9/22/2008

Hair-do of the week - Fashion of 1849


This is from a magazine from 1849 showing the 'Jenny Lind-cap' and a suitable coiffure to go with it.

Jenny Lind was a singer from Sweden who made an international career in 1840's and was widely popular (and a suitable topic of 'woman of the week', stay tuned for that one). Exactly what this cap had to do with the singer is open for debate. Probably nothing. It was very popular at the time to name patterns after famous women - living or dead, real or fictive (this was after all the time when magazines also could include patterns for the coats 'Desdemona' and 'Ophelia').

But having a little cap on your head was popular - and much of a must if you were married. To show yourself without something on your head, if only at your own breakfast-table was really bad. It did not have to cover the hair or resemble a veil (like it had in earlier times) but it had to be there.

The hair-do is typical of the time. The hair is flat and straight and though it is long it has to be under total control and not allowed to hang loose. This was mostly achieved by braiding - like in this example. It was often gathered at the ears in some form, suitable for both wearing little caps and the bonnets that were popular when going outside. The rest of the hair was gathered in the back in a very straight bun. Even though it is partially braided and twined it looks very strict, almost restricted. It is typical of the hair-dos of the 1840's and 1850's.

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