Some things never go out of style. For an easy way to add a touch of vintage glam to any look, style your hair in an iconic updo. These 6 famous vintage hairstyles are easy to emulate and will look as beautiful in the present day as they did when they first rose to fame. Copy the look of your favorite vintage style star or try something different to add unexpected appeal to your look.
The Gibson Roll
The Gibson Girl was a symbol of feminine beauty in the Edwardian Era. These fictional women were based off of drawings done by an artist in the late 19th century who sought to create a look that represented American women. Along with a slender waist, voluptuous curves, and stylish clothing, the Gibson Girl was always seen with her hair in a stylish, slightly undone updo.
Women recreated this hairdo during the turn of the century. Perhaps surprisingly, versions of this look are still exceptionally fashion forward in the modern era. This easy vintage updo is beautiful and romantic, making it an effortless look you will love to wear. Recreate the iconic look of the Gibson Girl by backcombing your hair at the roots and then securing it into a purposefully undone topknot. This look is made even better when wispy strands frame your face, so let your hair run wild at the edges. This vintage hairstyle is perfect for a casual night out. Pair it with a maxi dress and heeled sandals for a feminine look that channels the timeless beauty of the Edwardian Era.
1920s Old Hollywood Waves
This often copied look has never gone out of style. An elegant contrast from the short bobs that rose to popularity during this decade, Old Hollywood Waves gave silver screen starlets an unmistakable sense of style. These dramatic waves are incredibly stylish, allowing them to look just as appropriate for a night on the town as they are for walking the red carpet.
Often called “finger waves,” this statement style is easier to recreate in the modern era than it was at its conception. Finger waves originally required women to secure their hair in place while wet so it would dry in a distinct pattern. While this may sound easy, it is a very tricky technique that takes lots of practice to perfect. Luckily, curling irons and other heated devices make this look much easier to accomplish today. Once you have created the perfect waves, be sure to create a deep side part for an authentic take on this hairstyle. This glam vintage look pairs perfectly with a bold red lip and your most fashionable gown. Or, add a 1920s inspired hair accessory to give a literal nod to the Roaring Twenties. However you style yourself, wearing Old Hollywood Waves is sure to make your look feminine, feel powerful, and walk a little taller everywhere you go.
In the 1940s, everyone wanted long, flowing locks like Victoria Lake. World War II, however, changed everything. As men left for war, society was greatly altered, and more and more women began entering the workforce. Championed by Rosie the Riviter, women took over what was traditionally considered men’s work, proving they could do their part by keeping the home-front strong. Women who worked in factories or other hazardous work environments were urged to wear their hair in ways that kept it secured and away from their faces as a safety precaution, giving birth to one of the most iconic vintage hairstyles in the 1950s - the Bumper Bangs.
Despite their surprisingly utilitarian beginnings, there is perhaps no vintage hairstyle more distinct than Bumper Bangs. This legendary look was made popular in the 1950s by Bettie Page, a model who became known as the “Queen of Pinups.” Her unmistakable style made this edgy hairdo famous, causing many women of the decade to recreate her style. Even in the modern era, we associate this hairstyle with the rebellious, coquettish pinup girls from this period. Now, Bumper Bangs have a delightfully retro vibe that is perfect for pin-up photo shoots or alternative styles. To create this easy vintage hairstyle, simply curl your bangs and roll them underneath themselves, securing them with hair pins. For added volume, an actual foam roll can be hidden beneath them to create even more of a statement. Pair this hair style with high waisted denim shorts and a red bandana for a stylish pinup look that would make Bettie Page proud.
Simple and elegant, the French Twist is another iconic retro hairstyle that is incredibly easy to recreate. While this has been a classic look throughout the decades, it truly rose to popularity in the 60s when hair became sleeker and style became more mod. This is best exemplified in 1961’s “Breakfast at Tiffanys,” which featured Hollywood style star Audrey Hepburn wearing this effortless updo in the opening scene.
While incredibly minimalistic, the French Twist is also quite feminine. It sweeps hair off the shoulders and shows off your neck and collar bones for an incredibly romantic contemporary look. It’s for this reason that the French Twist remains popular to this day and is perfectly appropriate for glamorous, upscale events. Creating a French Twist requires hair that is shoulder length or longer. The hair is then combed to one side in the back and twisted upwards until it is tight against the back of the head. Barrettes, hair combs, or other glittering accessories can also be added to this look for even more glamour. Wear this beautiful vintage hair style to any black tie event, and be sure to pair it with a formal gown with a gorgeous neckline to perfectly show off your figure.
While women in the 40’s and 50’s often had long, luxurious, feminine locks, all of that changed in the 60s and 70s. As women became more empowered in society, they were growing more comfortable with wearing their hair in styles that were sleek, simple, and sometimes very short.
Perhaps the most legendary style icon of this era when it comes to hair is Mia Farrow. This popular actress shocked the world when she wore a cute, cropped cut in the late 1960s, giving rise to this daring and dramatic style. Her staring role in 1974’s “The Great Gatsby” once again had women excited about short hair. Sparked by Mia Farrow, “Gatsby Fever” swept the nation and women desired the same bobbed styles that were popular in the 1920s. A Faux Bob is the perfect way to channel this desirable look without actually chopping off your locks. While real bobs require a huge commitment, the Faux Bob is an easy way to mimic the stylish look short hair. This style is created by braiding or pinning your hair to your scalp and then tucking a top layer of hair underneath at the ends. The result is a sporty bob that no one will know is a trick.
While statement makers like Mia Farrow stunned the world with their modern, short hair cuts, other stylish women in the 1960s & 1970s still embraced the look of long, feminine vintage hairstyles. Bombshells like Farrah Fawcett and Bridget Bardot positively smoldered onscreen and became well known for their iconic looks.
Bridget Bardot particularly stands out as a style star known for her iconic vintage hairstyles. Her luscious blonde hair paired perfectly with her pouty lips and hourglass figure, ensuring her an undying status as a beautiful bombshell. Her most famous updo was certainly her dramatic half updos, which kept her long hair away from her eyes but still showed off its dramatic length. Emulating Bridget Bardot’s signature look is incredibly easy. Start with a center part and and curl your hair to create effortless waves throughout. Volume is an incredibly important component of this vintage hair style, so be sure to tease the hair at the crown of your head and add hairspray so it maintains its dramatic look. Then, pin and secure the top layer of your hair to the back of your head, leaving wispy bangs or strands of hair hanging in the front to highlight the volume in your hair. Bridget Bardot was no stranger to hair accessories, so don’t hesitate to put your own twist on this classic, beautifully undone updo. A dainty bow or hair ribbon tied is incredibly feminine and flirty look that channels the vibe of this style icon. A simple headband also effectively adds more dimension to your look for a fun, vintage-inspired way to wear your hair.