The birdcage veil is everywhere. From stars attending the Oscars, to brides hosting vintage weddings, the birdcage veil is a fabulous way to add a touch of Hollywood glamour. 

1. But what is a birdcage veil?

Let’s start with it is a glamorous head embellishment.  Birdcage veils became popular in the 1940s, when supplies were rationed and in short supply but women still wanted to look their finest.  They come in different lengths measuring between 4 to 9 inches.  It can be positioned around the eyes or extended to the chin covering the entire face. A birdcage veil is quite flexible. Perch one jauntily at an angle or secure it symmetrically at the top of the head.   

Popular Lengths of Birdcage Veils

illustration birdcage veil lengths

2. How to Select a Birdcage Veil?

Finding the right birdcage veil is going to depend upon the shape of your face.  Just like a hairstyle, this headpiece needs to highlight some features while minimizing others.  Is your face oval in shape?  Round?  Rectangular? Take a picture of your face with your hair pulled back.  What shape do you see?  If you’re not quite sure, consider printing out the picture and drawing the shape with a pen. 

A birdcage veil is designed to frame your face. I’ve included some thoughts below based on some more common shapes of faces. These are not hard rules, rather they are quick thoughts on what you might want to emphasize and minimize.

  • Oval: This is the most versatile shape and you can wear a birdcage veil in multiple ways. Play around until you find what you like best. 
  • Heart: You’ll want to draw attention to your eyes and cheekbones.  Do this by positioning your birdcage veil above your ear. 
  • Round: Make your face look longer by creating volume and height. Position your birdcage veil at top of the head to elongate the face. You’ll want to avoid fullness at the sides. 
  • Square: Position your birdcage veil asymmetrically to play down an angular jaw.  You’ll want to avoid pieces that add volume around the ears. 
  • Rectangle: Add width around your face and ears with a bandeau-shaped birdcage veil.  Avoid adding volume at the top of your head. 

3. How to Wear a Birdcage Veil?

A birdcage veil may look complicated, but it’s actually very easy to wear. Traditionally, a birdcage veil is attached to the hair with a comb, bobby pins, and hairpins (the ones that are U-shaped and do not close. Determine where you want to position the birdcage veil on your head, and then gently insert the comb into your hair.  If the comb doesn’t feel secure, then cross 2 bobby pins in your hair (make an “x” shape) before you place the comb. This will allow the comb to grip the bobby pins so the birdcage veil feels more secure.

Another option is to ask that it be placed on a headband.  You’ll need to decide where you want it to fall since when it is on a headband, you will not be able to adjust it as much.  Finally, use hairpins to remove some volume from the veil if you need to.

Is a birdcage veil right for you?

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