Hairstyles and Fashion of the Forties

1940s hair and a shiny silk fashion blouse
Photo: Stokkete/Shutterstock
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There was a style that involved a very large roll placed for bangs, halfway on her forehead and about an inch above her head. Her crown was flatly brushed down with a puff of curls along the bottom and around the sides and in the back. This style could work with almost any hat she selected to wear. Usually, her hair was worn shoulder-length and there were plenty of waves placed along with the styling. Straight parts were either on the side or in the middle. When there were middle parts, there were sometimes small to large rolls placed on each side of the face, with the hair flowing down into one length with the fluff of curls on the bottom.
Old-time famous celebrity June Allison was known for wearing her hair in the famous pageboy style of the time. She had naturally straight hair that was set to be curled with her straight forward bangs. We wouldn't have recognized her without this look. The pageboy had variations of straight and wavy and long or medium. Today we would put an undercut to this style, but back then their hair was cut bluntly for the pageboy and would go as high as the level of her eyes or as low as laying on her shoulders.
Everyone rolled their hair under with rollers to achieve a smooth look. There were many updos to give a feminine appeal to their hats. Their hair would be brushed up into tight, small pinned curls to make room for the covering. Some bangs were cut quite short, then many did not wear any, but wore their hair completely back in a no-nonsense way. Most had their hair in one complete level length. Some bangs were curled to frame their face and eyes. Others had a large roll with the rest of the hair pulled back or up, wearing a large hat in the back.
There was another style that required a roll starting on the sides that would wind itself onto the back. The rest of the hair was tucked flat into that roll. The top was either parted in the middle or brushed flatly back along with the rest of the hair. There were styles that required the pulling back of the sides and tucking them back into a roll while the back laid smoothly down with the fluff of curls lying on the back. The top usually had a roll, two rolls, or different-sized curls.
Shoulder-length 1940s vintage hairstyle with curls
Photo: The Everett Collection/Canva
The crown always had room for a hat, unless she was going to wear the hat tipped on the side of her forehead and atop her head, in which case she could wear her hair in up curls in the crown or down around her houlders once again. Most of the time, the hair on the sides was usually pulled back. The curls were usually large and obvious coming out from under the hat, and at times spilling over onto it, as long as they could delicately lift the hat up and put the hair back where it belonged. When they wore their hair up, the collars of their coats were usually turned up and they wore a beret to be fashionable. There were also several trendy scarves that were worn to complement these styles.
Those audacious, eye-catching round curls that would rest upon the top of their heads and about an inch below onto their foreheads were complete with daringly thin eyebrows (with the exception of Joan Crawford) and usually a black veil of some sort, depending on the occasion. To have these curls today, wash, condition, rinse, towel dry, and apply your favorite setting lotion. Then, take an inch of your hair and twist it around one of your fingers, making sure all of them are going in the same direction. Finally, place a clip to set. You should have approximately 6 to 7 old-fashioned pin curls on your first row. Do the same with the next row until you've accomplished about four rows. When dry, take one pin curl out at a time and back brush just a little bit and fluff around your finger and place a small hairpin on your forehead.
Repeat this all along the first row. Do the same with the next row, only place them just a little bit over the first row. You are edging upward and outward. Continue to do this with your fingers using bobby pins. Your final product should stand about four inches or higher above your forehead and scalp. If you want a flat crown to go with this, comb your wet hair down and make the same curls with the clips along the bottom of your hair. Only roll the ends. When this is dry, brush your sides and back vigorously, patting the crown smoothly and fluffing up the bottom like that of cotton. Now you are ready to buy a pair of adorable Mary Jane heels, and you will be complete. Unless you were born in this era, the styling won't come easy, but practice makes perfect!
See also: Vintage hairstyles