Hairstyles Ideas

1920 Hairstyles

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1920 Hairstyles

Whether you’re inspired by Boardwalk Empire’s forever beautiful cast of prohibitionist-era women, films like Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby or vintage classics such as Dorothy Parker, Gilda Gray or Clara Bow, one fact remains true: women of the 1920s were worthy of admiration. Not just on a fashion and beauty level, but on political and social levels, too. The 1920s represented a surge in “girl power” — it’s when women gained the right to vote, weren’t afraid to cut their hair, play with makeup or even (gasp!) drink and dance.Today we pay homage to women of the 1920s. Try one or two of these roaring 20s hairstyles yourself and try not to feel brazen, emboldened and grand.1920 Inspired Faux BobIt’s no secret that women in the 1920s rocked cropped ‘dos — it was monumental that they did so! If your hair is long and you’re craving the bobbed look, though, fear not. Hairstylist Darian from Toni and Guy shows you how to create a faux bob, complete with finger waves, in this video tutorial. Darian does an excellent job of breaking this hairstyle down into easy-to-understand steps.Finger Waves on Dry HairYouTube user MakeupWearables teaches another method for recreating those classic, 1920s finger waves. This one still requires some time and patience, but definitely not as much as the traditional finger wave method. Additionally, you’ll be left with soft and touchable hair instead of helmet head (a common side effect of 1920s glam). This method works best for medium to long hair.Gibson Tuck HairstyleThe Gibson girl and flapper coexisted in the ’20s, but the two had differing approaches toward beauty and fashion. While flappers opted to bare more skin and rock cropped ‘dos, Gibson girls took a more refined and conservative approach to their aesthetic. As a rule, they showed less than 10% of their bodies and tended to keep their hair quite long. Speaking of hair, it was often plopped, tucked and pinned in a very romantic manner. This Gibson Tuck hair tutorial, provided by Victoria Stanell over at BeautyLish, is a modern approach to Gibson hairstyles and is super easy to recreate. Glam, Modern-Day Pin CurlsFashion and beauty blogger Chriselle was asked what her three favorite hairstyles of all time were. The first one that came to mind? “Glam Curls,” she says, because the “perfectly polished curls are not only timeless, but also a modern take on the 1920s flapper finger waved hair.” To create this updated version of the 1920s girl, Chriselle employed a little trick that includes wrapping warm hair around her fingers to form a pin curl. If vintage hair is what you crave, check out these retro pompadour hairstyles gone modern.
1920 hairstyles 1

1920 Hairstyles

2) Buns/twists (like the Psyche knot, earphone hairstyle, etc.) – again, becoming increasingly old-fashioned by 1920, but very common. I’ve seen photographs of these styles on women like telephone operators. These hairstyles would still be considered respectable, especially for grown women. Some buns would be pretty straightforward to put in by yourself, but others may require a maid or a lot of extra time in the morning. You could play with the idea of hairstyles – what are the time implications, and what are the cultural connotations of such hairstyles?
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1920 Hairstyles

But here’s the thing: my dilemma is not unique to historical interpreters. It was a struggle – sometimes mental, sometimes literal, with Victorian and Edwardian parents – that women in the past also went through. Women didn’t wake up in 1920 and go happily en masse to the hairdressers to have their hair put into bobs simply because it was the new fashion. It was far more controversial than that, particularly among the older generations. Until the 1920s, women had been raised for generations believing that short hair was a masculine trait and that real women wore their hair long. Then, they were suddenly faced with this new, extreme fashion of short hair. But was it just a passing trend? Would they look ridiculous the next year when it went out of style, after taking so drastic an action? If you cut your hair, that’s it. Going back is not as simple as parting your hair differently, or curling or straightening your hair instead, as had been the case with previous extremes in fashionable hairstyles. (I’m looking at you, awkward 1830s!) Cutting your hair is permanent and it can take years to grow your hair back to the length it once was. For women who had experienced almost nothing but variations on the theme of long hairstyles, choosing to cut your hair was a big step. There is no going back. So what do you do if you want to play it safe and keep your hair long? Can you still be a fashionable young woman?
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1920 Hairstyles

1) Mary Pickford curls can be done with rag-curls overnight, or with a hair curler put directly on a stove, or with a fancy new hair curler. (Fun fact: electric hair curlers existed but often had plugs so you could unscrew a lightbulb and screw that plug in that socket, as many houses had electric lighting in the 1910s but not electric sockets, so some of these hairstyles could have been done in the dark.) In my experience as a woman with long hair, the curls would get increasingly flyaway over the course of the day and wouldn’t look nearly as good. I question whether those hairstyles were everyday hairstyles or just for evening events. I haven’t done enough research to know, but I haven’t ever seen any “street style” photographs of young girls with Pickford curls. That doesn’t mean that they’re not out there, though.
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1920 Hairstyles

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged 1920s, 1920s costumes, 1920s fashion, 1920s hairstyles, bob, Charleston, fashion, fashion history, feminism, Fort Edmonton Park, hairstyles, history, long hair, long hairstyles, Mary Pickford, nervous bob, operator, shingle, short hair, telephones, the bob, tutorial, tutorials, Women’s History. Bookmark the permalink.

1920 Hairstyles

Make no mistake. In the 1920s, a woman deciding to cut her hair was serious business. Simply put, long hair was considered feminine and short hair was not. Consider F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story from 1920 called “Bernice Bobs Her Hair.” Bernice, the quintessential predictable woman, is tricked into getting her hair cut into a bob. She is suddenly shunned by the boys while her family worries about the scandal her new ‘do will cause.
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1920 Hairstyles

Those women that did not cut their hair still rarely simply let their hair hang loose and free. Long hair at the beach was glamorous but otherwise hair was neatly arranged around the base of the neck or pulled into a bun or chignon at the back.  The bun or cottage loaf had been a working class hairstyle for centuries. The 1920’s only made it different by styling it a bit flatter, or rolled under for even more smoothness. All that long hair had to fit under a tighter and tighter fitting hat so styles were made to be flat and smooth in the back and full in the front. Frizzy curls and waves on the side of the face were the preference in the early 20’s, followed by soother, sculpted waves in the mid twenties. Hair covered ears sometimes into flat buns on either side making them look like she was wearing earphones, called cookie garages.
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1920 Hairstyles

By the late 20’s most women were turning away from curly hair (which didn’t work well under a cloche hat) and instead took to the art of Marcel waving. Not a new invention, Marcel waving required finger wave sculpting wet hair or a Marcel iron. Marcel irons made the job easier, although more dangerous, if the iron was over heated on the stove. Electric models came into play in the mid 1920’s making it must safer and easier to wave hair.

On May 1, 1920, the Saturday Evening Post published F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story “Bernice Bobs Her Hair.” This infamous tale depicts a sweet-but-dull young lady who submits to the barber’s shears and is transformed into a smooth-talking vamp by her fickle society-girl cousin. The heroine would become a role model for many young women. See full text
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Then there’s the issue of how representative Mary Pickford curls are of the 1920s period, related to issues of “historical accuracy”, which we’ve discussed before. Long hair, while accurate to the 1920s, particularly for young woman, even moreso for the first half of the decade, is just not what visitors expect. The year that I worked on 1920s street at Fort Edmonton Park, we had four costumed historical interpreters, several volunteers, a (male) historical worker, a roving troupe of drama people, and costumed game and ride attendants who were mostly limited to the Midway. On the street, there were therefore two full time female interpreters in costume, and so with our days off factored in, four days a week there could only be a single woman in 1920s costume on the street representing a city with a population in the tens of thousands. 1920s street is also the street closest to the entrance at the train station in the park, so we were often the first people in costume visitors see. Often, it is better to meet visitor’s expectations right away – so it’s obvious we’re in 1920s costumes – than to challenge visitor expectations right off the bat. 1920s = short hair in most people’s minds. If they’re looking at you from a distance, you want to be recognizable as an employee in costume. If we were in a large group of costumed interpreters, I would have considered doing the Mary Pickford curls in a nice contrast to the other interpreters in bobs. However, I was often alone (the only woman who lived in Edmonton in 1920, by all appearances!) and so I instead adopted the nervous bob or faux bob as my daily hairstyle. Despite the fact that Mary Pickford curls were still quite popular among young women even until the mid-to-late 1920s, historical representativeness was still a valid concern for us at the park. In my case, I was playing into visitor expectations – but only halfway. Instead of bobbing my hair with a pair of scissors, I could use my hair as a jumping off point for just how explosively controversial bobbed hair actually was. It’s stealth interpretation.

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