Friday, March 15, 2013

Great Hair Fridays - The 1860s

In preparation for a trip to Gettysburg, PA. next week, I thought I would focus today on hairstyle from the 1860s.

One of the most common hairstyle was hair parted down the center of the head and pinned into a bun or chignon and the nap of the neck. Hair could also be confined with a hairnet. Notice that the hairnet pictured below is made of very fine material - not at all like the bright colored, heavy synthetic hairnets sometimes see at reenactments.
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Braids were popular and women often used false hair to achieve some of more elaborate styles, particularly for evening events such as going to the opera or a ball.

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This style pre dates the Civil War but was a style still favored by older ladies. To achieve the fullness at the temples, hair rats were pinned to the head and the hairs draped and pinned smoothly over the rats.

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The Ladies' 1860s Society has a page for 1860's hairstyle with pictures and step-by-step instructions.

1 comment:

  1. I'm rather dubious on the use of rats. In the costuming world, they are used constantly - but I don't think they were used nearly as much in period. One reason for the difference is that shorter hair is common now and it wasn't then. You need extra hair to achieve the period look. I have long hair and only really use rats for 18th C styles - even then, it's a fake hair scrunchie and a small bit of netting in front of the scrunchie to push those bobby pins into it.

    I do know rats were used in period; however it was probably for ladies with thinning hair or for the balls (think of when we would use hairspray for extra fullness) and not, necessarily, and everyday thing for most women.

    Although this is a bit later (1867), it does give you a nice idea of how basic some of the styles really were.

    1867 How to Guide for Hair


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