Period Fashions Reference Library

FROM THE 1850s AND 1860s

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1861 detail
1861 diadem head-dress

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Headdresses For Balls

“Headdresses for balls”, says that impeachable authority the Moniteur, “are nearly always round, but much fuller behind and at the sides than in the front. They are generally a mixture of velvet, gold and silver ribbon, pearls, and even diamonds.”
        We have seen at Mme. Bonier Cherre’s some exquisite resilles of pearls with gold buckles, long plaits of velvet intermixed with chainettes, crescents, and gold stars, which are scattered about the hair in a thousand different manners; coronets of tinted foliage with pendants of flame-color velvet, gold tassels, and green stones; others of red verbena with branches of white heath. A câche peigne of black ribbon surrounded by torsades; gold cordelière with tassels and pendants also of gold; wreaths of foliage with colored buckles. A flame-color foliage with a cordon of gold beads tied on the right side and falling in two limp rows behind; lilac periwinkles surrounded by a gold torsade tied on the right and ending in two handsome tassels. A green velvet torsade, fastened at intervals by gold agrafes with a long bow very low on the right- hand side, and branches of aquatic flowers, white and lilac, on the left side; roses of different colors with green acorns; small fancy flowers laid on the forehead and covered by tinted foliage, the whole encircled by a torsade tied on the right in large bows with long ends; white narcissuses with bunches of gold grapes; others in flame color, with green grapes; lastly a quantity of birds of the most brilliant hues and most delicate forms.

(Note: Torsade: A twisted cord; also, a molded or worked ornament of similar form.)

Godey’s Lady’s Book, , August 1859


Coiffure for Ball Costume, or Full Evening Dress
(Front and Back View.)

In front, this coiffure shows the hair disposed in three rouleaux, terminating in long ringlets. Between those long ringlets, and also behind the ears, are several ringlets of shorter length. The back hair is arranged in a cluster of five loops, to form which the hair is tied firmly at the back of the head, and divided into five portions. The center loop at the back of the neck is very long, and the two at each side of shorter length. The ends of the hair are twisted round the tie at the back of the head, and concealed beneath an ornament of beads suspended from the top of the comb. Amidst the ringlets and rouleaux of the front hair are interspersed small stars and other brilliant ornaments, which, being fixed on elastic pins, are set in motion by every turn of the wearer’s head, thereby producing a most elegant and showy effect. The same kind of pins are employed for fixing the tufts of white feathers, which add much to the grace and dignity of the coiffure. The jewelled agraffe worn in the centre of the forehead should correspond with the other ornaments of the headdress.

Godey’s Lady’s Book, , July 1860


Fig 1.—This little headdress is very simple, and very easily made. It is composed of two black lace lappets and six rosettes, the rosettes having in the center of each a small gold star or ornament. Take a piece of wire, twenty- four inches long, bend it in the form shown in the illustration, and fasten a piece of coarse, stiff black net at the back, on which to arrange the bows and rosettes. Take the half of one of the lappets, fasten it on the wire in the middle of the front, and catch it down to the wire at intervals of three and a half inches, making the remainder of the lappet into a bow, with a short end falling on each side. The other lappet is then looped at the back, having two long ends falling in the centre; a large rosette is placed in the middle of the headdress behind, with rosettes of graduated sizes fastened to the wire where the lappets are caught down. The rosette in the middle is small, the two next rather larger, and the two at the sides larger still. For variety, the lace could be ornamented with gold stars, etc.

Godey’s Lady’s Book January 1862
image title

Ladies’ Hairstyle

By Happy Conception of the artist, we have at once the front and reverse of the single graceful figure in evening-dress. Hair in full bandeaux, fastened by a pearl comb, a cordon of the point passed across the brow, fastened by a single black rose and foliage. For a dinner dress, nothing could be more simple and elegant.

Godey’s Lady’s Book, , February 1856


1856 Hairstyle.


Coiffure, made of black illusion, cherry velvet ribbon, and cherry flowers. Suitable for a young married lady for dinner or evening dress.

Godey’s Lady’s Book, September 1863

1863 Coiffure


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