An Alice band (the technical term for a hair band) is either a flexible horse-shoe shaped garment or a loop of elastic material which 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. In John Tenniel's illustrations for this book, Alice is shown wearing a ribbon which keeps her long hair away from her face.
The Alice band used to be an almost universally female item of clothing, but recently has gained popularity amongst 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.
In the United States an Alice band is known as a head band or "headband".
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