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.
Older women sometimes clung to the styles of their youth, like these Gibson pompadours:
But younger women were cutting bangs and wisps around the face.
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.
That model may have run a braid or twist of long hair across the back of her head from ear to ear.
This girl in her gym suit has coils of long hair over her ears:
Sometimes, quite a lot was going on at the back of the head: (Marcel waves, invented in the 1870s, added curls and waves.)
Hair pieces could be purchased or made from your own combings. “Combing jars” are shown in this post.
This 1912 hairdo may look familiar to those who remember the 1960’s “beehive” hair style:
For evening wear, a band of ribbon, fabric, jewels, etc. helped support long hair:On the cover of Delineator, …
… 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:
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,…
… Hatpins were prominently featured:
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.
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.)
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: