Jewels, Hair and Accessories of the Middle Ages
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Glossary of English Hairstyles and Headdress:
Anglo-Saxon (600 - 1154): Simple Veils, Head-tires, Combs, and Pin

Anglo-Saxon (600 - 1154): Simple Veils, Head-tires, Combs, and Pin

During this time the head was always covered with no hair showing, although it was usually braided elaborately underneath the veil.
Veils– made of light-weight fabric like silk, cambric, or fine linen. They were usually rectangular lengths with a hole cut in the middle for putting the head through.
Head-tires– circlets of gold that could be worn by any Saxon of rank at this time. The circlets could be made of other material, and the veil could be worn under or over.
Norman (1066-1154): Couvre-chef, hair uncovered, and extreme length

Norman (1066-1154): Couvre-chef, hair uncovered, and extreme length

Couvre-chef- a new name for the head-rail after the Norman invasion. The couvre-chef style was longer ( sometimes to point of having to be knotted off the ground) and tended to hang down on either side of the face, worn with a circlet to hold it in place.
Hair uncovered- by 1125 women began to appear in public with their hair uncovered, usually worn parted down the middle and plaited in various ways
Extreme Length– this trend was echoed in sleeve length ( considered one of the first fashion trends) The illusion of long hair was aided with fake hair, ribbons, silk tubes with tassels, and  attached metal cylinders.

Plantagenet (1154-1399): Wimple, Barbette, Fillet and Crespine

Barbette– supposedly introduced by Eleanor of Aquitaine, was a band of linen encircling the face and pinned into place.  At first it was only worn by royal ladies with a circlet or coronet (Fig 11) but was eventually adopted by all classes

Wimple– appeared by 1190, a length of fine linen or silk draped underneath the chin, across the throat.  The ends were pinned at the crown of the head. During this time period, it always accompanied a veil , and usually a circlet. (Fig 12).

Fillet– a stiffened band of linken or silk worn around the head, over the barbette. Sometimes worn under a crown, with the tips showing. Became narrower over time.  Young girls wore the fillet and barbette with flowing hair (fig 17), but more often the hair was braided ( fig 13) The fillet and barbette became narrower over time in this period.

Crespine– or crespinette, a net or caul usually worn and attached to the barbette and fillet (Fig 15 and 16) Great ladies wore crespines of silk and jewels.

Horizontal Braiding, Gorget (14th century)

Plantagenet (14th century): Horizontal Braiding, Gorget

Gorget--when a wimple is worn without a veil, pinned over hair coils on the side of the head (Fig. 19). Sometimes the coils were braided horizontally (Fig.18).
Horizontal Braiding– popular in the mid 14th century, the head would go uncovered, but sometimes a fillet would support the plaits ( Fig. 22).

Plantagenet Crespine ( 1364-Late 14th century)

Wearing the hair in vertical braids continued to be in fashion throughout the Planagenet period. Headdresses like fig. 25 featured fillets made of silver and gold, set with jewels. False hair was probably used and the whole piece would simply be placed over the head.
The crespine led to more elaborate headdresses like fig. 26 and fig. 27, where narrow bands of metal, or wire, were made into a reticulated mesh which would sometimes be set with jewels at intervals.
Around 1370 a new style of veil appeared that followed the trend of face framing. Fig. 28 and 29 show a semi-circular veil with a front ruffle made of goffered or pleated linen. Sometimes the ruffle was enclosed in a jeweled net, like fig. 30.
Caul– a crespine, or a net, this trend went hand in hand with the circular or horizontal braiding around the face. These cauls gradually got larger and larger.

Lancaster (1415-1422): Horned Headdresses

Horned– the side cauls eventually grew to such large proportions that they became horns. The metal mesh that had encased the cauls became decorative surface for the fabric horns.

Lancaster (1430-1460): Heart-shaped and Turban Headdresses

Heart-Shaped– over time the horned headdresses rose in verticality, eventually forming a heart shape. They were crafted by goldsmiths, using rich fabrics and a gold mesh, usually set with needlework and jewels. The headdresses were so rich they were often mentioned in wills.  Fig. 51 and 52 showcase a style in which a padded roll of fabric frames the face.
Turban– this style was popular throughout the 15th century. It’s influence was Turkish, probably after the capture of Constantinople. They were light, made of wire mesh and fabric.

York (1460-1485): Butterfly and Hennin

Hennin– eventually the horns became so tall and vertical they merged into one tall horn. In England, the cone had a flat top and would not exceed a height of nine inches. Compared to the 2-3 feet of Continental styles, this was modest. Transparent veils were attached to the top, or draped, sometimes to the ground.
Butterfly– consisted of a cap which resembled an inverted flowerpot, set at an angle orginally resembling the hennin, and then eventually becoming completely horizontal.  The veil arrangement was important and structural. Sometimes the veil was starched into it’s folds, but often it was supported by wires. The V-shape was desirable.
Both styles would sometimes feature a band of cloth, usually black, framed around the face. This front band would eventually become the hoods of the Tudor period.

Lancaster and York ( 1425-1480): Barbe, Loose Hair

Barbe– a pleated linen bib, which went out of fashion, along with the wimple, in the sixteenth century. Sumptuary laws of mourning made the barbe mandatory for Court.
Loose Hair– was only worn by young girls, unmarried, and queens during coronation ceremony and brides. Often a circlet was worn.

Beatrice d'Este (c. 1480s-1490s) Attributed to Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis (Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan, Italy) tempera and oil on panel, 51 x 34 cm

Marie, Wife of Potinari (1470) Hans Memling

1 Comment to “Glossary of English Hairstyles and Headdress:”

  1. Talvez você deveria escrever mais posts deste tipo, adorei a ideia. espero que você possa fazer mais vezes! 🙂

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