In the 1600s it was curl craziness: curls hanging over the ears, curls tiered above the head like a wedding cake. In the 1700s it was white powdered hair in rows of tight sausage curls aka wigs. In the first half of the nineteenth century it was little chestnut curls, either tumbling or piled against the head.
And then it became an endless parade of chignons and pompadours, of glorious braided knots that with the intricasy of their pins and combs stayed remarkably in place and without any hairspray. The second half of the 1800s is my favorite hair age, mainly because of the exhibition of what one could truly do with natural hair.
Explore the intricasy and beautiful simplicity of piled up hair in these vintage portraits, all authentically dated, out of my own humble collection:
This young lady gives new meaning to the braided topknot. Circa 1878.