The 1940s Victory Roll hairstyle is often said to acquire its name from the fighter plane maneuvers of World War II. The planes created an exhaust roll that remained in the sky after leaving the area and inspired many patriotic civilians to adopt the the name in honour of the soldiers returning home. The name has also been linked to the “V” shape the rolls can sometimes mimic when styled in a particular, upright way.
My love of the ornate hairstyles of the 1940s emerged at a very young age. I’ve always idolized the women of yesteryear and their ability to remain glamorous even in times of war and great economic distress. With the onset of World War II, many every day items like food, fabric, and metal were put towards the war effort and rationed, which eventually led to a shortage of styling necessities such as bobby pins.
This lack of resources forced women to become creative and caused pipe cleaners to be used as an alternative to achieve the victory roll style. Victory rolls became popular in the 1940s among every day women as well as the silver screen starlets of the time and were often paired with soft pin curl waves. The popular bobs of the 1930s were beginning to wane and women were embracing longer hair with softer more casual curls.
With an era that required simplicity, a well known Warner Brothers Studios hairstylist Ivan Anderson, invented a haircut that could accommodate the elaborate hairstyles of the time. The cut was entitled ‘the middy’ and consisted of many layers that produced a rounded shape, designed to complement the many preferred curled sets of the day, making the victory rolls an accessible style choice. Although victory rolls are perceived as glamorous, they also served a practical purpose.
Victory rolls became useful during wartime when women were shipped off into the workforce and were required to keep their hair off of their faces. This style proved useful for this very reason, while still maintaining a very feminine appearance. The victory roll has many variations and was decidedly economical when it came to both casual and formal styling.
It is no wonder that this diverse technique has made such a strong resurgence in recent times. Vintage enthusiasts around the world sport varying victory roll styles, boldly combining the old with the new and breathing new life into this golden age favourite. Pair it with an embellished clip or flowers for a more decorated look, or simply experiment with the placement for something more modern.
Interested in exploring your vintage side? Take a look at the Victory Rolls Hairstyle Tutorial.