The Costumer's Manifesto: 18th Century Women's Hair and Wigs
18th Century Women's Hair and Wigs
"The Ladies' Head-Dress"
Give Chloe a bushel of horsehair and wool
Of paste and pomatum a pound
Ten yards of gay ribbon to deck her sweet scull
And gauze to encompass it round.
Let her gown be tucked up to the hip on each side
Shoes too high for to walk or to jump
And to deck sweet charmer complete for a bride
Let the cork cutter make her a rump
Thus finished in taste while on Chloe you gaze
you may take the dear charmer for life
but never undress her, for out of her stays
Youll find you have lost half your wife
The Lady's Magazine, 1777
Women of the 18th Century usually wore their natural hair, although this hair was often augmented with pads and/or pinned on extensions. Early 18th Century women were still wearing the high piled "fontage" hairstyle of the late 17th Century. This style was superseded by 1710 by a close to the head style usually covered with a small cap.
In 1715, when powdering became fashionable for mens wigs it also was done with womens natural hair. As with men, formal occasions demanded powder, informal ones might or might not depending on the preference and pretensions of the wearer.
Girl with a Kitten
Madame Henriette En Flore
Close to the head styles were prevalent until 1760 when the coiffure gradually begun to rise with the aid of hair pads and pomade made from apples, lard, and floral oils.
copy of headresses included in The Ladies' Toilet or the Art of Head-Dressing in it's Utmost Beauty and Extent, 1768, in Costume in England, by F.W. Fairholt, 1860
Hairstyles continued to rise steadily until 1778 when high fashion was achieved by as much as three feet of hair above the head surmounted by an elaborate headdress, of fabric, feathers, flowers and pearls. Naval and land battles were commemorated on these huge creations which offered such scope to the millinery artists of the time.
After 1780, the emphasis slowly shifted from the hair to the hats and womens hair was dressed in softer more natural fashion.
File:AccessoriesWigs498055 small.jpg English hair and hat of 1780s
From 1780 to 90 huge hats were the focus, then in the 1790s, the hats and hairstyles both shrank down into close to the head styles derived from Greek sources.
The History of Underclothes The History of Underclothes
Corsets and Crinolines Corsets and Crinolines