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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Give Me a Head with Hair: The Sequel

Last month I wrote about the popularity of hairpieces among Victorian women, since they played a significant role in our recent release, Dora Deane. That was great fun to do because I never tire of browsing through vintage fashion trends. And while the ladies' hairstyles get more attention than the men's, that doesn't mean they were the only ones who got to have a little fun! In fact, hair was just as important to Victorian men, and in the novel Eugenia Deane takes great pleasure in putting down one of her would-be suitors as "a perfect bore—a baboon, with more hair than brains." Though men tended to wear the hair on their heads rather uniformly (above the collar and parted on the side, with or without a wave, and a bit of pomade or wax to hold it in place), they were really able to express themselves by the manner in which they wore their facial hair.


When facial hair started making a comeback after a trend toward clean-shaven faces in the middle of the nineteenth century, guys embraced beards and mustaches with gusto, and soon beards became seen as evidence of masculinity and manly courage. World leaders and public figures were quick to adopt the trend toward more facial hair, adding to the notion of strength and virility, and men everywhere were inspired to emulate them. And there was a growing market for products to help men get those sought-after thick and silky whiskers.




Styles in beards and mustaches varied widely, with several of them being in fashion at any given time, so a Victorian man never lacked for options if he wanted to change his look. 

 
 

There were literally thousands of variations in facial hair fashion, but a few gained global popularity:

mutton chops
Dundrearys or Picadilly weepers
walrus mustache

handlebar mustache
 
long goatee
the imperial

And finally, as the nineteenth century drew to a close, the clean-shaven trend reemerged. Of course, beards and mustaches have maintained popularity throughout the twentieth and into the twenty-first century, though (thankfully!) with much tamer styles than our Victorian ancestors sported!

POSTED BY:  Jenny Q



Dora Deane by Mary Jane Holmes
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