The 1950s were an enormously influential decade for American style, and 1950s hairstyles shifted accordingly. Post-WWII, the US was rebuilding its economy and moving (haltingly and often painfully) towards social change. The dynamism and simultaneous retreat to more conservative times are both apparent in the era's styles, which veer wildly from rockabilly hair to pixie cuts and primly waved bobs. It was a time of great change and style to match, so check out some of the decade's most prominent highlights.
Lucille Ball popularized the poodle cut, which gave women with curly hair a style advantage, and her strawberry blond style is still instantly recognizable.
After her iconic turn as Anita in West Side Story, Rita Moreno spent a decade turning down roles that tried to pigeonhole her as a sexy spitfire. Her hairstyle for the film, though, still signals bombshell appeal.
We all have James Dean to thank for pompadours. The tragically hip young actor made greased-up, slightly messy hair sexy for men and created a bad boy archetype that's lasted long after his untimely death.
Thick, short Bettie Page bangs with long, straight black hair are still a staple style for women, especially those with a love of vintage looks.
Grace's dramatic side part and long bob have been copied over and over again by generations of women, and her cool blond shade is as coveted today as it was 50 years ago
Like Audrey Tautou after her, Audrey Hepburn's baby bangs and gamine hair started a huge trend. When we think of pixie cuts, we still think of Audrey.
Unlike the Audrey Hepburn pixie, Elizabeth Taylor's short style was all about volume. When she stormed onto the screen as Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, her character's modernity was conveyed as much by her hair as by her lines.
Connie Francis was one of the biggest voices of the 1950s, recording hits like "Where the Boys Are" and "Who's Sorry Now?". Her impressive bouffant hair was similarly influential, creating a craze for the style among teen girls.
Dorothy Dandridge's soft ringlets provided a prim alternative to big hair like Connie Francis and Elizabeth Taylor's.
In the late 1950s, gorgeous Italian import Sophia Loren arrived on American shores with a dramatic European bouffant. Women in the United States would soon adopt the look.
It was very rare to see jazz singer Billie Holiday perform without her iconic flower tucked into her style in some way. This feminine and noteworthy hair accessory is still one of the more distinguished looks in the music industry.
Eartha Kitt hit it big in 1953 with her song "Santa Baby." She also showed off one of the era's most fashionable hairstyles: short, voluminous waves created with a hot comb and rollers.
It's Marilyn Monroe; what else is there to say?