Vintage power couple hair
Jun 30, 2021 | by Becky Oeltjenbruns
This week I ventured back into the salon for the first time since late 2019. It felt amazing to be pampered and do something normal. This focus on follicles got me thinking back to our previous beauty posts. Even after all these years I’ve yet to do a feature on classic men’s styles, so allow me to present vintage power couple hair through the decades. Let me know in the comments which look speaks most to you!
We’ll start our journey in the late 1800s. While Queen Victoria held a grip on glamour, other trends were bursting forth. Enter the Gibson Girl, with her luscious locks piled atop her head. Talk about volume – this was a bun with attitude. But what would her dashing gent look like while they strolled the promenade? The “it” guy of the era, Charles Dickens, apparently boldly rocked a comb over. Yet for the average, non-literary chap, crisp and smooth was the order of the day. You can consider this look the precursor to the crew cut, the sides and back were typically trimmed pretty close to the scalp. Any rogue strands were expertly parted, with the “down the middle” look winning the day. I suppose keeping your hair tidy worked best when you consider the giant hats these guys wore…
As we skip ahead to the 1920s we encounter a radical change for women’s style: the flapper girl. With her bobbed hair, she’s not afraid to march to the beat of her own drum (or perhaps we should say dance to her own saxophone as this was the jazz age!). Gone was the prim and proper focus of the 19th century – women were entering a revolutionary phase. But just what were the guys up to? Surprisingly, they were maintaining status quo. Heartthrobs like Rudolph Valentino embraced the style of decades past, nearly plastering his hair to the scalp. The key was to achieve maximum shine. If you think hair commercials make a fuss about shimmering locks these days, check out a picture from one of Fred & Ginger’s early films. To get this glossy style, the discerning gentleman used Brillaintine, a pomade derived from oil. Men were obsessed with the stuff, but the good news is that it smelled like sage so at least the flapper girls didn’t have to swoon from a bad aroma!
Thinking about rocking a vintage style? Read this expert guide first!
The onset of WWII changed everything about daily life, including beauty routines. As women took to the workplace, victory rolls emerged out of necessity. Once the war was won, women let the rolls unfurl a little bit as they re-embraced ultra-feminine looks. (Think Dior’s New Look.) Exuberance was in the air and for the first time in a few decades men’s hair got a little – dare I say it – playful! Meet the pompadour. This voluminous look was for the guy who lived on the edge, who wouldn’t be put in a box – a rebel without a cause if you will. James Dean’s smoldering eyes and pompadour defined an entire generation. Hollywood’s leading men always craved the spotlight, but Dean’s look was the first time film was on the forefront of men’s hairstyles (rather than just a reflection of societal norms).
Complete your vintage hairstyle with these recommended products
With the dawn of the 1960s and 70s the floodgates were opened. Beehives grew to impressive heights for ladies and the Beatles’ mop-tops rocked the States from coast to coast. Every aspect of society was evolving: musical creativity was at a zenith, the civil rights movement was finding its voice, and there was an air of general unrest. Fashion and hairstyles are natural venues for people to express their individuality and we see men really stretching beyond their historical limits of “good taste.” The free-spirited 1970s built on this energy with men embracing long, curly hair while women started experimenting with pixie cuts or fringed layers. As you venture back to the salon, keep this brief review in mind – all of today’s top looks have roots in the past. Which vintage power couple look will you and your partner go for? Will you keep it simple and stay in the same time period or will you mix it up and pair a flapper with a Woodstock rocker? The time is now to embrace a fresh new look – find your inspiration in the gallery below!