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100-Year-Old Hairstyle Trends for Hairstyle Appreciation Day

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Whether you wear your luscious locks long or short, straight or curly, high or flat or all business in the front and party in the back, April 30 is Hairstyle Appreciation Day. Which means it’s a day of celebration for manes of all manner. (Yes, even the mullet.) 

Here, we track down 10 female hair trends that pre-date The Rachel by more than a century. None of which (save the timeless Bob) we’re particularly keen on seeing make a comeback.

1. Sausage Curls


Courtesy of The Barrington House Educational Center

“The tighter the curl the more stylish the girl” seemed to be the motto in the late 1830s, when sausage curls became all the rage. But their reign didn’t end with the Early Victorian period; actress Mary Pickford—America’s first “America’s Sweetheart,” a.k.a. “The girl with the curls”—brought a slightly softer style back in the early 1900s.

2. The Victorian Updo


Courtesy of HairStyleTwist

Both practical and sexist, women in the mid- to late-1800s grew their hair long but opted to wear it swept up—typically with a little poof and some curls to cover the forehead—so that it didn’t interfere with their chores around the house.

3. The Marcel Wave

Courtesy of 1920-30.com

A precursor to the perm, the Marcel Wave is named for French hairstylist François Marcel, who invented the process for this crimped style in 1872. Created with the help of heated curling irons, the style remained popular for more than five decades.

4. The Merry Widow

Courtesy of Anything Goes

To be clear: the Merry Widow in question is the enormous, plumed hat that replaced the need for much in the way of hairstyling (and made for one hell of a big-haired look). Prevalent during the Edwardian days, the look came about in 1907, following the immense popularity of a London staging of Franz Lehár’s operetta of the same name. The hat’s designer, Lucy Duff-Gordon, remarked of the trend: “Every woman who wanted to be in the swim had to have a ‘Merry Widow Hat,’ and we made thousands of pounds through the craze, which lasted longer than most fashion crazes, for the charm of the play kept it alive.”

5. The Pompadour

Courtesy of British Photodetective

Elvis Presley may have rocked the style back into popularity in the late 1950s, but the pompadour has been around since the 18th century, and is named for Madame de Pompadour, King Louis XV’s mistress. In the early 1900s, women resorted to all sorts of drastic measures to enhance the height of this vertically-aspirational style, from ratting their hair to inserting rolls of padding.

6. The Low Pompadour

Courtesy of British Photodetective

While the true pompadour was often reserved for more formal occasions, the Low Pompadour—in which hair was rolled over a crescent-shaped pad in order to create a serious front poof—was easier to maintain and, therefore, suitable for daily wear.

7. The Gibson Girl

Courtesy of Gertrude Käsebier/Social Serendip

In the earliest part of the 20th century, the feminine ideal came courtesy of illustrator Charles Dana Gibson, whose pen-and-ink sketches for top publications of the time—including Life, Harper’s Weekly, and Collier’s—depicted the American woman as independent and strong. Few women better exemplified the “Gibson Girl” than Evelyn Nesbit, an actress/model who became the center of a scandalous murder trial when her millionaire husband murdered her lover, famed architect Stanford White, atop Madison Square Garden. Piled on top of the head with some tendrils hanging down, the effect was much looser than that of the Victorian era, perhaps as a metaphor that the times were a-changin’.

8. Curtain Hair

Courtesy of Social Serendip

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how this harsh coiffure got its name. The styling is simple: 1. Part hair in the middle. 2. Pray the result looks better on you than it does this woman.

9. The Bob

Courtesy of Adventures of the Reluctant Housewife

Even today, the Bob—a shorter cut, usually angled around the jawline—has the ability to grab headlines, whenever a female celebrity opts for a chop. The cut caused controversy in the 1920s, when it was seen as a political statement of women asserting their equality to men. But it all started much more innocently than that, in 1915, when dancer Irene Castle bobbed her hair in preparation for an appendectomy, in an effort to make her recovery easier.

10. The Eton Crop

Courtesy of Ammo

The Eton Crop emerged as a term in 1926, when it was used by a journalist in The Times to describe the super-short, severely slicked-down style that was gaining popularity among women. Sultry songstress Josephine Baker was perhaps its most famous proponent

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Big Questions
Who Was Chuck Taylor?
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From Betty Crocker to Tommy Bahama, plenty of popular labels are "named" after fake people. But one product with a bona fide backstory to its moniker is Converse's Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers. The durable gym shoes are beloved by everyone from jocks to hipsters. But who's the man behind the cursive signature on the trademark circular ankle patch?

As journalist Abraham Aamidor recounted in his 2006 book Chuck Taylor, All Star: The True Story of the Man behind the Most Famous Athletic Shoe in History, Chuck Taylor was a former pro basketball player-turned-Converse salesman whose personal brand and tireless salesmanship were instrumental to the shoes' success.

Charles Hollis Taylor was born on July 24, 1901, and raised in southern Indiana. Basketball—the brand-new sport invented by James Naismith in 1891—was beginning to take the Hoosier State by storm. Taylor joined his high school team, the Columbus High School Bull Dogs, and was named captain.

After graduation, instead of heading off to college, Taylor launched his semi-pro career playing basketball with the Columbus Commercials. He’d go on to play for a handful of other teams across the Midwest, including the the Akron Firestone Non-Skids in Ohio, before finally moving to Chicago in 1922 to work as a sales representative for the Converse Rubber Shoe Co. (The company's name was eventually shortened to Converse, Inc.)

Founded in Malden, Massachusetts, in 1908 as a rubber shoe manufacturer, Converse first began producing canvas shoes in 1915, since there wasn't a year-round market for galoshes. They introduced their All-Star canvas sports shoes two years later, in 1917. It’s unclear whether Chuck was initially recruited to also play ball for Converse (by 1926, the brand was sponsoring a traveling team) or if he was simply employed to work in sales. However, we do know that he quickly proved himself to be indispensable to the company.

Taylor listened carefully to customer feedback, and passed on suggestions for shoe improvements—including more padding under the ball of the foot, a different rubber compound in the sole to avoid scuffs, and a patch to protect the ankle—to his regional office. He also relied on his basketball skills to impress prospective clients, hosting free Chuck Taylor basketball clinics around the country to teach high school and college players his signature moves on the court.

In addition to his myriad other job duties, Taylor played for and managed the All-Stars, a traveling team sponsored by Converse to promote their new All Star shoes, and launched and helped publish the Converse Basketball Yearbook, which covered the game of basketball on an annual basis.

After leaving the All-Stars, Taylor continued to publicize his shoe—and own personal brand—by hobnobbing with customers at small-town sporting goods stores and making “special appearances” at local basketball games. There, he’d be included in the starting lineup of a local team during a pivotal game.

Taylor’s star grew so bright that in 1932, Converse added his signature to the ankle patch of the All Star shoes. From that point on, they were known as Chuck Taylor All-Stars. Still, Taylor—who reportedly took shameless advantage of his expense account and earned a good salary—is believed to have never received royalties for the use of his name.

In 1969, Taylor was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The same year, he died from a heart attack on June 23, at the age of 67. Around this time, athletic shoes manufactured by companies like Adidas and Nike began replacing Converse on the court, and soon both Taylor and his namesake kicks were beloved by a different sort of customer.

Still, even though Taylor's star has faded over the decades, fans of his shoe continue to carry on his legacy: Today, Converse sells more than 270,000 pairs of Chuck Taylors a day, 365 days a year, to retro-loving customers who can't get enough of the athlete's looping cursive signature.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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This Just In
This Jeans-Inside-Your-Jeans Look Will Cost You $695
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Natasha Zinko

Besides a few updates here and there, the classic style of denim blue jeans hasn’t changed much since the late 19th century. Now, a London-based fashion designer wants to disrupt the wardrobe staple. Their revolutionary new idea? A second waistband sewed on top of the first one.

According to Mashable, these high-waisted double jeans from Natasha Zinko are retailing for $695. Wearing the pants makes it look like you forgot you already had jeans on and put on a second pair on top of them. But buying two pairs of designer jeans to wear at once would probably be less expensive than owning this item. The double jeans are actually one garment, with the high-waisted inner pair stopping at the hips. Boasting seven pockets, they’re not entirely impractical, but having to undo two sets of buttons and zippers sounds like more trouble than it’s worth.

Model wearing double jeans.
Natasha Zinko
There is a market for high-end blue jeans disguised as fashion crimes, as Nordstrom proved earlier this year with their $425 pants covered in fake dirt. The Natasha Zinko double jeans have already sold out on shopbop.com.

[h/t Mashable]

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