It’s no longer a secret that vintage-inspired fashion and hairstyles are all over the runways and the current street style is full of them too. In fact, experts have long said that fashion is actually a cycle that returns, again and again, every few decades. So, taking this fact into consideration, we have decided to select some chic and wearable ‘20s and ‘40s-inspired retro hairstyles that you can replicate or adapt to your hair and personal style with ease.
So, here are some 1920s and 1940s-inspired vintage hairstyles that will bring back that golden era vibe and elegance, and that will make you feel like the most beautiful and feminine woman in the room.
I. 1920s-Inspired Vintage Hairstyles
1. Elegant Short Wavy & Messy Low Bun with Accessory
We will begin with some 1920s-inspired vintage hairstyles that we are sure you will find amazing and definitely wearable. This elegant short wavy and messy low bun is easy to do with a curling wand or some rollers that will create defined wands. Add a precious accessory to one side and wear a neck-revealing dress for that special occasion.
2. Long Side-Parted Finger Wave Retro Hairstyles
In case you have long and thick hair and you are looking for a vintage-inspired hairstyle that’s also elegant, this side-parted finger wave one is for you. Those loose glam waves are not difficult to obtain with some hair clippers and hairspray or you can always ask your hairdresser more about how they’re done. Obsessed with hairstyles for long hair? Check this!
3. Short, Medium, and Long Finger Wave Flapper Retro Hairstyles (6 ideas)
These six finger waves hairstyles work for short, medium, or long hair and are definitely inspired by the hugely-popular flapper movement of the 1920s. The key to obtaining this hairstyle regardless of your hair’s length is to side part it and create those iconic finger waves using hairpins and a lot of hairspray. You can tuck the opposite part behind your ear and add an elegant earring to highlight your hairstyle even more. Another good idea would be to simulate a bob cut by creating a low bun at your nape area and then to style your hair like you would for a short haircut.
4. Short Side-Parted Great Gatsby-inspired Finger Wave Retro Hairstyles (5 ideas)
Speaking of short and elegant retro hairstyles, these five ideas are all side-parted finger wave ones that are definitely inspired by the legendary The Great Gatsby book by F. Scott Fitzgerald. They are chic and certainly worth taking the time to create them, especially for a party or a special event. Side part your hair, use a lot of hair mousse, and some hairpins to actually create those wavy patterns. Then, you are free to add your favorite accessories and a modern dress to combine the two eras into a sophisticated and gorgeous style.
5. Short and Puffy Old Hollywood-inspired Formal Retro Hairstyles (2 ideas)
If your hair is super short but you still want to style it nicely and maybe even create some elegant waves for a special occasion, these two short and puffy old Hollywood-inspired formal retro hairstyles might inspire you. Side part your locks, secure your bangs with a precious hairpin or hair clip, and use a curling wand for those waves. Finally, use some hairspray for extra hold and enjoy looking like a million dollars!
6. Short Flapper Retro Hairstyle with Feather Accessory
This is the clear definition of a flapper-inspired short retro hairstyle that you can definitely wear in case you are going to a vintage-themed event or an elegant Halloween party. Your hair should be middle-parted, have those pretty waves that need to hold for a few hours. The makeup should be fresh and natural apart from those red lips. Plus, a precious feather accessory should sit on your head if you want your look to be complete and authentic.
7. Retro Pixie Cut with Blunt Bangs and Flapper Accessory
Pixie cuts are not a recent thing at all. On the contrary, their history goes a lot back and proof of this stands this retro pixie cut with blunt bangs which was fashionable during the flapper era. Your hair should be straight and your sideburns a little twisted towards your cheeks for that innocent look. A headpiece is optional but definitely special for an authentic look.
8. Vintage Long Side-Parted Wavy Hairstyle
The fans of Lana del Rey will immediately recognize her signature vintage-inspired long hairstyle. Well, you can definitely draw inspiration from her for an elegant side-parted wavy look that can be both sophisticated and wearable. The choice is yours!
9. Medium Wavy Hairstyle with Bumper Bangs
In case your hair is medium-length, you should know that there are numerous vintage hairstyles that you can try. This one that Dita von Teese is wearing is elegant, fancy, it has those big bouncy waves, and those incredible bumper bangs that are so retro and chic!
10. Side-Parted Finger Wave Bob Cut
For a bob cut that you want to transform into something unique and beautiful, we have this side-parted finger wave bob cut that is inspired by the flapper trend of the 1920s but which can still work today, in 2020. Add a lot of hairspray for extra hold and go for a bold and vampy makeup look.
11. Middle-Parted Twisted Up-Do Retro Hairstyles
When it comes to updos, this middle-parted one with twisted sides is both vintage and modern at the same time because it can be worn without any problems and will still look amazing. You only need medium or long hair that you twist and secure in a low bun. As for the bangs, you also need to twist and secure them using bobby pins and some hairspray for extra security.
12. Side-Parted Medium Wavy Half Up Half Down Retro Hairstyles
When it comes to half up half down hairstyles, this 1920s-inspired one is still very much actual and definitely wearable at the office or for a day out. For this one, your hair should be medium-length and have those iconic big waves. The upper part and your bangs are slightly twisted and secured behind your head with bobby pins or a hair clip.
13. Side-Parted Puffy and Voluminous Bob Cut Retro Hairstyles
In case you are a fan of more rebel and edgy hairstyles, this side-parted puffy and voluminous bob cut is for you. It’s still very much vintage-inspired but it has that edge that some of us are looking for, especially in 2020. The finger waves are still there but a bit messy and you can obtain that messiness by backcombing your locks and adding hairspray.
14. Super Short Bob Cut with Blunt Bangs
This is a truly vintage look based on a real 1920s picture of a young woman. However, it doesn’t stop you from showing it to your hairdresser and replicating it in a modern fashion. It’s a super short bob cut with blunt bangs that might look the best on thick glossy hair.
15. Short Hairstyle with Glossy Finger Waves and Bobby Pins
For another super short 1920s-inspired hairstyle we have this one that can also be obtained by creating a low bun or ponytail at your back to hide your locks. The trick, however, is to have those glossy finger waves and the bobby pins to go with them. Plus, you should not remove the bobby pins but instead wear them as accessories.
II. 1940s-Inspired Vintage Hairstyles
16. Long Wavy Side-Parted Hairstyle with Flower Accessory
If you have seen and fell in love with the story of the movie The Notebook, then you might recognize this 1940s-inspired hairstyle. Allie was often seen wearing it and you can replicate it too if you have long hair. It’s a wavy side-parted hairstyle that also comes with a delicate flower accessory for that extra femininity. Divine!
17. Pin Up Retro Hairstyles Using a Bandana (8 ideas)
These eight vintage-inspired hairstyle ideas all revolve around using a bandana in various ways in order to create an authentic 1940s-inspired look. These looks work even if your hair is shorter because the trick is to have it slightly wavy and then incorporate the bandana like in the above picture. Use it as a headscarf, a way to secure your up-do, or even as an accessory, the choice is certainly yours!
18. Half Up Half Down Hairstyle and Updo with Victory Rolls (2 ideas)
These two retro hairstyle ideas are both wearable and pretty and you can also create them in just a few minutes. The first one is a half up half down look with twisted middle-parted bangs while the second one is a vintage updo with victory rolls and a bandana wrapped around. Those are two of the most famous pin-up hairstyles ever and you can try them too!
19. Elegant Up-Do with Chiseled Waves
Now for a more elegant hairstyle, this updo has those chiseled and neat waves that tend to go up towards the crown of your head. Preferably, your hair should be medium-length so you can secure it better at the back of your head and have it look sleek and perfect.
20. Messy and Puffy Half Up Half Down Hairstyle
Now for a more rebel vintage hairstyle, this messy and puffy half up half down look is definitely wearable and still modern, regardless of the year that we’re in. Just secure your bangs with some bobby pins and backcomb your locks so they gain volume. Keep the makeup natural apart from those red lips, for that edgy vibe.
21. Side-Parted Rockabilly Wavy Hairstyle
Rockabilly hairstyles are nothing new and everyone knows that they are the symbol of a strong and independent woman. So, you can adopt this look too by side-parting your hair and creating those loose waves and those bumper bangs. Add hairspray for extra hold and watch how everyone will compliment your look.
22. Wavy Half Up Half Down Retro Hairstyles with Bumper Bangs and Accessory
This wavy half up half down hairstyle comes with those iconic bumper bangs that we have seen everywhere from movies to cartoons, and with a precious side accessory for extra elegance and style. The bangs should be done on a special soft hair holder and wrapped around it so they look perfect. This is certainly an authentic and complex 1940s-inspired hairstyle that will leave everyone baffled.
23. Simple Ponytail with Bumper Bangs
This is yet another real vintage photo of a young girl from the 1940s, wearing a simple ponytail and, again, those bumper bangs. As you can see, they were quite popular back then but who says that we cannot bring them back? This is a very simple hairstyle that can definitely be replicated today and would still look fresh and unique.
24. Elegant Up-Do with Big Waves and Beret
This is the type of vintage-inspired hairstyle that you might have seen in various TV shows and movies which proves that fashion and trends always return, like a cycle. The medium-length hair, the big waves, and the beret are all iconic and would draw all the looks even today, in 2020. Color-coordinate your outfit with your lips and watch everyone drop dead when they see you on the street.
25. Wavy Pin-Up Retro Hairstyles with or Without a Bandana (8 ideas)
Speaking of the famous pin-up retro hairstyles that involve various types of waves and rolls and bandanas, these eight examples are here to help you with some authentic vintage inspiration. Updos or not, most of these hairstyles were extremely popular back then and you could see women on the street wearing candyman curls, victory rolls, or bumper bangs. With or without a bandana, most of these hairstyles can still be worn without any issues at all and they are not that difficult to create either. If you need some help, you can ask a professional about the details of these types of waves and curls and you will surely learn a thing or two. After all, these are not only hairstyles, but they are bits of history and definitely worth studying.
In conclusion, these chic and wearable ‘20s and ‘40s-inspired retro hairstyles all have that vintage charm that all women are looking for right now. The trick is to adapt each look to your own preferences and style and to turn them into modern hairstyles that even a teenager will want to wear. As we have previously mentioned, trends have a habit of returning every few years and we should always be ready to embrace change and adapt what we know to the returning styles that seem to get better and better every time.