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Hairstyles from the 20th Century

Updated on November 21, 2012

LET YOUR HAIR DO THE TALKING

Do you want to look more sexy and feminine or do you want to tell the world you are a strong, stylish, and independent woman- or may be all of the above? French writer, Honoré de Balzac, said in one of his novels Honorine "there is not a thing a woman cannot say with her hair".

Whether you feel the need to make a fashion, persona,l or social statement, consider the evolution of hairstyles through the last century, and see what women have been saying with their hair.

20s Bob
20s Bob

THE FLAPPERS OF THE 20s

Women always expressed their desire for emancipation, style and power through their hairstyles and wardrobes. The early part of the century, marked by the first wave of the feminist movement in the 1920s, was a unique period in the history of hairstyles highlighted by women with very short hair, bold new fashions, and a carefree attitude. These women, also known as "flappers" rebelled against society's strict expectations of females. Flappers liked to be "in the now styles and fads", and their public behavior was often considered inappropriate or too "out there". Short bobs, finger-wave-styled-hair, the end of corsets and other confining garments, certainly made a strong statement at a time when women claimed their right to vote and demanded the end of sexist oppression. Legendary Fashion Designer Coco Chanel was instrumental to this movement by introducing the suit for women. Her designs were revolutionary for the time, borrowing elements of men's wear and emphasizing comfort over the constraints of then-popular fashions. The now famous bob was introduced in the 1920s and has remained in fashion since. One of the most famously worn hairstyles of the 1920s was by Actress Louise Brooks and Coco Chanel. Both women were icons of the daring flappers of that time.

If you want to make a bold move in your life, consider any of these short bobs and see how it is worn these days. These hairstyles still convey power, style, originality, and eccentricity.

20s HAIRSTYLES THEN AND NOW

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Hair by Saint AlgueHair by Frank ProvostRihanna's Short BobShort BobHair by Claude TarantinoCoco ChanelJosephine Baker
Hair by Saint Algue
Hair by Saint Algue
Hair by Frank Provost
Hair by Frank Provost
Rihanna's Short Bob
Rihanna's Short Bob
Short Bob
Short Bob
Hair by Claude Tarantino
Hair by Claude Tarantino
Coco Chanel
Coco Chanel
Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker

THE GLORIOUS YEARS

In the 1930s, hairstyles were longer than the previous decade and actress Jean Harlow introduced the platinum blonde trend. Later with the beginning of the war, most men were drafted to Europe and women had to clock in as factory or land workers, cutting their hair shorter and wearing turbans. Other more creative women used the restraints of the war to make their hair as beautiful as possible and do with their hair what their wardrobe could not. As a result, 1940s hairstyles were complex and beautifully shaped. Certainly, the most recognizable 1940s hairstyle was the Victory Roll, also called the Side Reverse Roll. Another recognizable look of the 1940s was made famous by actresses Veronica Lake and Rita Hayworth. Both wore glamorous long hair with volume created with finger waves or pin curls. Following this era, the 1950s brought hairstyles that were very glamorous, sophisticated, and sleek. The women portrayed on television in the 1950s wore pearls as they vacuumed and had the time to be well-coiffed housewives. Some of the most famous icons of the 1950s were Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Mansfield, and Audrey Hepburn, to name just a few. Many of these gorgeous and involved hairstyles can be seen on the red carpet these days. Take a look at how Christina Aguilera or Janelle Mone incorporated some of these elements into their styles. The 1940s and 1950s are definitely the epitome of feminine elegance.

GLAMOROUS 50s THEN AND NOW

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Betty Page Signature Hairstyle 1950sSexy MarylinHair by Frank ProvostHair by Saint AlgueHair by Frank ProvostChristina's 50s HairstyleFrench TwistVeronica LakePompadour HairstylePompadour Hairstyle
Betty Page Signature Hairstyle 1950s
Betty Page Signature Hairstyle 1950s
Sexy Marylin
Sexy Marylin
Hair by Frank Provost
Hair by Frank Provost
Hair by Saint Algue
Hair by Saint Algue
Hair by Frank Provost
Hair by Frank Provost
Christina's 50s Hairstyle
Christina's 50s Hairstyle
French Twist
French Twist
Veronica Lake
Veronica Lake
Pompadour Hairstyle
Pompadour Hairstyle
Pompadour Hairstyle
Pompadour Hairstyle

THE REVOLUTIONARY 60s

The sixties were the age of youth, as 70 million children from the post-war baby boom became teenagers and young adults.  The hairstyles of the 1960s reflect a cultural shift from the optimistic, prosperous post WWII era to the activism spurred in protest of the Vietnam War. The movement, away from the conservative fifties, continued and eventually resulted in revolutionary ways of thinking and real change in the cultural fabric of American life. This shift was reflected in many ways with the second wave of the feminist movement, the hippie and civil rights movements, the rejection of traditional values, and the birth of the most revolutionary and popular music genre of all times: Rock & Roll. Women wore over-sized hairstyles with flips, bouffant, and beehives. These hairstyles were recently re-introduced by British artist Amy Winehouse and recently worn by Adele, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, and many more. There are many ways that you can apply 1960s hairstyling techniques. A simple over sized up-do can definitely be worn in any event or even at work while looking very elegant. For the ladies with shoulder-length bobs, just flipping your hair outward can be a nice change from your regular styling routine. And if you need to change your hair for a fun night out, a bit of hair teasing and a lot of hairspray will do the trick.

60s HAIRSTYLES THEN AND NOW

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1960s Beehive1960s BobCatherine Deneuve Beehive HairstyleJanelle Mone Pompadour HairstyleBeehive updoBeyonces Beehive HairstyleBeehive Up-do by Terence PaulHeidi Klum at Oscar NightReese Whitherspoon 1960s HairstyleHair by Lucie Saint Clair
1960s Beehive
1960s Beehive
1960s Bob
1960s Bob
Catherine Deneuve Beehive Hairstyle
Catherine Deneuve Beehive Hairstyle
Janelle Mone Pompadour Hairstyle
Janelle Mone Pompadour Hairstyle
Beehive updo
Beehive updo
Beyonces Beehive Hairstyle
Beyonces Beehive Hairstyle
Beehive Up-do by Terence Paul
Beehive Up-do by Terence Paul
Heidi Klum at Oscar Night
Heidi Klum at Oscar Night
Reese Whitherspoon 1960s Hairstyle
Reese Whitherspoon 1960s Hairstyle
Hair by Lucie Saint Clair
Hair by Lucie Saint Clair

THE 70s

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, much of hippie style had been integrated into mainstream American society. Mustaches, beards and longer hair became commonplace and colorful, multi-ethnic clothing dominated the fashion world. Women wore long hair usually straight and parted in the middle. The 70's were also marked by the arrival of a danceable music genre: disco. Its initial audience included club-goers, LGBT, and psychedelic communities in New York City and Philadelphia. By the mid 1970s, Disco had gone mainstream. Celebrity Farah Fawcett made her signature hairstyle famous around the world in television show Charlie's Angels. This new style changed the way women wore their hair because it was a soft hairstyle. In the world of fashion, famous couturier Yves Saint Laurent created "Le Smoking," a tuxedo suit for women and the first of its kind to earn attention in the fashion world and in popular culture. It pioneered long, minimalist, androgynous styles for women, as well as the use of power suit, and the pantsuit in modern-day society. Emulating 1970s hairstyle is easy and requires very little maintenance. This style is still widely used on the runway these days.

70s HAIRSTYLES THEN AND NOW

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YSL le Smoking 1975Brigitte Bardot 1970s HairstyleFran�oise Hardy 1970s HairstyleFarrah Fawcett Signature Hairstyle1970s Mushroom BobJacklyn Smith 1970s1970s Mushroom BobHair by DessangeBurberry 2012Gianfranco Ferre 2012
YSL le Smoking 1975
YSL le Smoking 1975
Brigitte Bardot 1970s Hairstyle
Brigitte Bardot 1970s Hairstyle
Fran�oise Hardy 1970s Hairstyle
Fran�oise Hardy 1970s Hairstyle
Farrah Fawcett Signature Hairstyle
Farrah Fawcett Signature Hairstyle
1970s Mushroom Bob
1970s Mushroom Bob
Jacklyn Smith 1970s
Jacklyn Smith 1970s
1970s Mushroom Bob
1970s Mushroom Bob
Hair by Dessange
Hair by Dessange
Burberry 2012
Burberry 2012
Gianfranco Ferre 2012
Gianfranco Ferre 2012

THE 80s ARE BACK

Conversely to the soft hairstyles of the 1970s, the influence of the 1980s Punk movement- a rebellious form of expressing rejection of the political and economic system born in the 1970s in England- gave birth to asymmetric and eccentric haircuts. Some of these haircuts like the inverted bob have been widely seen on Victoria Beckham and Rihanna to name a few.

80s HAIRSTYLES THEN AND NOW

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Romantic Meets Punk1980s HairstyleFrank Provost Asymmetric Bob1980s Inspired Hairstyle by Lucie Saint Clair1980's Asymmetric BobSensual BobClassic Bob Lucie Saint ClairRihanna's Inverted BobShort Hairstyle by ManiatisTyra's 1980s Bob
Romantic Meets Punk
Romantic Meets Punk
1980s Hairstyle
1980s Hairstyle
Frank Provost Asymmetric Bob
Frank Provost Asymmetric Bob
1980s Inspired Hairstyle by Lucie Saint Clair
1980s Inspired Hairstyle by Lucie Saint Clair
1980's Asymmetric Bob
1980's Asymmetric Bob
Sensual Bob
Sensual Bob
Classic Bob Lucie Saint Clair
Classic Bob Lucie Saint Clair
Rihanna's Inverted Bob
Rihanna's Inverted Bob
Short Hairstyle by Maniatis
Short Hairstyle by Maniatis
Tyra's 1980s Bob
Tyra's 1980s Bob

FIND YOUR HAIRSTYLE OF THE MOMENT

Vintage hairstyles are some of the sexiest hairstyles you can create. They have inspired hairdressers, stylists, celebrities, and brides alike.  Women of all ages can look sexier and feel more glamorous in beautiful retro hairstyles.  You might not wear these styles exactly like they were worn back then, but you can incorporate some of the styling elements into your current hairstyle like finger waves around the face, or bangs to cover a large forehead or upcoming wrinkles. As you can see through the years, hairstyles have been strongly influenced by the political and social climate of a particular era. Women have always used their hair to express themselves and make a statement. Before you cut your hair, think about what you need to say. If you're interviewing for an executive position, power and style might be what you need to convey. Whatever the case may be, remember; YOUR HAIR ALWAYS DOES THE TALKING.

Marianne Vera Salon Recommends

Treat yourself with some of our favorite hair products. Also available at Marianne Vera Hair Salon New York

Marianne Vera Hair Salon New York

Marianne Vera Salon, also known as MV Salon, is owned by French Hairstylist Caroline Lameda. Trained in the French apprenticeship tradition under master stylists Jean Claude Biguine and Jacques Dessange, Caroline brought her talents and heritage to the Upper East Side where she has run her vibrant and busy Hair Salon for the past 10 years. This New York Salon offers experienced hair colorists and specialists in haircut and styling, updo, Keratin treatment and is known for gorgeous highlights and hair color.

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