Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Victory Roll

One thing that makes the 1940s a decade that is recognisable over any other is the Victory Roll.  This fabulous and far out hairdo was created during a time when the world was at war, times were tough, the men were overseas fighting and the women were encouraged to seek employment in tradition male roles, like factory work and farming.  It was a time when there was little to spare and fashion changed to suit the limitations in fabric available.  Suits became more slim lined, skirts a little shorter, and clothes for women were a little more masculine in their silhouette, often because they had been made from fabric from men's clothing.  Stockings were actually a status symbol during this period, as they were in short supply, and only the wealthy could afford them, hence women drawing a line down the back of their legs to give the illusion that they were wearing them. 

But the one accessory that women did have was hair, and during such a resourceful time, where everyone saved and reused everything they had, having a fancy 'hairdo' was cheap, and one way of dressing up any outfit.
These photos above (courtesy of Pinterest) are taken of ladies during World War II.  Having hair up was practical for those who were employed, and the feminine curls and rolls took the edge off the sharp military style skirts and jackets.

Amazingly I would have been quite fashionable (for a change) if I had lived during this time as dark hair and curls were all the rage.  As my hair has got progressively curlier after having my last three children, it would have meant less work in the morning (or rather less discomfort during the night), as I set to work curling my hair.  Probably sleeping in rollers would have been the go, or setting it in pin curls. 
Doing hair became a real hobby and was a bit of a craze during the 1940s, probably a bit like scrapbooking is a thing today (or is that already gone by the way side?) Anyway.....
At the end of the war, when the Allied Forces were declared victorious apparently the 'V' for Victory was everywhere, and was even seen in hairstyles...therefore the name 'Victory Rolls'.  People were celebrating everywhere (there was much to celebrate!) and even women's hair was partying too!!
There are so many variations to the Victory Roll and the other fancy 'up-dos' of the period, and as I am discovering, it really is a matter of mucking about.  I'm pretty average at doing my hair, although having said that I've never really given it a go, so today was as good a day as any to have an experiment.  This is what I came up with.
Ignore my face, I had 3 kids in my bed the other night, had no sleep and I'm still recovering....but this is my attempt at some Victory Rolls.  There are 3 across the front, and so you can see them better I've just tied the back out of the way.  There's a big old nothing going on back there, so don't worry, you're not missing out on anything much.  Since I'd just washed my hair last night it was falling in lots of natural curls so it does look alright down too...
(I'm looking more and more like my Grandmother!)

Anyway, I achieved this in about 5 minutes, would you believe.  I discovered that it is easiest to use something to roll your hair around.....for example I used my bottle of Rosehip Oil, which is a small bottle, is a cylinder shape and is probably the diameter of a bit less than a 10 cent piece.  (I'm talking an Australian 10 cent, which I think is similar to an American Dime.)  I started at the bottom of my hair, rolling the bottle up, making sure to roll it 'inwards', or rather so the curl is rolling 'up'  my head, instead of curling under....if that makes sense.  Once it's at the top I just jab in a bobby pin at the front of the roll to secure it to my head, carefully pull out my Rosehip Oil container, and then pop a pin in from the back.  It may need another pin or two, then finish it off with a bit of hairspray and you're away!

My rolls here aren't this....
..or super this....
....and to be honest I don't think this look is really me.  But a toned down version works just as well and it's a nice way to get your hair up off your face and make your day a little more interesting!
Have you tried anything different with your locks lately?



  1. Well don't you look positively pin up? (: I think this hair style really suits you, and the more you get to play with it, the better you will become! I think you'd look darling with a bandanna too. (;

  2. You know, that's a really good point. I'd never thought about the reasoning behind such beautifully intricate hair styles in the 1940's. I just knew it was a Victory Roll and man it's difficult to achieve. Great tip about rolling your hair around something, instead of your fingers. In cosmetology school we had to do rolls and pincurls and rollers and UGH. So much finger-work. It took a lot of practice but now I'm a hair-rolling pro (just not on myself LOL). I think your Victory Roll looks great. I love it. I've always been a fan!

    Much Love!!
    -Stephanie Eva

  3. This was your first attempt!? You've done a fantastic job and it's only going to get better ;o) x

  4. I've loved this hair style since it was in The Notebook, I must try it myself!

    Krissie x -

  5. I love this retro hairstyle, you did such a good job!

  6. Very cool post, I loved reading about the history of them! I love all things vintage, so I will absolutely have to test this out! Great post!
    xo Kiki