enough.

The two compacts I have store different things. The black enamour one was designed to hold loose powder but since it's quite old (early 1950s), it did not have the original sifter. It does have a self-opening inner lid to prevent spillage of powder. Perhaps a smaller pan of pressed powder could fit in but I haven't tried. I bought this compact because of the mechanism of the inner lid and the design of the enamour. Not because I wanted to use it for myself. The golden one is relatively newer (1980s-1990s) and had the original sifter and puff, all unused, but I threw away the old puff because it was degrading. It was a convertible compact, meaning it could store both loose powder and pressed. I removed the sifter for the pressed powder.

I decided to depot my Rimmel Stay Matte powder but because it was my first time, it was a very messy endeavour. I ended up breaking quite a bit of the powder while I was prying into the container.


Remnants of powder on the table underneath pan.
I placed the pan in to make sure it actually fit into the compact, which it did. I was slightly insecure about the pan falling out so I taped a magnet to the compact and the pan just clicked right in. The compact is not made of a magnetic metal, so tape was necessary.

Pan in compact.
I was quite happy with the result in the end. Although I wish I hadn't broken so much of the powder.
The good thing about these compacts is that majority of them are not expensive to collect. Unless you're going for the more sought-after ones (which might start at around $300... or maybe in GBP), you can get a compact for less than $20. You might even hunt down one cheap at a garage sale. 

That's not to say that you can't find these compacts new. It's just that the vintage ones - especially the used ones - have so much history behind them. At the same time, I feel like I can't use the used ones because of that same reason. I feel the need to preserve them. So I opted to use the gold one (which was unused... someone probably received it and never used it).

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