Alice band

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Alice bands made of plastic and stiffened fabric

An Alice band is a type of hair accessory. It can consist of flexible horseshoe-shaped plastic or elastic material forming a loop. The band is designed to fit over the head and hold long hair away from the face, but let it hang freely at the back.


The Alice band is said to have originated in the period around 1871, following the publication of Lewis Carroll's novel Through the Looking Glass; at any rate, the name of the Alice band certainly comes from Carroll's heroine.[1] In John Tenniel's illustrations for this book, Alice is shown wearing a ribbon which keeps her long hair away from her face.[2]

The Alice band has had periods of popularity in adult fashion, most recently in the late 20th century, when velvet versions were popular among Sloane Rangers in the United Kingdom.[2]

The Alice band used to be an almost universally female item of clothing, but it has gained popularity among men in some countries, owing to a fashion for long hair. The use of Alice bands by men was possibly first made popular by David Beckham and Ronnie O'Sullivan.[3]

In the United States an Alice band is known as a hair band, head wrap, or headband.


  1. ^ "Alice, n.1." OED Online, Oxford University Press, March 2019, Accessed 24 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b Cumming, Valerie; Cunnington, C.W.; Cunnington, P. (2010). The Dictionary of Fashion History. Oxford: Berg. p. 4. ISBN 9781847887382. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  3. ^ "David Beckham with hairband".