Majoring in Curls

As the popular saying goes, “How will you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been?” Think of your hair this way, too.

Yes, curls go in and out of style. We’ve witnessed it for decades and generations. But they’ve never been a fad or a trend. Curls have evolved, just like us. They’ve had their bad moments, just like us. (Can you say the ’80s?”> We know how to take better care of them now, how to cut them, and how to display them best. You can’t deny that curls have always been beautiful, regardless of the era. So listen up, girlies. It’s time for Curl History 101. And what better way to track the evolution of the curl than through the magic of the movies!

One time period that I wish I lived in was the Regency Era, which is shown in any movie based on a Jane Austen novel. Yes, Darcy is dashing and dreamy, and “Pride and Prejudice” is a wonderful film. But I love the curls in “Sense and Sensibility,” with hair design by Jan Archibald. The three Dashwood sisters have lovely curly hair, all in different styles. Elinor, the oldest, has softer curly hair that she pins up in the back and lets down in loose curls around her face. The free-spirited Marianne wears her curls in a style similar to her sister, but has much tighter ringlets. And the youngest, Margaret, just wears her thick, wild curls down. Most Austen females wear their in a bun or twist, with loose, framing curls. This style always looks elegant, even with jeans.

One movie that’s also one of my favorite books is “Little Women.” The movie takes place during and after the Civil War in Concord, Massachusetts. The four main characters are sisters, who wear their hair in many different hairstyles throughout the film. In the first half, you can tell how popular curls were at that time. James D. Brown was the hairstylist for Little Women, and both Jo and Meg have beautiful long curly hair that they curl with a hot rod (to a disastrous end.”> Little Amy puts her hair up in rags every night, which produces smooth ringlets that she pins back on either side. (Tying hair up in rags really does work! I used to do it quite a bit when I was younger.”> Once the girls of this period came of age, they turned up their hair, which meant lots of braids and pinning. Heaven forbid a grown lady would wear her hair down!

Now I know that the movie Titanic gets a lot of negative comments. People think it’s too sappy or girly — a chick flick. But those people don’t know something beautiful when they see it. The Edwardian costumes alone are a site to behold. But Rose’s hair is stunning, and a good example of the power of curl at the turn of the century! Designer Kay Georgiou created hair for Rose — hair that was the envy of all others. When pinned up, she looks very prim and respectable. But her curls are let down and loose for dramatic effect.

Can you imagine what Rose would’ve looked like if she or any of the other women had straightened their hair? Not as pretty, right? Curls have always been associated with that ethereal, romantic look. And the females of the time knew how to use hair accessories to accentuate their waves and curls. Today’s curly girls can take a lesson from these film heroines by adding a little sparkle to the curls.

I could honestly go on and on with examples of movies and eras when curls were beautiful. It really wasn’t until the ’20s that it became popular to get rid of the curls and embrace the bob. Although straight hair became popular around this time, it didn’t mean that curls died completely. Far from it!

The next time you see a Victorian or Elizabethan movie, don’t forget to observe the curls on the characters.

Cozy Friedman

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