100 Years of Questionable Hairstyles


As we all know, in the world of fashion, one day you’re in and the next day you’re out. Styles come and go. We have all experienced the “what was I thinking?” moments, when our once “super chic” outfits and styles become outdated and turn into nothing more than a serious fashion emergency. The same is true for hair. We’ve all fallen victim to a wrong hairstyle at some point in our lives. Let’s take a look at some of the most questionable looks over the past 100 years. (I bet you’ve tried one or two of these ‘dos before…)

1920s: “The Shingle” haircut (above)

The “shingle” haircut, or as we know it today — the classic bob. As skirt hemlines got shorter, so did ladies’ haircuts. In the 1920s, a really short bob (especially at the back of the neck) with straight across-bangs that covered the ears was the “fashion-in” for ladies’ hairstyles. In 2009, Katie Holmes and Victoria Beckham brought the bob back with a modern twist and many of us caught on. While some celebs proved that the bob is sleek and chic, it’s a look that not everyone can pull off. Silent film star, Louise Brooks demonstrates the “shingle cut” above.

1930s: Curls and finger waves
Curves were the “in” thing during this decade, and women’s hair was no exception. Movie star Claudette Colbert demonstrates the look, above.

1940s: “The Middy” haircut
Layers were a must for all of the hairstyles of the 1940s — that included curls or better yet, a perm! Straight hair wasn’t allowed. Women also wore their hair in classic waves and a signature side part. See Elizabeth Taylor’s look above.

1950s: “The Beehive”
The look was simple: big hair and a lot of hairspray. The hairstyle got its name from elaborately teased and lacquered hair. The Beehive was so popular among the ladies that it spilled over into the next decade. Audrey Hepburn sported a beehive in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Would you sport this ‘do?

1960s: The Hair Flip
The hairstyles of the 1960s were in transition from the big hair of the 50s and eventually, glitzy hair of the flower power and hippie age became the next fad. At the onset of the psychedelic era, hair flips and all their variations were popular. The arrival of The Beatles and the effect of the boy band phenomenon breached the male hairstyle standards and women had to compete. Jackie Onassis rocks a lovely hair flip above.

1970s: Free-Style
No more sleeping in curlers, no more rollers, and no more pin-up hairdos for the ladies of this decade. Anything went for hairstyles of the 70s; it was a time to let your silk hair down and be carefree. Big, obnoxiously-colored headbands and matching eyeshadow completed the look. Farrah Fawcett trademarked feathered, fluffy hair with lots of flip.

1980s: …More big hair
Va-va-va-voom volume! Everyone had big hair, and this fad didn’t discriminate against women with short hair; they had big hair too! Heat rollers and hair rollers disappeared from most ladies’ dressing rooms to make way for blow dryers and wax, essential to creating the big hair of the 80s. Maybe these women were looking to get a little crazy with their hair after the mundane styles of the 60s? The motto for the 80s was definitely BIG.

1990s: The Mullet
We are all familiar with it: short in the front and long in the back, or business in the front, party in the rear. Beyond disgusting.

2000s: The “Kate Gosselin” Haircut
Need I say more? I’m sure that we are all familiar with this ‘do by now, but the best way to describe this haircut is an unsightly combination between a bob and a mullet…or a “bullet” for lack of a better word? Jon and Kate Plus Eight made quite an impression on reality TV but I’m pretty sure that Kate’s infamous haircut made an even bigger one. In spite of the fact that she has recently undergone a much-needed hair makeover, her hairstyle surely made a lasting impression on this decade.

Bonus: The faux-hawk
This trend recently caught on, and men started to gel and spike the middle of their hair, creating a less-intense version of the mullet. As their hair started traveling north, women began to follow suit. Rihanna rocked this haircut for a while as pictured above.

In the past 100 years, women’s hair has undergone a lot of heat, hairspray, and havoc. Between teasing, straightening, and curling, each decade offered a signature look for many fashionable women. Which haircut gets your vote for worst ‘do? And what crazy new hairdo do you think we should look out for in the next decade?

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