The Updated Rectangle Headdress

The rectangle headdress is often seen as an instant Lolita "don't" for many people, and it's understandable why. The rectangle headdress often brings up images of cheap lace hot glued to an extra wide rectangle and then tied with a sloppy satin bow under a chin. Even good quality rectangle headdresses tend to have a little too many ruffles and only look good on a small percentage of people. But, I think this is no reason to write them off completely. While I doubt the rectangle headdress is ever going to make a big come back, there are ways to update this accessory, which was once so prevalent in the fashion, so that it looks a little less like a homemade maid costume and a little more elegant.

The best way to update the rectangle headdress is to simplify it. Think of it not so much an extra place to add some more lace to a coordinate and more of a fancy headband. Whether you are making one yourself, or in search of the perfect one, make sure it's a relatively simple one. Avoid any gathered lace or ruffles around the hem or any extra large bows on it. If your headdress has ribbon ties consider tying it behind your neck instead of under your chin, or even stitching it onto a stiff headband. Try to find a very thin headdress, no more than about 2 inches wide, nothing that takes up your whole head! Below are some good examples of very up-to-date rectangular headdress.

This one from Victorian Maiden is very simple. It's merely a thin strip of matching fabric with a tiny lace trim and a small ribbon. It's also on a headband base so you don't have to worry about tying it.


This velvet headdress from Innocent world is a bit wider, but since it doesn't have any lace or a ruffle around the end it can easily get away with it. It has a pretty strip of matching lace across it to give it some elegant details. It's also on a stiff headband.


Antique Beast made this headdress, and while it is extra lacy and even has bows on it, the lace lays flat against the head so it doesn't end up looking like a maid headdress.


These are a whole bunch of Mary Magdalene headdresses and hair accessories. I think these are pretty much the perfect rectangle headdresses! They are slim, simple, and yet still elegant and pretty.

On the left is an over priced scratchy lace covered headdress from an Ebay shop, on the right is a Mary Magdalene headdress worn by this particular Japanese blogger. It's hardly a fair comparison! The Ebay headdress is awkward and goofy looking, while the Mary Magdalene one is simple and classy. These two headdresses are worlds apart in terms of style and quality, so it's not very hard to simply avoid the headdresses of questionable taste and find (or make!) something that is much nicer. While I don't know if the headdress is going to be coming back in style, it's certainly not something you should write off completely. I think that the right rectangle headdress can make the perfect finishing touch to a Classic or Gothic Lolita outfit.

One of my favorite things about these thinner, less ruffle covered headdresses is that you don't really need to style your hair around them! The thin and flat headdresses look just as nice with nicely brushed hair as they do with an up-do. Which is great for the everyday (or nearly everyday) Lolita, because sometimes you just don't feel like doing much with your hair besides running a brush through it! The extra ruffly headdress, on the other hand, usually needs at least pigtails to make it look a little less awkward.

What do you think about the rectangle headdress? Do you pretty much hate it no matter what it looks like? Or are you willing to make an exception for certain styles. Back when I first got into Lolita I had a couple rectangle headdresses and they always felt very awkward to wear, so I simply nixed the head accessories altogether for a few years until head bows became more prevalent. But, back then, many headdresses were much rufflier than these delicate head accessories that Victorian Maiden and the likes are offering up for sale, and I can definitely see myself getting more into this style of headdress, especially if it comes on a headband so I don't have to worry about accidentally tying my hair into the bow! Now that I have a shiny new sewing machine (that actually works for more than a couple inches of stitches at a time!) I plan on trying to make a couple slim rectangle headdresses. I'd like to try to make one in maroon with cream lace, and an all black one, because I think these would go very well with my wardrobe.

39 comments:

  1. Hot glue? That is so disgusting. I think it goes without saying that you can cut corners and skimp on anything, but after investing so much in an outfit why would you want to save so much on a key accessory?

    Headdress is best dress.

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  2. To be fair, people making such a thing weren't exactly investing very much into their outfits to begin with XD

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  3. I've always loved rectangular headdresses more than bows because it was slightly more mature, even the really ruffly ones (like that RTBU headdress you posted XD), and they are so easy to make!

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  4. I've always liked the rectangle headdresses. I'm more drawn to old school lolita and I think that's why but I definitely like these newer and simpler versions.

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  5. I don't think they are my style, but on some people they look gorgeous. Personally, I find they look better when the wearer's hair has volume.

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  6. I really like this one that kidsyoyo just came out with
    http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=8233082236

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  7. I got into Lolita about 5 years ago and back then the rectangle headdress was in. I never really considered it 'out' in terms of forever. I wear the brand rectangle headdresses and have a few I made myself over tie, but not wear and make thinner more simplistic ones for everyday wear.

    I still love my big rectangles. I think they are cute and go well with my curly hair, but I always knew that not everyone could pull them off ^^;

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  8. I'm going to admit that I love rectangle headresses, to the point I just bought one second handfrom Meta that is HUGE.(bigger than I imagined by seeing the picture.) But well, my head is big too and my hair is curly so I think it will work :) (Oh my! is my first piece of brand I'm so excited! :D)

    I do find those recent ones incredibly lovely I must say :)

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  9. I love the more simplistic rectangular headdresses that the classic brands have been putting out, and it's nice to know that they're attached to headbands. But I'm not sure if I'd wear them; it really depends on how thick the headband is because I wear glasses, and thicker headbands can get irritating after a while. When it comes to headdresses, though, I tend to lean towards headbands with smaller side bows, decorative flowers, or feathers (like the ones they sell at F21).

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  10. 3 years ago, when I visited Closet Child in Harajuku, I bought an IW rectangle headdress, mostly because I wanted to buy /something/, didn't have much money, and the lace was to die for @_@ It has a decent amount of ruffle in the front, almost like a mini-bonnet. Never actually worn it, just love owning it to admire the lace.

    I really like that understated rectangle pieces are coming back. Head-eating bows look really "loud" to me & aren't my thing.

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  11. Actually, I've liked that kind of thing from the start. I just thought of them as cute headbands when I first saw the fashion. I'd seen them in art online, and figured that I liked them. Then, I learned of the maxi-pad headdresses. I still have a soft spot for both.

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  12. Classic brands have been making their headdresses like that for a long time though, so I wouldn't say that it's much of an "update".

    The great thing about (some) of the headdresses I've seen, such as the IW example you cited, is that it's attached to a headband so you don't have to worry about tying it up.

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  13. I think the post title is more of wishful thinking XD If headdresses ever did come back, I wish they would be these instead of the extra ruffly ones.

    I never got the tying-it-under-your-chin thing, so finding them on headbands is just so much nicer, no hassle and it looks so much neater.

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  14. I love head eating bows, it's a wonder how those got popular but the headdress got dismissed as being to weird. I always assumed it was because at least a bow is a bow, but wtf is a headdress?

    Haha, I do like the fact that headdresses make a good brand souvenir since they're cheap, pretty, and definitely Lolita.

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  15. Congrats on your first piece of brand! I'm sure you can make it work with big hair, lucky your head is big I guess XD I always find headdresses to be soooo much bigger than they look in pictures too!

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  16. Those headresses are gorgeous! I like to keep my head wear small and simple so I might be looking into these. Thanks!

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  17. i still very much like the old, big headdresses that all brands used to have some years ago ( ~ 3 ~ ) ♥

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  18. I'm not sure whether I would ever wear a headdress, since I also think not everyone can wear it. But the Mary Magdalene ones are so cute and beautiful!

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  19. Excelent examples! *-* Good materials and choose of colors makes a huge difference! ♥

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  20. I'm a beginner Lolita, and I want to sew my first dress. ^-^
    This is a very usefull tip for me, because I read that recangle headresses were old fashioned. It made me kinda worried, because when I first saw Lolita (about a year ago), I was really in love with the headdresses. (^-^)~<3 Now I know how to made a proper and elegant headdress, beacause I really don't want to be called an Ita. >w<

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  21. I like these thing ones, I may add one to my wardrobe.

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  22. I meant "thin" not "thing".

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  23. Wow...They were so much prettier than I expected... I myself could never wear up anything like that. But they really look gorgeous on others^^

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  24. I just wanted to say I'm in love with the ice cream rings in your Etsy shop; they are quite adorable!

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  25. I'm so glad you wrote on this topic! I've always been a fan of rectangular headresses (particularly since it's one of the first loli items I ever made when I got into the fashion)
    I'm happy to see some more up-to-date versions, and I'd love to try to make some now, because they are one of the few hair accessories that I think looked good on me (I stopped wearing them because of the very reasons you posted, my only one looked maidish, had an annoying ribbon, and looked kind of out of place, but these newer ones look really nice!)

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  26. I really like the narrow ones, to be honest. They're a nice alternative to a headband, and not so crazy as a giant headeater bow.

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  27. These headdresses are definitely beautiful when done correctly, as you shown here. Another great post!

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  28. Thanks :D Now to see where I left my bobbypins XD

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  29. Ooo..me likey! I like the ones on the headbands, because I love the way headbands look with my short hair, and I don't have to mess with ribbons. I think this rectangle headdress is especially good for those of us who don't really like the look of giant bows on their head...it's much more simple and elegant, but doesn't fade into your hair. I also epecially like the Mary Magdelene ones!

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  30. (^.^) I've always been a fan of this type of headdress. I think last year I bought a blue one from Babyssb. Prior to that I made *thinks* three or four of my own from a Mam, and an AP pattern. I prefer the designs that have short frills, or long~ish torsion/cluny lace, with not too much going on on the rectangle itself(just simple ladder lace, or thin crisscrossing ribbon). Also, some look nice when the rectangle shape is more curved at the edges I find. When I leave my hair down I tie the ribbon to the front(always tucking behind the ears), and when I pleat my hair I tie the ribbon to the back under the hair(gives a more casual feel, I guess). I had a go making the big hairbows, and for ease was wearing ribbon combs a lot, but whenever I can coordinate it well with an outfit I'll wear the flat headdress d(^__^) because, I'm pretty much oldschool at heart.

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  31. I definitely like the thin, headband-like ones. I have naturally flat hair anyway so the thinner ones really suit me compared to the sticking-up headbows and mini hats which I think require a bit more volume.

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  32. I hugely prefer a very thin (like 1 in) headdress to a head-eating bow. I especially love the fist Victorian Maiden one! I agree that they can look very classy when kept simple. Wide ones look like maxipads, but thin ones just look like a regular, but prettier, headband.

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  33. I love headdresses, though ones that are too ruffly and ridiculous aren't very wearable. I have a VM one that looks similar to the MM ones in the article, and I also own the Antique:beasT headdress in this post, I love it, but the side ribbons and bows are kind of unruly. There's something about a headdress in gothic lolita that really defines the fashion for me, though that may be because I was most active in lolita back when they were the preferred accessory.

    Great post, I hope it encourages people to wear headdresses more often.

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  34. I've always loved rectangular headresses! When I realized they were really hard to pull off, I was a bit sad. But slimming it down makes it so much prettier! I was planning to make a headress and I think I'll make this type. :)

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  35. Same for me! I actually made a rectangle headress. It actually looks quite nice...except it's made with satin and bad lace. AND it was black fabric with white lace. XD The width is thin though.

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  36. I always thought rectangle headdresses would look worlds better if they were simply tied like a headband instead of being under the chin. Most hair accessories look better that way.
    Still, I never even knew there were monstrosities like that ebay...thing. That's beyond rescue.

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  37. I still love the rectangle headdresses, but I don't own any! I've been meaning to try my hand at one for myself again, I commissioned one for Maria (shibahime on LJ) to go with her toile JSK, but I never got around to making one for myself xD

    And don't even remind me of the first rectangular headdress I ever made! It looked like that ebay one there xD I want to make one like the antique beast one!

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  38. Lovely_broken_eyesJuly 1, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    I love rectangle headdresses, no matter what anyone else thinks. The large bows are cute, and I hand-stitched a circular headdress, and bonnets fondly remind me of Cranford... but, the rectangle headdress is simply my favorite. 

    These are really cute, and I love this post! Thank you so much for your thoughts and pictures here <3

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  39. I personally think the headdresses are sooooooooo awesome and I'm really really sad that they went out of style before I found out about Lolita :(

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