Fashion movements for female independence and expression characterized the 1920s, an era of social and technological development. As the mass-produced radio and telephone kept people connected and close to home, the culture of American citizens flourished into carefree and active members of society. As we enter a new decade, let’s look back 100 years to the original 20’s, and see inspiration in their hairstyles and trends!
On August 18th, 1920, the nineteenth amendment to the constitution was ratified, allowing women the freedom to vote and establishing a mindset of power and independence among them across the nation. This inspired a new uprise in fashion that pushed the boundaries of how the “proper woman” of that time was expected to dress and present herself. Flappers, or women that proudly adopted this fashion, were seen as outrageous to those who preferred the past Victorian period. Their ideal appearance was slim and straight, opting for the boxiness of masculine clothes while wearing lower cut tops and dresses that showed off the ankle and calf.
The hairstyles of the 20s completed the flapper’s look, flaunting short bobs and stacks of curls. For a woman of this decade, to cut your hair was to expose yourself to criticism from the public, as well as to spend much of your money on regular salon visits to maintain these styles. Short, slicked bobs were undoubtedly the staple styles and therefore developed countless variations.
The Marcel Waves took the place of large curls that could not easily fit a hat or wrap, they were popular but took time to arrange and perfect due to the complicated and potentially dangerous use of stovetop heated hair tools. Waves throughout the next few decades required care and attention throughout the day but remained popular and became an icon of the age.
The split curls, also known as “kiss curls,” were characterized by a bundle of waves on the side and small curls that branched about the ears or forehead. These curls were often pointed with gel for further exaggeration. The waves formed straight or heart-shaped bangs to frame the face before cropping at the nape of the neck with more curls.
Cropped straight bangs
Cropped hair with straight bangs was in far less demand than the textured alternatives, but this unique hairstyle was the stunning peak of how slicked down and flawless the women of the 20s preferred their hair to be. A perfectly straight and flattened bob along with even bangs were the foundation in this case, but gel was necessary to form the straight middle part. Louise Brooks is the icon for cropped styles and models the meticulously sculpted bob.
Options for those who did not want to cut their long hair away existed as well, as many of these women styled faux bobs by curling excess hair under a standard bob length. This shapes out a voluminous bump below the jawline often accompanied by curly or wavy bangs. An alternative was braiding or twisting strands of hair at the back of the neck and pinning it all down after creating waves or curls beforehand.