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Vintage hairstyles: How women in San Francisco accessorized their hair back in the olden days

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Hairstyles for women from 1902

Vintage hairstyles in San Francisco: Use pearls to accessorize outfits & hair (1901)

A rope of pearls for corsage and coiffure

Fashions decree makes their exquisite pallor the crowning touch of the toilette

That exquisite pallor particular to pearls has been one of their greatest attractions to women, and since the stormy days of Cleopatra — and who knows how long before? — pearls have held their own in the affection of the sex.

Today, to an elegant frock and a fashionable and becoming coiffure, a string of pearls brings the one touch of luxuriousness which may not be at all necessary to the satisfaction or the wearer, but, which will produce an added glow of conscious superiority. All women love to be well dressed, and no one can hope to attain this end without certain chic attention bestowed upon the dressing and the decoration of the hair.

The festoon of pearls is always graceful, and often the quaintest Old World effects are obtainable by looping the pearls about the soft folds of the hair and bringing the ends together under the knot of the hair. That is, when the coiffure is done low on the neck and waved loosely back from the forehead.

How to use pearls to accessorize outfits and hairstyles 1901 (3)

How to use pearls to accessorize outfits and hairstyles 1901 (2)

For high coiffures, when the knot is made not too far front, two loops at pearls laid over the natural waves above the forehead, with one wound around the knot itself and two others caught loosely against the softness of the back hair, is an absolute novelty and one that is very charming.

Just a word here as to the pins that are so unobtrusive and yet so all-important an item in the coiffures of the smartly groomed woman. Never under any consideration should one use wire hairpins, except, of course, those infinitesimal ones called the “invisible.” The imitation shell hairpins are ever so much better taste, when one cannot keep a stock of real ones on hand.

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Many a girl goes “short” on matinee caramels, to keep her supply of real shell pins undiminished. A great many people are prone to think that there is no difference whatsoever, so long as the imitations are fairly presentable, but there is a difference, and just the one that you’ll notice between the boots that you buy ready-made, and the snugly-fitting ones built over your own particular and exclusive last.

Much might be said, and most appropriately, on the care of the hair, but certainly, the maid who is desirous enough of looking her best and of wearing a fillet of pearls in her coiffure has that same hair shining and soft from the constant grooming she has given it.

Simplicity in decoration always results in the happiest effects, and the festooning loops of pearls can be worn in half a dozen ways.

The woman who owns a lustrous string of beautiful pearls can vary the mode of wearing them in the hair, around the throat, or caught among the dainty laces of an evening gown, to suit her individual taste and the occasion. They are appropriate for any affair.

How to use pearls to accessorize outfits and hairstyles 1901 (1)


hairstyle forehead band

Vintage hairstyles in San Francisco: Banding the forehead

Fashions in hairdressing take queer and quick moves, and this year there is a law that says that the hair must be done in very elaborate ways. The back is arranged with combs, the top with flowers and aigrettes and with bows and pins.

And now, it is the forehead which must be dressed.

Woman, busy though she is, has been compelled to consider the adorning of the neck, the wrists, the instep and the ears.

But until lately the forehead escaped attention. A few stray hairs were curled upon it, or that which was already a low pompadour was coaxed to lie still lower. But this season the forehead will be distinctly dressed, and not carelessly, either, but in a certain and very definite way. It will be conspicuously adorned, and you will see its decoration from afar.

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It was a beautiful Washington belle, who dressed her shoulders low and placed a wreath of roses over each shoulder strap. Then she coiled her hair way down or her neck. And over the top of her head she placed a narrow strap of white ribbon. The hair, which was parted in a Cleo de Merode style, was brushed down each side in such a plain and simple way that both ears were covered. There was not the suspicion of a wave in the hair.

Across the forehead, there was banded a strap of white ribbon — and over each ear, just where the ribbons met, there was sentineled a white rose.

This white rose, standing guard over each ear, coming at each side of the head, low and a little front, made a charming ornament. And so did the strap of ribbon across the forehead, which was the feature of the coiffure.

Vintage hairstyles: Banding the forehead


Vintage hairstyles: Victorian curls (1902)

Vintage hairstyles: Curls

Milady’s winsome curl: In a variety of new forms, it again holds sway

“The beauty of a silken lock turned like a perfect rhyme”

Where woman’s coiffure is concerned, the curl is still queen. The height of its power seems not yet to have been reached, in spite of a season’s reign. In a variety of new forms, this little fascinator bids fair to hold sway over feminine fancy and the hearts of the opposite sex.

Never did woman add more potently to the charm of her evening dress than when she borrowed from the ladies of the court of Louis XVI this accompaniment to the low-cut gown. There are few types of beauty which it will not adorn with advantage.

The curl seems to adapt itself to the individuality of every owner. It is sweet and girlish for the debutante, and, in another form, adds dignity to the matron. It is stately, coy, artistic or conventional, as each case demands.

Vintage hairstyles: Victorian curls (1902)

In any form, the low coiffure takes ten years from a woman’s age. This is one reason why she will cling to it as long as Dame Fashion will at all permit. Then it is undoubtedly true that this form of hairdress is far more becoming to the majority of women than is the hair worn high.

A leading artist in this line explains it very simply: “In the low coiffure, the hair is drawn back very much as nature intended it should fall. It is reasonable that this should be more, beautiful on most women than when the hair is drawn and caught in directions nature never intended it should be. It is difficult to improve upon nature.”

Vintage hairstyles: Victorian curls (1902)

But it is the tall, stately woman who benefits most from the low coiffure. She, indeed, never entirely forswears fealty to it, even when the high artificial effects are in vogue. The hair worn low, with an evening gown, hides the defect of a neck which is rather too long, as nothing else can do.

For the young girl whose neck is still a trifle too slender or undeveloped, the hair, gathered in a knot, high on the head, and then falling in a curl or two to the shoulder line, gives the necessary roundness and full effect. Only those whose necks approach perfection of form can afford to despise the beauty giving touch of the curl.

For the woman who finds it necessary to add to her apparent inches, the proper effect of height is obtained with the low coiffure by waving the hair high about the forehead before drawing it back. It is the endless variety of the front hairdress that makes the low coiffure possible with any type of face.

Vintage hairstyles: Victorian curls (1902)

Wave is imperative

A wave there always is — that is essential. And it should be a loose, natural wave. Not hard or crimpy. Indeed, from the face to the coil is one immense wave in all the smartest coiffures. But the wave may, flow back smoothly from the face, or, equally correct, may rise to the proportions of a pompadour about the face.

The newest curl is much shorter and more slender than formerly. That known as the “Janice Meredith,” a heavy bunch of curls falling over the shoulder or far down the back, is decidedly passe.

Vintage hairstyles: Victorian curls (1902)

In one of the latest designs, the hair is waved back all over the head, that which falls being divided into two long curls. These are now caught up loosely and entwined, so as to produce the effect of a bow, with large loops and small ends.

The loops are then fastened flat and low down on the head with large shell combs, one comb holding each loop. The short ends form two little curls, which hang daintily from beneath, barely reaching below the neck. When the hair is too long to make only the one bow, it is still further entwined and pinned down over the back of the head in the same ribboned effect.

The appearance is full and soft and flat. In all the smartest designs now, the aim is to make the coil fit low and close to the back of the head, no matter to what height it may be puffed on top. Nothing is more important than that a hard, bunchy look shall be avoided in the coiffure which is worn with a curl.

Vintage hairstyles: Victorian curls (1902)

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