Article written by dance company member, Taylor Stender

The Holidays are upon us, and more parties are happening this year than the last two. I don’t know about you, but I have so many fancy outfits that deserve a night out on the town. Given that we are currently living in the 20s you’re bound to encounter events with jazz age themes or a deco flare.  I’ve been doing hair and make up for special occasions for the past 7 years, and am often running around backstage with my hairspray and extra bobby pins to ensure all my Katemates are on point.  Here are some tips I have for achieving classic retro hairstyles!

The Right Tools for Retro Hairstyles

The first step to achieving a retro look is having some tools and products. I’ve found the best results with ¾ inch or 1 inch curling iron. A light hold hair spray for setting, and a strong hold hair spray for finishing. Here are some of my favorite products.

  • Curling Iron
  • Hair spray – I *highly* recommend aerosol spray over pump hair spray for a more consistent even coverage. Lock your locks down!
  • I use these clips to hold my set during the prep part.
  • These are my favorite bobby pins: they don’t stretch out easily, and come in many colors to match your hair.
  • If you have wild colored hair Tint-o-matic has you covered!
  • Brushes
    • Teasing brush
    • This is technically a wig brush, but it’s amazing for brushing through curls without causing them to completely fall out.

None of these are mandatory, and these retro hairstyles can still be achieved with your own favorite products.

Now what to do with all this?

Fabulous Hair, Of Course!

This first video is my go to glam retro look. I curl all my hair parallel down from the part. I’ve used this technique on many hair types and lengths. It gives a beautiful fluffy curl. If you’re blessed with naturally curly hair you can skip to 1:38 for my favorite swooping bangs technique! However, sometimes it’s good to do a heat or wet set even if you have curly hair so you can get the curls to all go in the same direction.

Don’t have time to do all of that? I got you. Here are some other creators that have how-tos for accessible party looks!

I’ve used this style on many “Gatsby” gigs when I needed a quick flapper look.


Tammi Savoy is someone I’ve followed for years, she always does amazing looks!


I found about Winny through the FB group Vintage Updos for Modern Girls

Final Tips

My biggest piece of advice is to PRACTICE!  

If you have a big event coming up, do a trial run of the hair beforehand and save yourself a lot of stress on the event day! 

Give yourself some grace, even if it isn’t perfect most people will be wowed anyways. Rhinestones and hair flowers are great for hiding mistakes ^_^