May 31, 2011

Four fantastic 1940s hairstyles for long haired gals

Day 151 of Vintage 365


Throughout much of human history young girls and women alike have worn their hair long. Lengthy locks were tied to deeply rooted notions of beauty, vitality, innocence, chastity, faith, devotion, and health - amongst many others - and were something that countless ladies over the centuries prided themselves on having. However, as time wore on and the 20th century dawned, a cord began to change where women's hairstyles were involved.

By the end of the '10s, some brazen, trend setting gals were ditching their Gibson Girl inspired, Rapunzel-esque manes for much, much shorter cuts, such as the immensely popular bob of the 1920s and 30s (which was sometimes paired with a Marcel or finger wave, or other type of tight curl).

Shorter styles remained commonplace through the 40s, and 50s, though there were noticeable differences between many of the styles of each respective decade.

However, whereas some gals were quick to sheer off much of their hair (or never grow out, in the case of those born after short female hairstyles became more culturally accepted), others opted to hang onto their longer locks.

Whether shoulder grazing or reaching down to their tailbone, long hair was not uncommon by any means amongst vintage women. In fact, many of the most beloved and iconic actresses, models and performers of the golden decades of the last century boasted hair that was anything but pixie cut length (think of the cascading waves of beauties like Rita Hayworth, Ann Sheridan, Veronica Lake, Susan Hayward, Hedy Lamarr, and Bridet Bardot to name but a few screen sirens who boasted longer hairstyles).

Then, as today, not all women opted for shorter cuts - not did all ladies decide to go in for perms (which generally gave the appearance of lopping at least a few inches off of their locks). Popular as they were for much of the early and mid-twentieth century, permanent waves were not something that every gal embraced (for various reasons including having naturally curly hair, being allergic to the chemicals used, economic concerns, or simply the desire to stand out as something of a hairstyle maverick).


As such, women who opted to keep their hair longer needed becoming styles that were on trend, practical enough to do themselves (for those days when a trip to the beauty parlour wasn't in the cards), and which ensured they looked immensely well put together.

Pages such as the handy magazine spread above from 1944 entitled Dos for Long Hair, helped teach WW2 era long haired women of all ages some delightfully chic styles that they could  readily apply to their own tresses.

Many of us, myself included, have hair that falls into the medium to longer length category and as such are often on the lookout for authentic vintage hairstyles that we can easily do ourselves today.

This delightful 1940s page (which comes by way of clotho98 on Flickr; click here if you'd like to see a larger version of this set of instructions for of graceful long hair vintage styling options) delivers four distinct looks (the Chinese Page Boy, Crescent Chignon, Side Sweep, and Ears Buns), which can easily be replicated - with some practise and a few hair pins - today by many of those with longer manes.

Each of these looks is distinct, yet so perfectly channels the blend of practicality and feminine beauty that held sway in women's lives during the tumultuous war years.

These hairstyles are ones that will stand the test of time, as perfect and enchanting today as they were sixty-seven years ago when they first appeared on in the pages of Women's Day magazine - inspiring women of both generations of try something new and gorgeous with their longer locks.


  1. I keep covetously eye-ing short 'do's as summer creeps up upon us... thanks for some vintage inspiration my extra long hair can accommodate!

  2. Very handy! It's good to see that there's hair ideas for those of us who's hair escapes the bob length.

  3. Thanks for sharing! I love the "Chinese Page Boy" and the "Ear Buns."

  4. Oh, this is wonderful! It's difficult to find (original) vintage ideas for longer hair, and as a gal who looks awful with short hair, there's no way I'm chopping the locks. ;) Thanks for posting these!

  5. Great inspiration that gave me new ideas for how to wear my hair, thank you for posting!
    Have a lovely Wednesday!