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Flappers were young women who were not only seeking for a change of fashion but also fighting for their independence.
Gone were the days when women wore hair to their waist and beyond, usually braided or pinned up in a bun.
Flappers cut their hair into a style known as a bob, a chin-length cut with or without bangs that had a slight curl toward the face.
While this style was immensely popular, it was difficult to keep out of the mouth and eyes. How to solve such a dilemma before hairspray? A headband, of course!
Not just any headband but rhinestone-studded feathered headbands to match a flapper’s outrageous style!
Get your Great Gatsby on by adding a headband with feathers, lace, glitter, and more!
Why Did Flappers Wear Feathers?
Art deco was becoming fashionable in the 1920s (see Art Deco Plus Size Dresses ), and peacock feathers took center stage.
Fashion designs come and go, but it could be that flappers realized they needed a headband to keep their hair in place. As you would imagine, not just any headband but one that made an unmistakable statement.
They created the flapper headband by gluing or pinning inexpensive items ( see more Great Gatsby Headpieces here ), such as feathers and laces, to a basic headband. They typically made one-size fits-most flapper headbands that were functional and fashionable!
Flappers used peacock feathers in headbands, such as the one above, or this one.
These were not only beautiful and practical but also easy to make.
The flappers didn’t stop with peacock feathers. One can imagine that women who wanted to look chic but didn’t know where to buy or didn’t have peacock feathers simply used other feathers!
This look, using some down feathers rather than plumes, looks wispy and feminine.
Adding a wider band with sequins and a down feather creates a unique look.
Last, we imagine that women started wearing different feathers because they wanted the color to match (or to offset) the color of their dress. How boring it would be if everyone wore the same peacock feather ( see peacock feather fans ) , right? Imagine a room full of ladies with peacock feathers and you walk in with this instead
It’s stunning, isn’t it?
Ladies like to be the same but different, am I right? No one wants to look so different that they stand out, but they don’t want to look exactly like everyone else, either. Wearing a dyed peacock feather flapper headpiece ( see more feather flapper dresses ), such as this one, would accomplish exactly that.
Were There Also Headbands without Feathers?
Like the flapper dresses, flapper headbands with rhinestones and sequins were very common.
Styles varied almost as much as the dresses did. You’ll find every style imaginable, from rhinestone-encrusted headbands to intricately beaded headbands, to simpler but more elegant baroque-style headbands.
Some headbands were delicate but very bright.
Others were, well, let’s say very noticeable from across the room.
Whatever style a flapper chose to wear, you can be sure it was gorgeous!
What Is a Hatinator?
Hatinators are large saucer-type hats with a wide range of items attached to them, including flowers, fake flowers, fruit, feathers, even small fake birds or butterflies!
You’ll see lots of hatinators at British royal events, such as the horse races.
While a few hatinators do serve the purpose of being an actual hat and providing shade for the face and shoulders, most are simply decorative pieces.
These are fascinating because they do come in a variety of styles, including the hatinators above or even this style.
Sometimes it seems as if the more outlandish a hatinator is the better it is! You’ll see plenty of hatinators at horse races that are similar to this one,
or this ornately styled mesh hatinator
Hatinators are meant to be fun, so if you choose to wear one to your event, go all out and get your Great Gatsby on! Don’t be afraid to experiment!
What Is a Fascinator?
These are headbands that are similar to hatinators but aren’t quite as outrageous (in most instances).
I’ve heard it said that the difference between a hatinator and fascinator is the hat. If there is no “hat” then it’s a fascinator. I’ve often thought of fascinators as very decorative headbands.
This is a good example of a fascinator.
As you can see, there really is no hat, this is just lace and ribbons.
Or there is this style with peacock feathers, similar to a headband, but it is pinned on with a bit of lace to cover the eyes for a little mystery.
This is another example of a fascinator that uses a very thin headband but has lots of feathers and a touch of lace.
Last, I wanted to mention this fascinator because, not only is it beautiful, but it’s also the perfect example of what a fascinator should be.
Don’t worry so much about what it’s called- if you love it, then wear it with pride.
Why Did Flappers Wear Headbands?
The first reason is probably because headbands are practical. When dancing or moving about, such as tossing back a cocktail, headbands keep your hair in place.
The second reason, however, is that flappers simply wanted to add some flair to their hair!
The mothers and grandmothers of flappers used to wear hair pins or hats, so it only made sense that a flapper would also want to adorn their hair.
Why have plain hair when you can add a feather headband and dance the night away in style?
One thing that flappers were not shy about and that was what we would call pizazz! It couldn’t be any plain old dress, it had to be a sparkly beaded dress like this:
or a fringe-filled dress so they could shake their shimmy.
So why would anyone think that a flapper would go out with nothing on her head but hair? Don’t forget that in this era, hats weren’t just a fashion statement, they were a necessity, like shoes!
During the day, women wore cloche hats similar to this.
But when a flapper went out to a party, she went all out with her feathered headband!
Besides Feather Headbands, What Other Accessories Were Popular?
The jazz age was all about wealth and excess. It wasn’t enough to have a beaded, sequined dress that was dripping in fringe like this black stunner below.
An outfit is simply not complete without the bling – a flapper knew that accessories make the dress!
Most flappers would add a headband with feathers, some dangling 1920s earrings,
a couple of pearl strings,
maybe a bracelet or two or three,
a beaded purse,
and, of course, the proper little Mary Jane shoes.
If this sounds like too much, it is, but that didn’t stop flappers! Keep in mind that excess is what the Roaring 20s is all about!
I never get tired of looking at all the different styles of flapper headbands. They are as varied as the women who wore them.
If you look at old photos or videos, you’ll see lots of flapper headbands that have peacock feathers,
but quite a few more used puffy black feathers
or other dyed materials.
Gold was another popular color, either with a gold feather or a gold-colored headband with a black feather.
If you want to go retro or you’re looking for the perfect accessory for your Great Gatsby or Roaring 20s party ( see Roaring 20’s Couple Costumes ), you cannot go wrong by adding a flapper headband with a feather in it.
Whichever flapper headpiece you choose, have fun with it! After all, that’s what being a flapper is all about.
Written by Kerry Wisby – GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Owner & Founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Kerry Wisby, a former teacher with a BA in English, is the founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com. With a passion for all things 1920s, including The Great Gatsby novel, her website is the ultimate source for Roaring Twenties fashion, history, and party ideas. Read more about Kerry here.