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PostPosted: 01 Dec 2010, 14:26 
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How to Copy Pride and Prejudice Hairstyles
Historically Accurate Regency Updos From Jane Austen's Era

Jul 23, 2009 Sarah Tennant

Pride and Prejudice Hair Style - C E Brock, illustrator of 1985 edition
The BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries, starring Jennifer Ehle (Elizabeth Bennet) and Colin Firth (Mr Darcy), features authentic period hairstyles which are easy to copy.

The bulk of the women’s hairstyles in the miniseries are variations on a single theme. Elizabeth Bennet’s hairstyle varies very little between daytime wear and evening dress; the changes are rung through combining the hairstyle with a number of different bonnets and decorations.

The Basic Pride and Prejudice Ringlets
To make the basic Regency hairstyle, section off the front few inches of hair from the forehead, using an ear-to-ear part. This is the “front hair”, which will be used to make the characteristic Regency side curls.

Part the front hair in the centre (it may help to clip up your back hair to keep it out of the way while fixing the front). Use a boar bristle brush to sleek the hair to the sides.

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The easiest way to achieve the ringlets is to use a curling iron. Make two or three fat curls, trying to keep them bouncy rather than drooping. For short bangs, make a few layers of curls travelling down the sides of the head; for longer curls, all the ringlets may start close to the centre part.

A more authentic and hair-friendly way of getting curls requires some pre-planning. Use old stockings or rags to make rag curls some hours before the hairstyle is required.

Once the ringlets are curled use bobby pins to secure the ringlets at the temples. The curls should fall in front of the ears. Elizabeth Bennet wore her hair with a slight wave on the hairline, so that each half of the front hair dipped into a slight U-shape before being secured at the temples in ringlets. Mrs Bennet also wore her hair this way, but placed her ringlets further to the sides of her head; Jane’s hair was slightly curved back from her hairline, and she wore shorter curls.

Read on
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The Universal Appeal of Pride and Prejudice
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Variations of the Pride and Prejudice Ringlets
Many Regency women had shortish bangs. Susannah Harker, who played Jane, had bangs cut into her natural hair for the role in order to more easily wear the period ringlets. In the BBC series, Lydia and Mary curl their bangs and wear them over one eyebrow. Kitty adopts a slightly different hairstyle with only a single tiny curl over one eyebrow, and the rest of her hair sleeked back. Charlotte has no ringlets at all, though she retains the centre part; in one scene her front hair is braided and brought around to the back of her head into a bun. The fashionable Mrs Hurst, Lady Catherine and Caroline Bingley wear their front hair in sleek waves rather than individual curls.

Updos from Pride and Prejudice
In many ways the front hair of a Regency style, peeping out coyly from the brim of a bonnet, was more important than the back hair, which was often hidden. When not under bonnets the Bennet sisters’ hair is worn in curls or chignons at the crown of the head. Jane wore braided buns, in keeping with her neo-classical beauty; Lydia favoured a loose knot of curls. Mary wound her hair into a plain cinnamon-bun, while Kitty wore an unusual style of stiffened loops.

Regency Ballroom Hair Styles
In the Pride and Prejudice miniseries Jane accents her braided bun with gauzy ribbon and smaller looped braids arranged like flower petals around the bun. Elizabeth’s back hairstyle is often difficult to make out, but at one ball it appears to be a knot of curls accented with pearl beads, cream silk roses and ribbon. These falling-ringlet styles contained curls which tumbled down the neck, but always landed a few inches above shoulder-height. Short hairs at the nape of the neck were curled into ringlets.

During the various ball scenes, a number of Regency hairstyles can be seen on extras. One older woman has accented her chignon with a false braid, a popular practice of the time. Other women sport variations on the braided bun or knot of curls, accented with ribbons, feathers and flowers. Mrs Hurst and Caroline Bingley wear higher and more pronounced headgear involving plumes and turbans, while the older women wear soft lace caps.

Tips for Making Regency Hairstyles
In the Pride and Prejudice miniseries Jennifer Ehle wore a wig. Abundant hair was considered a sign of beauty in Regency times, and many women added bulk to their hair with rats and false braids or curls. If your Regency updo doesn’t look as full as Elizabeth’s, remember that her wig was deliberately manufactured to be plump and luscious!
Screencaps are a good way to examine the hairstyles in the miniseries. Alternatively, works of art from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries often depict "Pride and Prejudice" hairstyles.

Read more at Suite101: How to Copy Pride and Prejudice Hairstyles: Historically Accurate Regency Updos From Jane Austen's Era ... z16tEPUvMa

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