During much of the 1860s and 1870s, hair arranged in artfully placed curls and ringlets was all the rage. But for ladies with naturally straight hair, those curls weren’t always easy to achieve. Who can forget the scene in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women when Jo burns off her sister Meg’s hair with a pair of hot tongs?[…]Continue Reading
During the 1860s, ladies often wore their hair rolled back at the sides and at the nape of their neck. These rolls were usually created using false hair or “rats.” A rat was a homemade hairpiece made from the hair collected from a lady’s brush each evening. It was used to pad out the rolls and to help them keep their shape. Since it was made from a lady’s own hair, it provided the best match in color and texture.[…]Continue Reading
When it comes to Victorian fashion, it is often difficult to choose a favourite year—or even a favourite decade. The romantic gowns of the 1830s vie with the enormous crinolines of the 1860s which, in turn, rival the sleek, bustled skirts of the 1870s. As someone who researches and writes extensively on historical fashion, choosing the year in which to set my new romance novel, The Lost Letter, had as much to do with the style of dress as it did with other considerations. In today’s post, we take a brief look at some of the styles which were popular in 1860, the year in which The Lost Letter begins.[…]Continue Reading
“The MANNER of DRESSING the HAIR calls for much attention at the present day, and many are the inquiries addressed to us on this important subject.”
Peterson’s Magazine, 1863.
Hairstyles of the 1860s are, in my opinion, some of the most beautiful of the nineteenth century. Hair was arranged in enormous rolls or plaited into intricately woven patterns. Women donned crowns of flowers or bound their hair up into silken nets or velvet hoods. These were soft, feminine styles, lacking the Gothic severity of the 1830s and 1840s while, at the same time, still far more conservative than the long, draped curls that would come into fashion in the 1870s and 1880s. These were also the hairstyles that most of us recognize from the American Civil War era (1861-1865). Popular coiffures changed from year to year, and often from month to month. Today, we look at a few of the most fashionable styles of 1863.[…]Continue Reading