Hairstyles & Jewelry of the 1930s

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With the Great Depression looming over the decade, the 1930s was a time of sacrifice for most Americans. The opulence of the Roaring '20s was replaced with more difficult times, which translated into revised jewelry and hairstyles. Clean and slick accessories and jewelry reflected the new art direction of the country. Gone were the bold and risky choices of decades past; in their place were simple, yet classy hairstyles that reflected the new conservative state of the nation.

Men's Hairstyles

Men had very simple, yet sophisticated, hairstyles during the 1930s. Placing a premium on maintaining a clean and professional appearance, men would routinely visit the barbershop to trim their hair and get a shave. Men often wore their hair with the back trimmed closely to ensure that it did not reach their collar. Usually, a man kept his hair much longer on the top of his head and often styled it by combing it toward the back. When men traveled outdoors, they wore hats or caps, both for fashion and to protect their hairstyle. Facial hair was kept to a minimum, as most men were clean-shaven, with the occasional mustache.

Women's Hairstyles

Women's hairstyles in the 1930s were drastically different from the styles popular a decade before. In the 1920s, women favored a boyish and rough hairstyle, with hair usually as short as the men. In the '30s, this look was replaced by a softer, more feminine look. Women grew their hair out significantly longer, with wavy curls stylized along the front and the edges of their hair. The development of the perm also allowed women's hair to have a silkier texture and form. Women usually kept their hair straight around the crown of their heads. Women, like their masculine counterparts, often wore hats when in public.


In the 1930s costume jewelry was created. This was considered cheap disposable jewelry, meant to be worn with specific outfits and dresses. A particular style of costume jewelry was only fashionable for a limited period. Another popular movement at the time was Art Deco jewelry, which was considered modern, with its clean lines, highly arched corners and various rectangular shapes and edges. Gems were cut into big, bold geometrical shapes that are still popular today, such as the emerald and the trillion-cut. Bold and contrasting colored diamonds and gemstones were placed together to form striking pieces of jewelry as well.

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