The early and mid-1940s favoured slightly longer styles, with gentle waves, soft curls and rolls. Shorter hair was seen as a little more unusual or old fashioned (harking back to the early 1930 or 20s). That wasn't to say women didn't have short hair. Hair doesn't become long over night and for health or hygiene, to say nothing of personal taste some women may have favoured a shorter cut.
Costuming though is all about recreating that quintessential style; something iconic and easily recognisable. For the 1940s that means curls and rolls no matter what your hair length is.
After some research I came up with this wonderful video tutorial from Vintage Dorris. She has slightly longer hair than me but it gave me something to work with and a bit of hope that could achieve something approaching a classic 40s 'do.
So I bought some rollers and a bottle of setting lotion (all from Sueprdrug) and bravely set to. Want to see how it went in my super short hair?
Well to start with this is how I usually look, as you can see my hair is shorter than Dorris' and the majority of 1940s source material. I'm growing out a pixie cut so it is a mixture of lengths and lays in all sorts of directions. Not ideal!
I didn't follow the tutorial's instructions to the letter but used them as a guide for how I might want to deal with my own hair. Using a comb and the setting liquid, I started with a front section to create a nice distinctive rolled fringe. I have a side part at the front so I took the opportunity to curl the section on the small side of the parting in the opposite direction in a miniature emulation of a victory roll. Then I placed the rest of the rollers as best as I could working with the different lengths and directions of my hair. I made sure that any rollers behind my 'fringe' faced the opposite direction to the fringe to keep those two areas distinct from one another. It wasn't neat but I just wanted curl.
Then it was up in a headscarf whilst I did some baking and knitting. No really, I spent my day feeling as if i had stepped back in time.
After a couple of hours when i decided the setting liquid was dry/I was bored, I carefully started sliding the rollers out. Curls! I had curls. Using my fingers and occasionally the comb, I very gently softened and arranged the curls into the positions I wanted them in. It only took a little bit of stroking down for things to settle into place. Of course it didn't look quite right until I applied some 1940s style make-up.
Some nice classic shapes there don't you think?
One last thing to try ... the hat. I have a lovely vintage pillbox style hat that I was planning on wearing with the rest of my costume, but did it work?
OK the jury is still out on the hat.
A 1940s hairstyle in very short hair: definitely attainable!