“Milwaukee Blue”

In the 80’s, I worked in the cosmetics area of a department store — but not just for any cosmetics brand, it was Estée Lauder; and not just any department store either, it was Marshall Fields. Hence I had a lot of training, including district training sessions, which meant traveling to or training with people outside of Milwaukee.

One of my first large training sessions I learned that Milwaukee was famous for more than being America’s Dairy Land, known for more than the land of beer & brats and its associates sports teams; Milwaukee had a bad rap beauty wise.

The other Lauder beauty advisers teased us all for having named a particular type of customer after our area. These customers were those who were stuck in a decade or two prior to the one we were all living in now — most commonly seen as the swipe of blue eyeshadow across the lid. This 1974 Aziza Eyes ad illustrates the look.

This look began in the 60’s & had a resurgence in the 70’s, so it was completely dated in the 80’s, prompting the other Lauder girls (mainly those from Chicago who kept looking down their powdered noses at “small time” Milwaukee — grrr) to dub the beauty faux pas “Milwaukee Blue.”

If this post serves any purpose it is to remind you that many of those cosmetic girls are indeed talking about you & your dated makeup look.

I suppose “Milwaukee Blue” has left the vocabulary of most women in the beauty business by now… Which makes me wonder what the latest local beauty slur is.

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