In looking over my articles on different styles of hairdressing I find I have neglected to cater for a very important member of feminine society - i.e., the debutante. The styles I have described so far have applied to girls of twenty-three or twenty-four, and to women of any age after that. But I feel that they have not included a coiffure especially applicable to the girl who is just putting up her hair, the expectant debutante who is emerging from the schoolroom into society and the fashionable world.
This omission it is intended to repair at the earliest opportunity, and so in the present article it will be my object to give a few hints to very young girls, and to describe, with illustrations, a coiffure which will prove remarkably attractive for a debutante or a first grown-up coiffure.
When a girl first puts her hair up she often makes serious mistakes. To begin with, she often tries to imitate a style of hairdressing she admires on a friend, who is probably a woman years older than herself. The youthful aspirant says, "Oh, I should love to do my hair as you do when I put it up." And the friend, flattered by the admiration, and probably ignorant of the first law of hairdressing - which is suitability - replies, "Would you, dear? Well, let me help you." The result is that the debutante appears for the first time with her hair "dressed," looking like a middle-aged woman instead of a young girl. The style may suit her, and would doubtless become her admirably if she happened to be ten years older. But for her first essay in hairdressing this slavish copying of an older woman's coiffure is a fatal mistake. Admire your friends by all means, young ladies, but do not, I beg you, copy their style of hair arrangement.
How the large loop and coil forming the back dressing are arranged
A characteristic and becoming coiffure for a debutante (front view). It combines youthful simplicity and graceful softness of effect
Be young while you really are young. You can follow the fashion and look "smart" when youth is behind you.
Another mistake made by girls when first putting up their hair is in disregarding the shape and form of their coiffure. They seem to think that a floppy, untidy, shapeless dressing is quite good enough to start with - the sort of arrangement that looks as if one pin supported it, while that one pin seems on the point of dropping out. Girls do not realise that, from the very beginning, they can dress their hair in a modification of the mode of the moment, aiming always at simplicity and softness.
For a young girl to use a swathe, a coil, or a cumbersome plait for her hair would be more than foolish. These adjuncts give hardness, and make her head look as though it belonged to a woman instead of a girl. Loose, soft curls and loops, with plenty of lightly arranged wavy hair in the front, form an ideal coiffure for a debutante. After all, she is only a "bud," and any suggestion of hard, definitely marked lines will detract immediately from her charm - which is really indefinite. When a girl puts up her hair for the first time she should start as she means to go on. It is a bad mistake to imagine that "anything does" in the early stages of hair-dressing. Slipshod habits, such as "flinging up" the hair without care or thought, grow with increasing years, and it is far harder for a girl to begin to take pride in her coiffure at twenty-four than if she had cared since she first used hairpins at seventeen. Practice alone makes for perfection in hairdressing, so the sooner that practice begins, the better.
Many girls "come out" at a dance, and put their hair up for good at the same time. It is often their habit to employ an ordinary, mediocre coiffure for the great occasion, and to march into the ballroom looking stiff and prim, with a fashionably dressed head which might well belong to their own mother. After the dance the girl begins to do her own hair, and as she gives it no time or care, her friends wonder why she has lost her looks since she "came out."
Now, my advice to a debutante is to study her head and face, and decide whether a high or a low dressing suits her best. Some days before "the" dance she should go to a really first-class hairdresser - a man who is an artist - and ask his advice. She should practise dressing her hair in the way which seems most becoming, and have it dressed as simply as possible by the same hair expert just before the dance.
When the dance is over, she should continue to use the same style, growing gradually
"at home" in dress-ing her hair, and being able, after a time, to attempt variations.
In my opinion, waving is indispensable in making a successful coiffure, save in the very rare cases when smooth, heavy tresses are combined with a statuesque type of beauty. But a debutante should avoid Marcel waving, for some years at least. A Marcel wave is much too hard and definite to suit a young face and coiffure; but every girl who wants a daintily dressed head should wave her hair on pins. Pin waving gives a lighter and more crinkly effect than a Marcel wave, and is far more suited to a young girl's face and coiffure. Full directions regarding waving on pins, ordinary or tortoise-shell, were given in a previous article (see page 3839, Vol. VI.). The question of the best style to adopt for the front of the hair is really a matter of choice, though personally I think that a loose and divided Pompadour dressing is more becoming to a fresh young face than any other. A centre parting is apt to leave harder lines and to encourage ugly gaps on the forehead, and a side parting, though smart, is better suited to an older woman. A Pompadour roll can be so easily adapted, being drawn high or dropped low, and arranged to hide or reveal the forehead according to individual liking.
The style chosen for description and illustration is particularly charming, and combines the simplicity, which should be the aim of every debutante, with graceful lines and soft curves and a novel arrangement of curls and loops at the back.
To start the dressing, divide the foundation tail from the front and sides of the hair, tying it firmly towards the crown of the head, and leaving a narrow margin
(about one and a half inches) of hair hanging round the face.
The coiffure viewed in profile, showing the soft, waved effect and the graceful arrangement of the back dressing. The comb with large knobs adds a useful finishing touch
Designs by David Nicol, 50, Hay-market, S. W.
This hair must next be divided into eight strands, to include front and sides, and placed on pins for waving purposes. When each pin has been firmly pressed with hot irons it can be removed, and the hair will be ready for dressing. Divide the hair into three portions, one over each ear, and one reaching across the forehead. French comb each portion thoroughly on the side furthest from the face. Then gather the three ends into the left hand, and, holding them firmly, brush the hair on the visible side until it forms a smooth, wavy roll. Draw it back towards the foundation, keeping it rather high towards the back, and, having arranged it in the right shape and size, fix it with two large side combs.
To give variety to the Pompadour for a debutante, boldly insert the fingers of the right hand into the roll just above the right eye, and break the Pompadour. This division is much more becoming if made with the fingers instead of the comb, and looks far softer. The hair can then be drawn over the forehead unevenly, dipping slightly towards the eyebrows on either side (see illustration).
In tying the foundation tail for this dressing, a narrow margin of hair should have been left across the back of the head from ear to ear. This will be utilised for the curls with waved points. Having finished the divided Pompadour, wave the foundation tail en papillote, using four pieces of paper, and the margin of hair below it in two pieces. The large loop and coil forming the back dressing must be made when the hair is waved. Lift the foundation tail in the left hand, and French comb it firmly. Twist it lightly once or twice after brushing it until quite smooth; then let it drop as in making a figure of eight, and place the fingers of the left hand on the loop thus made. Pin the loop - which should come rather high on the head - at the top and bottom (see illustration), and then carry the remainder of the tail across the top of the loop, having first twisted it again. Tack the end under the loop, and pin it securely; or, if the hair is sufficiently long, carry it under the loops as well. A comb with large knobs, as seen in the illustration, forms an attractive finish.
Lastly, the margin of hair is dressed. This must be divided on a slant, not straight, and the strand on the right side lifted towards the left, and vice versa. French comb the strand on the right underneath, brush it, then lift it across the back of the hair and pin it near the bottom of the loop, twisting it slightly before inserting the pin. The waved end is then left loose, and should be lifted towards the loop, turned under, pinned again lightly, and the curled end drawn outwards.
Exactly the same process is adopted with the other strand, and the dressing is left with two loose curls below the loop. This method of drawing the hair up to the central dressing is particularly useful for a debutante, as it provides a very soft finish to the coiffure, infinitely preferable to a swathe or plait, and softer than a slide, to finish the back of the hair.
Such a style as this should present few difficulties to the novice at hairdressing: it is simplicity itself, both in the making and the ultimate effect. Constant trials with pin and papillote waving should soon yield good results, and will get the hair into trim for the years to come, besides keeping it in shape, and helping it to stop up far longer than if the hair remains perfectly straight.