The Time: How the Hairstyles of HBO’s “The Gilded Age” were Created


The American Gilded Age witnessed immense economic growth, the rise & fall of industry tycoons and some of the most extreme hairstyles to ever be in fashion in the US. HBO’s The Gilded AgeThis turbulent and transformative period in US history is followed. 

But if I’m being honest, I’m more than a little distracted by the hair. The women of The Gilded AgeDo not wear long, tight curls. Although these look might seem difficult to recreate today, they are impossible to recreate in the late 1800s. 

As I watched the high society slug it out, I thought: Are they wearing wigs? Were those wigs made of human hair? They had actual curling iron(as in, the metal, not a tool) 

Here’s what I found after diving into the rabbit hole that is 1800s couture.

Remaking the Past

The fashion of the late 1800s was certainly one of the most extravagant years in American history. This was the era that saw the rise of American haute couture. Also, what is now considered haute couture? “old”Money was still “new.”Fashion is defined by class. 

So, the more luxurious the dress, the better. Women’s fashion (namely, rich women’s fashion) consisted of complex bustles, corsets, and heavy fabrics. They kept their makeup simple but matched their clothes with intricate hairstyles. 

Even during the Gilded Age, hairstyles have changed. Of course, we saw most of this variety in the über-wealthy—laborers had bigger fish to fry than making sure their hair looked good (like not starving or dying on the job). 

Volume and texture were important components of hairstyles in the past. Curls, braids and twists all play a role in the final product. This is why so many women of that era grew their hair long. Hairpieces were popular for adding volume to Godilock hair.

In the 1880s, pompadour became very popular. This style was popular among women who wore their hair up high and let their curls fall to the sides. This is how it looked “French pompadour”The look was slightly altered by adding curls to the forehead.

Cynthia Nixon’s character, Ada Brook, often wore the latter style. The Gilded AgeCrew was able recreate these looks using wigs, and an arsenal of modern hair tools. How did 1880 women manage to do this?

Women Find a Way No Matter What

A woman’s innovation knows no bounds, so it’s unsurprising that our foremothers managed to accomplish what would still be a challenge today. And as it turns out, their methods weren’t that much different from ours (well, some of them). 

In the late 1800s, wigs were common but mainly men wore them. Although women could use extra hairpieces to give their hair volume, many made these pieces by themselves. They often collected hair from their brushes for weeks. 

Women used tongs to achieve chic, tight ringlets. This is a very popular technique. “safety”The measure was to wrap hot metal tongs with thin paper to protect hair. This is a common trick that can be done in a non-shocking way. didn’t work. Women were left with burns to their necks, ears, and hands. Sometimes, hair would even completely fall off. 

Others used a no-heat method, where they wrapped their hair in pins or papers and let it dry overnight. This method often used hair-curling fluids like borax, wine and camphor. It’s up to you to decide which is worse.

The cast of The Gilded Age, we’ve come a long way from the chemical cocktails and torched metal tools of the past. But if Gilded Age beauty tips tell us anything, it’s that women will stop at nothing to look their absolute best.

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