Iconic American hairstyles have often become a part of the iconography of certain generations. Who started the trends is not often cited, but their popularity would sweep the country and then the world. Certain decades are defined by these hairstyles as much as the music and architecture of the era. The most significant trends began in and around the 1920’s and were spurned by the tremendous economic success of the era. There was also a significant shift to a club atmosphere as prohibition caused people who would formerly drink at home to seek libations in nightclub atmospheres. This atmosphere was also fostered as World War II ended and soldiers began to matriculate into society. This was thirty years after the hairstyle revolutions of the roaring 1920’s.
As the 20’s were characterized by finger waves and bobs, the 1950’s started the revolution of the up dos, and big hair would endure even throughout the 1980’s. In the 1960’s, hairstyles were reflective of the times and started to reflect certain cultural aspects as mainstream America became more diverse. People started to treat their hairstyles like personal reflections of themselves, and styles became more personal. This can be seen in the success of Broadway musicals like Hair in the late 1960’s, and by the 1970’s, hair was fiercely protected as a personal and public statement about pride. This started ethnic styles like the Afro which also became as prevalent in the era as bell bottoms and peace symbols. By the 1980’s, even rock bands would be known for large flamboyant hairstyles to go along with the flourishing punk rock scene, its ambiguous fashion and cross dressing themes.
Although today some hairstyles are reincarnated form past eras, many people choose to have hairstyles that reflect their own personal styles and enhance their looks. Often, they replicate styles that are currently worn by celebrities, but due to the skill of hair stylists today, styles can vary from person to person and still be as striking as fad hairstyles. In fact, famous hair stylists are sought by celebrities to bring that personality to their own image. It almost a fashion faux pas to have a style that is replicated by the masses. This quest for individual hairstyles has fueled a large industry in hair styling and hair care products. However, many of these styles are borrowed from previous generations and because of the skill of the stylists given that added touch.