Bangs can define both a hairstyle and a woman's image. No matter the coif, fringe can project a woman's coquettishly shy nature, her come-hither peek-a-boo nature, or a sassy, confident woman. The typical 1940s hairstyle highlighted curls or fringe high in the front, and a shorter, cleaner look in the back. The women of the "Greatest Generation" gave the world some fantastic hairstyles, with equally impressive fringe.
Classic 1940s Bangs
Bangs, ("fringe" in Europe), have a less-than-dreamy word lineage. The word "bangs" comes from the 1600s, when a horse's tail trimmed horizontally was called a "bangtail." Fortunately, by the 1940s, bangtails only referred to racehorses, and fringe were left to the romance and glamour of Veronica Lake.
Veronica Lake Started It All
The classic 1940s era hair style was popularised by the film actress and model, Veronica Lake. She showed a World War II America that, despite the rationing and fear of the time, women could still have a fashionable look without having to cash in their war bonds. Rationing and sparse hair product did not stop women from wanting to look chic and starlike with long, elegant hairstyles.
Different Types of Bangs
Several types of bang styles were worn in the 1940s. Blunt fringe, considered the classic, featured hair from the crown falling conservatively across the brow with no part, ending just below the eyebrows. Side-swept fringe varied in length across the forehead, with few fringe on the opposite side of the face. Better to frame the face, wispy fringe were cut to either cross the forehead or frame the sides of the face. Cropped fringe accented a long hair look, and could be styled across the forehead, or parted in the centre.
Then is Now
Whoever said that fashion is cyclical must have had hairstyles in mind. Today many actresses and artists wear the 1940s hairstyles. Musical artist Gwen Stefani has chosen several different 1940s hairstyles, including the reverse roll and finger wave. Katy Perry also selected the 1940s finger wave with her black wavy hair. The allure and sexuality of the 1940s pin-up girl is as strong today as it was in the 1940s, and pin-up styles such as rockabilly, high pompadours and victory rolls have also made their way back into today's salons and fashion magazines.
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