2 La Creme
2 La Creme

100-Year-Old Hairstyle Trends for Hairstyle Appreciation Day

2 La Creme
2 La Creme

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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Matthew Stockman, Getty Images
Why Do Wimbledon Players Wear All White?
Matthew Stockman, Getty Images
Matthew Stockman, Getty Images

by James Hunt

Wimbledon's dress code is one of the most famous in sports. The rules, which specify that players must dress "almost entirely in white," are so strict that the referee can force players to change under threat of disqualification. In the past, many of the sport's top players have found themselves on the wrong end of this rule—but where did it come from?

It's believed that the rule stems from the 1800s, when tennis was a genteel sport played primarily at social gatherings, particularly by women. The sight of sweaty patches on colored clothing was considered to be inappropriate, so the practice of wearing predominantly white clothing—a.k.a. tennis whites—was adopted to avoid embarrassment. The All England Club, which hosts Wimbledon, was founded in 1868 (initially as the All England Croquet Club) and introduced Lawn Tennis in 1875.

Quite simply, the club is just a stickler for tradition. Recently issued guidelines for clothing include statements such as "White does not include off-white or cream," that colored trim can be "no wider than one centimeter," and that "undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including due to perspiration)" are not allowed. That's right: even players' underwear has to be white.

The rules have rubbed many famous tennis players the wrong way. In 2013, former Wimbledon champion Roger Federer was told not to wear his orange-soled trainers after they were judged to have broken The All England Club's dress code. In 2002, Anna Kournikova was forced to replace her black shorts with a pair of white ones borrowed from her coach. And Andre Agassi refused to play at Wimbledon in the earlier years of his career because his signature denim shorts and garish tops were banned.

The all-white clothing rule isn't the only piece of baggage that accompanies Wimbledon's long history. It's the only Grand Slam tournament that's still played on a grass court, and the only one that schedules a day off on the middle Sunday of the tournament.

However, the club is not immune to change. In 2003 a long-standing tradition of requiring players to bow or curtsey to the Royal Box on the Centre Court was discontinued by the Duke of Kent (who also happens to be The All England Club's president) who deemed it anachronistic—though the requirement does stand if the Queen or Prince of Wales is in attendance—and in 2007 the prizes for the men's and women's tournaments were made equal. The all-white clothing rule may be annoying for players, but at least the club has shown it can change with the times in the areas where it really matters.

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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iStock
An Eco-Friendly Startup Is Converting Banana Peels Into Fabric for Clothes
iStock
iStock

A new startup has found a unique way to tackle pollution while simultaneously supporting sustainable fashion. Circular Systems, a “clean-tech new materials company,” is transforming banana byproducts, pineapple leaves, sugarcane bark, and flax and hemp stalk into natural fabrics, according to Fast Company.

These five crops alone meet more than twice the global demand for fibers, and the conversion process provides farmers with an additional revenue stream, according to the company’s website. Fashion brands like H&M and Levi’s are already in talks with Circular Systems to incorporate some of these sustainable fibers into their clothes.

Additionally, Circular Systems recycles used clothing to make new fibers, and another technology called Orbital spins those textile scraps and crop byproducts together to create a durable type of yarn.

People eat about 100 billion bananas per year globally, resulting in 270 million tons of discarded peels. (Americans alone consume 3.2 billion pounds of bananas annually.) Although peels are biodegradable, they emit methane—a greenhouse gas—during decomposition. Crop burning, on the other hand, is even worse because it causes significant air pollution.

As Fast Company points out, using leaves and bark to create clothing may seem pretty groundbreaking, but 97 percent of the fibers used in clothes in 1960 were natural. Today, that figure is only 35 percent.

However, Circular Systems has joined a growing number of fashion brands and textile companies that are seeking out sustainable alternatives. Gucci has started incorporating a biodegradable material into some of its sunglasses, Bolt Threads invented a material made from mushroom filaments, and pineapple “leather” has been around for a couple of years now.

[h/t Fast Company]

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