1930s Hairstyles (2)

Short 1930s hairstyle and a shiny silk blouse
Photo: Everett Collection/Shutterstock
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Waves seemed to be continually at the forefront in the 1930s. You would have seen diagonal waves in the back of a head, with small, tiny flat curls above and below the waves. There would have been attractively set pin curls nestled around a wave and a cluster of rolls. Sometimes, you would have seen waves start from the top of the women's head and go all the way down until they met a cluster of pin curls. This was considered very appealing at the time, and so it was. This was an era of sophistication and elegance.
Every hair was to be in place, just like their hemlines, and if you had opened any dresser drawer in their homes, the smell of lavender sachets would have filled the room. The working people did not own much. The materials they had, they carefully took care of, so they would last for many years to come. It was a time of saving and no waste. Very little was thrown out, but rather repaired or saved.
The 1930s brought spellbinding news to the scene every year. In 1936, many can remember the devastating effect heard around the world when Edward VIII willingly gave up his throne to marry the love of his life, Mrs. Wallis Simpson.
Back to hats. They were so important in that day and age, it was considered a mandatory accessory. My own grandmother once had a millinery shop where she would design hats for the ladies who needed one. Some of the feathers that came out of those hats were at least three feet long. As I said, their hats always accommodated their hair. There would be times when you would see a half-circled wave at the front of the head that would twirl about, making a spiral curl that would appear as an ornament for the hat. The rest of the hair would be all brushed back into a roll. Then, there were finger or water waves that began from the front and went all the way to the back of the head. That included the sides. Everything was wavy.
1930s man and woman with fashionable vintage hairstyles
Photo: The Everett Collection/Canva
There were also waves that, again, began in the front and would become a circle all around the head. This was known as the Saucer Wave. Another type of wave that was so famous during that time was the Sculptor Wave. This style would begin with a center or half-part with horizontal waves beginning just below the part and ending with a cluster of round pin curls that would circle the ears. When I say waves were in, I mean they were seriously in vogue! You were nobody unless you had your head filled with those zigzag patterns rippling across your scalp. There were many angled waves placed carefully into the patron's hair with large, swooping curls toward the face.
Gentlemen should not be left out of this most important era, and the men kept their hair clipped up quite short. It would be unheard of to have long hair in the 1930s, and when men would go to their favorite barber, they would also get a shave and a shoe shine. Hats were just as important to men as to women, and they would not be seen without one on their head when they left their house. They would strive to find a bowler hat that would match their Chesterfield coats.
Remember the cartoon of Dick Tracy? He used to wear a snap-brim fedora, and his sidekick, Moon, used to wear the bowler. Humphrey Bogart used to wear the snap-brim fedora, as did our infamous Clark Gable. All this time, the men would wear their hair clipped close around the ears and slicked back on top. They were dapper and debonair! Rarely would you see any gentlemen wearing a beard during this time, however moustaches were very much in, as the moviegoers would swoon over Don Ameche's pencil moustache.
Although, when we look back on this era it appears glamorous and exciting, it would be good for us to remember that these were the years of the Dust Bowl, when the midwestern part of the United States was without rain and farms literally dried up and blew away. The years of the Depression and war took a toll on the people who were trying to survive during this time. Hollywood brought such stars as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour to lift up the spirits of the troops overseas. They gave them a ray of hope from home, and as it has always been, when you seem to be at your lowest point, you find strength through each other to laugh again.
See also: Vintage hairstyles