The 1920s is remembered for the revolution in hair styling that saw women queuing up at men's barber shops to get their hair cut. In this decade, men's hair styling was a simpler and more traditional affair, without the fame of the Shingle bob or Eton crop. Yet this was a modern era and men's fashion developed into a highly groomed look, which kept pace with the crisp female image of the '20s.
Personal presentation was more formal in the 1920s than it is today, and men would visit barber shops frequently for hair cutting and shaving. In this decade, barbers in America became more regulated with the forming of the Associated Master Barbers of America and the National Association of Barber Schools. With the '20s often remembered for its shows of affluence and a party lifestyle, fashionable men's grooming was expected to be impeccable.
The basic look for men was a short hairstyle, left a little longer on the top. The back and sides would be cut neat and close, but not sheared like a military crew cut. With the emphasis on grooming, quality cuts would see the neck tidied with a razor. The longer top was slicked back to stay in place with traditional pomade, such as Murrays. This style was for both younger and older men of all classes, but the well-off could indulge in frequent visits to the best barbers to ensure their appearance stayed immaculate.
In the 1920s, casual stubble was not an option and barber shops all offered perfect, clean wet shaves. If you couldn't afford a wet shave often, you would do your own clipping, but have a barber's shave maybe once a week. The handlebar moustache is a quintessential part of the popular '20s male caricature. This is where the moustache is grown longer on either side, and it is often waxed to sit up into the shape of handlebars at the ends. Movie villains of the era are famous for twirling their waxed and curled-up moustaches.
The lifestyle associated with the Roaring Twenties was only for the rich and the few, yet has affected fashion ever since. The mobster style of famous gangsters, such as Al Capone, is now popular for '20s themed parties. These men wore smart suits, clean-shaven faces and hair swept to the back and side with pomade. The effect of traditional pomade, which by the'20s was usually made with beeswax and mineral oil rather than bear fat, is to give a slightly dark and glossy look to hair. This polish needs to be recreated if you want to give your hair an authentic '20s look. Rudolph Valentino wore one of the famous slicked-back styles of the time, where hair sat close to the head and had an almost wet shine.
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