I've Been Playing With My Hair

in #life2 years ago

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This post is a little uncharacteristic of my normal political, economic, and sci-fi related blog, but...

I have a new hobby which is sort of uncharacteristic of me. Or, rather than calling it "uncharacteristic", perhaps I should just say that I'm changing and exploring new interests.

So here's my confession: for the past three months, I have been experimenting with hair and makeup styles from the 1940s and 50s.

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Decent basic pin-curls.

I've always appreciated the look of vintage styles and fashions from this era, but I've never been into dressing up, doing makeup, or putting much energy into my appearance at all. This probably has to do with a subconscious belief I held for a long time, and only recently identified: that being "pretty" or putting energy into how I look would detract from my mental self-image as an easy-going, friendly person, as well as an intellectual. In the mean-girl infested environment of middle and high school, I wanted to dissociate myself with those girls who formed cliques based on looks and popularity, who made snide comments to anyone not in the in-group of the moment, and who never allowed themselves to be seen cracking a book. I studiously avoided styles of dress and behaviors that would make me seem like "one of them". No makeup, no hair decorations, no latest fashions. To be fair, I never really liked the latest fashions, anyway.

So I've basically been wearing jeans and t-shirts for the past twenty years, until I started to branch out just a little bit a couple of years ago by purchasing a couple of dresses that I really liked from Goodwill (where I get the majority of my clothes). They weren't vintage, but they did have a vintage feel to them, and I wore them only occasionally, still avoiding makeup and always wearing my hair in the same simple way.

But little by little, piece by piece, I added more "nice things" to my wardrobe, until about a year ago I began to specifically seek out only "vintage-looking" garments when I shopped at Goodwill. There was something about the 1940s and 50s style of clothing in particular that I loved. For one thing, these styles seemed custom made for my body type--thick, short, and curvy. Whereas most contemporary women's clothing styles seem made for tall, skinny people. For another thing, there's just something wonderful about the cuts and fabric patterns utilized in the vintage styles, something lovely about the lines and silhouettes. My wardrobe continued to evolve, slowly.

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Attempted victory rolls.

And then, about a year ago, I began to order vintage reproduction clothing online.

To find good deals on these articles of clothing, which can often run up to $200 or more for a dress, I joined some Facebook groups where ladies from all over the world sell and swap their slightly used vintage repro items. And that's where I began to fall in love with vintage hairstyles and makeup. People post these gorgeous pictures of themselves all done up in a 1950s pinup style dress with carefully selected accessories and beautiful hairstyles that incorporate all kinds of curls and rolls and things I'd never even thought of doing to my hair. I became engrossed.

I've learned how to do pin-curls and use foam rollers, what types of hair tools and products to use for molding my hair into those distinctive mid century styles, and how to make a "wet set" last three or more days, even with my stubbornly straight hair.

(My mom tells a story about how when I was little, she tried a few times to curl my hair for a church event. She would roll it wet into foam rollers and I would sleep on it. In the morning, she'd take out the rollers and brush the curls to separate them. Most of the curls would disappear as she brushed. Then she would take the curling iron to my hair and give it a healthy dose of hairspray afterwards. By the time the church service was halfway through, my hair would be "straight as a stick". So you see what I've been working with.)

I had a steep learning curve.

I'd never really even done anything to my hair except brush it and put it up in a pony tail. Maybe a simple french twist if I was feeling fancy, held up with a large barrette. I started looking at YouTube tutorials on how to do victory rolls, suicide rolls, poodles, and bumper bangs, and trying to recreate the styles on my own (uncooperative) head. It's been frustrating at times, but I kept with it, trying new styles two or three times a week. I got a lot of encouraging support and advice from the other women in the Facebook groups, which was nice because I was secretly scared that they might be mean girls!

I still have not mastered a single style or roll, but I've gained a bit of skill and had a lot of fun trying. My family and friends have stopped looking at me like "who are you and what have you done with Starr" and I've gotten a lot of compliments for my efforts.

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Mostly successful bumper bangs.

And I've been able to let go of that silly belief that one can't be a cool person and a pretty girl at the same time. I love vintage styles of clothing, hair and makeup. Recreating them is an art-form, and often a big challenge, but a fun one. I'm glad I've allowed myself to venture into this new hobby.

I'll let y'all know if I ever achieve a successful victory roll!


Hi, I'm Starr!

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Even the guys' hair and clothes were better in that era. Something as simple as slicking back hair can do wonders. I wish I knew about pomade when I was in high school.

Since I grew up with reruns of the golden age of television their is something really endearing about those hairstyles. I hope we get to see more pics.

It is my opinion that almost everything peaked asthetically in the 1950s. Architecture, clothing, hairstyles, cars for sure. Even kitchen appliances were nicer looking then--though we have certainly advanced in the realm of efficiency.

You actually look quite cute. The 40's and 50's were repressive compared to what we've got in the 21st century. But, oh, those ladies fashions. How they could say so much and still be so covered up.

Have you ever considered a pill-box hat and a veil, a la Jackie Kennedy?

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Well, yeah. I definitely would not to actually live in the 1950s, lol. I just like the fashions.

Absolutely love it Starr! I’m a sucker for those decades, just something about em. You make it look good AND fashionable!

You're welcome! I'm gonna see if I can talk the wife into trying out a hair style like that.

I'm a firm believer that we should dress to please ourselves first. If we're happy with how we look, the rest of the world can take it or leave it. That being said, this guy thinks you look absolutely adorable with those vintage hairstyles.

You might enjoy @donnadavisart's old blog from several years ago: My 50s Year Starting in 2009, she lived the entire year as if it were 1955, reading the news of the day, cooking and dressing with materials from that era, ect. She wound up doing it seriously for several years.

Oh, cool! I'm definitely checking that out. Is @donnadavisart your wife?

Yeah but only for the last 21 years or so. ;-)

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Good for you for taking the time to do some self-discovery, and self-love! Sometimes we have ideas in our heads (especially as kids/teens) about what makes someone fit into a certain box, whether it be ourselves or others, and as we get older we realize our preconceived notions aren't always correct. haha (I, personally, always loved the vintage '40s/'50s aesthetic, but didn't want to be perceived as "one of those girly-girls" so I went through a big NO DRESSES phase. I love dresses, always have, but I wanted to be taken seriously, as an intellectual, and as a rough and tumble, one-of-the-guys kind of gal, so I wanted to distance myself from the garishly girly, prissy girls that I observed in Jr High.)

One thing you may have noticed, after chatting with other vintage-loving gals on the FB groups, is that most of us didn't fit the mould of those "popular/mean girls" either... we're a little eccentric, and thus, I think a little more open and accepting. 😉

As someone who worked as a hairstylist/make-up artist for several years, and a vintage-lover, I can say, with your stick-straight hair, product is going to be your best friend. The only way to get a great victory roll is lots of product in your hair, lots of backcombing, and a lot of patience. haha

Good luck in your future experiments! And thanks for sharing your journey! 😊

You look great in that era clothing and hair.
Fun stuff!

You are awesome! Keep doing what makes you happy. 👽