Bibliotheca March: Trends in 90s Lolita Hair Accessories
This month’s theme for Bibliotheca is hair accessories and hats. I’ve written a few things about hair accessories in the past like the history of us calling headbows headbows ( see: The Curious Case of the Term “Headbow” ) and back in 2014 I wrote about my Favorite things to put on my head. So, I figured this time it might be fun to look at some of the early history of hair accessories in lolita and what some of those early trends have been.
Writing about early 90s trends is really hard because there is a very small sample size of existent photographs that are digitized where it’s specifically labeled as lolita fashion.
The six images above have at least one of the people in each photo mention that they want to be a lolita, or describe their look as lolita in the caption. Now, I realize the center image in the second row looks very different from what we consider lolita today, but we have to keep in mind that the concept of lolita was more loose at this time. There are a few hair accessory options here. We have some small headbows that mostly sit flat on the head, a soft beret like hat, and some pigtails, including pigtails with daisies.
This cutie kid on the left also is described as a lolita, and we can see another small headbow if we look carefully. On the right, this cutie kid also self identified as a lolita, and we see more daisies.
Now, if we go with a loose definition of what lolita is based on what we see in the above images, there are a bunch of other images from cutie that we can look at that show fans of MILK and Jane Marple, and/or show coords that are recognizable as lolita today.
All 3 of these cutie kids have similar headbows. They are relatively small bows that lay flat-ish on the head, but are a bit more loopy than modern headbows. The cutie kid on the left in gray wants to be a MILK shop girl, and is likely wearing all MILK. Her hair style is trendy at this time, there are several other people with this hair cut in Cutie, and her pose as well is a trendy pose.
This group has a few more of the small bows, as well as two examples of hats that are worn back on the head with a decorative brim. These aren’t bonnets, but the decoration on the inside of the hat brim is very similar to how some later bonnets looked. The 3rd image here shows a headdress that ties under the chin. And then the 4th image shows a floppy velvet bucket hat which would have been very trendy at the time in general, like I remember the Olsen twins and 90s sitcom girls wearing these kinds of floppy hats in the US.
Here we have some traditional berets and also just some plain hair without any hair accessories, which is something you see relatively often at this time in lolita fashion.
Here again in this Jane Marple advert we see a focus more on hair style and less of a ‘you must have a hair accessory’ kind of thing like we might see later with lolita fashion specifically. The group of cutie kids in the middle have a mix of small headband bows and real hair. The last image in this set shows a bow that is a bit bigger than average and what looks like maybe a beret.
Here we have more plain hair, and a very small bow headband on the first cutie kid in sax. The second image shows what looks like maybe some sort of heaband that is flat with a headdress-like aspect and a bow on top? it’s cut off and hard to see clearly, but it doesn’t seem to tie under this person’s chin. In the 3rd and 4th image we see straw hats being worn, but they are a sort where the brim tips up, so we are seeing the underside of the brim, and not any decoration that may or may not be on the hat. One of these cutie kids has daisies in their hair again.
Lastly, these are some heart-e advertisements from 1993. We see one of the hats with the lace on the inside brim that is very bonnet-like. Heart-E continued to make and sell hats like this into the early 2000s, and I wouldn’t be surprised if most of this type of hat that we are going to see later in the 90s is from Heart-E. The center advert shows berets and pompom and strawberry hair ties, and the last image is again a beret.
These looks are from a feature specifically about lolita fashion for the summer of 1995. Here was have what looks like two rectangle headdresses in white, though the one in the 2nd image doesn’t seem to tie under the chin. The second image also features a small headbow again. The 3rd image is one of those Heart-E hats with the ruffles on the inner brim and the 4th image is very interesting because we probably wouldn’t call this lolita today. The model on the right has what almost looks like either a thick flat headband or a headband with holes cut out for buns she doesn’t have. If it is holes-for-buns, then that is very similar to the look that moon kana is known for a little later in the early 2000s, but it seems odd to see that without the buns, so I’m thinking her hair might be laying oddly over a headband?
Here in these additional images from the same feature, we again see a rectangle headdress (this time tied under the chin) and more of the daisies we saw in the years leading up to this. The model in the middle is rocking styled hair without any large hair accessories and then the last two models have a very interesting look. Here we have a black cage straw hat from Jane Marple, which is really interesting and unique, and then a very classic victorian-children’s fashion looking straw hat with a black brim and a ribbon under the chin, and it’s paired with an ensemble that very much looks influenced by Victorian children’s fashion. I could see the American Girl character Samantha Parkinton wearing this very look.
Here we have four more images where the wearers indicated that what they were wearing was lolita. On the left we have a coordinated twinning sort of look that is very polished, and they are again relying on hair styling over large accessories. The front cutie kid seems to have something on the hair ties that are securing those pigtails, but it’s hard to see what in the photo. In the next image, the single figure in black with the teddy bear has what may be a black headdress, but it blends in with their hair and is generally hard to make out. In the third image the cutie kid says that their style inspiration was to combine shiro and lolita, and they once again have the double daisy hair accessories that we have been seeing. The last image the caption actually says loliloli instead of lolita. This cutie kid is combining a beret with pompom hair accessories similar to the ones in the Heart-E advertisement from 1993 in the previous section.
These specific cutie kids didn’t indicate that what they were wearing was lolita, but I pulled their looks because they were consistent with other examples of lolita fashion of the time. The first two looks I actually pulled more because of the large headbows these cutie kids are wearing. This is a very 2000s era lolita headbow, and it’s actually really interesting to see because a lot of the others have been very different in style. The third and fourth image feature headbows more in line with what we have been seeing so far, though the 4th cutie kid does have a larger headbow than some of the other examples from this period.
Here we have two little pompom hats, these are something that MILK and Jane Marple were making at this time, they are very cute. Next we have another little beret as part of a Jane Marple based coordinate.
Lastly, the cutie kid on the back of the bike didn’t mention lolita, but did mention Robyn! Robyn was a pop star at this time who wore what is undeniably lolita fashion. This cutie kid has a rectangle headdress, and it looks like it might be tied under their hair, not under their chin, but it’s hard to tell with the hand placement.
Here we have two great examples of those big Heart-E ruffle brim hats in white, as well as a smaller headdress tied under the chin and a beret. The 3rd image shows a similar type of hat in black from a different angle. In the last image we have some sort of black hat, and some natural hair. It’s frustrating how badly photographed a lot of the black clothing is in this era.
We have three more examples of just plain hair being worn here and then The third cutie kid has a sort of doll-like look going on with their hair. The last image does actually mention Lolita in the caption, but again, very little going on with their hair as far as hair accessories go, we just have some little bar barrettes.
The late 90s and the early 2000s is really where what we think of as old school lolita solidifies.
This time period also brings us guides to wearing lolita fashion, like these two from Kera in 1999. The first coord guide in blue uses some floral hair clips, and appears to have some fake hair braids? I’m not really sure what is going on there. The pink x red coord is from a feature that is about layering socks in different styles, and we see a full size hat here.
The first look here has something that I haven’t seen in any of the other images so far and that’s a straw headdress. Shirley Temple made some of these around the very early 2000s, and I’ve seen them a handful of times over the years. AP did one in 2003, Melody Basket did one in recently, and baby has done several including these ones in 2002 and one in 2010, to give a few examples, but they aren’t very common.
In the second image we have what looks like two more rectangle headdresses that are relatively small and structured. and lastly, we have some furry pompoms/scrunchies around pigtails.
In the first image, we have a small white mini hat with a round crown and some sort of rectangle headdress. In the second image, the model in white has simply tied ribbon around her pigtails which oddly enough, I haven’t seen a ton of in these images despite it being a very accessible hair accessory option. Then we have some black x white mini hats. Or, maybe we should call these midi hats, because they aren’t really tiny, but they also aren’t full size. The first 3 of these hats all look like they might be the same hat, while the last hat has a rather large brim. The non-hat wearing companion in the 4th image has a very interesting hair accessory that looks almost like a doily, but may be a headdress with very long lace.
Here again, we have the doily-like long lace, which may be a headdress, but it’s not very clear… and then in the next image we have what I think is the first bonnet we have seen thus far. It’s a small one, and it might be a half bonnet with an open back, but it is standing up. Their companion is wearing a large black velvet bow that looks very similar to the one worn by Mana-sama’s companion in the 3rd image. Mana-sama has a very detailed headdress with contrast colors so we can see the details. Our last image in this set is someone who I believe is wearing head to toe Jane Marple and may or may not consider themselves to be a lolita, I just wanted to highlight their hat.
Getting down in to the weeds of these street snaps, we have another set of double buns with flowers like we have seen before, though this time the flowers aren’t daisies, which is interesting. The second image looks like a large velvet bow again, and the 3rd image is interesting because it’s rabbit ear coat, and that’s the first time we have met this kind of coat with the hood being worn up (in the Heart-E advertisements earlier in this post there were several but the hoods were worn down)
Lastly, we have a selection of images from Sampling, which is specifically street snaps of Vivienne Westwood fans. Here we have another one of those very floppy long lace headdresses that is very doily-like in the first image, however the other three have primarily just styled their hair.
One thing that is really interesting to me is the popularity of hats with decorative under brims and just how little of that we see today. I can think of some hats from I Do Declare that had that sort of under the brim detailing, but it’s really not a common feature on modern lolita headwear. It’s also interesting to see how long the daisy trend lasted and how (relatively) common it was with even this small sampling of images.
What’s your favorite 90’s hair accessory from this selection? Anything unexpected?
special thanks to Ghostlie for scanning some of these issues of cutie!
3 comments on “Bibliotheca March: Trends in 90s Lolita Hair Accessories”
I absolutely love this blogpost, as an oldschooler I take so much inspo from old snaps and seeing the time-line just makes me so happy. Also I wore lots of daisies last spring inspired by cutie snaps, now I want to do it again🌻
I loved seeing these outfits from the 90s! I think the earliest I have consciously seen before was from 2004. This is an awesome post!
It’s nice to see examples of lolita without headpieces. Nowadays, it’s seen as a must to wear one with each outfit. As long as it’s not a rather OTT outfit, I think people should be able to get away with not wearing one if they don’t have one. Even if it makes the outfit look “incomplete”, it depends on what the wearer wants to do (as long as it’s still lolita, of course). After all, fashion is about expressing yourself, and I find that a lot of older snaps do reflect that.