As a little girl, I used to watch my grandmother get ready for a night out on the town all the time. I was always tickled by the way that she would curl her hair with brown paper bags and pencils and draw a fake mole by her lip. I would always ask, “why don’t you just buy a curling iron?” Her response was always “Damn Technology! I’ve been doing it this way all my life.” According to Grandma, the only hairstyles to have were from the 1920s and ’30s.
Today we are still doing the things that our great-grandmothers, grandmothers, and mothers all did. Being empowered, sophisticated and sexy will never go out of style. I guess womens’ hair, as well as their fashions, has always reflected how they want to be viewed in society. All the things that Grandma used to do have resurfaced. The only issue is that I can no longer laugh at her paper bags, pencils or fake moles. I can only appreciate the statement she was trying to make – “Damn technology, I’m a flapper fly–girl.” Yes, she was.
Let’s take a look at vintage fashion and make up:
20’s and 30’s
The flapper fashion of the 20’s re-invented women. They cut their hair into bobbed, shingled and cropped coifs (Etan Crop). Previously seen as best left to the more lewd of women, dyes and peroxide also became fashionable; despite the fact that chemicals used were often unreliable and sometimes poisoned many a scalp. Although there was a desire to be blond, the brunette was all the rage in the 20’s. Marcel Waves named for the creator of the ‘Marcel Iron’ and spit curls were very popular and were carried over into the next decade. The make-up styles of this era were just as dramatic as the hair. Vamp eyes and mouth, heavy black mascara, cheeks soft, high with rouge, and lips arched peaks-rosebud or bee stung shapes. They were sending the message that screamed, “I am all woman, even if I look like someone’s son.” The hair of that decade was all about empowerment, molding the old Edwardian vixens into frivolous flappers.
By the ’30s women realized that they could be taken seriously and still be sexy at the same time. Their hair grew longer, as well as their hemlines. Drastically side parted hair was very popular, although centered parts with large curls added to sides for volume were also in vogue. Where it was unfashionable to show foreheads in the ’20s, most ’30s styles were swept back. The smooth hairstyles of the decade were accented by small pin curls, and finger waves. As the decade went on, the hair was pulled back more, making way for the ‘rolls’ of the forties. As for the face of that decade with the new obsession of screen stars, women tried to imitate glamourous eyes & mouth. Light colors were used on just the upper lid, followed with dark brown mascara. Long, thin, brown pencil was used to give eyes a ‘wide open look’. The brow became arched by 1936. Healthy blended rouge on cheeks, and lips were round/heart shaped, with matching nail polishes.
This year on Hollywood’s red carpets, actresses opted for softer styles from the ’20s and ’30s. Come back next week when we explore the ’40s and ’50s as well as a look at spring beauty trends for today.