What do you picture when you think of the 1920s? Flappers, The Great Gatsby, beaded dresses and, I’m sure, the bob haircut. This haircut was striking, with its angular chop and accessories that adorned the wearer’s head. Before the bob craze became part of the zeitgeist in the ‘20s, the blunt hairstyle was worn by few women.
It emerged after the Victorian era, when long, flowing hair was either left down in loose curls or held up with pins. The Spanish Flu had been eradicated and the new decade brought hope, and women had decided they were going to live a little. Dresses became shorter and makeup more apparent, and the bob became one of the defining features of the entire decade and the Art Deco period.
Now fast forward to the late 1990s and early 2000s. It was an era of low-rise jeans and Canadian tuxedos, Juicy Couture tracksuits and Baby Phat crop tops, spiky ponytails and crimped hair.
Picture the celebrities who were idolized and criticized constantly by the media: who do you think of? Pop star Britney Spears and her living, breathing scarf from the Slave 4 U music video, or Jennifer Lopez and her iconic leaf-print Versace dress that she wore to the Grammy Awards in 2000? Or maybe Christina Aguilera’s platinum blonde streaks over her jetblack hair.
These Y2K moments in history, which all transpired at the height of the obsession with celebrities and paparazzi, have become the new inspiration for Generation Z in fashion, beauty and general aesthetic.
Aged fashions are coming back in style with a vengeance — Y2K and the Victorian period being two of them, regardless of the styles being on the complete opposite ends of the fashion spectrum.
Reflect on the 1920s and where we are now: there are a scary amount of similarities between these two periods a century apart. Though the Coronavirus has yet to be eradicated, some of the same ideals the people in the 1920s had are following us further into the 2020s. Lockdown has forced people to figure out what they truly want and how they want to be portrayed. Appearances are changing and have been since March of 2020, especially through hair. This is where the difference between the 1920s and 2020s lies: the bob was new, but these styles are not.
Zoomers are using the past as style inspo and adding their own modern twists to the aesthetics, updating them with the times so they’re similar enough to be recognizable but not too similar where they feel outdated.
Styles that we’ve seen before are popping up in the hair industry — a Renaissance begot by TikTok is reintroducing past hair trends into the 2020s. What would’ve been called tacky or strange just two years ago are now the hottest trends in hair.
If you haven’t seen anyone with one of the hair trends listed below since lockdown began, props to you for truly staying inside.
And who knows, maybe one of these will become the defining hairstyle of the decade.
01 The Mullet
When you think of a mullet, your mind probably flies to an old picture of your dad from the 1980s or ‘90s — at least mine does. Shockingly, the mullet was not conceived in the ‘80s, it’s actually been a popular hairstyle for men for centuries.
Who most likely inspired our parents to sport the business-in-the-front-party-in-the-back ‘do was none other than David Bowie, hair extraordinaire. Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona wore a bright orange mullet, keeping up with the rebellious nature of the style due to Bowie’s androgyny.
However, the haircut eventually grew out of style, deemed as tacky and unfashionable, which is where it remained until 2020. The mullet made a shocking comeback to the mainstream once quarantine started, except this time it’s more edgy and less country — and women are owning the trend.
This is probably the most iconic and startling style that’s come out of the TikTok hair craze, but it can really be a magical transformation for people who classify themselves as alternative or eclectic.
The nearest and dearest to my heart, this is a trend that I currently sport. The Narcissa is a style named after the Harry Potter character, Narcissa Malfoy, Draco’s mother. She wears her hair most often in a half-up, half-down style, exposing a sheet of white blonde hair under a layer of black strands. The namesake of the style first appeared in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in 2009, and while I wouldn’t like to think of 2009 as old, it was 12 years ago. However, this is the first time in history that the color blocked style has been in the mainstream.
The style could be filed under “calmer edge” or “vanilla alternative,” as it’s pretty tame compared to some of the other trends on this list. The majority of the time, the colors used are simply blonde and either dark brown or black — nothing bold when it’s just hanging limp by your head. But there are so many interesting ways to style it to either expose or hide the two-toned chunks.
My favorite style is held up with a claw hair clip and my fringe pulled out in the front, really showing off the platinum part of my hair.
TikTok and social media icon @emmwee posted a video of her shaving her head back in February of 2020 when she moved to Los Angeles, kicking off the trend that only grew when lockdown started.
There was a mentality of, “Why not?” and, “Who cares?” around March and April that led to many women shaving their heads and posting their buzzing videos, mostly using the TikTok sound by @vampdivision encouraging young women to do so. It became a symbol of liberation — a woman’s hair represents her femininity. Shaving it off by her own volition exerts a strong feeling of power and control, especially during a time when everyone feels so powerless.
It is reminiscent of the time Britney Spears very publicly shaved her head in February of 2007. In the intrusive photos captured of her, she wears a smile and a look of relief. Apparently, Spears had randomly decided to shave her head after being released from a rehabilitation center and was refused by ex-husband Kevin Federline when she asked to see her children. So long had this woman been a symbol of sex and femininity to the public — shaving off her hair seemingly gave her some sense of herself back, gave her back some sort of power.
This is possibly the most common TikTok hair trend due to the lack of skill and time it takes to complete. What stems from the popular Y2K hair style of keeping strands of long fringe hanging out of updos and bandanas, the bleached fringe is pretty self-explanatory. Most of the TikToks under this sound of Knives from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World having a mini breakdown and dyeing her hair are of women recreating this style. At first, the bleached fringe was most often paired with black hair, but it has evolved and is now becoming more popular with rust-red colored hair.
It had a brief moment in 2019 with the e-girl trend, but more women tried it out during lockdown, giving it a resurgence. It is one of the easier, less offensive hairstyles on this list since it is so easy to manage and there’s so little hair that is altered.
This hairstyle was one I feel every adult hated at the time, and most likely still do to this day.
Christina Aguilera definitely ruined her hair for a while after dyeing it like this with all of the bleaching and lightening, but at least it was only on part of her hair. The singer and actress mixed black and platinum streaks throughout her hair, something so distinctive to her that when Kylie Jenner went as Aguilera for Halloween in 2016, no one could mistake who she was thanks to the wig she wore.
Though not as popular as some of the others, this hairstyle is having a relatively new debut. It has been mostly seen on women under the “goth bimbo” category since it perfectly combines the two hair colors more associated with both of those groups.
This hairstyle is mainly popular with women who have longer fringe or bangs. It is the newest on this list since it is so unique, but its popularity is catching on.
To do this trend, the person dyeing their hair has to part it into four sections and take one of the front halves, including the bangs/fringe and a smaller strand of hair beside the bangs, and bleach it. On the other side, but still in the front, they take a group of hair that’s beside the bangs and then bleach that.
It’s easier to just watch videos on how to do it than try to describe it. This is one of the trends that doesn’t have a specific color combination associated with it; some women leave it bleached and toned, others dye it a fashion color.