11/27/2008

Hair-do of the week - English women of 1828


This picture is taken from the English magazine La Belle Assemble, the June issue in 1828. It shows five possible ways for women to have their hair at the time.

The woman in the middle of the picture represents the evening-wear - but the rest is supposedly inspiration for ordinary days (though perhaps not this exaggerated, most women had to be able to perform everyday, practical tasks, even if they had servants).

At parties you were at liberty to have quite fanciful hair-dos, which did what it could to work against laws of gravity and the natural fall of the hair. The hair was then adorned in every possible way - here with pearls and other jewellery - and often flowers and ribbons.

Almost all coiffures at this time, and four out of five in this picture, had the curls that worked as a frame for the face. The curls were thick over the ears and upwards, but seldom reached below. The hair was really meant to be up.

When you were not attending a party the back of the hair was generally kept away from too extravagant stuff. The reason was simple, you were always supposed to be able to put some head-wear over it. It would cause havoc to anything too stylish, and anyway it would be hidden from general view - which was also a good reason to not spend too much time on it. The most important thing was to keep stylish that part you actually showed off.

The head-wear at the time came in a wide variety, like the bonnets that hit it big time with the regency fashion, and turbans that also became big at that time. But this was also a time when the ordinary hats had their revival and could be seen again. It was all a matter of taste and inclinations of the wearer.

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