Hairstyles of the 1940s were all about perfect styling and voluminous hair. The hairstyles were chic but it did take a lot of time to get one done the right way! Using rollers to curl the hair was a common factor during this period. Most women opted for soft curls to get a feminine look. Generally, hairstyles were smoother at the crown, which was done so that women could wear hats with ease. As time passed, hair was then piled up in mounds. Another important feature was the growing length of the hairstyles. Medium or long styles replaced the short ones of the 1930s. Often, a bow made from ribbon was used to decorate the hairstyle as well as to add some color. Turbans made of soft wool or rayon crepe were worn and were decorated using flowers.
Chignon; the name of this style is derived from the French phrase 'Chignon du cou', which means nape of the neck. This hairstyle required a knotted bun at the base of the neck. Hairnets and snoods were some of the accessories used by women. This period saw the Chignon being worn with a headscarf while women worked in the factories. The headscarf was stylish and practical as the hair was kept out of the face while working. Women in China, especially, wore a low and knotted style bun.
Extremely stylish, pin curls and ringlet curls were also very popular styles during this period. The pin curls were among the most basic types of curls. Curling the entire volume of one's hair was a common style, but often pin curls were used to curl only small portions of the hair. Curls were used to frame the shape of the face and achieve a feminine look. Bobby pins and grips were the accessories that were widely used to secure and style the hair.
Victory rolls were worn by women who wished to make a fashion statement. It was a way to celebrate the end of the World War II and the success of the United States, and is known to be a reason for the name given to this style. The style was an elaborate one and to achieve this look, women had to start the process the previous night. Curls were pinned using bobby pins before going to bed. The next day, the twirled portions were left pinned and only the sides were brushed to add volume.
The Pompadour is the retro inspiration for today's look of voluminous or 'big hair'. The style is named after Jean Antoinette Poisson, a French woman who was also known as Marquise de Pompadour. She was recognized for the way she styled her hair; the hair was brushed back and volume was added at the front and above the forehead, to give a lift. The hair was either brushed straight back or into a roll that was worn high.
The starlet, Veronica Lake, is accredited for the success of the peek-a-boo bang. The hair was parted deeply on one side over one eye to achieve the desired bang. The hair on the side was styled to form tight curls and was then pinned to the side. After a sufficient amount of time, the pins were removed and the bang was given a wavy look by running the fingers through the hair.
Hairstyles for men in this period were influenced by the war and other dominant factors. There was a military influence on the way men dressed and styled their hair. A style that was neat, practical, and low-maintenance was preferred by most men. They regularly visited the barber and hair was usually kept short on the sides and at the back.
The pompadour hairstyle became the origin of another popular style that emerged during this period called the ducktail.
Take a leaf out of the hairstyle diaries of this extraordinary period and experiment with different vintage styles. You will definitely be the center of attention everywhere you go.