My great-grandmother Charlotte Atkins Hughes had these pictures in her album. We don’t know who the young woman with the extraordinary hair was, but the photographs were probably taken in Hughsonville, N.Y. , summer of 1923.
Charlotte told my mother that “cootie garages” were all the range when she was a young woman. I always thought she meant this style, or this style, but these photographs show something altogether more extraordinary.
Has anyone seen anything like this? I can’t imagine how she got it to stay, I thought hairspray was a later invention. Full images below:
I’m interested in collecting evidence of the way women of the mid-19th century used their hairstyles to convey a spirit of transgression. I first approached this question as a young Civil War reenactor, and I intend for this page to be useful to them. I will add quotations and images to this post as I find them.
On Emma Bovary’s experiments with stylishness, published 1856, France: “Often, she changed her coiffure: she did her hair à la chinoise, in loose curls, in plaits; she parted her hair at the side and rolled it under, like a man.”
Flaubert, Gustave. Madame Bovary. (Penguin Classics: 1992), 116.
I produced a few seasons’ worth of caps for Brooklyn-based millinery Brookes Boswell. Ship & Shape is running a limited-edition special run of ikat cotton caps (shown above) this summer. This was my first official experience doing a small run, mass production-style.
We also did an assortment of unisex wool caps. My favorite, the Bike Cap w/Earflaps, is shown below.
I took inspiration for this bodice from this photograph, lifted long ago from Ebay (apologies to the source for losing your reference).
Woman from Indiana, 1890s
I started with the Past Patterns Eretia Bodice #212, but after too much fussing I ended up more or less draping it on the dressform. The bodice has a boned lining which closes separately from the silk plaid. The sleeves are lined with a crisp, lightweight linen, and I rough-pleated a double layer of stiffened muslin around the top of the armscye to aid in keeping the sleeves poufed.
I used the Wethersfield Pocket Kit from the Southcoast Historical Society. Sadly, the historical society looks to be no longer putting out patterns. Hallie Larkin did the pattern, so I’ll link to her instead.
The kit came with embroidery instructions, but because this was my first big embroidery project I used all chain-stitch (which I am good at, instead of french knots, which I am not). That may or may not be period correct, I don’t know, and welcome advice on the subject.
This outfit was for my sister, Christmas 2009. The blouse pattern is Advance 8787 and the skirt is Simplicity 3983. The blouse is a modern silk crepe de chine, and the skirt is some sort of polyester crepe.
This past Autumn I worked on a number of commercial sets as the on-site tailor. The stylist brings about a gazillion clothing items to the shoot, the director chooses what they want, and then I do a quick fitting and alteration.