Tag Archive | history

Spotlight on History: The Origins of the Paisley Print

Paisley bandana

The paisley design looks like a teardrop with a curve at the top

One of the most famous prints printed on bandanas is the paisley print


The paisley design looks like a teardrop with a curve at the top. The design originates in India and was brought to Europe and America in the 18th and 19th century. Most notable were the paisley scarves brought in by the East India Company. However, the design only got its name when it started being mass-produced in the large Scottish textile town of…you got it… Paisley!


The paisley print went in and out of fashion for the next couple of decades and made its big comeback in the 1960s in the U.S. In the 1960s multi-cultural looks were the rage and the paisley pattern was back in its full glory. John Lennon or Beatles fame even had one printed on his Rolls Royce!


Nowdays, some of the more common items that have the paisley print are handbags, skirts, paisley sunvisors, paisley wallets, ties and of course the bandana! Paisley bandanas can come as squares, triangles, or in their pre-tied bandana head band version.


So go ahead – it’s not just for the summer! The paisley print will carry you all through the year with its rich history and classic look!

Spotlight on History: The origins of the 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!

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….

What Would We Do Without Pony Holders?!

A scrunchie is a combination of the hair tie and the elastic. Its’ an elastic band covered by scrunched up fabric.

Pony tails or hair ties have always been a classic hair accessory to keep ones hair up. Styles come and go when it comes to hair accessories, but pony tails are always there and will always be around due to their comfort and practicality. Bet you never thought about when they originated, probably assuming they’ve just been around forever. But guess what- the pony tail we know today has not been around forever and just like everything else in life, it has a history of its own.

Of course, a method of holding ones hair up was always a necessity, so back in the days, women and children held their hair up with different fabrics or bands of leather. In order for them to stay in place and not to slip out every second the material was either tied tightly or held closed with a pin. While children wore adorable and colorful ribbons/ fabrics, women would never be seen in public with their hair up in such a casual manner up until it was popularized in the late 20th century.

As you can just imagine, this method was pretty time consuming and not so practical- which is why they had to come up with a faster and more practical way to make a hair tie. In the 1800’s, rubber was slowly starting to be used in many different garments such as shoes, gloves, etc. In the year of 1845, Mr. Stephen Perry came out with the elastic rubber band which people started using as pony tails. However, as you know, these kinds of rubber bands have a tendency to pull on hair resulting hair shedding and hair loss. Therefore, in the late 20th century they came out with the updated pony tail which was specifically designed to hold hair together in a comfortable manner. This elastic, which is the pony tail that we know today, was made of elastic and covered with a very thin fabric so as to not pull hair out.

What goes around comes around, which is why today we have something called a “Scrunchie”. A scrunchie is a combination of the hair tie and the elastic. Its’ an elastic band covered by scrunched up fabric. It comes in many different colors and fabrics for style and taste and is especially good to keep your hair up without leaving a “pony mark” behind.

Like I said, even pony tails have their own history and haven’t been around forever.  So take the time to appreciate all the practical hair accessories and head coverings that were created over time to help you be more comfortable and look your best at all times!

Hats Around the World: Part 2

The next stop on our world hat tour will be…..Asia.

And here we can find some really cool and interesting hats.

Korea: Ever heard of the Ayam?

Traditional Korean Hat

Ayam Hat

It’s a really cool looking hat that was worn basically by Korean Women from 1392 till 1910 as a winter hat. It was made from silk and fur during the Joselan period. The Ayam was worn mostly by female commoners.

The Ayam isn’t the only interesting hat you might see in Korea another one is the Gat, yes that’s the name, Gat. The Gat  was also worn during the Josean Dynasty. It was usually Cylindrically shaped with a really wide brim and during the 19th century was restricted to married and middle class men; sort of a social class thing. Now hows about a visit to…

China: One hat with a really exotic name is the Phoenix Crown Hat or Coronet. This was a really spectacular looking hat that was worn by noblewomen mostly in the Ming Dynasty (the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644) this hat, which was more of a headdress could have over 5000 pearls and 100 gemstones sewn into it!

Korean Gat Hat

Korean Gat Hat

And headcovering fun in ancient China was not exclusive to the female gender the men  also had some cool hats, here’s one:

The heads  of the Chinese Han  officials during during the aforementioned Ming Dynasty, usually  covered up  with a black hat that had two  flaps (sort of like wings) made of thin, oval shaped boards on each side. The hat was  called the Wushamao  and the common folks were not supposed to be wearing one of these   headdresses unless they were the lucky guests attending a wedding ceremonies or event, (Party anyone?) involving noble families or officials.

And now a stop in Burma (Myanmar).

The Gaung Paung ( for those that don’t know it means headwrap) is a hat that is not so different looking then a turban and is traditionally worn by the Shan, Rakhine and Mon peoples.

Depending on the wealth of the owner it is either made from silk or cotton. Its  mostly a ceremonial piece of headwear and if you look closely you will know the ethnic group of the wearer as each ethnic group wears it slightly differently.

Cambodia/Vietnam: We’ll round up our tour of Asia with the most famous Asian Hat of all the Conical shaped hat which is really worn by farmers throughout Asia. Some know it as a “coolie” hat, though as Wikipedia notes now-a-days many find that term offensive.


Aisan Hat

It’s called a conical hap ’cause thats it’s shape, a cone, and it has a strap that goes under the wearers chin keeping it in place. The point of the hat is mostly for sun protection.

Well that wraps up the Asian portion of our tour.

Follow the MyHeadcoverings BLOG to make certain you don’t miss Part 3 of our World Hat tour!

The Merry Widow Hat


This was a women head covering that really did cover

A funny name for a hat  isn’t it?

Well, for a brief period of time in around 1907, the most popular and stylish thing in the fashion world was the Merry Widow hat.

Some explanation is in order.

From the Beginning of the 1900’s, Women’s Hats grew in variety and became quite interesting. As styles began to change and women’s dresses became sleeker and closer fitting, hats began to get larger and larger, both in width and height.

In the year 1907, a play was produced in London by the name of The Merry Widow, and Lady Duff Gordon created a hat for “Sonia” the leading lady. The hat created is known for posterity as the “Merry Widow Hat”. This was one women’s head covering that really did cover.

This hat was an incredible 3 feet wide and 18 inches tall with plenty of feathers and ribbons to boot. Quickly they became all the rage and women rushed to buy them.

Sadly however, the style was short lived. London Theater goers complained that the hats were too big and obstructing their view, so theaters banned them contributing to their short shelf-life, so by the end of WW1 the Merry Widow hat was all but extinct.

However, they did leave us a great name!