The 1930s was an era of extravagance and glamour. Society had just emerged from the Great Depression and the rebellious flapper fashions of the 1920s were transforming with the spirit of the era. Women were abandoning their androgynous short skirts and bobbed hairstyles to imitate the womanly curves and sexuality of icons like Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford. The depression made high-end fashion more accessible to all classes of people and as a result, the 1930s became known for its elegant and sophisticated style.
Women usually wore their hair short or pinned up in the back referred to as a “Coiffures”. The sophisticated 1930s hairstyles always included deep set waves, structured swirls and curls. The curls used in this time are all small and defined; they shouldn’t have a lot of volume and should sit close to the head. These sleek styles were meant to make women look taller, thinner and fit well under the various hats that were popular during this period.
Getting the curls
These hairstyles don’t come without their prepwork. To get an authentic look, you will first have to pin curl or finger wave your hair, or a combination of both.
To make pin curls, first dampen your hair, then take small sections and twist around your index finger. Loosen the curl off your finger then wind it tightly close to the scalp and secure with two bobby pins crossing in an “x” shape. Then allow the hair to dry overnight or under an electric dryer. When you take the bobby pins out of your hair you should have a head full of small tight curls that you can work with.
Finger waving the hair is a more complicated process and usually requires some assistance from a professional hairstylist. According to reVamp.com, the basic process is made by wetting the hair, combing it flat, making sharp ridges at intervals over the head, stretching the hair between the ridges, covering with a net and drying it under the electric dryer.
The 1930s have a very defined sleek and elegant silhouette that you will notice as you look at images from that time. For an authentic look, focus on recreating that stylistic silhouette. After you’ve properly prepped and curled your lovely locks, the next step is to study images from the 1930s and determine the best style for your hair length and type. Ladies with short hair will only need to pin, structure and style curls to achieve the typical style, while those of you with longer hair will need pin up and hide a lot of that length to get your hair that close to your head.
There are some great images and step-by-step tutorials of many different hairstyles from the 1930s in the resources section to help you achieve your look. So, ladies, get in touch with your inner Garbo and get to pin curling–I see glamour in your future.
References and ResourcesHairstyle Guides and Tutorials
ResourcesMovies Stars of the 1930s