Retro Hairstyles Any Bride Would Love

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The big day is on its way — are you ready? Whether you're full of new engagement excitement, mind-numbingly deep into all the mundane details of wedding planning, or scared of what might go wrong at the last minute, it's a good time to pump the brakes and focus on something fun: wedding hair. Put aside the budget, tell your wedding planner you'll call her later, and permit yourself to explore the possibilities!

When it comes to picking the right hairdo for your wedding, there are a lot of great tips and tricks floating around online. Our favorite advice came from Nexxus trend curator Lacy Redway, who spoke to Harper's Bazaar about what to look for in a wedding day 'do: "You want to think about the silhouette of the dress to make sure your hairstyle compliments it. You should also consider the lasting memory of the photo. Think about hairstyles you may look back on in 10 years and think – 'what was I thinking?'"

With that sentiment in mind, we've put together a list of our favorite retro hairstyles for some vintage wedding inspo! These legacy beauties have endured over decades, if not centuries, which means you'll adore them on your 50th anniversary as much as you did on your wedding day.

Victory Rolls

Who can forget the iconic victory rolls of the post-World War II era? If you're going for a vintage or rockabilly look for your wedding day, this hairstyle will not disappoint. It's instantly recognizable, fierce, and classy. Actress Ingrid Bergman showcased this look best in "Notorious," but you've likely also seen the style depicted in tons of Rosie the Riveter style art from the 1940s. It's the classic pin-up girl aesthetic, likely named "victory rolls" for being one of the biggest hair trends on the scene at the war's end in 1945.

Much like the bouffant, this updo requires extra care. You're going to need bobby pins and a lot of hairspray for this one! Longer layers will work best, but mousse can help hold flyaways in place if needed. Vintage fashion researcher Debbie Sessions wrote that women achieved the look by rolling both sides of their hair upward and pinning them as high up as the hair will go for more volume (per Vintage Dancer). She also noted that there are numerous variations of the style to try so that you can experiment with added buns, curls, and different intensities of roll.

Chignon Bun

This chic-looking bun is the way to go if you want a modest, elegant look for your wedding day. The phrase "chignon," which dates back to the late 1700s, is French for "knot or coil of hair worn at the back of the neck" (per Online Etymology Dictionary). Basically, a low bun but bougie. As far back as the history books go, different cultures were known to have worn chignons, including Chinese, Uighur, and Greek civilizations (to name a few). According to Encyclopedia of Hair, they really surged in popularity in the 1860s and have remained a classy staple since. Though it's hard to tell from the picture above, this super clean, tucked-in look can be done in three easy steps. In this how-to YouTube video, YouTuber Hair Angels showed her viewers all it takes is a low ponytail, bobby pins, and some tucking.

Though it may be a tricky sell if you have short hair, a good stylist can definitely make it happen with some extensions. "If your hair is long enough to be pulled back and tucked or wrapped into a bun, you can wear a chignon," celebrity stylist Clariss Rubenstein explained to Ipsy. "If you need more length, temporary extensions or even a clip-in bun work well."

Finger Waves

Finger waves are a vintage, boudoir-feminine classic we can't do without! This waved hair trend was hot in the 1920s (per Google via The Morning Record), with actresses like Marlene Dietrich, Josephine Baker, and Mary Pickford popularizing the look. 2023 is the perfect time to show off some glamorous waves — the style was trending in 2022 after celebrities like Lizzo and Saweetie recreated the look in their own unique ways. Though finger waves look particularly show-stopping on pixie-cut length haircuts, you can absolutely rock this look on any length and type of hair.

The best part about this Gatsby-era 'do is that it's heat free — so no accidentally frying your ends right before your wedding photo shoot! Stylists recommend having some deep cleansing shampoo, detangler, hair gel, a fine-tooth comb, and some wave clips on hand when you're ready to try the style. Stylist Cataanda James broke it down into several easy steps (per Carol's Daughter): "Create waves with a roller set, brush your strands out, and spritz your hair with holding spray. Finish up by creating a C-shape with your comb. Place duckbill clips at the top to hold the ridge and base of the S-shape in place."

Bouffant Updo

For those who enjoyed the 2000s pouf, you'll love the timeless bouffant-style wedding look. The term "bouffant," which literally means "puffed out" in French, was popularized in the late 1950s into the 1960s. It takes its inspiration from earlier trend setters like Marie Antoinette, who was known for her over-the-top updos (per Online Etymology Dictionary). 

Though it originates in the overindulgent style of high society ladies, the bouffant in 2023 is all about taking time out to treat yourself. "Now they [bouffants] seem to be more a sign of indulgent defiance," Town & Country editor Stellene Volandes told The New York Times. "I am going to take the time out of my crazy schedule, and my self-care is going to be to sit in a chair and have someone give me big hair, and I want everyone to see it!"

The nice thing about the bouffant is that you can pair it with almost any kind of finishing touch (like a braid or bun), and you can pull it off with or without bangs. All you need to create the perfect bouffant is a teasing comb, a bristle brush for smoothing out the front, and lots of hairspray (per Cosmopolitan). When it comes to teasing, stylist Britney Williams said, "The bigger the better. ... You can always take some of the tease out, but it's not easy to add more later on."

Bob with Curls

Another flapper-era-inspired look, the curly bob, makes a cute, classy wedding day look. In the 1920s, actress Greta Garbo perfectly encapsulated this style as striking and feminine. According to The Hair Archives, dancer Irene Castle first popularized the bob in 1915. Young women everywhere flooded their local barber shops to get the cut, which they apparently couldn't get at their old beauty parlors. The new controversial style was a big departure from the norm at the time and really rocked the societal boat. The bob is pretty much synonymous with feminism (via Fashionista), and the wispy curls are the cute icing on the cake. We're convinced that nothing would look sweeter with this haircut than a trendy slip or vintage-style mermaid dress. 

There are a number of ways to get this look for your special day. A curling rod or heatless curlers are handy for those with straight hair, but you can even scrunch your way to this look if you have naturally wavy hair. Make sure you have a top-notch hairspray — you don't want to lose those waves to the coastal humidity!


As its name suggests, the pompadour is all about height and elegant appearance. Much like the bouffant, the pompadour originates in the French court. Named after the king's mistress, Marquise de Pompadour Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, this upswept style dates back to the 1700s (per Online Etymology Dictionary). The look popped up again in the 1940s with victory roll-style flare (think Bette Davis in "Now, Voyager"), and Lucille Ball rocked her own red, curly version of it during her time on "I Love Lucy." In 2022, the style was popular among men and women, making it the perfect go-to for a gender-neutral look.

Some important advice for anyone who wants this look for their big day: Make sure you try before you buy! It's a wonderfully bold look, but wedding pics are forever, and you'll want to be sure you're in love with it before you walk down the aisle. Especially if you're planning to DIY your wedding hair, save some extra time to quaff this voluminous beauty — it can be tricky the first time around. "A perfect pompadour is going to mean something different to everyone," YouTube stylist BluMaan described in a how-to YouTube video. "It's going to depend on personal preference, what you like, ... [and] what you can achieve with your hair type." In general, he said, start with damp hair, blow dry your hair upward, and finish off with pomade.

High Ponytail

The high ponytail is ideal for warm-weather weddings or when you'd like to show off a bit more of your dress detail! We immediately thought of singer Ariana Grande's charming home wedding to Dalton Gomez in 2021 (via Vogue). Though she wasn't rocking her exact signature high ponytail for the day, she opted for a similar look. Overall, her ponytail style paired perfectly with her sheath dress for a really elegant, feminine look. According to the Encyclopedia of Hair (via Google), the high ponytail was "a signature look of the 1950s" and was even used on the very first Barbie dolls. Style icon Audrey Hepburn rocked this look a decade later when she wore it for a Vogue photoshoot, and we're absolutely here for it (per Rare Audrey Hepburn).

The best part about this look is that it's really fast and easy to put together compared to some of the fancier updos on this list. Whether you have curly or straight hair, once you're done setting the pony, it's going to look cute and neat. To achieve the super-smooth hairline, expert stylist Matthew Collins suggests adding a bit of product, smoothing down your baby hairs with a brush, and blow-drying up away from the face to set any flyaways (via YouTube). 

Bubble Hair with Flipped Ends

Nothing says retro style, so simply as the fashionable 1960s bubble cut. We can thank public figures like Aretha Franklin and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy for popularizing the 'do, which is still popular among celebrities. According to the Encyclopedia of Hair, "this hairstyle had originated in the 1930s and evolved into straighter, longer versions" in the '60s. "One famous television flip belonged to actress Mary Tyler Moore when she appeared on the series 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' during the 1960s," added author Victoria Sherrow. "Marlo Thomas, star of the series 'That Girl,' also wore a trendsetting version of the flip."

If you have short to medium-length hair, this is a great style to try! Back in the day, ladies used curlers to achieve this style, but modern-day curling irons will be a quicker go-to for you. "Once that [piece of hair] is curled, ... I'm going to keep it in shape, just like you do with normal pin curls, and pin it in place," vintage stylist YouTuber Cherry Dollface described while demonstrating the styling process. "You want to make sure these cool all the way; give them at least 10 minutes (a little bit more if your hair is longer or thicker)." She noted you can also tease the top of your hair and add some pomade for additional roundness and volume.

Flower Crowns and Headbands

Headbands and flower crowns are a fun choice for those who dream of a romantic, down-to-earth wedding experience. After 2022 brought back your old favorites from the '90s and early 2000s (along with some fun new trends like fairycore and cottagecore), it's no surprise that all things boho chic are trending again. Flower crowns evoke blossoming love, fertility of the land, and connection to the seasons. This floral adornment is as old as the ancient Greeks and Romans, who bestowed wreaths as an "honorary reward for victors in athletic, military, poetic, and musical contests" (per Getty). Queen Victoria famously wore a flower crown for her wedding to then-Prince Albert in 1840, further popularizing its use as a bridal ornament (per

It's time to reinstall Pinterest and get to work! First things first: you'll need to pick your season and your wedding colors. Flower crown artists recommend being selective with the amount of flowers or foliage you use to avoid making your wreath too heavy (per Budget Savvy Bride). If you prefer a headband, tiara, or elven headpiece, experts suggest making sure it doesn't clash (or get covered up) with your chosen hairstyle (per Kleinfeld Bridal).

Braided Buns

Braids are as old as humanity itself, and they've got a pretty fascinating history. The Venus of Willendorf, an Ice Age-old statue that came out of Austria, is one of the oldest depictions of a woman with braids (per PBS). Historian Victoria Sherrow described how statues of the ancient Indian gods show cornrow-style braids (Encyclopedia of Hair, pg 216), and no doubt you're already familiar with Viking braids. According to the Washington Post, Columbian slaves even used different patterns of braid to communicate secretly. "The curved braids would represent the roads they would [use to] escape," local historian and expert braider Ziomara Asprilla Garcia told the publication. "In the braids, they also kept gold and hid seeds which, in the long run, helped them survive after they escaped."

In the modern age, celebrities like Taylor Swift and Lupita Nyong'o have inspired us with some pretty stunning braided buns. As you can see in the above picture, this look can easily be dressed up with different accessories for your wedding day. It's also a great pick for all hair types! In this tutorial, YouTuber Hair By Lori shows that all you need are two braided pigtails (and maybe some extra bobby pins) to put together a gorgeous braided updo like the one above. 

Hollywood Waves

From Marilyn Monroe's 1950s silver-screen style to Billie Eilish's stunning 2021 Met Gala look, Hollywood bombshell hair has always been a head-turner. There's something about stepping out into a crowd with tumbles of perfectly shiny, smooth hair that automatically makes you feel like a goddess. Thanks to François Marcel, who invented the curling iron and popularized the style in the late 1920s (Good to Great Hair: Celebrity Hairstyling Techniques Made Simple, pg 77), and celebrity influence over the years, Hollywood waves are here to stay. If you want the aisle to feel like your own personal red carpet on your special day, this is the 'do you for you!

The biggest elements to focus on when recreating this style are the asymmetric hair part and the finger-wave curls. You can use a regular curling iron to create the look if you'd like, but make sure to watch the right tutorial video — you want uniform waves rather than a bunch of piecey curls. Amanda Seyfriend's stylist, Renato Campora, told Elle about his preferred method: "I use a barrel tong to curl and set the hair, then brush it out to loosen the curl. That way, it stays full and voluminous but also fresh and natural. Avoid using too much hairspray to set the hair – you want it to look lifted but not rigid." Pair this look with a flower for beach or garden weddings, and stick with a short veil to really show off those locks!

Low Ponytail

The ponytail is such an easy and convenient go-to for people with long hair, as evidenced by its long history. "The hairstyle known as the ponytail can be seen on frescoes painted thousands of years ago in Crete, so it may have emerged in Greece during ancient times," researcher Victoria Sherrow wrote in Encyclopedia of Hair (pg 310). "Girls and young dancers in ancient Egypt and young girls in ancient Rome also wore their hair in the style that we now call a ponytail."

As you can guess, the low pony is a no-fuss, no-muss wedding hairdo that holds a lot of vintage appeal and customization options. Whether you prefer it to be curled or straight, accessorized or plain, breezy or formal, there's a good ponytail for every bridal theme. When paired with an updo and adorned with tight curls, a low side ponytail evokes a southern belle vibe, or "Beauty and the Beast" Parisian ballroom style. Have your stylist add a few braids or twists for added visual interest — the world is your oyster!


The beehive, aptly named for its enormous, hive-like shape, was a staple for women and girls of all ages in the 1960s. Apparently, the updo was so widespread that it caused problems in schools and offices. "Teachers complained that these towering hairstyles kept students from seeing the teacher and blackboard," Victoria Sherrow wrote in Encyclopedia of Hair (pg 69). "Some schools banned hairdos of a certain size." In the case of a wedding, you should be fine, so long as your minister doesn't mind being audio-only in your wedding video.

With this one, the higher you can stack it, the better! While it can be tricky to create without the help of a professional hairdresser, YouTube channel Fitfully Vintage showed viewers how to do it simply with bobby pins, a bun donut, and a teasing brush. Don't worry if you have shorter hair — clip-in hair pieces are here to help! Victoria Sherrow added that this was common practice back in the day: "Flair pieces called falls and postiches also were popular during the 1960s. Women used these items to add length and height to their hair, especially during the early part of the decade when large bouffants and beehives were in style."