Today Brought to You by the 1920’s

image of 1920's vintage finger waves, the artyologist

Some days you get up and you just have to do 1920’s finger waves.

Well, actually back up a bit to a week ago to when I was getting my hair trimmed, and my stylist asked me whether I had ever tried finger waves before, since I like vintage styles, and she thought that my hair would be long enough now to do them. I have tried them, a few times before when my hair was bobbed, (see photographic evidence below), and the news that my hair is now long enough to DO something with, was a great revelation!

image of 1920's finger waves, the artyologist

So, I decided to try finger waves again, and I was very surprised when they actually turned out nicely, considering that I haven’t had practice with them for over two years! Finger waves are tricky, but so worth it when they turn out. My hairdresser told me that to graduate from hairdressing school you actually have to be able to style finger waves, but she was so bad at it she faked it with a curling iron! 🙂 That’s OK though, as that would be more like a Marcel wave, which was also of the era, and no one would probably know the difference anyway, except all of us vintage lovers.

image of 1920's finger waves in progress clips, the artyologist

I could only get two waves, and they turned out rather like an Eton crop, since my hair is still rather short, but they lasted fairly well, as I got two days out of them. (That may have also had something to do with the amount of hairspray I used. . . )

Of course a hairstyle like this just demands a dark, smoky eye and a small red rosebud lip too. Well, it was rather fun to style my hair again in a period appropriate style, and I have clips in my hair right now too, since the last go was so fun, I thought I’d try it again!

Oh and if you are keen to try them yourself, here is the finger wave tutorial I used, except I did not pin curl my hair first and did it straight from wet.

image of finger waves 1920's vintage, the artyologist

The Lifesaving Powers of Vintage Turbans

the artyologist image of vintage turbans

I have recently discovered the magic of vintage turbans. Of course I have always been aware of them, but I never wore turbans up until about a year ago, and when I started wearing them, they were actually more like headscarf headbands. The first time I wore a turban, I was absolutely sure that it was outrageous and that everyone was staring at my head. Actually, they probably were staring at my head, but that’s OK because vintage turbans are fabulous!

So what exactly is a turban, and where did they come from?

A turban is a “head covering consisting of a long piece of fabric wrapped around the head”. (According to Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion) This kind of head covering originated in ancient times, in the Middle East. In fact the word “tulip” is actually derived from the Persian word “Dulband”, because it resembles the complicated wrapping of the headpiece. The earliest known record of the turban’s existence is 2600 BC in Mesopotamia. Originally they were worn for practical purposes, but they soon became a religious head covering in the ancient Moorish/Sarracenic cultures and are still worn today in many religions. Thus, Middle Eastern cultures view the turban not as a fashion statement, but as a religious symbol. When wearing a turban, for this reason, one must be culturally respectful by wearing it in such a way that it won’t disparage someone’s religious beliefs . (I would liken this to the scandal that surfaced a few years ago when certain fashion houses dressed their models in Native American Plains Indian headdresses of feathers, when headdresses are a strictly religious head covering in Native American culture, so it is extremely insensitive to use it as a fashion piece. Does this mean that we can’t wear feathers? Does this mean that if we are not Native American, we can’t wear any Native American fashions? No, but it does mean that we need to be respectful, and wear it in a way that doesn’t belittle someone else’s culture.)

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So back to the turban. The turban was introduced to Europe in the 15th century because of trade with the Turkish-Ottoman empire, and this led to the rise of the Renaissance and the fad for “Eastern” inspired fashions. The turban didn’t rise in popularity however until the 18th century, where it was worn mainly by the ladies of the aristocracy. This was an era largely influenced by the East and the style carried over into the next century: the Romantic Period of the 1814-1840.

As that era ended, and the Victorian era began, the turban all but disappeared and would not be seen for almost another hundred years, when it again rose in popularity in the 1920’s. In the 1920’s, Western culture again looked to the “Exotic East” for inspiration. Events such as the 1922 discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb, led to the rise of fascination with the far reaching nations of Egypt, India, China, Russia and many other Eastern cultures. The turban was again a popular accessory with an exotic origin, and it became extremely popular with the “Bright Young Things” of the era. By this time, turbans varied, and the shape was not necessarily even a full wrap, as there are many pictures of women wearing them as an open topped headwrap. They were often worn low on the head, sometimes almost obscuring the eyes in the same style of the cloche hat.

1920's turban

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Image of Doris Kenyon, source

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Image of Dorothy Sebastian, source

By the 1930’s, turbans were here to stay, and became very popular for everyday wear, sports wear, as well as evening wear, depending on the fabric used. The 1930’s style headwear was up and away from the face, thus turbans were also worn back from the face.  Sometimes they were pre-shaped and sewn rather than tied into place.

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Greta Garbo, via

The 1940’s is one of the most recognizable era’s of the popularity of the turban. It is in this era where turbans were one of the most famous and widely worn items. Because of WWII, the effect that rationing was having on fabric supply, and the fact that many fashion houses had shut down, hats were scarce. Creative ways of wrapping headscarves ensured that a lady always had a headcovering to match her outfit. Many of the publications of this era show different ways of wrapping, to create different looks. It is in this era that headwraps reached outrageous proportions, and often flowers, bows, fruit. . . all kinds of embellishments were added. If you think that your headwrap is large and outrageous today, it’s probably got nothing on the wraps worn by women at this time! Even though going hatless was more common in this time period, for most women, that simply wasn’t an option, as no respectable lady would leave the house without hat, gloves and heels. Just because there was a war on, didn’t mean an end to civility!

loretta youngImage of Loretta Young, via
IMG_9414rev1941 Vogue turbans, via

the artyologist image of vogue magazine february 15 1941

Simple headscarves were also common for women at this time, as they kept women’s hair contained for the war work they were performing, like in the famous “Rosie the Riveter” poster.

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The 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s saw the popularity of the turbans continue, although the silhouette changed a bit. The 1950’s turbans were often smaller and “tidier” than the previous era, and were often preformed, like a hat. The turbans of the 1960’s were rounder, in keeping with the popular round pillbox shape of the era. The turbans of the 1970’s were headwraps rather than full tied turbans, and were often tied front to back, being bohemian in style, as were many of the fashions of the time.

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1970's yves st laurent

1970s wrap

In modern history, from the 1920’s to the 1970’s the turban was a popular choice for everyday wear, only falling out of fashion in the 1980’s alongside hats for everyday wear. Now, 30 years later, Western culture is very much a “hatless” culture. I think that many people are afraid to wear hats and headwear, simply because we aren’t used to wearing them anymore, or seeing ourselves in them, thus we have nothing to compare ourselves to. Many people say that “hats don’t suit my face”, but I think this is incorrect. There are different styles of hats and headwear that suit everyone’s face. I think the reason people think that hats and headwraps don’t suit them, is simply because they aren’t currently “in style”, and they’ve never tried wearing them. And I get it- until I became interested in vintage fashion, the thought of wearing a turban in public, was a scary thought! 🙂

the artyologist image of vintage headwrap

So coming from a vintage turban tying newbie (all the history aside) there are so many great reasons why you might try a vintage style turban.

  1. It’s fun. I mean, how can you wear a bow on your head and not be happy? It’s a GIANT BOW!
  2. Vintage turbans instantly add vintage style to an otherwise era ambiguous ensemble.
  3. You can tie turbans in all manner of styles to create a look from practically any era, including historical costuming, such as the 18th century.
  4. They are a great alternative to hats. If you, like me, don’t have a large collection of hats; scarves and wraps are a great headpiece to finish off an outfit.
  5. You can use either a scarf, or a piece of material. Yarn dyed, rather than stamped fabric is best, so that the pattern goes through the material. That way the “wrong” side of the fabric won’t show when you wrap it.
  6. You can add brooches, flowers, bows, fruit. . . whatever you want, to coordinate with any outfit. And no matter what you add to your turban, it probably won’t be as crazily fun as the turbans they wore in the 1940’s!
  7. They cover up bad hair. (Like when you accidentally dye your hair green. Not that we have experience with that . . .)
  8. On days when you are too lazy to style your hair; cover it up. All you have to worry about is (maybe) your bangs if you have them.
  9. Recognize that every time you tie one, it will be unique and different. When you tie one on the day you aren’t going out, it will look perfect, and the day you are going somewhere special you will fight with it every step of the way. Do not fear bobby pins- use them as the lifeline they are to secure your wrap!
  10. It takes a bit of bravery to wear a headwrap if you have never done so before, but as someone who was always a bit too scared to try it, I can testify that it’s a lot of fun! And especially as I am growing out my pixie haircut now, I feel like turbans are going to be a common sight in the days to come. As I said, “the lifesaving powers of vintage turbans”. 😉

the artyologist vintage turbans

Well, that was my short history on the turban. Of course this is from a European point of view, as that is the extent of the knowledge I have on the subject. And, of course there is so much that I haven’t even covered at all! If you want to learn more about turbans, or the history of other hats and headdress, the two books I have read on the subject are, “The Mode in Hats and Headdress” by R. Turner Wilcox, which is a fabulous book about headdress from ancient times up to the 1950’s, and the other is “Hats and Headwear around the World” by Beverly Chico, which I have only read small sections of. Another person who is super in the know about turbans, and has inspired me is Emileigh of Flashback Summer.

So, do you think you’ll try a headwrap? And, did you learn anything new about turbans you didn’t know before?

 

Sunday Style: The Bloomin’ Plum Tree

image of floral dress and peach straw hat the artyologist

Ah, the sweet smell of Spring. If only you could smell this lovely flowering plum tree too . . .

I am so glad that this year there is an abundance of beautiful flowering trees around our place, not only because they look and smell wonderful, but because they stand in as exceptional backdrops for photos as well!

image of yellow floral dress vogue 1044

I suppose I don’t have much else to say about these photos as you’ve seen this Vogue pattern 1044 dress before, when I wore it for Easter. I changed it up a bit this time around though, and chose this combination specifically because of my Me Made May challenge to wear all of my homemade garments and accessories. I made the dress, and the striped clutch and I was originally going to pair the ensemble with a peach silk flower covered hat I made a few years ago, but let’s just say I was having hair issues and that didn’t work out the way it was planned. . . But that’s OK as this straw and peach floral accented hat worked perfectly as a stand in. So, even though it wasn’t a 3 for 1, it ended up being a 2 for one handmade outfit, which is OK with me. Let me also toss in a note about how I absolutely love the combination of stripes and floral, yet somehow I have never thought to pair these two before now. I need to wear this clutch more often, because it is one of my favourites, and I just feel like black and white stripes go with everything . . . (That sounds strange, is that even how you are supposed to say that? You wear a purse? You carry a purse? I don’t know. I’ll just say I accessorized with this purse.)

image of flowering plum tree and floral dress the artyologist

Hopefully wherever you are, flowers of all varieties are out in full force as well, filling the air with their wonderful scent and heralding the approach of summer!

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image of striped clutch the artyologist

image of floral dress vogue 1044 the artyologist

image of flowering plum and floral dress the artyologist

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image of peach straw hat the artyologist

Portraiture and Me Made May 2016

the artyologist self portrait with straw hat

You know when you have a bunch of photos to post and you don’t really have anything to say about them? Yep, that would be the case with these.

I was trying to take a picture of what I wore, earlier this week, because I am taking part in Me Made May this year, and then I just decided, why not do a self portrait photo shoot? I used to take self portraits when I lived on my own, but now my sister usually takes outfit photos for me, since we live together. She wasn’t around so I decided to play around with the self portrait style again. That’s why these images have a bit more serious of a style- usually when she is taking photos the majority of the photos end up being outtakes where I am either laughing or making funny faces. Usually making funny faces 😉

the artyologist image of tulips and portrait for me made may

But anyways, yes I am participating in Me Made May, which I was going to blog about on here, and 7 days into the month I still haven’t done so! Oops: time flies by! I, of course, decided to join at the last moment- literally on the 1st of the month when I saw a bunch of people posting photos of their outfits on the morning of 🙂 The idea behind Me Made May is to wear the clothes you have made yourself. I never participated before because I just don’t have enough homemade items to last an entire month (without recycling outfits I mean, which would be super boring for a documented challenge) But I still wanted to participate, so I came up with a twist on the challenge. I do have a fair share of garments, and odds and ends like purses and hats that I have made for myself, yet never seem to reach for on a daily basis. So, my challenge is to wear EACH of my homemade garments and accessories at least once this month. (While I will actually wear some of them many times, I won’t bore you with taking pictures of them over and over!) This challenge of course excludes seasonally inappropriate garments as well. (Unless it snows this month- not unheard of- although I sincerely hope not!) I’ll be posting my pictures, when I take them, on instagram, and I’ll probably do a round up here as well.

the artyologist image of tulips

Anyways, if you want to find out about Me Made May 2016 you can just click on that little button on the side that says “#MMM16I’m taking part”, (go figure!) and it will take you to the page of the lady who is hosting it.

the artyologist self portrait for me made may

And, well there you go. I said I didn’t have anything to say, and here I have managed to ramble on for a few paragraphs 🙂

the artyologist self portrait

the artyologist image of tulips

Oh and aren’t these tulips sweet? My lovely sister got them for me as a wonderful Spring surprise!