Ahh the roaring twenties. Beads, fringe, and the flapper revolution. There hasn’t been a decade since the 1920s that has loved sparkle and bling as much especially in head-wear. Notorious for beaded headbands, skullcaps, and feather hair clips, the 1920’s women knew how to dress up their short hairdo’s.
While cloche hats were worn during the day, headbands, called Banbeaus, were seen in the evenings with the most formal dresses. The trend started when King Tut’s tomb was discovered in 1924. Soon after every woman wanted to look like an Egyptian queen. Head-wraps, crowns, tiaras, full headdresses, and small hair clips were all made of beautiful precious tones, feathers, and pearls.
There is not just one style of headband nor one way to wear it. Here are the six most popular evening styles of headbands. You can buy a glittering crown to your 1920’s dress with one of these 1920’s headbands styles:
The 1920’s Headband- Wrap Style
The simple but elegant headband of the 1920’s was the head wrap
style. Made of one continuous piece of beads, rhinestone, or pearls it wrapped around the top of your head to the back of your skull. Some headbands featured long strings of beads dangling off the forehead or on one side.
During the day a ribbon or scarf was rolled and tied around the head, sometimes with a big fluffy bow tied low and on the side. Strands of pearls could also be wrapped around the forehead, skull, buns and braids for more formal events.
On the right: the character Daisy from the 2013 Great Gatsby movie wears an ornate silver headband with leaf and pearl accent.
The 1920’s Brain Binder
The Brain binder headband circles the forehead or back just a tad. It was also called a headache band for it’s tight fitting appearance worn mostly by teenagers. They usually matched the dress or at least other accessories. They ranged from thin 1 inch wide ribbons (called brow bands) to thicker bandeau wraps and even entire long scarves swirled into a turban.
For parties and weddings this style was elaborately decorated with silver and gem stones. This look was best with perfectly smooth, short cropped hair associated with the later 2o’s. Egyptian inspired designs of pharaohs, spiders, cats and hieroglyphs were carved into the most fancy of brow bands.
The 1920’s Skullcap
The intricately beaded skull cap is one of the exclusive symbols of the 1920’s. It is also sometimes called the Juliette cap after Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette. This beaded cap required very thin flat hair that the cap covered up entirely. Caps were either beaded onto a form fitted hair net with long bead tassels and fringe hanging down the forehead or were cloth caps completely covered with beads and shaped into a brimless style cloche. The expense of these caps made them affordable only by the very wealthy and usually made to order to match the beading on the dress.
The 1920s Tiara
The gold Eqypitain tiara and princess diamond style tiara were another style of evening head wear. Small and pretty they sat perched on the crown of the head buried slightly in a mass of fluffy early 20’s style hair. Hair combs secured the tiara in place.
Later styles blended the tiara and headband into one, lowering it on the forehead yet keeping the overall crown look of the tiara.
The 1920s Hair Clip
Peacock feathers were still quite popular in the 1920’s. The green, blue and gold tones were common art deco colors of this time. Feathers were clipped onto the hair on one side of the head. Sometimes blue and green jewels and pearls added extra bling to the feather clips. Other types of feathers could be used as well to coordinate with the outfits.
Jeweled hair combs also called Spanish combs or back combs were popular hair accessories to hold back long hair knotted in a chignon bun. It was stylish to wear them at an angle so they were seen poking out of the side of her head. Combs were often made of celluloid (plastic) they were available in all shapes and sizes in both hand carved and rhinestone versions.
The 1920’s Headdress or Evening Bandeau
The king of all head wear style was the large headdress. Whereas the other styles remain small and dainty the head piece was bold and garish. Different materials made up the many variations.
Elaborate leafs, butterfly’s, dragonfly and gems covered headbands on one or both sides such as the example to the left.
A simple bandeau grew taller with the addition of an egret feather, either real or gold, sticking straight up out of the center of the forehead. Although this trend started in the previous decade the sprays of gold and silver peacock inspired designs made forehead crowns the in style of the 20’s.
1920s Headband Styles Today
A 1920s style headband, cap, or bandeau is a must for an evening affair. The most stunning tiaras and hair clips are usually found in wedding specialty shops or Asian import stores. These are often made with faux pearls and rhinestones. Even the cheapest ones are quite beautiful set into your 1920s styled hair.
I like to keep my evening looks simple with one of these options
1. A silk or satin ribbon tied around my head and in a big bow at the back. Very simple yet very accurate to the 1920’s.
2. A pretty feather clipped to one side of my head such as a peacock feather.
3. A lace or rhinestone headband designed to be more around the top of your head and often be worn across the forehead too. If you have a wide head you may nee to cut the band and bobby pin the sides in place.
4. Some of my favorite local stores to buy 1920s inspired headband and hair clips are Forever 21 and the ICING store.
Online here are some great 1920s headband choices: