The Roaring 20’s shook the Western World as wildly as Josephine Baker’s hips in her infamous “banana dance,” and the world was never the same. From business to culture, politics to fashion, it seemed society had gone completely topsy-turvy in major cities like Paris, New York City, London, Berlin, and Chicago.
Modern inventions like cars, electric appliances, and the telephone were making life was good for many. Old, stuffy traditions were loosening up, too. And although prohibition had just come to pass at the start of the decade in the United States, drinking alcohol became all the more glamorous to indulge in while dancing the night away in speakeasies and secret clubs, including for women.
Radical changes in politics and social issues were having a big impact on women’s lives. Twenties girls knew how to “werk” with twenty-five percent more joining the workforce from during and after WWI. And, just as empowering, American women finally won the right to vote in 1920! Even socially and culturally, women were shaking things up by listening and dancing to jazz, driving cars, and breaking the status quo of sexual norms. They wanted liberation now.
Art Deco, the Jazz Age, and the rise of cinema and celebrities were also shaking up art and culture with many new forms of creative expression—including in the fashion world. Beaded flapper dresses, bright Art Deco colors, fur coats, headbands with feathers or beads, long pearl necklaces, and cloche hats, oh my! Women were having a ball celebrating the era with these bold new styles. And hair was no exception. Here are seven head-turning, yet timeless hairstyles from the 20s to inspire your next party of evening look:
Almost no other hairstyle seems to define the Roaring 20’s more than the bold bob, worn famously by stars Louise Brooks, Anna Mae Wong, and Josephine Baker. This super-short hair cut cast away traditional norms of femininity meaning long, luscious locks as women of newly-modern time opted for this short, often angular style cut right up to the base of the ear. Bold, indeed!
For those wanting to keep some length, the faux-bob was another popular style. Hair would be brought up to right around the ear and pinned in the back using hairpins to give that still-sleek bob look. For those who wanted a more loose style, the hair would be let out a bit for a more softer, “rolled under” look.
Finger waves were another very popular hairstyle that were iconic of the 20’s. These soft but dramatic waves were made by pinching the hair together using your fingers and combing the hair to made an “S”-curved wave. The waves were then held in place by lotion (today mouse or hairspray). The result was both classical feminine, yet striking.
For an even more dramatic look, marcel waves were created using a hot, curling iron. Unlike finger waves, marcelling or marcel waves come out looking a lot tighter, and far more defined.
Curls in general were widely worn during the 20s. Whether short or medium to the more rare longer length, women were adorning themselves with delicious curls of many shapes and sizes. Clara Bow often sported very big and full, short curls, while others wore curls varying in slightly more defined, but still soft styles. Curls would also be worn over the full head, or sometimes just at the end of the hair or around the frame of the face.
Not all women wanted their hair cut short, but still wanted to wear a short style from time to time, and this is where faux-short buns proliferated. Much like the faux-bob, the hair would be pulled up to or just below the ears and fixed in tight or loose buns depending on the type of style women wanted to pull off. Faux-short buns meant both flexibility and fun for these roaring ladies.
Accessories and “All That Jazz”
Accessories also became very popular in the 20’s with women celebrating all the variety and freedom the era had to offer. The cloche was among the most widely worn hat with turbans also being very glamorous choices for evening wear. Headbands of varying styles wrapped all the way around the head from forehead to back were also immensely popular and iconic of the flapper style. These headbands, as well as hats, were often decorated with beads, feathers, pearls, and faux jewels. Women were having a ball and it sure did show in their flamboyant, celebratory styles!
Today, women are choosing to keep-the-party-going in the lively style of the Roaring 20’s with 1920’s-themed parties, period style accessories, weddings, and many other types of parties and get-together. Ready for a Great Gatsby-themed dance party, anyone? With these vivacious styles, you can count. us. in.
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