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Bangs. I rant about them frequently when I see them on adult women in historical movies and TV shows. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE SUPER FRICKING MODERN. In MOST historical eras — not all! — adult women had long hair which was worn up in various styles, without bangs. There are very few historical eras in which bangs ARE appropriate, so seeing them on Anne Boleyn or a Jane Austen heroine is just modern and jarring.
Now, I can’t believe I have to say this, but apparently I do: there are always exceptions. I’m mostly talking about adult women in Western European/American fashion. I’m sure you can find that one portrait of that one chick who randomly has bangs in 1542, but I’m talking about the general sweep of fashion across countries and eras, here, not what was worn in that one tiny town in Bulgaria on Weds. June 14th 1823.
With that being said…
Wisps vs. Bangs
Yes, these is a different. “Wisps” is what I call the short hair around the face that can happen when either your hair breaks (which happens naturally on some people when they repeatedly pull their hair up/away from the face), or when you cut those bits shorter for fashion. Usually we’re talking just 1/4″ or less of hair thickness, here. There are eras in which these occasionally pop up or are even fashionable:
However, this is not a giant shock of hair cut straight across the eyebrows, people. LOOK MORE CLOSELY, THESE ARE WISPS. Unfortunately, one technique for making a wig look natural is to hide the hairline, which some movies/TV shows do by adding little wispy curls around the face. Does it make the wig look less cheesy? Sure. Is it at ALL the prevailing aesthetic of the period? No. BUY A FUCKING LACE WIG PEOPLE, or work the actor’s hair into the wig. It’s not rocket science.
Other eras in which wisps show up:
From about the 1620s through the 1660s:
From the 1690s through the 1710s, you get these two little spit curls on either side of the forehead:
These start to get a bit more substantial in the 1720s-30s:
And in the 1860s:
Eras in Which Bangs Are Appropriate
Okay, there are a few!
The majority are wearing wisps from the 1620s-60s, but you do occasionally get more substantial short hair across the forehead (hello early Bettie Page bangs!):
In the 1780s-90s, you start to get some short, tousled curls that are pushed forward a bit onto the face:
And in the 1790s, you get some more substantial, specifically cut-shorter-across-the-forehead bangs:
The bang-y tradition continues into the 1800s and 1810s, although note these are usually curled and either center parted/pushed to the sides, or pushed to one side:
The 1820s takes the side-of-face-shorter-curl and goes to CrazyTown:
From the very late 1860s through the 1870s, you get short and curled, or super-short and straight, bangs:
In the 1880s-90s, you get a more substantial, right-above-the-eyebrows (straight or curled) bang:
But you also see some of the shorter curls:
WHICH IS WHY IT ANNOYS US WHEN YOU DO THIS:
Okay, link me to your one source from 1765 that shows a Western European adult woman with Bettie Page bangs. I dare you.