A very wide hat from Delineator, October 1912. Does the model have short hair?
Hats from fashion illustration, Delineator, March 1912.
Thanks to nurseknits for asking about 1912 hairstyles! She spotted the way that the models’ hair looked short in my post about huge 1912 hats, and asked, “What keeps a hat like this on your head, particularly at a flattering angle, if no hat pin can be employed?”
Simple answer: The models didn’t have short hair. It only looks that way because the hair close to the face has been cut short, while the rest of the hair remains long.
Although she has bangs and a few loose wisps on her cheeks, her long hair is rolled and pinned into a bun at the the back of her head. Illus. May 1912.
Older women sometimes clung to the styles of their youth, like these Gibson pompadours:
From a page of advice for older women, Delineator, January 1912.
Mrs. Clara E. Simcox, American fashion designer and writer. Photo from Delineator, February 1912.
But younger women were cutting bangs and wisps around the face.
Bangs and wisps softened the look of the hat. September 1912.
The visitor wears a very wide hat. April 1912. Delineator.
Her curly hair appears loose at the sides. The hostess has bangs and her hair covers her ears; if you look closely, you can see that it’s in some kind of knot at the back.
Notice the small bun at the nape of her neck. April 1912.
Shorter in font, curls and poufs over the ears, and coiled or braided hair in back. Dec. 1912, Delineator.
That model may have run a braid or twist of long hair across the back of her head from ear to ear.
Illustration of girls ages 14 to 19 shows a long braid. Braids could be pinned in place at the back of the head, or long hair could be rolled up. (right.)
This girl in her gym suit has coils of long hair over her ears:
September 1912: Young woman in gym costume.
Sometimes, quite a lot was going on at the back of the head: (Marcel waves, invented in the 1870s, added curls and waves.)
A La Spirite Corset ad, August 1912.
Hair pieces could be purchased or made from your own combings. “Combing jars” are shown in this post.
Ad for E. Burnham hair switches, February 1912.
Ad for Paris Fashion Co hair switches, etc. December 1912.
This 1912 hairdo may look familiar to those who remember the 1960’s “beehive” hair style:
Hair wrapped around the head, January 1912.
Another wrapped hairstyle; from April 1912. If she were wearing a hat, we’d only see the bangs and short, loose hair at the sides.
Bangs and wisps of hair at the cheeks — all you can see when the hat covers the hair. June 1912.
For evening wear, a band of ribbon, fabric, jewels, etc. helped support long hair:
Short fronts, long backs held by hair bands. October 1912.
A beaded band worn with evening dress. November 1912. [When she was broke, actress Ethyl Barrymore used a wreath of oak leaves. (Memories)]
On the cover of Delineator
Woman at a dress fitting, Delineator cover, August 1912.
… the customer has removed the hat she wore to the fitting, and we can see the elaborate way her hair was dressed to fit inside the hat:
The mirror gives a back view of her long hair and hair accessories.
So, when we see a 1912 hairstyle, it is probably not short in back, but only in front.
On this page of hat fashions from Delineator, December 1912,…
Midwinter hats from Paris, Delineator, Dec. 1912, p. 484.
… Hatpins were prominently featured:
Jeweled and enameled hatpins from milliner Camille Roger.
Dancer Irene Castle was famous for popularizing the actual bob (short) hair style during WW I. Munitions and other factory workers in Britain were encouraged to cut off their long hair for safety reasons. Mrs. Castle had cut hers before having surgery, in 1914, but some working women saw how good she looked afterwards and took the plunge.
Mrs. Vernon Castle (Irene Castle) was credited with setting the fashion for bobbed hair. From an ad campaign for Corticelli Silks, Delineator, October 1917.
More than one site says Irene Castle first cut her hair short before going into the hospital for an appendectomy in 1914.
Women and girls often had their long hair cut short during serious illnesses. (Remember the Sherlock Holmes story — “The Copper Beeches,” 1889 — in which a governess is required to cut her hair short and wear a vivid blue dress as a condition of her employment? Spoiler: Her employer is using her to impersonate his daughter, whose hair had been cut short when she was ill, and who has the same reddish hair color.)
The “puffs” or guiches on her cheek are clearly cut shorter than the rest of her hair. Delineator, November 1917.
American women didn’t need to cut their hair for war work until 1917. And many stuck with the front-only cut well into the 1920s.
For more about long/short hair, search witness2fashion for “bobbed hair.” My Search box is at upper right.
Edit 9/18/19 Here is the full image of the blue suit pictured above:
Illustration from Delineator, October 1912.