One of my favorite hair and fashion related books is a history of fashion dating from 1867 to 1898.
I adore looking at the various hairstyles worn with the fabulous gowns of that era.
When I started researching this article about the origins of bangs with hairstyles, I went to my favorite Victorian Fashion book and looked at the hairstyles from that era.
It was truly fascinating to find the ways Victorian women adopted various bangs and forehead fringes.
While many hair and beauty watchers attribute the bang hair trendsetters to celebs like actress Louise Brooks (The Bob), Audrey Hepburn or fashion model Jane Birkin, bangs predated all of those lovely stars.
I found a lovely image of 1867 Victorian women (image to the side) wearing gorgeous Winter Bonnets with an array of bangs cascading out from the top brim onto the forehead.
Two of the women had an array of tight ringlets forming bangs that ended a few inches above their eyebrows.
The ringlets were perfectly formed and extended from ear to ear across the top of the forehead.
The Victorian Ringlet naturally curly bangs reminded me of a photo I saw of actress Minnie Driver in August of 2005 when she attended Foam Magazine's One Year Anniversary Party.
Minnie has naturally curly hair. She appeared in one photo with an array of tight ringlets extending across her forehead. In the photo Minnie looked very much like the Victorian model except for the Victorian bonnet and clothing.
A few of the other Victorian women appearing in the same photo with the ringlet bang model had very tight finger style curls which were styled to burst from under the bonnets into a form of curled bangs.
Pin Curl & Finger Waved Bangs
Two years after I found the ringlet bangs I discovered 1869 Victorian models who had traded in their tight ringlets for softer and fuller pin curls which were worn spilling out from under the brim of their bonnets onto their foreheads in a form of curly bang.
The pin curls appeared stacked almost like the modern version of layered bangs, except that the bangs were tightly curled. It was a fascinating style and one that I have not seen in current hairstyles.
In 1871 I found a photo of a Victorian woman (image to the side) wearing her very wavy coiffed hair with an array of carefully constructed finger waves which nestled along her forehead in a form of faux bang.
Having personally struggled in cosmetology school to learn the official way of sculpting finger waves, I was in complete awe of this particular bang hairstyle. I know to create an intricate style like this one had to have taken quite a bit of time and energy.
Were Victorian women the first to ever adopt forehead hugging hairstyles? Probably not.
If photos of cavewomen were available we might be able to find our earliest sisters rocking some leaf and twig encrusted bang hair designs. Of course back in the stone ages bang styles were limited and were related to the person's natural texture.
Bangs did not originate with Louise Brooks, although she certainly made them popular for her era, in the 1930s.
Even Audrey looked amazing with bangs as did the gorgeous fashion muse Jane Birkin. Photos of Jane still circulate with the beautiful model wearing full lush forehead hugging bangs.
What I found fascinating about the Victorian hair bangs is how relevant they are in current times as featured at HairBoutique.com.
As demonstrated by some of the Victorian ladies included in this article, it's obvious bangs may work well for some hair types, but not so well for others.
Layered bangs were not presented in the book. However, I did find bangs from the Victorian era which incorporated natural hair textures ranging from very tight ringlets to waves and straight tresses.
In current times hair experts suggest any type of bangs work best for people with naturally straight hair.
This is mostly true, although I've personally found it dangerous to make any blanket statements about hair styles of any type.
That didn't seem to be the case back in the 1880s when women didn't have easy access to relaxers, chemical straighteners, hot flat irons or blow dryers.
Somehow they managed. I have to say I love all the different Victorian influenced bang styles shown throughout this article.
Note: For more tips on straightening bangs read Bangs - The Straight Scoop
Bangs In 1898
Like hairstyles in current times, I noticed a definite progression of different bang styles from 1867 until 1898.
I was fascinated to find an image from 1898 which featured straight side-swept bangs on a woman wearing all black to signify she was in mourning.
Her bangs spilled out from the rim of her mourning bonnet appearing to have a slight wave to it.
The bangs actually provided a softening effect for the woman in mourning. Bangs often soften and help to provide an element of balance.
A series of bangs ranging from tightly wound ringlets to mostly straight side-swept bangs were shown in the book Victoria Fashions & Costumes From Harper's Bazaar 1867 - 1898.
It was very interesting to follow the progression of different Victoria hairstyles during a twenty year period and be able to study how bangs played a part during the time period.
The book also demonstrates the existence of bangs long before the era of Louise Brooks who popularized bangs with her famous bob hairstyle.
- Revised Publication Date: 06/22/13
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