Posts Tagged ‘100 years ago’

Hats were not just an accessory but an adornment in 1912. They were still a year away from Mary Crosby’s invention of the bra and three years from a tube of lip stick being sold for the first time.

If you’ve seen the movie Titanic, you’ve seen the beautiful hats of the time. They had the wide brim and were large and covered the face.

Irene Castle and her short bob

The short bob was introduced in Paris in 1909 and quickly spread. Actress Irene Castle was a trendsetter for short hair in America. Hair was frequently supplemented with pastiches. These were false curls, buns or small wigs that were easily able to be incorporated into the hairstyle for extra volume.

Women curled their hair with heated curlers. The permanent wave was just being invented and took twelve hours to complete and hair coloring was only five years old. Mainly actresses and models wore makeup, but if a woman did wear makeup in 1912 she would place dark eye liner around the outside of her eye, powder her face lighter than her natural skin color and emphasis her lips.

Another hairstyle you might see would be curtain hair. This was when short hair was parted down the middle and worn with an elaborate headband underneath. Often these headbands were extensively beaded, had feathers or jewels incorporated, especially for an evening outing. This technique allowed the hair to hang naturally.

1912 colored chip straw hat

1912 Wide Brimmed Hat

1912 Hat1912 ostrich hat

1912 Ad showing hat and dress1912 Dress, how would you accessorize?1912 Layered Dress

For my last two post on women’s fashion and men’s fashion

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Have you ever thought about what life was like 100 years ago? Life has changed considerably in the last 100 years! Today we have numerous forms of entertainment from television, radio, internet, MP3 players, Wii’s, Blackberry’s, Kindles, and a number of other gadgets that keep us entertained.
A hundred years ago none of these items even existed. Image if you went back in time to 1912. What would you do for fun?

Music—today we can turn the radio on and have a number of stations playing a large variety of music. In 1912 if you wanted to hear music it was usually live. You could hear a band that might be in your area, your sister that played the piano or player pianos which were popular at the time. Sheet music was very popular and the way to get a song into the hands of the general public. Irving Berlin’s Alexander’s Ragtime Band was popular and made him a household name. Other songs of the time were In the Garden, When Irish Eyes Were Smiling, Be My Little Baby Bumble Bee, and It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.

Alexander's Ragtime Band

Books—books were very popular but they were not as easily available as they are today. Arthur Conan Doyle {author of the Sherlock Holmes series} was a popular author of that day. Several popular books that were published in 1912 are Daddy Long Legs {later made into a movie with Fred Astaire}, Tarzan of the Apes, Chronicles of Avonlea, Robin Hood, and The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker.

Arthur Conan Doyle

Movies—movies did not exist as we know them today. They were considerably shorter usually lasting in length 15-20 minutes {although some were longer}. This was in the days before sound and if music was put to the film it was because the theatre paid a musician to play the piano as the reel played. The film industry was growing and exploring during this time. George Melies was just one popular actor of that age. The film Hugo chronicles his success and failures during this time. A couple of movies in 1912 showing were The Knight of the Snows, The Glass Slipper, and The Ghost of Sulpher Mountain.

George Melies

Dances—dances were very popular and it was a great way to see your friends. Music was provided by local musicians that would entertain the group.

Church Gatherings—churches would hold socials or gatherings. Many churches during this time did not approve of dancing {I’ve seen church records where members were kicked out for dancing}. They may have had a potluck meal, storyteller to regale them, music from local entertainers or possibly a hayride in the fall.

Church Social

Games—they did not have Nintendo or even all the board games we have today. Games then might include a game of horseshoes, marbles, checkers, jacks or chess.


These are just some of the ways that people spent their spare time a hundred years ago. Many worked hard on the farms or in the mill and had little time for extracurricular pursuits. While our society has technically advanced in the last hundred years, many of their pursuits are not that different from how we spend our time today.

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