Boss Hairstyles of the 1950s

June 22, 2017 · CLASSMATES FUN

The country was in the throes of postwar expansion and newfound prosperity. Millions of baby boomers were being born, and people were moving to the suburbs in droves. The population was simultaneously introduced to McCarthyism, atomic power, rock and roll, AND TV dinners. Behind the conventional façade, people were dealing with some big things (have you seen monster movies from the 1950s?). However, for the most part, they still kept things pretty orderly in the hair department.

Jane Russell & Marilyn Monroe - Classic Film/Flickr

Short and Wavy

The key word for feminine hairstyles in the 1950s was “curls,” which meant most girls and women had to deal with home permanents, curlers, and other time-consuming hair care products. But it was worth it if you could look like Marilyn.

James Dean - kate gabrielle/Flickr; Elvis Presley - brett jordan/Flickr

The Pompadour

James Dean and Elvis Presley? You couldn’t get much cooler than that. This look is still beloved by rockabilly fans the world over.

Lucille Ball - kate gabrielle/Flickr; Betty Grable - RockyandNelson/Flickr

The Poodle Cut

Made popular by Lucille Ball, this glamorous curly hairdo is one of two in this list to incorporate an animal into its name.

Larry King - Classmates archive; Johnny Carson - Wikimedia Creative Commons

The Side Part

We’re guessing that lots of Brylcreem was needed with this style.

Elizabeth Taylor - Wikimedia Creative Commons; Ivy Nicholson - kristine/Flickr

The Italian Cut

As with a number of these hairdos, this look was brought to the mainstream by movie stars. They made this ‘do seem much more effortless than it probably was.

John Madden - Classmates archive; ducktails - Wikimedia Creative Commons

The Ducktail

This pompadour variant was named for its resemblance to the back of a duck (really – just look at it). Any guy wanting to maintain this hairstyle had to pull out a comb on at least an hourly basis.

Warren Beatty - Classmates archive; Neil Armstrong - Wikimedia Creative Commons

The Crew Cut

Beloved by those who didn’t want to waste time with drying or styling. Or combs.


What 1950s hairstyles have we forgotten?


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