The one hair ac­ces­sory we all thought was gone for good is stag­ing an un­likely come­back, says Caro­line Leaper

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - STYLE -

Some fash­ion trends come back reg­u­larly; their life cy­cle be­ing to peak and die ev­ery cou­ple of years, un­til no one’s sure if the item in ques­tion ever went away. That’s when we re-ren­der it “a clas­sic”.

But the Alice band died a proper death. It was over, not to be res­ur­rected, and never again to pinch be­hind the ears. For more than a decade we’ve hap­pily worn our hair in nat­u­ral states, or neat buns, or messy up-dos, with­out em­bel­lish­ment. Neu­tral clips were per­mit­ted, as were those aw­ful mesh dough­nuts that were sup­posed to give a bun ex­tra air-stew­ardess bounce, but these were sup­pos­edly dis­creet un­der­pin­nings; there to act as scaf­fold­ing, not dec­o­ra­tion.

Then, about a year ago, Si­mone Rocha put crys­tal bar­rettes on the cat­walk and Alexa Chung de­cided that a pearl hair slide or two, em­bed­ded in shaggy hair, might look great with jeans. It was only a mat­ter of time be­fore the Alice band man­aged to stage its come­back, amid other hair ac­ces­sories re­turn­ing to the fore.

The Duchess of Cam­bridge ce­mented the Alice band’s re­turn by tak­ing the Sloane Ranger look full cir­cle in a plumply cush­ioned vel­vet head­band last month – ex­actly the kind Sarah, Duchess of York, and Diana, Princess of Wales, wore in the Eight­ies.

At a win­ter wed­ding, a wide-set band in a rich jewel colour could re­place millinery – and what could be more fes­tive at Mass than a glüh­wein­coloured vel­vet in­car­na­tion? Satin looks deca­dent at this time of the year, or one with crys­tal em­bel­lish­ments could top off a party out­fit. A sim­ple black or navy bar goes with any­thing, and is a good start­ing point for any­one keen to ease their way back in.

My styling ad­vice is to go one way or the other; ei­ther tone it down with a clas­sic white shirt and jeans, or say sod it and go the full Eight­ies, in a taf­feta blouse and glit­tery shoes. It is Christ­mas, af­ter all.


The con­cept of hold­ing one’s hair out of the way with a band has been around since An­cient Egyp­tian times, but the name “Alice band” wasn’t coined un­til 1871. Lewis Car­roll’s novel Through the Look­ing Glass, il­lus­trated by John Ten­niel, showed the lead char­ac­ter, Alice, wear­ing a blue band in her long blonde hair.


Sarah, Duchess of York, and Diana, Princess of Wales, both made the Alice band a key part of their sig­na­ture “Sloane Ranger” look in the late Eight­ies and early Nineties. Across the pond, Hil­lary Clin­ton was us­ing the Alice band to tie to­gether her prim

First Lady look.


Mi­uc­cia Prada topped al­most all of her spring 2019 cat­walk looks with an Alice band, mean­ing that we’ll see a plethora of pas­tel op­tions come the new year.

BLACK GROS­GRAIN ALICE BAND£2.80 (­ces­ BRAIDED HEAD­BAND£237 (jen­nifer­ LORIE VEL­VET HEAD­BAND £28 ( AR­RANGER Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, left, and the Duchess of Cam­bridge, be­low, sport­ing Alice bands

GOLD PLATED CRYS­TAL HAIR­BAND £595, Lelet NY (net-a-porter. com)

FILIGREE VEL­VET HEAD­BAND £2.70 (claires. com)

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