March 29, 2009

Classic Regency Style: "Jane Bennet"

Regency styles are probably my favorite. Here is a simple one for any length or type of hair. It is understated yet sweet, so I call it the "Jane Bennet."

~ make a ponytail and wrap most of in into a bun, leaving some out to poke out of the middle of the bun (you can twist or braid the bun)
~ separate the hair you left out in to 2 or 3 strands and curl it (for extra pizazz, braid one of the strands and wrap it around the bun)
~ separate all the short front hair (I call them whispies) into little bunches and curl it

Voila! Here is the simplest Regency do you can make.

March 13, 2009

Gibson Girl

The Gibson Girl style is one of the oddest and most ridiculous looking to modern viewers. However, it does lend the wearer a sophisticated look thanks to the inches it adds to a woman's head.

The pictures here are of me in a recent Gibson Girl do, and a pic of my mother and me many years ago. She is sporting a classic Gibson Girl poof, and I am wearing the style of little girls in the period: a braid with an enormous bow. Our clothes are circa 1908 reproductions.

Women of the period often used rolls around their heads under their hair to make the unmistakable poof. But we didn't do this. Teasing the hair also achieves the desired result, but if you have hair thick or coarse enough, it will poof on its own.

Directions: (without roller or teasing)
~bend forward so your hair hangs strait down to the floor
~gather it into a very loose ponytail on top of you head and stand up
~twist this hair into a bun on top of your head, making sure is is not so tight you loose the poof
~pin in place and then, if poof is not big enough, pull hair out of bun a little to create bigger poof

This works for any length of hair, and you just have to modify it for thin hair. To add rollers or tease, part your hair so it falls evenly around your head like a mop and apply rollers around your head to hold you hair in place here. Then wrap the hair back over the rollers to create bun. Do the same to tease.

This style takes a bit of practice and my directions may be no use at all. Just study pictures and go from there.

March 12, 2009

"Lucrezia Borgia" : elegance mixed with poison

Here is a style for any hair type, although your hair has to be at least to your shoulder blades to do this one.

It is an Italian Renaissance do that can be modified to accommodate hair length. You can use ribbons or not. I find it difficult to braid ribbons into my hair because for the first few inches, they want to fall out of the braid. After that, the tightness of the braid holds them in.

~part hair in the middle or to the side (I did side. It is more flattering) and make two small braids with front hair (ribbons optional)
~split hair down back to make two braids over your shoulders. Put the small braids in the back strand of the big braid and make sure this back strand goes underneath the others as you start braiding
~secure both braids with bands at bottom
~bring braids to back of head and cross them over, bringing the ends to the top of your head
~fold the ends over underneath the braids
~secure in place with hair pins (making sure your hairbands don't show like mine do here!)

Modifications: If your hair is too long to do this, you can cross the braids over and then spiral them into a bun in the middle back of your head. If you can't do ribbons, you can attach pearls or beads to bobby pins with string and secure these in your do so they hang free and sparkle in the sunlight.

Now you're ready to dazzle all the knights at the Renn Faire!

March 10, 2009

Timeless Twist : "A La Parisienne"

This style I find particularly difficult, even though my hair is normally pliant and obedient. I have tried for years to do a French Twist and for years have failed miserably. My early attempts ended up looking like hedgehogs clinging to the back of my head: just a sagging mass of hair pins and unbrushed locks. But I finally conquered the twist, and here is the final attempt. Please pardon the blurry pictures; I was teaching myself how to take successful pictures of myself.

Since this semi-triumph, I have never again tried to do a twist. I worked this particular urge out of my system and now have no wish to do more. I also have no real idea how I did this, but I think it was a little like this:

~wrap your hair loosely around your non-dominant hand at the base of your head (hand should have thumb facing away from you and pinkie finger touching head)
~turn hand with hair so finger tips touch the head
~wrap this hair bundle (carefully extricating your hand) in towards your head so you have a horizontal roll against your head
~turn this roll perpendicular and tuck in the sagging hair at the bottom
~hold in place with claw or octopus clips and then pin with hair pins and remove clips.

Adding flowers to your do will help hide any saggy areas or stray pieces of hair. Good luck!(Note: this do is easier if you have curly or coarse hair that will stick to itself a bit. Fine hair tends to fall out all over the place.)

March 9, 2009

Welcome to the World of Old-Fashioned hair!

The purpose of this blog is to encourage all women (and perhaps a few men with long hair!) to embrace the hairstyles of the past and not be afraid to return to those old romantic days of ringlets and braided buns. So heat up your curling irons, exercise your hairbrush arms, and let the styling begin!