The baroque period spanned from 1600 to the mid-18th century. During that time, fashion and hairstyles evolved into personal artistic expressions. People throughout Europe copied the fashions and styles of Louis XIV of France and his court. Starting the era with popular head covering, woman later strayed into more elaborate and lengthy hair fashions.
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Wearing hair high on the head and wrapped with a covering was popular among married women during the early baroque period. A coiffure, also called a coif, is a close-fitting cap worn in the Middle Ages by women. It fits tightly and is made of linen, or silk for the wealthy. The coiffure protected the hair, kept it out of the face and represented respect and wealth in public. Wealthy woman had elaborate coiffures with decoration and adornments.
In the mid-1600s, women wore their hair long and loose on the sides. As depicted in portraits such as John Michael Wright's portrait of Barbara Viliers, this romantic hairstyle consisted of piling the hair in a high bun and letting hair along the side to curl down and frame the face. Fringe bangs were popular with this hairstyle, and the coif became unpopular when woman decided to allow their hairstyles to represent their fashion sense.
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In the late 17th century, women started experiment with partin their hair. A popular style was to part the hair in the middle and pull it back while leaving side, curly pieces out to framing the face. Later in the 17th century, instead of letting hair flow around the face, women pulled it back with stacks of rolled hair or curls piled high on the head.
The wig was a popular men's hairstyle in the baroque period. There were many varieties of wigs in the late 17th century, which included braided styles, styles with long sides and styles with black bows. Powdering a wig became popular in the late 17th and early 18th century, denoting wealth and nobility.
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