Better Living Through Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Recently, the lovely and talented Peg of Peg-O-Leg’s Ramblings invited several people to write about the same topic on the same day. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Naturally, I jumped right in (and in case you’re wondering — yes, if all the others jumped off a bridge, I probably would too). Peg’s rules were simple: we had to write a piece called “Better Living Through Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups” and post it at the appointed time. We also each had to focus on a different subject area, so, naturally, I chose fashion. I consider myself an expert in this topic because — and I swear I’m not exaggerating — I wear clothes every day. Even on weekends. Seriously.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups aren’t commonly used as clothing today, but they have been in the past. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, oversized peanut butter cups were often used in ballet costumes, as we can see in paintings from that period.

Edward Degas Ballet Scene painting, with two dancers wearing Reese's tutus.

Ballet Scene With Reese’s, Edward Degas et al., c. 1879

In 1944, the The Hershey Foods Corporation landed a lucrative contract to provide hats to the US Navy in an attempt to raise sailors’ spirits by furnishing them with chocolate-based headwear. The resulting Reese’s Peanut Butter Sailor Caps were popular at first; however, their low melting point created such a mess that the Navy terminated the program after the first year.

Alfred Eisenstaedt's V-J Day in Times Square picture from Life Magazine, featuring a sailor kissing a woman, while wearing a Reese's peanut butter cup hat.

V-J Day in Times Square with Reese’s, Alfred Eisenstaedt et al., Life Magazine, 1945

Up until this point, peanut butter cups had been used in costumes and uniforms but still weren’t part of an average person’s wardrobe. This all changed in 1955, when Marilyn Monroe wore her famous peanut butter cup skirt in The Seven Year Itch. Some little-known movie trivia: although it appears that Marilyn’s skirt is being blown up around her by a gust of air from a subway grate, in reality, peanut butter cups just aren’t that pliable. The skirt’s apparent movement was the product of a stop motion animation sequence that took ten hours to film and required Marilyn to change into more than 200 different chocolate skirts.

Marilyn Monroe standing on a subway grate with her dress -- or in this case, her Reese's peanut butter cup skirt -- blowing in the wind, from The Seven Year Itch

Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch, 1955.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Reese’s were a standard part of any elegant woman’s wardrobe, due in part to Marilyn Monroe’s famous dress and, of course, Jackie Kennedy’s signature Reese’s hats.

Jackie Kennedy wearing a Reese's peanut butter cup instead of a pillbox hat.

White House portrait of Jackie Kennedy

Reese’s fashions fell out of favor in the 1960s, possibly because Jackie’s peanut butter cup hat became associated in people’s minds with the Kennedy assassination. But it’s been almost 50 years — perhaps it’s time they made a comeback.

You can read more about Reese’s on all these fine blogs today (unless it turns out they’ve been playing an elaborate practical joke on me, and I’m the only one):

The Big Sheep Blog
Childhood Relived
Go Guilty Pleasures
Fifty Four and A Half
Fix It Or Deal
Play 101
k8edid
Lenore’s Thoughts Exactly
Life In The Boomer Lane
Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings
Refrigerator Magnate
Running From Hell With El
She’s A Maineiac
The Byronic Man
The Good Greatsby
The Monster In Your Closet
The Ramblings
Thoughts Appear’s Blog
Unlikely Explanations

Bonus fact: The results of a Google image search for “Rhesus Pieces” are a little disturbing, but not nearly as bad as you might expect.

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Posted in Humor
72 comments on “Better Living Through Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  1. I’m glad you took fashion because I couldn’t write about it. I only wear clothes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

  2. Reggie says:

    What a brilliant idea of Peg’s! I ambled through so many new and funny bloggers’ web-homes as a result of this… thank you!

  3. aFrankAngle says:

    Great touch with Marilyn and Jackie O …. and my Reese’s adventure is officially done … and is Elyse’s fault.

  4. This was perfect. Loved the Monroe, how did you do that? I have horrible, horrible skills in doctoring up photos as you can see by my post.

  5. gojulesgo says:

    Oh my GOD! I want to frame all of these! They’re amazing. Do you have Photoshop?

    “I wear clothes EVERY DAY.” HA! That cracked me up!

  6. Holly Folly says:

    Mmm my favorite candy. Now I want one, but I’m not willing to drive to town in the snow. Yes it’s snowing. In April. Stupid weather.

  7. bigsheepcommunications says:

    What could be more classic than Chanel and Reese’s. Brilliant.

  8. pegoleg says:

    I forgot Degas Peanut Cup period (thoughtfully strokes chin in contemplation.)

    You have MAD photoshop skills – the sailor picture has me in stitches! Ha ha ha!

    You are last, but definitely not least, on my alphabetical blog journey. We did it – every one delivered! (whoo hoo hoo!)

  9. Ha!
    VPBC day! I still celebrate it! Unless… you know… if it falls on a weekend, then…
    :)

  10. zannyro says:

    hahahahaha! I laughed the minute I saw the ballet dancing reese’s. So you all decided to do a “flash mob” reese”s moment!! So awesome, my hat is off to all of you!

  11. Wow — you are very talented! Those photos look like they were made that way. (Which of course they were, I must have misremembered my history.) Speaking of, I never knew Marilyn went through 200 Reese’s skirts. That’s dedication. And your last line was great! I never considered it was all a practical joke. But like Peg said, we all delivered. :)

  12. Amy says:

    It seems like Reese’s would have made a fashion come-back in the 1980s. Bad ideas in clothing were huge back then!
    Love the Jackie O pic cause it actually looks like it could be a real hat!

  13. Gail says:

    If I were still teaching I would use this in class as an example of how to develop a theme in an essay. It’s perfect for that (well, the conclusion would need a little work). And I’d pass out Reese’s to solidify the lesson. What a fun class that would be :-).

  14. Brilliant. Totally brilliant. I tip my chocolate hat to you.

  15. Al says:

    I thought a reeses cup was something a monkey wears when it plays sports. Not so?

  16. Seriously, these photos are just perfectly “enhanced.” Any time I try and doctor a photo it looks like there’s scotch tape involved.

  17. Very detailed post Laura, and I’ve learned some new facts about fashion that I never knew before, such as folk wearing clothes daily. I’m going to visit a few of those other blogs you mention too (although probably not today, I’m having another of my uphill struggles against time and time is winning… you don’t happen to own a time machine do you?)

  18. magsx2 says:

    Hi,
    Loved the way you have done the post, and the photos are fabulous. :D

  19. nursemyra says:

    the ballerinas look so natural too…..

  20. Dana says:

    This is PERFECT– What mad photo-doctoring skillz you have! That sailor shot is my fave– PRICELESS! :)

    • Laura says:

      I almost didn’t include that one at all. I was already planning on doing a hat for Jackie Kennedy, so for the sailor picture, I was going to Reese-ify the woman’s shoes (the heels are approximately the shape of a mini-Reese’s) — but I just couldn’t make that work.

  21. Binky says:

    Those sailor caps may have only lasted a year, but it was the best time to be in the navy!

  22. Wow–this was gorgeous and brilliant! The Marilyn Monroe picture made me laugh and gasp. Good on you.

  23. k8edid says:

    Love what you did with the VJ photo – I may have to use that one for my avatar instead!!! Great pictures, I loved this.

  24. Elyse says:

    Brilliant. I loved the photos. Your fashion sense is yummy, but the best is the Degas. Or maybe Jackie. Possibly Marilyn. Oh dear …

    Well played!

  25. Angie Z. says:

    Hilarious post. I adore the fashion photos and history. Adore them! The last line struck me with retroactive panic — had I not just finished reading all the other Reese’s posts and knowing this was legit, I’d be seriously plotting Carrie’s Revenge right now.

  26. Anonymous says:

    You are delightfully silly. :-)

    Pearl

  27. denise:) says:

    Yup, delightfully silly! Fun post and now i’m hungry…

  28. I’m a Refrigerator Magnate fan and chose your blog first from his list because it was the last one, and I figured people’d wimp out by the 15th or 16th post, and no one would read yours. I feel that pain every day after thoughtlessly naming my blog Unapologetically Mundane.

    I HOPE everyone reads this one, though, because . . . genius! I think the Life one is my favourite, but the Marilyn one seems the most technically masterful. I’m afraid none of the other posts will live up to this one now.

  29. natasiarose says:

    I hope it’s not a practical joke because I wear my Reese’s tutu to dance class every week.

  30. susielindau says:

    Your photos are amazing! Awesome post!

  31. totsymae1011 says:

    Cool photos, Laura. I’d like to be in a bathtub of peanut butter cups. I would eat them until I was sick.

  32. cestlavie22 says:

    LOL! I am in debate if I should be angry that you ruined one of the most romantic pictures of all time or give in to the giggle I am fighting because all of the pictures are so damn funny!

  33. Just brilliant! Wish I could write like this. Also, do you think peanut butter cups are still ok to wear at weddings?

    • Laura says:

      It depends on the wedding. If the bride is wearing a traditional wedding gown, then it’s okay to wear peanut butter cups. But if the bride is wearing a dress like the one in the second-to-last picture in this post, then wearing Reese’s would be frowned upon, because you’d be distracting attention from the bride.

      BTW, your comment languished in the spam queue for a while. Sorry about that.

  34. Most people don’t know that the song “I Fall to Pieces” is about Patsy Cline always failing at dieting because of her crippling Reese’s addiction.

  35. pegoleg says:

    Just noticed your “bonus fact” and had to pop back and say: ha ha ha!

    Love the new header – so fashion forward.

    • Laura says:

      Thanks! And now for a bonus bonus fact: several people on the Internet have joked about a genetically engineered flower called the Rhesus Peanut Buttercup.

  36. CubicleViews says:

    Life is much better with peanut butter and chocolate. And, Reece’s come prepackaged…a gift from god in my opinion.

  37. yearstricken says:

    This is brilliant. You did a most excellent job.

  38. Michelle Gillies says:

    I have read a lot of these Reece’s pieces (pun intended) since they were posted. After the first five or six I found I had pretty much had my fill of chocolate & peanut butter delicacies and went on to read things that I hadn’t already read about that day. Spacing them out over a period of time cured me of my aversion to the overindulgence of the PB cups. That being said yours has been one of the most enjoyable ones to read. Your high sense of fashion is really quite clever.
    Thank you,
    M

  39. […] For costume ideas, why not try some of these Reese’s-themed fashions? […]

  40. […] Image Thanks Life Magazine 1945 […]

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