The problem is solved very cleverly by those women who know the value of a smart appearance which is distinctly their own. There is probably a much greater similarity between French and American women of fashion than between the women of any other nations.
They are both chic, they wear their clothes perfectly, and they understand the art of making the costume a part of themselves rather than making themselves a feature of the costume.
In no part of dress is this power more definitely shown than in the dressing of the hair. At present, the coiffure seems to be arranged with reference entirely to the hat. The enormous creations being worn in Paris demand quantities of false hair, which the French woman assumes with the greatest nonchalance. The American woman wears’ false hair also, but in smaller quantities. Her head is built high with adjustable puffs and curls, yet among the really well-dressed and well-bred women, this addition seldom grows to a conspicuous amount. The English women may use an equal amount of artificial hair, but she does not make the most of it.
Using false hair
The demand for false hair has never been greater than at present, and the astonishing part is that women take to wearing it so naturally. It goes without saying that every woman in a fashionable hat has some, pieces of false hair underneath to hold it on and make it look as though it were in its proper setting. It would be impossible to wear the hat without them.
Hair establishments are doing a remarkable business — at times they are almost unable to supply all the curls and puffs required to keep the fashionable head looking its best. The days when a false curl or fringe discovered by friend or enemy brought a blush of embarrassment to the wearer have been forgotten since the deluge of false pieces. Women admit the falsity of their coiffures, and some even go the to extent of adjusting them outside the seclusion of their own dressing rooms.
Even in the arrangement of the curls which come ready to put on the French, English and American women display a different taste — one that is perhaps characteristic of each nation. For instance, the French woman is not satisfied with a row or a circle of them, but she must put them on in quaint and wonderful angles, and she must have more of them than anybody else. They surround her head — frame her face, as it were. The British woman of fashion prefers to keep on the lines prescribed by royalty, and she fastens her puffs high on her head and then allows a fringe to fall below them over her forehead, or else she wears them in a circle around her head, just as Dutch plaits are worn, and the hair on the forehead is permitted to fall in natural waves.
The era of the stiff, fat, little rows of curls with which some American women have been adorning their heads has passed. Curls are still to the fore, but they are being added to the original coiffure in less set effects. They have more the appearance of large, loose braids or figure eights doubled and slightly irregular. This effect is achieved by twisting the puffs at various angles from the main stem and by pulling them out a little, making them seem more fluffy. Eight or ten puffs are considered insufficient to make the average showing, and they may be adjusted as one likes so long as they do not describe a conventional semicircle.
Other new hairstyles
A new way of the hair which promises to be becoming to women is to have it waved and drawn up to the crown of the head loosely, the ends folded over in puffs, and this made the center of a coronet of false puffs. The puffs are laid on to surround this, but not to look like a crown roast, as women are apt to get them.
Since the high coiffure has been in vogue for several seasons now, its center has gradually lowered, and the latest advice says that it will be even lower on the head, coming just below the crown and almost in the neck. Unfortunately, this arrangement is not so well suited to the American head as some others are, but for this change, the new hats must be blamed. The brims droop so much in the back that they demand a lower arrangement of the hair, and at the same time, a lower grouping of puffs This gives more breadth to the head, which is not always needed, and sometimes makes a woman’s face too short and broad.
Another evidence of the adoption of a lower coiffure is seen in a new double braid which is laid on the head lengthwise. While this dressing is considered a high one, according to the present height of the fashionable dressing, it is at the same time a low one, extending as it does from the top of the head to the neck. The plaits are laid side by side, with the ends turned in at the bottom, and the side part is held to the hair by two exquisitely polished steel pins.
Puffs introduced in the front of the pompadour are fashionable and add to the fullness of this popular dressing. They are not carried on down the back from this point, however, but lose themselves in the clusters of puffs at the crown. If greater width is desired than that which is gained by the adjustable puffs, a braid is first fastened on. This supplies a firm foundation for the other pieces, while the ends, which are separated into small puffs, are made a part of the coronet. If an irregular line in front is becoming, then the puffs are arranged a trifle higher at the left side than elsewhere. Just here the pompadour may be broken and a puff inserted here with one just back of it to give some height.
Ribbon entwined in the hair is a favorite trimming for the evening coiffure of fashionable women of almost every country. It is easily managed with the coiffure now in vogue, and it seems to suit faces which find this dressing of the hair becoming. If the ribbon be threaded through the maze of puffs and pompadour in the front, it is frequently finished back of the ears in small bows. At other times, each end is concealed beneath a cluster of flowers.
There is a hint that with the dropping of the coiffure center to within a few inches of the neck, some of the fashionable false pieces will be abandoned and the hair will be drawn back lower over the ears, with the ends gathered loosely just below the crown arid then pinned in puffs or irregular knots to the head. Already some of the fashionable French women are wearing this coiffure with stunning effect.
It is so much simpler than the one seen everywhere during last winter that much hoped for it, and the fact that it requires a well-shaped head to wear it to advantage makes it all the more a style to be followed where possible.
Color illustration: ‘Reginella’ by Jeanne Paquin, fashion designer, Paris, 1908.