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Saturday 9 March 2013

Headdresses and hairstyles for Regency evenings

A collage of 40 Regency headdresses and hairstyles by year 1811-20 from La Belle Assemblée and Ackermann's Repository

Headdresses and hairstyles

The pictures trace the changes in evening headdresses, from the modest turbans of the early Regency, through the penchant for veils and onto tall feather headdresses and the return of turbans, higher than before.

The hairstyles move from neat, high twists with ringlets at the side to dishevelled curls, then styles combed into smoothness before going back to ringlets. By the end of the Regency, hair is being elegantly arranged and ornamented. Throughout the Regency period, flowers are often used to decorate the hair when no headdress is worn.


From La Belle Assemblée (Feb 1811): “A white satin cap, ornamented with crimson or morone coloured glossed silk trimming.” “Hair in full curls, divided rather towards the left side.”

From La Belle Assemblée (Mar 1811): “The hair twisted up behind, and dressed in full curls, ornamented with a bandeau of light-blue twisted crape and roses.”

From La Belle Assemblée (Apr 1811): “A Turkish turban of green crape, with trimming to correspond, with plume on the right side. The hair in small round curls, divided on the right side.”

From La Belle Assemblée (May 1811): With Parisian ball dress – “the hair plaited, and twisted with a double row of pearls.”


From La Belle Assemblée (Jan 1812): “The hair dressed in the antique Roman style, with tresses brought together and confined at the back of the head, terminating either in ringlets or in tow light knots; a braid of plaited hair drawn over a demi-turban formed of plain amber satin, with an elegantly embroidered stripe of white satin, separated by rows of pearl, and a superb spring of pearls in front.”

From La Belle Assemblée (Mar 1812): “Moorish turban of white satin and coloured crape twisted in the front, the same colour as the gown, and fastened on the crown with a ruby ornament to correspond with the broaches.”

From La Belle Assemblée (Apr 1812): “Parisian mob, worn unfastened, of puckered pink, and white crape over pink satin.”

From La Belle Assemblée (Jun 1812): “Anne of Denmark hat, of white satin, with a long white ostrich feather drooping over the front, and surmounted by a small bunch of rose-buds or wild honey-suckles; pearl bandeau discovered on the right side of the head.”


From Ackermann's Repository (Feb 1813): “The hair flat on the sides, and in waved curls in front, divided in the center of the forehead, and confined in full curls at the back of the head, with an apparent stray ringlet falling on one shoulder.”

From Ackermann's Repository (May 1813): “Hair in irregular curls, confined in the Eastern style, and blended with flowers.”

From Ackermann's Repository (Jun 1813): “An Indian turban, of silver frosted crape, decorated with pearl or white beads; and a bunch of spring flowers beneath, blending with the hair over the left eyebrow.”

From Ackermann's Repository (Sept 1813): “Head-dress, a la Parisienne, composed of a small bandeau of diamonds, white roses, and folds of silk the colour of the bodice; over which is disposed fancifully a large transparent Mechlin veil.”


From Ackermann's Repository (Feb 1814): “Hair in dishevelled curls, divided in front of the forehead, and ornamented with clusters of small variegated flowers; a large transparent Mechlin veil, thrown occasionally over the head, shading the bosom in front, and falling in graceful drapery beneath.”

From Ackermann's Repository (May 1814): “The hair, combed smoothly over and carried down low to the back of the head, is loosely twisted, and falls in careless curls over the neck, separated on the centre of the forehead by a pearl ornament or the fleur de lis: it is worn much over the face, in dropping curls, extending below the ear.”

From Ackermann's Repository (Jun 1814): “The hair is combed up smoothly behind, and brought forward, falls in irregular curls over the face, confined upon the crown by a short wreath of flowers.”

From Ackermann's Repository (Aug 1814): “The hair, brought smoothly up behind, terminates upon the crown of the head in a full cluster of curls; a pearl tiara separates it from the front, which falls in ringlets.”


From Ackermann's Repository (Jan 1815): “Hair parted in the centre of the forehead, confined in the Grecian style, and blended with flowers.”

From Ackermann's Repository (Apr 1815): “Hat composed of white satin; narrow turban front, ornamented with a full plume of ostrich feathers.”

From Ackermann's Repository (May 1815): “The hair crossed, with full curls on the forehead and in the neck.”

From Ackermann's Repository (Jun 1815): “Hair in irregular curls, blended with a wreath of lilac.”


From La Belle Assemblée (Feb 1816): Parisian concert dress “The hair dressed in the Chinese style, with a few ringlets next the face, the hind hair brought in rows of plaited braids on the summit of the crown, finished by bunches of dove-coloured ribband, a-la-Montespan.”
From La Belle Assemblée (Mar 1816): Saxe-Coburg dress “Bridal veil, fastened with a brooch of pearl and pink topazes, with the hair simply dressed in light curls and parted on the forehead.”

From La Belle Assemblée (Apr 1816): “The hair arranged a-la-Vandyke, with a bouquet of full blown roses place over the right ear.”

From Ackermann's Repository (Aug 1816): “Hair, cropped and curled full in the back of the neck, and dressed light, and much parted on the forehead: it is ornamented with a superb white ostrich-plume, at the base of which is an aigrette of diamonds.”


From Ackermann's Repository (Jan 1817): “The hair is brought up in a high tuft behind, and the front hair combed back on each side so as to display the forehead; a part of it is disposed in loose ringlets, which fall carelessly over the ears, which they partly shade. The hair is ornamented by a single lily, placed in a bunch of fern.”

From Ackermann's Repository (Mar 1817): “Head-dress, the imperial tocque, composed of white satin; the front, in the form of a tiara, is superbly ornamented with pearls; the crown is set in full it is of a very moderate height: a plume of white feathers, placed upright in front, finishes this tocque. The hair is disposed in light curls over the forehead, and low at the sides.”

From Ackermann's Repository (May 1817): “The hair is dressed in a plain braid across the face, and a few loose ringlets at the sides. The hind hair forms a tuft, which is concealed by the head-dress, a high wreath of fancy flowers.”

From Ackermann's Repository (Jun 1817): “Head-dress the Gloucester turban, composed of white gauze, which is laid on very full; the fullness confined by bands of pearl. A plume of ostrich feathers falls over to the left side.”


From La Belle Assemblée (Mar 1818): “Crown turban of white satin, net and pearls, with tassels of the latter material, and crowned near the summit with a wreath of pink fancy flowers, and pearls.”

From Ackermann's Repository (Aug 1818): “Head-dress, the Kent toque, composed of Parisian gauze of a bright gold colour, richly embroidered in small roses. This toque is made higher than we have observed them lately, particularly in front; the gauze is laid very full on the fore part of the crown; this fullness is formed into large Spanish puffs by two bands of the same material, which confine it: it is worn without any other ornament.”

From Ackermann's Repository (Sept 1818): “Head-dress the coronet cap composed of white satin and tulle, with a slight intermixture of evening primrose satin. The upper part is entirely white satin; it is in the form of a crown; the lower part has a fullness of tulle round the face, which is very becoming.”

From La Belle Assemblée (Oct 1818): “Toque turban of tulle, elegantly worked with straw to correspond, with Turkish foldings in front of crape and straw interspersed.”


From La Belle Assemblée (Jan 1819): “Head-dress composed of pearl cordons and rich plumes of white ostrich feathers.”

From La Belle Assemblée (Jan 1819): “The head-dress consisting of either a beautiful tiara of pearls, or a fancy ornament of downy plumage, or of frosted Italian frivolité; this ornament is, however, almost concealed by a bonnet de Turc, composed entirely of white ostrich feathers, playing in different directions. The stamina of the Turk’s cap, with the pistil, are represented by a small plume of short white heron’s feathers.”

From La Belle Assemblée (Mar 1819): “Small white satin fluted toque with Minerva plume.”

From La Belle Assemblée (Sept 1819): “Plume head-dress, consisting of numerous white down feathers floating over the hair, arranged in full curls, and depending partially over the left side of the head.”


From La Belle Assemblée (Jan 1820): Turban toque of lama gauze, crimson, white, and silver. The hair arranged en Camille.”

From La Belle Assemblée (Feb 1820): “The hair elegantly arranged, and ornamented with gauze, spotted with black velvet, and confined by rows of jet beads.”

From La Belle Assemblée (March 1820): “The head adorned with the regal coronet turban.”

From La Belle Assemblée (Apr 1820): “The hair adorned with silver ears of corn, full blown red roses, and rows of pearl.”

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Rachel Knowles writes clean/Christian historical romance set in the time of Jane Austen. She has been sharing her research on this blog since 2011. Rachel lives in the beautiful Georgian seaside town of Weymouth, Dorset, on the south coast of England, with her husband, Andrew.

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Sources used:
Ackermann, Rudolph, The Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions and Politics (1809-1829)
Bell, John, La Belle Assemblée (John Bell, 1806-1837, London)


  1. Wonderful. I'm going to have to try a few. I really need feathers.

    1. I love the drooping ostrich feather on the Anne of Denmark hat from 1812 :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Louise. It was interesting to separate the headdresses from the outfits and see how they developed over the Regency period.

  3. I just discovered your blog and it's full of Regency information. Love how you took the headdresses from Ackermann's and arranged them in chronological order thus giving a realistic view of the progression of fashion.

    I look forward to reading more of your wonderful journey into Regency research.

    1. Thanks very much, Isabella.
      I put together this post for just that reason - to give a visual overview of how headdresses changed during the Regency.

  4. Love this. So informative. Could you possibly direct me to a site where I can get information on Regency undergarments? Thank you.

  5. Glad you enjoyed the article. There are various links on my fashion links page - there is a tab at the top of this page or the direct link is: - hope you find these useful.

  6. I just found this post, and added it to the Updates section of my blog post from April 24, 2015, "Faking Purdy Locks: The Modern Hairstyle Goes Regency" on my series, "The Thrift Shop Regency Costume Experiment." Will also tweet.

    1. Thanks Suzan. I will have to try out one of those hairstyles for the Jane Austen Regency Promenade next month.