Art Deco Hairstyles of the 1920s & 1930s

Updated February 17, 2017

The 1920s saw huge changes in hairstyles that continued into the 1930s. The Art Deco movement, with its emphasis on angles and straight lines, influenced much of the changing style. Women wore clothes reflecting the daring new aesthetics and glamour became a booming industry as women rushed to the barbers to get their hair cut short.

The Bob

The bob was an incredibly controversial short hairstyle that came into fashion in the 1920s. Before this time, women usually wore their hair long. In 1920, F. Scott Fitzgerald published his short story "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" in the "Saturday Evening Post." The tale follows a mousy girl who bobs her hair and becomes a stylish sophisticate. As fashion celebrities like Coco Chanel began bobbing their hair, ordinary young women followed suit.

The Shingle Bob

This variation on the bob, also termed the "boyish bob," was even shorter than the original. The style was introduced in 1923. Hair was cut very short in the back so that the nape of the neck was visible. The hair here was tapered into a v-shape. Many complained that this made women and men indistinguishable from the back. The term "shingle headache" was coined to describe the headaches that women complained of after getting this haircut. Doctors said the headaches were due to the increased exposure of the back of the neck.

The Dutch Boy

The Dutch boy was another variation on the ever popular new bob. Worn by Louise Brooks, who was called "the girl with the black helmet" because of it, the Dutch boy was a very square bob with fringe. The cut framed the face very closely and perfectly demonstrated the sharp angles and lines of the Art Deco movement. Louise Brooks wore this style very straight and dark.

Men's and Women's Hair

As women cut their hair shorter and shorter, men also began to crop theirs at closer lengths. Both men and women wore Marcel waves, a style that featured sculpted waves in the hair. Women also began to wear the Eton crop, named after the boy's school, in 1927 and 1928. This style was the shortest women's style and hair was greased to lay closely on the skull. Josephine Baker sported the Eton crop. The style became less fashionable in the 1930s.

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About the Author

Based in Portland, Ore., Miranda Sinclair has been writing professionally since 2009. She holds a B.A. in English and theater from the University of Oregon, as well as an M.A. in English and certificate in teaching college composition from San Francisco State University. Sinclair works as a tutor and teacher of writing.