Pads and frames of false hair helped the hairstyle of this era
appear full and soft with the promise of being luxurious caught up tresses.
The pompadour style continued in the early Edwardian years and was achieved
not only by supports, but by back combing. All the back hair was pulled
together into a plait or flat coil and drawn onto the crown of the head.
By 1902 a product called a transformation was being used. Made
of natural hair the product was waved and could literally transform any
hairstyle into one of abundant wavy hair. The transformation support often
referred to as a pompadour frame was easy to buy. It was used as a base
for the style and a woman’s own hair was built up and smoothed over the base.
The volume these contraptions allowed, meant that the hats had a great
support to rest on and so they gave an impression of often appearing to be
hovering when they rested on a firm foundation.
Other frames including the Marie Stuart frame like
the one below gave a heart shaped Elizabethan look to the hair once
covered over with billows of hair natural or false.
Personal hair combings (collected from the hairbrush by a
woman or by her maid) were
added when extra matching hair was needed to get just the right effect.
False curls, switches and frizzle fringes were all available to make styling
False frizzettes, false switches and plaits (1) ensured a wide
range of coiffure styling. Women also used extra curls and small wave
pieces (2 and 3) that they pinned in to fill in gaps in their
The hair roll support on the end (4) ensured the
Edwardians were able to make big fat sausage curls all around the head.
These hair roll supports came in all sizes from about 4 inches to 18
inches in length.
There was a wider range of hair styles than we generally think
of when we imagine an Edwardian woman in our mind's eye. We tend to
think of someone who looks like this sketch, but there was a huge range of
variation in styles then just as there is today.
at the header on this page to see an unusual twist on the pompadour theme.
That style is reminiscent of 1830's Apollo Knots.
At night hair had to be even higher. So plumes and
ornaments that helped achieve the illusion of height were de rigueur.
Edwardian Era Hair Styles and Edwardian Evening
Hair With Ornamentation.
Plates of elaborate very late Victorian and Edwardian hairstyling
using hair ornamentation, aigrettes, feathers and frame supports.
Plates circa 1900.
Click thumbnails for glorious detail.
For information specific to this late Edwardian era, you
may find it useful to read the general page on La Belle
Époque 1895-1914 Fashion and my other web pages in the same section.
Most women still curled their hair using curling tongs which
their sometimes zealous maids overheated and cause many a singed head.
But a new feature was on the horizon and this was the Nestlé permanent wave.
Women would sit attached to Karl Nessler’s machine for up to 12 hours to
achieve an early permanent and this endurance test can compare to some of the
hair extension sittings that people go through today. Women are ever
vain for the sake of fashion!
Width was essential to all hair styling of the period.
The hats were so wide they demanded support. The transformation frames women
used under the hair and which they then covered with their hair were
important in acting as a rigid support for a heavily adorned hat.
By 1911 hairstyling began to follow the natural head shape
much more and finally the ears began to be covered. New styles followed
the trends for Mediterranean and near eastern influence.
This all led to the
Grecian styling which took the hair to the back of the head. This style
was usual by 1913 and remained a popular and unfussy way of drawing the hair
back during war years. The hairstyle on the woman below is quite similar to
styles worn until 1918.
Attractive bands or bandeaux made of embellished fabric were
first seen during this timeframe and they continued as hair ornamentation
well into the 1920s. Many of them acted like swathes of fabric after
styles set by Poiret. Some of the headbands were very narrow jewel
strips and matching combs completed a hair set. None of the hairstyles
of the day would have been accomplished without firm hair pins made of much
heavier wire gauge than those used in hairpins today.
Read more detail about the Edwardian hat in the
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