Now that we’ve seen my re-made 1819 dress (woohoo!), let’s look a little closer at my hair. Despite the fact that I have naturally curly hair, Regency hair styles are not as easy for me to achieve as you might think. Many Regency styles have short curls (bangs, really) that surround the face, like the one below.
However, in this modern world, curly bangs are just not the thing to have… so thus my regular, un-period hairstyle is long, with no trace of bangs! (So I don’t even have pieces I could curl with a curling iron to get the ringlets at the front.) I dug through my books to look for Regency hair styles that did not have the face framed in curls and I did find some in Cunnington’s English Women’s Clothing in the Nineteenth Century. Luckily, many of the non-face-framed-curly styles were from the same year as my dress: 1819. I also had the good fortune a few months ago to come across a gold laurel leaf headband that fits the Regency period wonderfully. It’s actually plastic, but I think it looks the part. I used it as a tiara.
In terms of styling my hair, I wound up trying out a few of the techniques that Lauren (of American Duchess) has been discussing recently in terms of early Edwardian hair styling. The question for me with these sorts of styles is always what to do with the back? Once the top poof has been achieved something has to fill in the back or it just looks weird. Lauren’s posts have been quite illuminating for me in solving this problem.
I started by parting my hair from ear to ear over my head, to separate the front bits: this I parted down the center to form a left and right side, then I clipped these out of the way to save for later. I then took the back section and divided it into a top and bottom section. I put the top section in a super high pony tail and then rolled it to create a poof at the top of my head, to fill in the laurel tiara.
Once that section had been pinned, I divided the remaining back section into three sections: one by each ear and one in the middle at the nape of my neck. Each of these was separately rolled up and pinned below the poof on the top of my head, to fill in the back section. Now remember, I didn’t want to curl the area around my face… but I had the left and right front sections still. The image that I used had wings (almost like an 1860s look)… and so that’s what I did with the front sections. Each one swooped over my ear and was pinned in the back bottom section. Big sigh of relief… An hour later, having used 20 bobby pins, and a lot of super duper hair spray (to contain my frizz, you know), Regency hair! I felt very Josephine-like with such an up-do and regal tiara! I’m not totally sold on the wings. I think they were a little too poofy. Maybe next time I can smooth them down more?
Below is a great example of a Regency up-do from a fashion plate. I think I created a similar style, if not more complicated style, although without those face-framing curls…