Posted on September 12, 2012
What can you wear with your vintage outfits? It’s easy to recreate a vintage hairstyle that compliments your look. Open any high school yearbook from the 1950’s and you’ll see all the popular hairstyles including cute Pixie Cuts, carefree Ponytails and piled high Bouffants. Emphasis was on a youthful and flamboyant look. Short and curly hair was in – long and straight was out. Women coaxed their hair into curls with visits to the hairdresser, perms and hair rollers which they set daily and slept on every night. Here are some ideas and resources that will help you recreate that look.
The Pixie Cut, featuring soft curls and shorter hair, was popular in the 50’s. Pin curls and rollers set the look and hairspray kept it in place. Women often wore permed styles that were parted on the side. It was common to wearing curlers to bed and then in the morning hair was brushed into place. Hairstyles were typically short enough to show the bottom of the ears. It was simple and easy to maintain with very short bangs that were curled under. Audrey Hepburn and Gina Lollobrigida were both famous for their cute Pixie Cuts. A variation on this is the Poodle Cut best seen on Lucille Ball.
Here are some variations on the Pixie Cut that you can try. Part your hair on the side and then sweep one side up and hold in place with tortoise shell barrettes or fancy bobby pins. The front bangs can be worn were fringed or curled under. A headband can hold the curls back with a smooth combed back front or with bangs. Use bobby pins to hold spit curls in place and arrange them to frame the face. Or try a special bow or tropical flower.
Fun Fact: Did you know that even kids got into the curly look? In a 1953 Life magazine advertisement, Lilt Home Permanent advertised the Party Curl, a permanent which would give your child “the prettiest hair in the neighborhood.”
The Ponytail was everywhere in the 50’s. It’s a youthful, free and easy style and perfect for dancing. We’ve all seen movies featuring bouncy bobbysoxers with hair pulled straight back and bound with a rubber band. Women with this teeny bopper hairstyle include Sandy from Grease and Gidget (it’s easier to surf with a ponytail!)
You can change the basic ponytail by wearing it with without bangs. Ponytails in the 50’s were usually teased and sprayed with hairspray before pulling it up high on the back of the head with a sheer scarf . A chignon or bun with a scarf wrapped around it is a casual and elegant look. The scarf or ribbons holding your ponytail can contrast with your outfit using typical 50’s colors combinations like pink with black or red with black or turquoise with white. Try two ponytails high on the head. It’s called “the Teeny Bopper” or “Poodle Ears”. If you want a casual everyday look wear a scarf over the head tied under the chin with the ponytail peeking out the back and bangs in front.
Fun Fact: Can you hum the song “Chantilly Lace” by "The Big Bopper"? It paints a typical 50’s picture complete with ponytail. ”Chantilly lace and a pretty face and a pony tail, hanging down, a wiggle and a walk and a giggle and a squawk, makes the world go round…”
The Bouffant is a puffed up 50’s hair style that later developed into the Beehive. This hairstyle required elaborate styling, most often at a beauty salon using a wet roller set and a hairdryer. The hair was backcombed from the scalp, prodded and pulled and sprayed heavily to create the height required for this style. Hair rats were used to get height and the right form. Hair rats are made from real hair that is held in an oval shape with netting or stocking. They can also be made of foam. Rats are rolled into the hair to make the high look or bobby pinned into place and then hair is backcombed over it. Liberal use of heavy lacquer or hairspray would hold the style for a week if it were not touched by a comb or brush. The pop singer, Dusty Springfield had a light blond bouffant. The Ronettes were famous for their towering beehives and showed what height hair could reach.
Variations on a beehive are numerous. You can wear your hair piled high with a long ponytail down the back, or on the side. Add some spit curls or bangs for some extra volume. You can sweep the hair up into a high twist and then leave some bottom hair down and curled under to create a contrast. There are “how to” hairstyle videos on YouTube.com and Ehow.com.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the beehive is also known as a B-52 because the hairstyle looks like the bulbous nose of a B-52 Stratofortress Bomber.
Your hairstyle can be the finishing touch for a vintage outfit whether you’re wearing a 50’s circle skirt or skinny Capri’s. Have fun with it - or if this all this sound too complicated then try a bouffant flip wig. It’s easy on and off and you can skip the hairspray!
Check YouTube.com and Ehow.com for “how to” hairstyle articles and videos
Fiftiesweb.com has background information, pictures and more
hair.lovetoknow.com/50s_Pin_Curls_Up-Do has instructions on how to set pin curls
All prices are in USD.