What does the flower in your hair say about you?

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Although though the summer sun has long bid us adieu, there is no excuse for not adding a floral addition to your hair. The grey skies do not have to be a pathetic fallacy for our moods and wardrobes, but what are the origins of the dainty accessory?

I’m not just taking about the Summer of Love anthem ‘San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)’. Due to the overtly repetitive ‘festival trend’ perpetually mimicking ‘Woodstock ‘69, man’ floral headbands have become a staple of music festivals, (see Janis Joplin below) but the adornment of flowers means different things around the world.


The early European visitors to Pacific islands commented on the use of flowers as beautification. The young English sailor William Mariner, stranded in Tonga from 1805 to mid 1811, reported in his memoirs that girls were “… taught to plait various pretty and fanciful devices in flowers which they present to their fathers, brothers and superior chiefs and matapules (chief’s representatives)’’.

In Hawaii, the way in which the flower is worn apparently sends a message to any potential suitors, which personally I think we should adopt over here (aloha awkward flirtations). Adorning a flower on the left side implies the wearer isn’t available (beware a potentially jealous partner) however on the left side it means she is single. Typically, the flowers worn are plumeria, gardenias and hibiscus flowers; I don’t know exactly what they look either like so here’s Mila Kunis wearing a plumeria.


There is of course the traditional sense of wearing flowers if you’re a bride or bridesmaid.  In ancient Rome, the bride would rise early on her special day to find flowers to weave for a ceremonial garland, which she wore atop a hairstyle called tutulus, unique to brides. Some speculate that this would drive the evil spirits which accompany the hair. Having nightmares? Get a haircut, your hair is basically ghoul-porridge.

But here’s a curious thought, what about a flower made of the hair itself? During Queen Victoria’s reign, the artistic memorial of hair wreaths gripped our nation. Hair would be collected from the deceased love one, and displayed against a silk or velvet casing in the form of ‘hair art,’ (Damien Hirst couldn’t come up with these macabre creations). The horseshoe-shaped wreath remained open at the top, symbolizing the ascent upward into heaven. Heck, you could even make hair jewellery engraved with the person’s name alongside ‘In Memorium’. Move over Pandora.


Georgia van Gils – Journalism student at the University of Gloucestershire

This is part of the CFW and University of Gloucestershire collision.