Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Practical Vintage Hairstyles

It may sound a little strange but since the start of summer and the onset of the warmer weather I've developed this strange hair neurosis. I hate having my hair on my neck and for speed and practicality purposes for both my jobs I have resorted it to putting it up in a ponytail with a roll like a fake bang at the front but its not a style that I'm particularly happy with. It got me thinking that if I never wear my hair down I may as well get it cut into a more practical style.

This got me thinking about what the vintage women did to have practical but stylish hair.
It seems that pre 1940s practicality was not a big issue when it came to hair. Women were rarely in the workforce so they had time at home to style their hair without work being an issue. With the start of the war women had to enter the workforce so hair had to be both fashionable and practical. After the war many women returned to the home so they had time to style their hair again so I'm going too concentrate on the war years to try to find hairstyles that are both practical for work and a genuine style of my favourite era.

My research showed that styling your hair in the 1940s was alot more of an ordeal than nowadays. Because of rations on water and the palaver of boiling water women tended to wash their hair just once a week. Thus the saying 'I can't come out I'm washing my hair'. Women would washing and set their hair on a Friday night (generally!) so as the week went on and hair became dirtier and greasier women had to come up with more elaborate styles to disguise that fact that their hair wasn't the cleanest. Women also had to take ensure that their hair was out of the way as many women had jobs in factory's and similar so they had to make sure their hair was out of the way of heavy machinery. Actress Veronika Lake had her long peekaboo style hair cut short to show her support for the women in the workforce and alot of women followed suit. Many women would also cover their hair with scarves, hats or turbans whilst working to keep it out the way and try to stop dirt from their work getting into their hair.

With all this in mind these are the styles that I found that will be both practical and stylish for me to wear my hair:


  1. The humidity has been doing terrible things to my hair lately! Let me know if you find a style that looks great and is super simple, I'd love to hear about it~

  2. Interesting post. With the cold and the snow here in Norway, it is impossible to go leave the house without a hat on, so all our heads have "hat hair" - flat, static an boring! Envy you the heat

  3. Oh, St Louis in the summer is miserable too! It's about 1000% humidity and hot as can be. One of my favorite, easy hairstyles is to part my hair on the side, do a little roll on the side with the most hair and pin it flat, then take the back and roll it up in a long rat. You can make it pretty with a hair comb or leave it plain. Easy!

  4. I am very interested in this post. I have long straight silky hair and have been longing for an easy 40's do. Having curly hair is not an option for me. Are you going to cut your hair and if so do you have something in mind? I ask because this Friday I have a hair appointment and my hair is long and straight so the options are many for me at this point!

  5. Hey everyone thanks for the comments. I finally had enough and took my sewing shears to my hair its kinda a long bob length so i can pincurl it and its up off my neck but its still long enough to put in upstyles or put a roll in the back. I have some piccys although unfortunately my card reader is playing up at the moment so I cant post them! x