What are Alice Bands?

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  • Written By: Kimberly Coghlan
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Images By: Elena Schweitzer, n/a
  • Last Modified Date: 21 December 2019
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Alice bands are headbands that usually serve as a clothing accessory. Traditionally worn by women, the term was coined after the character Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Written in 1865 by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson – better known as Lewis Carroll – it was a successful book and prompted much cinematic attention. In most portrayals, Alice either wears a headband or a ribbon and bow fashioned in an oblong manner to separate her hair from her face.

The bands usually are U-shaped and are worn on the head for either fashion purposes or convenience to keep hair from brushing the face. Available in a wide variety of styles, it is a versatile accessory because it can be used in conjunction with hair styling to create numerous different looks. The bands are a fashion accessory that has dwindled and returned in popularity, but it has withstood the test of time. Hair bands, in general, have been a fashion accessory for centuries, dating back to ancient Greece where women adorned their hair with bands crafted from olive branches. The pattern has continued, as many women throughout history have embellished their hair with bands of gold, circles of feathers, crowns of jewels, or headdresses of flowers.


Alice bands rose in popularity during the 1960s. During this time, many fashion paradigms were born that still exist. Since that time, they have regained their popularity. David Beckham, an international soccer star, has donned an Alice band during a game – breaking the stereotype and proving that they can be worn as a sports accessory, as well.

The bands typically are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. They can be made of plastic, metal, cloth, or even leather. Plus, the design of the Alice band has evolved over the years. In the past, a simple ribbon may have served as an Alice band. Now, many of them contain rigid teeth which keep the band secure in the hair.

Perhaps the popularity of Alice bands comes in part from their functionality. They keep hair manageable, and a simple Alice band can complement a casual outfit. Likewise, an Alice band embellished with jewels, crystals, or beads can accessorize more formal attire. Celebrities that have been known to wear Alice bands include Paris Hilton, Milla Jovovich, Mischa Barton, and Eva Longoria.


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