Here is an overview of the most popular hairstyles in the Victorian Era, 1830s to the end of the century.
1840sThe 40s started off much in the same way as the Queen Victoria portrait above, but the sides became looped or smoothed to the jawline, sometimes referred to as dog ears. By the late 40s, side curls replaced the somewhat severe plaits.
1850sThe 50s began adding volume to their styles. Still parted down the middle, the fullness was out to the sides. The back was in a bun or braided. By the end of the 50s, the fullness moved to the back of the head is a softer chignon.
1860sThe 60s finally brought a soft, feminine and complementary look to styles. Curls, ringlets and flowers were popular for evening, and daytime style were pretty braids and chignons in the back, with ribbons and lace. The front was slightly waved.
1870sThe 70s brought an explosion of false hair pieces! Nothing was to big for some of these ladies. Hair moved up to the top of the head, with braids and sausage curls cascading down the back.
By the late 70s, those crazy styles calmed down, and as skirts narrowed, so did the hair. They lost the huge, thick hair hairpieces, and opted for a low chignon in the back or just one or two tasteful long curls, some height on top and the beginning of a curly bang was born.
1880sHair in the 80s took a very severe turn. Gone were the huge styles of the 70s, and hair was put up again in the back. The big change was the new fringe or bangs. This consisted of a tightly curled or frizzed swatch from ear to ear. Hair on the sides was pulled back tightly. It was refined for the evening, with extra braiding, ribbons and flowers, with some smaller curls down the neck.
1890sThe 90s was an era of changes, in lifestyles, clothing, advancement in technology and business. The 90s woman was heading towards more independence, and it showed in her attitude and appearance.
The Gibson girl was born, confident and often employed. With her sensible outfit of blouse and skirt, her hair was put up in a looser topknot. Very soft and full, unlike the severe 80s. By the turn of the century, the Victorian era was over, and the topknot turned into a full pompadour style, favored by the famous Gibson girls of the time.