Accessories are the definitive way to absolutely transform one basic outfit into a myriad of other distinctive looks that are characterized by the precise flavor that the piece imparts. They are the greatest secret tool of the savvy fashionista–especially one on a budget, as with only a few style basics, the right accessories can make it look like there’s an unending supply, somewhere. Accessorizing requires some skill, a keen eye and staying up on all the latest options. The most readily thought of accessories tend to be jewelry, shoes, purses, hats, scarves and gloves, with little or no particular thoughts of accessories expressly for the hair. Hair accessories have become big business, and the varieties continue to build, as interest continues to grow.
Hair Accessories Through Time
Going back to the Renaissance and Middle Ages, hair accessories were prominent, with hats and specific ornamentation like a variety of snoods (hair nets,) and bun covers worn for both practical and aesthetic reasons. These early hand-knotted nets were typically brown, and later made fancier by the addition of jewels and golden threads interwoven throughout. As time moved forward, these rather primitive hair net accessories featured more and more customized decoration, with thicker cords, ribbons and beading decorative add-ons. During the Victorian and Edwardian eras, hair and hair/head embellishments became big. We remember the Gibson Girl, who took hair accessorizing to a whole new level, with bigger hair and bigger pieces added for flair. As hats of this period became larger and larger, hairstyles (and lovely, decorative hat pins) were developed to support them, like the Pompadour. There were large fresh flower blooms, all types of feathers and plumage, large shell, amber and bone hairpins, and a variety of decorative combs, such as the Mantilla combs. New, synthetic materials like bakelite and celluloid helped to broaden the scope of hair accessory designs. Many women owned “Hair receivers,” which were decorative pots into which their hair from combs and brushes would be stored, and when there was enough, the hair would be formed into “rats,” which were used as underlays or armatures beneath the hair, to create more natural looking fullness.
Not That Much Has Changed
Fast forward to the winter of 2015-2016, and we find that with minimal exception, today’s women are still incorporating the very same style elements for hair–and right down to the “rats” to plump up hairstyles, but we generally buy them, rather than saving them from our brushes. As with many hairstyles worn by our predecessors, there seems to be an endless stream of new updo styles, and particularly braided ones–that serve as the ideal spot for one or more attractive accessories.
Looking at headband options, you’ll find a wealth of designs that can range from diminutive, barely there metal materials uniquely crafted, and often embellished with gemstones and more–to larger, more head-covering headbands of fabric. Metalwork in headbands comes close to taking on an almost “tiara-like” appearance, from a menagerie of stars, swirls and rhinestones that add instant brilliance to any look. The fabric types can be the more familiar round, completely connected piece that stretches for wear, and there are a lot of really cool things going on with the covered headbands that run from behind one ear to the other. To these basic covered hair bands, there are different effects with braided fabrics and formed bows as attachments that rock a hairstyle. Turban type headbands made of fabric can also feature intricate beading and metallic accents that make many suitable for evening wear. As for colors–most are neutral, ranging from all the metallics to blacks and browns, with occasional red or darker tones here and there, but not much color drama. Be sure to check out pear Tilbury headbands–a top design.
Other Hair Glam
Interesting details are available in this winter’s array of hair clips, with larger basic clips and unique embellishments added to others. Ornamental bobby pins are big business, with beautiful metallic artwork featuring pearl and gemstone accents attached to either the bend, or the entire top side. And things just keep moving along, when it comes to new renditions of the once, lone ponytail-securing elastic band. These–now collectively called hair ties, are coming out in newly formulated materials that serve to effectively grip the hair while being extra kind to it and preventing breakage common with the old school devices. Fabric-covered stretch ponytail holders open up a whole new range of styling options for mix and match with wardrobe items. The trend of repurposing old and vintage brooches as hair accessories continues, with the sky being the limit here. Each one is a timeless representation of old style excellence for today’s hair.