skannaa

Many re-enactors have magnificent costumes of the historical period they are depicting and some living history enthusiasts have made this into an art. The general purpose is to form a believable general look of a  nother time. Some even have their hair cut after the fashion of the historical period to match their costume or otherwise disguise their hair so that the over all look remains coherent.

Alltough historical re-enactment may be a way of life to some, to most of us it is just a nother hobby. Some people have jobs that define what kind of hair is suitable for their day to day life. Some people re-enact several historical periods, that have many different hairstyles. So the question arises, how to choose what kind of hair to have?

To some guys the hole idea of the hobby seems to be, that they get to fight with swords. There is nothing wrong about that I suppose. So what kind of hair they are wearing under their helmets makes little difference to them. Still some attention should be made about hair. If they are not wearing the helmets through all the events they participate people are going to see their hair at some point. One simple point is that medieval common men would wear a hat and/or a hood almost at all times. A hat is a good and easy way to conseal what ever kind of hair you have. Add the small linnen coif  allmost everybody seems to have worn(even under hat) during the high middle ages and you should be home safe. Unles you have a wery long hair. Now, men seem to have had hair of different lengths during middle ages. For example the 13th and early 14th century miniature paintings suggest that shoulder length or a bit shorter and curly seems to have been wery fashionable. At the turn of 14th and 15th centuries short round “helmet hair” seems replaces it, but soon during the 15th century the curly longer hair makes a comeback. Not everybody had natural curly hair in those days, but simple way to stop a long hair from getting tangled up during sleep is to braid it. This in turn makes most hair curl. Braiding also keeps the hair untangled under helmet. What I’m saying is that there are alternatives to ponytails. I for one would not want to see anyone wear a ponytail in a medieval event. Not unless someone first gives me reliable evidence, that anyone wore a ponytail during medieval times.

Women have it a bit easier, because during most medieval centuries most women wore almost all the time a wail of some sort, that covered the head completely. The only thing one has to remember is not to show that nicely cut modern fringe or some unnatural colouring. Under a wail you may have a green mohawk and nobody will know (exept you your self).

The trick is once again in choosing who are you portraying. A nobleman or a noblewoman should of course follow the fashion of the time they are presenting. Their hair is also more often visible to the eye, because they did not have the similar need to protect it, as the working classes and because appearance was more imortant to them. To all of us medievalists the hobby means, in a large part at least, letting go from our daily routines, but to some it also means playing rich people. This is so commonly accepted among the hobby, that almost all possible compromises to accomodate this makebelief are condoned. To some people in medieval times people were knights and princesses and they of course lived in castles. It may be more fun to play a mighty noble than a leppar beggar, but these are not the only options. They are more like opposite ends on the same social structure and closer to each other than one would think. For leprosy affected rich and poor alike.

If your enjoyment to the medieval times comes from making beautifull clotehes and wearing them, you should also mind what kind of hair goes with them, right? Not only the nobles wore fine clothes, while of course they were richer than most others. If playing rich and mighty is the only interrest you have for medieval times and you cannot afford the time and money to reach this in believable conditions, maybe you should consider fantasy LARP as your hobby. At the moment it seems, that wery much of what goes by as medieval re-enactment or even living history is actually just fantasy larp that is not tied to any historical time or place.

In my opinion people should have more self awareness weather it is actually possible for them to portray a noble or not. To get an authentic kit together is a lot easier if you are acting as a farmhand, maid, craftsmans apprentice, member of the clergy or even a merchant or a common soldier. And same goes for the hair.

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