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soniquemd21921

40s vs. 50s hairstyles

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The long hair that girls had in the 40's made them look really sexy, and while many girls in the 50's still had that beautiful flowing hair, like Anne Francis, I'm no fan of that rather unflattering ultra-short hair look that seems to have been in vogue in the 50's. It aged girls badly: Compare how sexy Jane Wyman was in the 40's: in Johnny Belinda she looked like a teenager, but by the time of Magnificent Obsession she had that ultra-short hair and looked like she was pushing 50.

 

Audrey Hepburn was IMO the only one that was able to pull that really short-hair look off. On others it looked unflattering and not sexy.

 

Edited by: soniquemd21921 on Feb 5, 2011 7:13 PM

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I don't think it is necessarily the short look just the style. Thinking about it I am not a big fan of the 1950's style that much either but I love women's hair in the 20's and 30's and popular styles tended to be on the short side.

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> {quote:title=soniquemd21921 wrote:}{quote}

> The long hair that girls had in the 40's made them look really sexy, and while many girls in the 50's still had that beautiful flowing hair, like Anne Francis, I'm no fan of that rather unflattering ultra-short hair look that seems to have been in vogue in the 50's. It aged girls badly: Compare how sexy Jane Wyman was in the 40's: in Johnny Belinda she looked like a teenager, but by the time of Magnificent Obsession she had that ultra-short hair and looked like she was pushing 50.

 

I liked her much better with the long blonde hair of the late ?30s.

 

wyman_jane2.jpg

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Although some women look good in short hair, I generally prefer long hair. However, I love those sculptured bun hairstyles of the 40s. I've read that those were popularized then so that women working in factories wouldn't get their hair caught in the machinery.

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Nope, not a bun. She has short hair. A bun is long hair coiled, or wrapped up tightly, so it is tight to the head, and doesn't hang down. Styles could be simple, or elaborate, and might include braids, also tied up. Actually, I guess pinned up would be more accurate.

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Yeah that's the type of short hair style I like on girls. These are the hairstyles I was specifically referring to as being unflattering (IMO):

 

51PCD60ZQRL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

magnificent-obsession_592x299.jpg

 

Wyman was pushing 40 but looks like my grandmother in that pic (actually, that's sort of accurate: when she was a teen she was said to resemble both Wyman and Claudette Colbert)

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Neither decade had one monolithic look.

 

Short hair was worn throughout the 40s, along with the upswept dos and the long page boy cuts. Early in the 40s, the styles of the late 30s (the hair, on the short side, pinned up in many rolls-see the women in THE WOMEN-especially the models and the many other extras and bit players) gave way to more elaborate styles where the pinned up portions were larger. Some stars, such as Lana Turner, seemed to prefer a short look.

 

At the same time, as hair generally became longer, it was also worn down, with the part usually on the side (Hedy Lamarr and Joan Bennett being notable exceptions). It almost always had some type of perm, and lower sides got longer toward the middle portion. The love goddesses of the day were renowned for this softer, more feminine look, especially Rita Hayworth and Veronica Lake.

 

After the war, as Dior's New Look took hold from 1947 on, a shorter look came in vogue for women (to balance the ultra-feminine styles?), and many stars had their tresses shorn. Even Rita got in on the act (or rather husband Orson insisted on this as part of his deconstruction of her image in THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI-she grew hers out somewhat asap). THIS is the look that continued until well into the late 50s. Some stars did not look very becoming in the short styles IMHO-(Ann Sheridan, Linda Darnell, Veronica Lake-Darnell seemed to quickly grow hers out, and maintained it moderately so at least through the first half of the 50s). Some seemed older than their years.

 

In the 50s ever shorter dos were popular: the Poodle cut, the italian cut, the gamine cut, etc. Of course for teenagers, the ponytail was popular throughout, but even when the hair was long and loose, it still had that longer towards the middle of the back look. It wasn't until the end of the decade, as teased and bouffant looks came in, that the postwar look changed (helped along by a glamorous first lady).

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I liked Doris Day in shorter hair, as in "Pajama Game" and the films with Rock Hudson. My mom modeled her cut on Doris', and in fact looked like a brunette Doris Day. She also sang all Doris' songs and her voice was similar, so I've always loved Doris. Of course, Audrey wore short hair the best, but I also liked Leslie Caron's hair short.

 

All the hairstyles seemed to be so high maintenance, with perms, rollers, etc. Although I love looking at the styles, I'm grateful for the "dry and go" era.

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Very good question; 40's vs 50's hairstyles. I'm the 3rd generation of women in my family to have started out in the fashion industry and being a historian, I always try to "look back" on trends.

 

First off, most style changes happen midway through the decade-like 1945 to 1955 and 1965 to 75. The "flapper" bob cut was historically the first time it was fashionable to actually cut a woman's hair short, not just sweep it off the face by binding it up. Radical for the time.

Men wearing long hair was radical in the 60's/70's, because it hadn't been popular for a century.

 

For women it seems hair alternates between "big" and "flat" rather than long/short. Veronica Lake (40's) had the same flat smooth hair popular with 60's hippies. Big teased hair was popular in the late 50's and the gawd awful 80's. My favorite scene in HAIRSPRAY is when Tracy Turnblatt stumbles across the beatniks, "How, your hair is so FLAT!"

 

I always thought Audrey Hepburn, Leslie Caron & Shirley MacLaine popularized the short cute "pixie" while young Elizabeth Taylor brought in a softer version from the 50's into the 60's. Sophia swept the trend with the even looser "Italian" version.

 

The rule is- you can wear "less" hair to bring attention to your face if you have very beautiful, even features. Longer, wavier hair can distract the eye when you have larger, less proportionate features.

 

Audrey & Liz Taylor have almost perfect sweet small features, they'd look gorgeous in a turban, with NO hair showing. Their features would be lost surrounded by big hair. Sophia, Rita & Veronica Lake have larger more unusual features and their faces benefit framed by soft flowing hair.

 

Hair styles are usually "versions" of a popular trend, fitted to your face & features.

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Basically I've always wondered what the H*LL happened to women's hairstyles in the 50s?? I agree that the short haired look just was not a good move for most actresses. Have you seen the pics of Crawford, Davis, Stanwyck, et.al. in their fifties movies? It's as if the style itself aged them all way beyond their years.

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Agreed. The 50's was when what we now think of as "helmet hair" was born and it made these actresses appear as rigid and unyielding as their hairdos. It wasn't necessarily the longness or the shortness of the hair, it was the stiffness, the every-hair-in-place aspect the was so unflattering. You're right; it made actresses appear matronly. Everyone started to look like Mamie Eisenhower.

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