Hair was said to be a woman's crowning glory, The Victorians certainly knew that as these photos will convey. A Victorian girl until the age of 16 wore her hair in braids, once she became a young lady at age 16 her hair went up (while her hem length went down to the ankle.)
Victorian hair was so precious that it was often saved after the loved one passed away and woven into beautiful intricate jewelry, wall hangings & sculptures such as this Victorian hair tree.
The only time a proper Victorian woman let her hair down was in the privacy of her bedroom, her husband or children were the only ones allowed to see her this way.
Evelyn Nesbit was the first model for Charles Dana's Gibson Girl drawings. She was a stunning young beauty and had the coveted luxurious hair of the Victorian era.
Charles Dana Gibson's Gibson Girl Evelyn Nesbit
Many actresses of the stage brazenly let their hair down, much to the delight of the male audience. Here is Evelyn Nesbit with her hair down.
One of the most famous long hair Victorian women were the Sutherland Sisters. Here is a photo of their incredible locks!
I have always had at least shoulder length hair, about 9 years ago I stopped cutting it and it is now past my derriere. It is perfect when I have to wrap it up like a Gibson Girl of the 1890's to do a Victorian Fashion show.
John took a picture just as I was about to pin my long hair up for a Victorian event at the Stegmaier Mansion. people ask me if it is difficult to take care of. It really isn't, I just let it air dry, I have never used a blow dryer or an iron on it, one of the reasons it is so long. Heat breaks the ends of the hair off. (I know this because I was a licensed cosmetologist before I followed my dream of Victorian re-enacting.)
If it gets too bothersome in the heat, I just braid it to the side!
When I am in the direct sun my hair looks fiery, John shot this while I was walking through Green Wood cemetery in Brooklyn, NY this spring.
There are a few of the antique nightgown/boudoir shots in my upcoming book, The Fashionable Victorians (Schiffer Publishing), where my hair is let down full length. :)