Short Hairstyles of the 1950s

50s icon, Doris Day
During the 1940s, short hair went out of vogue, probably as a reaction to the boyish look of the 20s and 30s that had been so popular during those decades. However the 50s ushered in a new wave of hairstyles and short hair was back on the agenda.

The 50s look was crisp and pert, with full skirts, cotton shirts, knitted tops, short jackets and chunky jewellery - short hair meant exposed ears could highlight big earrings and scarves and accented collars (winged and rolled) could be shown off to full effect.

50s hair wasn't tumbled and free but rather stylised and immaculate, with plenty of pins, sticky setting lotion and spray employed to keep those strategic kiss curls in place. As most women were stay at home housewives there was plenty of time to concentrate on cute coiffure, thus although there were a variety of short styles, they all had one thing in common - they were neat. The 60s era, where hair broke loose, was just around the corner but it hadn't happened yet.

It was fashionable to wear hair shorter on the sides and fuller at the top, with either a roll-like fringe/bangs or off the forehead but with a couple of carefully placed kiss curls framing the face. Most women had perms and/or used curlers to provide wave, oomph and body and it was common to hear the phrase "I can't tonight. ..I'm washing my hair", meaning they'd be home doing a shampoo and set.

Mitzi Gaynor
In the main, short styles of the 1950s were very flattering to the face in an uplifting kind of way and tended to make the neck looked elongated and thus more elegant. They also complimented all kinds of jewellery, from strings of pears to hoop earrings and bulky gemstone pieces. It was an era of glamour and sophistication but also a little funkier than the previous decade. Even though it was the decade of the Stay-at-Home Housewife, the short hair gave off a a perky, assertive aura rather than a  classically ultra-feminine one. 

Jean Simmons