To say that in terms of fashion in the 1920s, woman really stepped into the limelight is an understatement. In every possible way, 1920s woman’s fashions were bold, exciting, fun and creative. The hair stylists of the times caught on fast to the trends and created some of the most memorable and fashionable styles of the times.
The big changes to 1920s woman’s fashion in hairstyles kicked in around 1923. That was when the pageboy was the style that seemed to sweep the country. This was an era where styles in dress, dance, music and other aspects of culture were producing shock waves of change in the way people looked, acted and in the worldview of the time.
The 1920s were also a time when fashion changed quickly. 1924 brought a shingle style razor cut in woman’s hairstyles. This dramatic look defined the 1920s because it created a crown that was rounded and a brim that was vastly reduced from previous styles. It was a bold fashion move in woman’s hair styling and one that set the stage for more change to come. And like many adventurous and “on the edge” hairstyles of the 1920s, it was a style that was redefined and reused many times in the decades ahead.
Many of the 1920s hairstyles that evolved in the later half of the decade were developments on this one big change. This shingle style evolved into a more stylized shaped and shaped head cut that was dressed up with waving methods like the Finger wave or the Marcel wave. One reason these innovative new hair styles caught on in the 1920s is that they fit in with the new 1920s hat styles that were very much part of being fashionable during that decade. To be a success in fashion during this decade, every element must be fit to the total look you were going for. That principle applied to 1920s hairstyles as well.
A 1920s hairstyle that is more characterized by gangsters and 1950s bad boy icons actually became quite the rage in the alter part of the 1920s. It was called the Eton Crop and it called for women to slick back their hair so it combed back like a man’s hair might do. Androgynous looks in 1920s styles of clothing were already well in entrenched in 1920s styles and the Eton Crop fit that style perfectly. The most notable public figure who popularized this style was Josephine Baker.
As is usually the case when a dramatic and radical hairstyle like the Eton Crop has its time in culture, there is usually a swing back when the fad nature of that style passes. In the late 1920s, that is what happened as women wanted to allow their hair to be seen and to start to look like women again. The dramatic androgynous look had made a certain point to the world about woman’s equality and self-awareness.
But as the 1920s came to a close, the feminine looks that are more common in women’s fashion began to gain in appeal once more. The advantage was that because women made bold fashion statements in the 1920s, they could retain that sense of liberation while returning to a fashion look that was all girl once more.