While writing an article about the hottest trends in hair for 2012, I found myself thinking back over some of the most iconic hairstyles throughout history. Whether we’re talking about pop culture hairstyles (as we are this week), hairstyles immortalized in movies or on television or some of the most iconic hairstyles in the music industry, there are certain styles that just make an impact and leave their mark on the fashion world forever. In the coming weeks, we’ll explore some of these iconic hairstyles and talk briefly about who that style inspired and why the style made such a lasting impression. Next week is for the movies. This week is all about the general pop culture hairstyles that changed the way we think about hair. Let’s get started.
Barbra Streisand’s Helmet Bob
In the 60s. Barbra Streisand’s long, straight bob or helmet bob was all the rage and for good reason. This style is flattering, low maintenance and fashionable – all very appealing qualities that has helped it stand up to the test of time. When we look back on a lot of the other styles from the same time period, many of them now appear dated and out of step with current fashion trends but this one has stood the test of time. While there is no shortage of bobs on this list, this one is probably among my favorites.
Bettie Grabel’s Victory Rolls
Okay, so you’re probably not going to see a wealth of women trotting around sporting Bettie’s famous victory rolls these days, but that doesn’t make this look any less iconic. Dating back to at least the 40s, this look is fun, youthful and flirty but still glamorous enough to be worn by some of the most famous pin-up models of the time period. When I think of the 40s and the era of beautiful pin-up models, I think of two women and two hairstyles – Bettie Grabel and her victory rolls and the next woman on our list.
Bettie Page’s Long Hair with Blunt Fringe Bangs
Bettie Page didn’t just have an iconic hairstyle. She was an icon in her own right. Arguably the most famous pin-up model of all time, Bettie and her long, coal black tresses with blunt fringe bangs – not to mention that leopard print bikini – is still copied to this very day. I absolutely love Bettie Page. In a time when blondes were all the rage, Bettie arrived on the scene and offered something new and different. She showed the world that dark hair can be beautiful and her distinctive hairstyle had a lot to do with that.
Gloria Swanson’s Finger Wave
Still worn by stars like Kate Bosworth, Charlize Theron and any number of other trendsetting celebs, the finger wave (also known as ‘The Marcel’) was all the rage back in the 30s and 40s when starlets like beautiful Gloria Swanson put it on the map. While not as common today as it was back then, the finger wave is still a great look for women looking for real, Old Hollywood glamour.
Jackie O’s Set Bob with Up Turned Ends
I could not possibly do a list of iconic pop culture hairstyles without featuring one of the most iconic pop culture hairstyles of all time, Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ trademark up turned bob. While you don’t see many women choosing to sport this exact look today, I like to think the reason for that is the fact that no one – and I do mean no one – could pull off this look like Jackie O. Sleek, sophisticated and classic, this bob is everything a hairstyle should be. It perfectly complimented Jackie’s beautiful face and called attention to her best features. This is, quite possibly, one of my favorite hairstyles of all time.
Louise Brooks Short, Blunt Bob
Louise Brooks classic short, blunt bob became not only a fashion statement in the 20s but also a statement about how women were beginning to see themselves. Many women of the era saw themselves as carefree and forward thinking. This bold, modern statement was the perfect symbol of that new attitude. Louise’s flapper girl style went on to inspire countless women to chop off their long longs in favor of something a little more wild. This look popped up again when Catherine Zeta-Jones wore a similar style to portray Veronica in the film version of the musical Chicago.
Marilyn Monroe’s Glamour Curls
Marilyn Monroe’s signature blond bombshell curls have been copied time and time again from starlets of the same era that wanted to share Marilyn’s spotlight to starlets of today who are trying to recapture some of her glamour. Everything about Marilyn is iconic – her voice, her face, her mole, her hair and her figure. It’s no wonder Marilyn’s curls remain so memorable and in such high demand to this very day.
Molly Ringwald’s Mushroom Cut
Oh Molly Ringwald. As part of the Brat Pack, Molly rose to fame in the 80s and became an absolute style icon for that time period. Her red locks really helped her stand out from many of the other actresses popular at the time and her mushroom shaped haircut became the must have look for many women looking for options for shorter hair. Although the popularity of this look has really dropped off in recent years, one can’t deny that this was definitely an iconic style.
Twiggy’s Pixie Cut
Ah the pixie cut. If you’ve been following my hairstyle articles for any length of time, you already know I have a serious soft spot for the pixie cut. Twiggy’s pixie cut is probably one of my all time favorites as well. At a time when not a lot of women were rocking shorter hair, Twiggy made short hair look sexy and stylish. Of course, the pixie cut has gone on to become a classic short hairstyle option and it isn’t hard to see why. It’s low maintenance but still versatile. It’s classic but still feels modern. I can’t pull off a pixie cut but if I could, you want to bet I would.
Veronica Lake’s Waves
Veronica Lake’s sexy waves are the picture of sultry glamour and class. Aside from that, by allowing some of the hair to hide one of her eyes, Veronica added a touch of mystery and intrigue to what was already becoming a classic style. There is nothing about this look I don’t love and I think it’s easy to see why this gorgeous style is often considered one of the most iconic hairstyles of all time. It definitely needed to be on this list.
Victoria Beckham’s Pob
Victoria Beckham went from Spice Girl to style icon virtually over night and the Pob is probably the most enduring evidence of that fact. The moment Posh stepped out with this longer in the front, shorter in the back variation of the classic bob, women everywhere went running to their stylists. You know you’ve pioneered a look when your style is actually named for you! While I still like the longer pob, one can’t deny the iconic impact of the original.
Of course we’ve only started scratching the surface of the most iconic hairstyles of all time. Next week we’ll take a look at some of the most iconic movie hairstyles of all time featuring women like Audrey Hepburn, Pam Grier and many more. Make sure you come back for that! Thanks for reading. See you next week!