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The Greatest Ear Muff Parade!

The highlight of Chester Greenwood Day is the parade.

The highlight of Chester Greenwood Day is the parade.

In 2013 we blogged about Chester Greenwood, a 15 year old grammar school dropout who invented the earmuffs to keep his ears cozy while ice skating. His cold ears, coupled with an entrepeneural spirit led him to patent his invention in 1877. By 1936, the year before his death his factory was producing more than 400,000 earmuffs yearly.

 

Greenwood’s Ear Protector Factory provided ear warmers to the soldiers during World War I. In addition to keeping many ears warm in the winter, his factory, located in Farmington, Maine boosted the economy and provided jobs to many a family. Every year in December the town of Farmington celebrates “Chester Greenwood Day” in honor of his birthday.

 

The highlight of Chester Greenwood Day is the parade in which local police cruisers are decorated with giant earmuffs. Anyone can join in the parade…as long as you are wearing your own pair of muffs!

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Spotlight on History: The origins of the Bandana

Bandana

bandanas are used more as a fashion statement for tying back hair

Bandanas. You see them all over, that versatile little square of cloth. Where did the bandanna originate? And how did they grow in their popularity?

Bandanas have been around for over 200 years. Their popular function was a handkerchief (in pre-Kleenex days) or worn around the head or neck to keep dust out of the eyes and sweat off the neck and out of the collar. The word bandana comes from the Hindu word bndhn which is  a process used to dye small pieces of cloth.

 

At the end of the 1700s, with the British controlling the large landmass known as America, the colonists were thirsting for independence. In an effort to control the colonists, the British imposed a ban on printing.

It was at that time of political struggle that Martha Washington was on her way to visit her husband George when she stopped off in Philadelphia. She wanted to bring George Washington a gift and upon recommendation of Benjamin Franklin, she asked John Hewston, a printmaker to print a bandana a picture of George alongside military flags and cannons. Although it was illegal, John complied.

 

When the war was over, that bandana was reprinted for the masses and so was the first souvenir bandana created!

Many other politicians started printing their pictures and slogans on bandanas as well. Bandanas were also printed for war heroes, sports stars and were used during WWI and WWII to promote patriotism. They were also used as a marketing tool for companies. For example in the 1920s Kellogg’s put a bandana into their boxes of cereal with instructions how to sew it into a stuffed animal!

 

Part of the reason bandanas took off so well, is that they easily absorbed the same ink used for printing paper (both were made from cotton) and fit on the printing press.

 

While bandanas were valued in the past for their protective benefits, nowadays, bandanas are used more as a fashion statement for tying back hair, to add to an outfit to spice it up or many other uses. So next time you tie a bandana around your head, keep in mind its rich history!

The Cocktail Hat – What is it Exactly?

cocktailhatFor those of you who do not know what a cocktail hat is – it’s a small brimless dress hat that is worn simply for style since this hat does not provide Hair Coverage at all. The base of the hat can be found in a few variations such as a tear drop shape which allows it to sit comfortably on ones head or a flat base. They usually have flowers, feathers and such other designs and embellishments which makes it dressy and fashionable. In addition, some come with a net hanging over which droops down over ones face to provide an extra special look.

How did the Cocktail Hat come about?

In the 1930’s women took great interest in wearing daytime hats. However, these weekday hats did not suit their needs when they were looking to go to fancy affairs such as cocktail parties, tea dances, etc. Therefore, the designers of the time came out with the cocktail hat which is more appropriate for dress of higher class. Today, Cocktail Hats are worn by women all over, especially by Royalty. It makes a great fascinator and hair accessory for a Wig and Hair on a special occasion. Cocktail hats can be found in white worn by a bride as well as in all different colors for any special occasion. Some have tall embellishments for those looking to provide height and some are small and flat.

So if you’re looking for an extra little something to dress up your outfit you know exactly what you need! Just remember, if you are looking for a Dress Hat to provide head coverage you should try and stick to a cloche or other kind of Hat.

The Herringbone Print- Yes, It’s Herring as in Fish!!

Now that you know all about the stylish and fashionable Chevron Print – thought I’d introduce another similar print which is definitely making its way up in fashion. It’s called the Herringbone Pattern and yes it’s Herring as in fish! The reason why it got that name is simply because the pattern resembles the skeleton of a fish, specifically the one of a Herring.  The Herringbone print can actually be easily mistaken for the Chevron print since they both give off the zig-zag look or effect. However, once you take a closer look you will clearly see that they are made differently.

The Chevron prints’ zig-zag is made of 2 rectangles of the same exact size cut at a precise angle and placed together point to point to form a zig zag line. The Herringbone print is made of 2 rectangles of the same exact size as well but are not cut anywhere to form a zig-zag line. Instead, these rectangles are placed short side to one end of the long side and then repeated again and again.

The herringbone print was developed during the Roman Empire for construction techniques (landscaping, etc.) and was actually called Opus spicatum, or “spiked work.” However, after the fall of the Roman Empire, many of the fundamental construction techniques got lost and forgotten. The Herringbone print came back around during the Renaissance in Europe but this time it was big in Architecture. Today, Herringbone can be found in areas of design such as pavement, floors, tiles, textiles and of course clothing.

The pattern can often be found on close inspection of tailored wool garments such as jackets and coats. It is usually made with a thick fabric such as Twill and Tweed. However, lots of clothing, head covers, accessories and more have the Herringbone Pattern simply printed on it. For example, this Dacee Designs head wrap has the herringbone pattern simply printed on it instead of the fabric actually sewn together to form the print and it makes the perfect hair accessory to hold back your hair in these hot summer months!

So as you can tell, the Herringbone print is a really complex pattern or design which makes it all that much cooler to have! Look out for our Blog next week on how to braid your hair like a Herringbone- FISH TAIL BRAID!!

Got the Chevron Fever Yet?! Get ALL the Scoop on Chevron Print Here

Chevron is everywhere!

Chevron is everywhere!

Chevron. For some reason it’s literally everywhere and people are really going crazy for it. For those of you who don’t know what chevron is, it’s basically a zig-zag design made of inverted v’s. It is generally a combination of 2 colors and for some reason white is usually one of the 2 colors but of course, any color combination is possible. I’m not exactly sure what’s getting everyone excited about it. Maybe because it’s fresh and new or perhaps the v design is slimming, but it’s definitely got everyone hooked on!

The Chevron print has actually been around since the 1800’s. It was a design used for engraving in pottery and sculptures. Later on, this symbol has actually been used in flags and on badges for military personnel (the more chevron symbols they had on their badge the higher the ranking in the military).

More recently, the brand name Missoni was created by Tai and Rosita Missoni in 1953. They reached the heights of the fashion world sometime in the 70’s and were known for their sharp geometric patterns – Chevron being one of their most famous patterns. So just like the Burberry plaid design stands for Burberry, the Chevron design kind of stood for Missoni. The Chevron design was only seen on Missoni Designer wear and no one dared to copy them and use that pattern. Later, they decided to make a cheaper and more affordable line for Target in September 2011 which made this chevron print accessible to all.

Now that you know where this Chevron fad stemmed and how “cool” it is go ahead and treat yourself to the most fashionable, trendy and HOT print this season! Wear it on a head wrap, head scarf, scrunchy or any other hair accessory out there and you’ll be sure to make a fashion statement.

What Would We Do Without Pocket Mirrors?!

Luckily for us, back in the days someone figured out that if you blink up metal you can see your face in it.

Luckily for us, back in the days someone figured out that if you blink up metal you can see your face in it.

I don’t know about you, but my pocket mirror is definitely one of my best friends. Lately, I haven’t gone anywhere without it, it’s in my back “pocket” wherever I go! I’m sure you’ll agree with me that when walking out in this harsh winter your hair gets blown away and although it made have been neat and put together when you left the house, a few minutes outside can turn it up side down. So of course, we all turn to our tiny little buddies to help us straighten ourselves up and look just right. Luckily for us, back in the days someone figured out that if you blink up metal you can see your face in it.

Mirrors have been around for a long, long time now. It seems like even the Egyptians were already using copper mirrors and in the 16th Century mirror makers in Venice invented a mirror made of glass and the back was covered with mercury which gave an excellent reflection. The French then industrialized the process in the 17th century making it a wide spread and popular object. The pocket mirror was invented shortly after for all of those (like us) who felt they needed a mirror on them at all times.

There are lots of different kinds of travel mirrors for many different purposes. Some include travel mirrors for makeup which are generally a little larger than the compact mirrors for ones purse, there are pocket mirrors for bathrooms, counter tops and many more different sizes and shapes. But the more typical pocket mirror is the Compact mirror which is typically the smallest of the travel types. It’s two halves open and close with a center hinge to allow double the mirror size in half the space. While many compact travel mirror styles are round, they come in many different sizes. They can be found in heart shapes, roses, ladybugs and anything else you can dream up! They can even be found with a key chain on it so they can be attached to a key ring, a wristlet or anything else to make it even more practical.

So if you are still looking for that simple solution to be able to fix up your hair wherever you are- any time and anywhere, I think it’s safe to say that the pocket mirror is definitely going to be your best bet!!

Ear Muffs- Ever Wonder How The Warmest Invention Came About?

Ear muffs are so popular that today even snowmen wear them!

Ear muffs are so popular that today even snowmen wear them!

Ear muffs are so popular that today even snowmen wear them! They come in many different warm materials such as fur, fleece, velvet and much more. In addition, they can be found in lots of different styles and colors and are made for young children, kids, teens and adults of all ages. They are stylish, practical and warm which is why they are a necessary winter accessory today.

However, like every practical invention, ear muffs have not been around forever. In the year 1873, a 15 year old boy Chester Greenwood of Maine loved to ice skate. However, his ears got so cold he had to go in and warm up all the time. He was fed up and tired of suffering in the cold northern winter so he went ahead and invented the first pair of ear muffs. They consisted of two circles made of beaver fur lined with velvet and sewn onto a wire loop frame by Chester’s grandmother. Chester was extremely proud of himself because while all his friends had to go in and warm up while ice skating, his ears were kept warm at all times.

Over the years and with much experimentation, Greenwood learned to attach the earmuffs to a flexible spring-steel band that could be coiled to fit in a pocket. Due to the demand, Greenwood opened a small factory in his hometown in 1877 and in 1936 (the year before his death) his factory produced 400,000 ear muffs.  Today, thanks to Chester Greenwood, there are hundreds if not thousands of different kinds and styles of ear muffs to help keep our ears warm. Of course, in this generation some of them are even made as head phones so that you can still listen to music when wearing your earmuffs.

So next time you put on those earmuffs and brace the cold weather don’t forget to give thanks to Chester Greenwood for his brilliant invention. Apparently, in 2007, Maine held a parade to celebrate his invention and 130 years of warm ears, so you can just imagine how much they made a difference to some people’s lives. And hey, next time you feel like you can use and extra something that hasn’t been invented yet, give it a try – you never know what could come out of it….