a multitude of questions: hair and glasses

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beta pleated sheet
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a multitude of questions: hair and glasses

Postby beta pleated sheet » Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:12 am

So, woohoo, I'm beginning my planning and I've got a few potential issues. The first is that I have short hair, and I'd really like to avoid having to wear a wig. Is there any way I can make my short hair workable? It's in a chin length bob with layers (which could complicate things...) and my texture is straight and fine. I'm going for the late bustle era, if knowing that helps anyone get ideas.

Also, I've got horrible vision (legally blind) and getting a pair of glasses that looks more period appropriate really isn't an option because of my weird prescription (this summer I had to replace one lens and it cost 200$). That in and of itself isn't the problem because I have contacts. The problem is that my eyes are extremely sensitive to light because I have a form of albinism, and contacts make the problem much worse. Would glasses with tinted lenses be an appropriate option?
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Postby Kit » Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:19 pm

I seem to recall a picture somewhere of Annie Sullivan (Helen Keller's teacher) in glasses with tinted lenses, but I can't find an example at the moment. Annie Sullivan was born in 1866 and I'm fairly sure the picture I saw of her was pre-1900.

There are lots of modern frames that are close approximations of Victorian ones. A friend of mine has a set of 1880's pince nez that she had her modern prescription put in to.

I'll keep looking for the picture!
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Postby LidiaBest » Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:20 pm

I asked about short hair a while ago on some yahoo group or other, I was wanting to figure out how to do my mom's short hair in case I ever got her into a victorian dress... Here are the most useful responses I got:

From Alaina Zulli


From Pamela Robles of www.victorianbonnets.com

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v663/ ... le0009.jpg

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v663/ ... img052.jpg

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v663/ ... img053.jpg

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v663/ ... img055.jpg

From Glenna Jo Christen (http://home.earthlink.net/~gchristen/)

DUBUQUE HERALD, May 15, 1862, p. 4, c. 1
The short hair mania is as active as ever. C. F. Wilkins "short shingled" the heads of sixty females last week, and the cry is "still they come." A young Miss of our acquaintance has been teasing her mother for the past three months to grant her the privilege of having her hair cut short, like Miss So and So. Her mother always objected, and told her it looked ridiculous, and if she ever had it cut she would "wallop" her. The other day she sneaked off down town, went to a barber shop, got it cut, and came home looking like a "pug ugly." Her mother gave her the promised “walloping," which she took in good part, telling her mother she could not replace the hair. Where there is a will there is a way--lickings don't hurt when a person is determined.

Here are two from a collection of letters from a Texas family. It also mentions an older woman with very thin hair cutting off her hair. It may not be typical, but at least it is documentation and a useful reason for short hair if your hair is very thin.

Letters from Forest Place. E. Gray Dimond & Herman Hattaway ed.
Pg. 295 Mother to Lettie “Miss Fanny’s hair came out from having fever. She had it shingled off and she is getting gray.”

Pg. 300 Mrs. Wm. M. (Molly) Walton to her sister Letittia in Texas Dec. 1, 1862 “My hair is so thin and not very long, that I have had it cut off. It is not more than a finger long. I now wear it back with a round comb. Cousin Shaler thought it very becoming. Mother speaks of cutting hers.”

Pg 306 April 13, 1863 (sister Molly to Lettie speaking of her new fiancee’s wishes) “He was opposed to my teaching and requested me not to stop wearing hoops, or cut off my hair, the last of which I have done…and wear it with a comb. I wish you knew him, ‘to see him is to love him.’”

Hope this helps you a little bit at least!

Lidia Best
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Postby Urban Gypsy » Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:22 pm

I have no idea about tinted glasses, though Wikipedia did have thisto say on the subject if its any help:

James Ayscough began experimenting with tinted lenses in spectacles in the mid-18th century. These were not "sunglasses" as such; Ayscough believed blue- or green-tinted glass could correct for specific vision impairments. Protection from the sun's rays was not a concern of his.

Yellow/Amber and brown-tinted spectacles were also a commonly-prescribed item for people with syphilis in the 19th and early 20th centuries because of the sensitivity to light that was one of the symptoms of the disease.

You could also use hats to good effect to give yourself a little extra shade.

Sorry not to have a more definite answer, but hope that helps a little.
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Postby Erin » Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:24 pm

Here is what I've gathered in my reading, I'm sure others will have more to add.

With regard to the hair length, I would expect that you could avoid a wig, using a couple of techniques. You can either purchase the false hair on pony tail holders and create a period style using it, which has the potential to look AMAZING (there was a thread on here a year or two ago about how to do this, I'll try to find it for you*). Or you can style your own hair such that it is entirely hidden by a hat: sweep it up as high as you can, or do a french twist, and secure it on your crown. Feel free to use tons of bobby pins - it's period. Other ladies with short locks have also recommended making several pin curls on your crown and pinning your hat to these. They say it's quite secure. It's also quite period to use curling irons and rag rollers to add some body to your hair, and it may help you style it if it's got more oomph.

As for the glasses, I feel your pain. Fortunately, shaded lenses are appropriate, and available. You can order period frames with the shaded lenses already in them from Jas Townsend & Son for a reasonable price. I don't have a pair, but Madame Kat does, and she looks adorable in them. Best of luck!

*I found it, but it's old enough that all the pictures have broken links. However, the website link in the post still brings you to the text describing the process, and there's a lot of good info still there. It's here.
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Postby beta pleated sheet » Wed Nov 12, 2008 1:55 pm

Wow, thanks for all the prompt replies! This definitely helps a lot.
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Postby Dale » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:52 pm

If you take a look at my pic, my hair wasn't much longer than what you're describing. http://trulyvictorian.com/gallery2/main ... itemId=475
What I did was buy some "track", which is human hair sewn into a weft, a length of hair. You can have it professionally colored to match your hair. Sew it into ovals small enough to be managable, curl and pin on. Curl your own hair and do some sort of a French Twist, or as close as you can. My hair wasn't long enough, so I just curled it and arranged the curls. Use flowers on combs or glued to bobby pins (the big ones) and use them to conceal what's going on. You can even do a larger one, do lots of ringlets sew a comb on and attach at the low crown or just above the crown and just pull your hair into the mass of curls. That's what I do now that my hair is a bit longer again. I still use the longer curls at the nape of the neck. Got lots of compliments!
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Postby Elizabeth W » Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:09 pm

Another option that might help is a 'travelling' veil over your face to cut down some of the glare, use a dark coloured sheer fabric like silk organza (I can tell you from experience that white organza just increases the glare) I've seen a few fashion plates where women have veils attached to their hats & wrapped over their faces. I can try to find the images in a couple of days if you want (I'm busy until this weekend so I can look them up then).
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Postby valleyviolet » Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:39 pm

Tinted glasses (basically without vision correction) have been around since the days of the Roman Empire. There are some very reasonable reproductions available if you want to purchase some Victorian ones. I believe Madamekat has a lovely set, although I can never remember which store she got them from (River Junction maybe?).
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Postby m d b » Sat May 30, 2009 5:55 am

Sorry for opening an oldish thread but this is a health issue and one that is close to my heart ;)

Wear your sunglasses! Sensitivity to light is not a small matter. I know this too well ;)

I have handled two pairs of tinted glasses from the 19thC and they were both small and oval in shape and used green glass.

I would simply try to find tinted glasses of a small oval shape if possible. Ebay may have something. I just buy them when ever I see some in the local second hand store. I have a lovely pair of gold framed glasses that work really well.
http://nzphotographic.exposuremanager.c ... dsc_230221
(oh yeah, those are mostly hair pieces pinned to my own hair, less hot than a full wig :) )

I also have a pair of spectacles from the turn of the century (gold plated!) and will be getting transition lenses put in. Eventually. When I have the money ;)

Original sunglasses:
http://www.steptoesantiques.co.uk/acata ... 392Le.html
http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/a ... rrs4ijt6jb
Original glasses:
round frames
oval frames

Modern framesthat you may be able to swap the lenses out of.
http://www.riverjunction.com/catalog/me ... glass.html

Oval thin frames are hard to find in fashion oriented stores but your optometrist should have something suitable :)
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Postby ginnymorgan » Sat May 30, 2009 9:29 am

Check out this great site!http://www.eyeglasseswarehouse.com/index.html
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Short hair

Postby britt » Sat May 30, 2009 3:38 pm

:D Hi there, I have short hair cut in a reverse bob. Could if I wish get the sides up in a short ponytail but not a hope for the back. Bought all sorts of false hair and never wear them because they are very hot.
This is what I do now, went and got the smallest hair curlers I could ( the one you dont need pins for) and put lots of product in the hair and curl what I can making sure the front is very curly. I just take out the curlers (dont brush) and pin up the curls the best I can. It looks like an "up do" and is easy.
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Postby Lady Fleur » Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:29 pm

Hello i am a licenced hair dresser /wiggist etc..
if you can shoot a pic of your hair it would help... and i can give you as much info as possible!
Tracylynn / Lady fleur

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