I absolutely love long hair – both on men and women - which is probably part of the reason why I write historicals. But I have to admit that some of the hairstyles of the past have been less than flattering, which is why I never allow my heroes or heroines to follow hair fashions slavishly. I prefer to let them be more natural. And as for wearing wigs – no way!
Just the thought of my heroes having something so itchy (and probably full of lice) on their heads is seriously off-putting. Imagine trying to run your fingers through it, only for the entire wig to end up in your hands while you’re left looking at a head full of stubble? No thanks.
Everyone laughs at the “Roundheads” from the English Civil War, although in reality not all that many of them actually sported the so called “pudding bowl” hair cut. On a battlefield, it would have been difficult to distinguish them from the Royalists as they mostly all had long hair. Instead they’d wear some sort of token to show which side they were on. I was very pleased when I came across that piece of information, because in my novel The Gilded Fan the hero has be on the Parliamentarian side (for various reasons) and I couldn’t imagine finding him handsome with his hair shorn just below his ears. It’s just not a good look!
Women too, can get it wrong. Take the Regency ladies, for example - Jane and Lizzy Bennett in the TV adaptation (yes, the one with Darcy in his wet shirt coming out of the lake) looked pretty enough. Personally, I thought that whenever they let their hair down to brush it in the evenings it was so much nicer! And having tried it myself a while back, for a Regency Day organised by the RNA, I have to say that an ordinary Regency hair do, with plaits close to the head and a little top knot, made me look at least ten years older, if not more! I didn't like it at all. If I ever dress up again, I’ll have to find a better style.
Long hair on men seems to be something readers either love or hate though – what do you think? Love it or loathe it?