Dare or don’t: going for shorter vintage hair

Hello, my friends! It’s been some time since I’ve met up with you here!

When I last posted, we were in preparations for our vacation to Wales and Paris (and a milisecond in London, which was a milisecond very well spent!). All of those adventures include fun stories and tales to share… but with the turn of events in the world, you can understand why sharing delightful memories of our vacation (especially ones that include Paris) isn’t what I feel like doing. Our postcards (we were already home) even started to arrive to friends and family the day of the attacks. So, stories and fun things to tell, a wonderful day spent with sewing friends… for another time soon, I hope. And then once we were home, my dad arrived from out of town to help us restore our deck and build a lovely cedar privacy fence, which means things have been in disarray for awhile and we haven’t had a normal routine for over a month now. So eventually, there’s stories to tell there, too.

So why the hell am I here, if not to just tell you about all the things I’m not going to tell you about?! I don’t know about you but I need to just have a little lighthearted inspiration time to attempt to counter all the gloom in the world. And it doesn’t get much more lighthearted than hair. Well okay, that’s not entirely true, as hair can be seriously a stressful thing!

In the last several years, I’ve had variations on the same hairstyle, with the notable exception of the big wack to a 20s bob that I didn’t take to at all, about two years ago. That’s pretty typical of me, though… get bored, get a hair idea in my head, can’t get it out, go for it, maybe regret it, grow hair. Lather, rinse, repeat. Usually it’s just bangs/fringe. I mean, how many of us are in some state of wanting to cut bangs or growing out bangs 50% of the time?!! Hell, that happens so much to me I even did a tutorial on how to hide them.

But I digress. My hair has gotten really pretty long for me at this point, reaching about armpit level. On the best of days, I absolutely love it. Two or three days into a set I (sometimes) have gorgeous loose waves, and I adore it, and would even grow it longer. However, I always forget that my hair is really prone to tangling, so the longer it gets, the more of a struggle it is to keep it looking good. And since going back to red, my hair is a bit more damaged, as you’d expect from going from black to red to black back to red (thank you hair for not completely revolting in protest!). I haven’t really had a cut in ages, so at the very least I’m due for a trim. But I’m thinking more this time. I’ve also stuck with about the same set (basically what you see in my everyday roller set tutorial) for years and I could really go for a switch up.

So here’s my inspiration:

marilyn1Source: Pinterest, from Ebay auction
marilyn4Source: Town and Country Magazine

Probably not quite as short as Elizabeth Taylor below, but that general idea. The fullness on top has always been an issue for my fine hair no matter how much I tease/backcomb although I’ve always loved the look, but it’s also a lot different when you’re trying to do that on longer hair where you’re not setting curls (either pin curls or rollers) high up on your head nearly as much. So maybe there’s hope for me yet.

elizabethtaylorSource: Pinterest, from Getty Images

Marilyn Monroe of course had amazing hair that was pretty short in her star days (after her lovely long brown Norma Jean locks), so I’ve been drawing inspiration from many of her photos.

marilyn2Source: Pinterest, from This Is Marilyn

Sometimes her hair was a bit more sleek and brushed out, with less defined curls, like below (hello, I want that patio umbrella! well actually I’ll take the whole setup, thanks). One issue I have with long hair is when traveling or I otherwise can’t fit in washing my hair at the normal time that would work for my routine. So the option to have a style I could blow dry and then do a quick heated set on sometimes is really appealing. And I think something like the below could probably be achieved with a hot roller set (maybe not all the volume at the top, although faking product buildup to get more textured hair is something I’ve been investigating and might end up being my new best friend). And definitely seems doable a couple of days into a wet set.

marilyn3Source: Glamour Magazine

It’s also sometimes hard to find photos of Marilyn’s hair from other angles than the front (at least, when she’d wear it like this), so the photo of her with Arthur Miller below is nice. I love the loose, tousled curls:

marilyn-monroe-arthur-miller-h724Source: Glamour Magazine

Okay sorry this one really has nothing to do with her hair, but I’ve been into the idea of 50s- and 60s-inspired turtlenecks and funnel necks lately and how cute is this dress she’s wearing?!

marilyn-monroe-1954-h724Source: Glamour Magazine

Right right, back to hair. The sewer in me got excited there for a sec.

I may also get my bangs cut a bit into a sideswept style, so that I could sweep them up into a curled style, or wear them straight and to the side if I truly have zero time for my hair. I love that in the photo of Marilyn below, but I think that short bob is too short and limiting for me. (Obviously everything was adorable on Marilyn so trying to imagine her hair on your head is a tall damn order.)

marilyn5Source: United Virtuoso, an Evening with Marilyn by Douglas Kirkland

Partially because I worry it would come out looking like this brushed under bob from 1958, and I’ve done that style while growing out my 20s bob, and did not love it on me at all.

BrushedUnderBob001Source: Beauty is a thing of the past

I know most of what I’m thinking of is based on a middy haircut, which I may or may not get. I’ve actually seen several tutorials for Marilyn-inspired looks where the model started with about chin-length hair with no particular layers, and I might do that, so that I have the option to style my hair in a bit of a different way that’s a bit more typical “me” hair. I know the woman below probably has longer than chin-length hair, but you get the idea.

tumblr_nfzpessYTS1s21mdzo1_1280Source: Pinterest, originally from machinedance on Instagram

I see my stylist Saturday to have my color touched up and get my hair cut. It remains to be seen what I’ll actually go for, but I’ll take an armload of photos and talk it out with her. Then it remains to be seen how I’ll be able to style it (although I’ve already been loading up on tutorials and supplies for trying out new sets). And then of course… will I even like it on me?! As if often the case, because of my own insecurities about my looks, sometimes I like the look of something on others and then hate it on me.

At the very least, it’ll cut a good bit of dry and damaged hair off, which will help me keeping my red hair looking the best. Right now, the back left 2/3 must be a bit more damaged as it doesn’t take or keep the color as well as everywhere else, so it’ll cut a good chunk of that “problem section” off. It’ll also save me from a wet neck with drying hair in the middle of winter (and my hair takes sooo much longer to dry now!!). And I’m actually really excited to switch up my hair routine with different setting techniques! (Assuming, y’know, I can do them adeptly and/or like the results on me.) Plus, I do love that feeling of a lighter head when you go for a hair chop!

So… stay tuned, fingers crossed, and all that jazz! 😉

Filed: Vintage Dibs and Dabs

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Golly, 20 Comments!

  • Oh, gosh, the eternal grow-cut-grow-cut cycle. My family calls it being “hair-monal.” In any case, I think any one of those would look fabulous on you!


  • Your last photo is “machinedance” on Instagram!

    I can’t wait to see how your hair turns out.


  • I say why not go for it?! You’ve looked awesome with every length and style (and colour) of hair that I’ve seen you sport and could really see a full, classic fifties style like this being positively head-turning on you, dear Tasha.

    ♥ Jessica


  • Sounds like a great plan especially since your hair is so damaged. I don’t think it’ll be so short that it’ll be difficult to learn to style. Go for it!


    • Personally i wouldnt go for a short marilyn cut if your hair is fine. I think it will be really hard to style and keep looking good all day. I think you need thickish hair with a natural wave and a fair amount of volume for that. But i know you are way less lazy than me when it comes to hair (most people are – i just let mine do its own thing and it curls all over the place). Hope you love what you decide. A cut always feels amazing when you have dry ends!


      • I know what you mean, although I have a good bit of hair and generally am trying to keep the volume I achieve with setting it at bay, lol! I do have a bit of a natural wave which helps. You’re totally right, it always feels amazing when you get a haircut and have dry ends!


    • Yeah I agree, I don’t want to go *too* short. My hair doesn’t look all that damaged, but I can definitely see in person that it’s less lustrous and the ends are pretty dry, so it’ll be really nice to start fresh a little bit!


  • I’m actually going through the same process myself right now. I got a pixie cut last summer, and while I love having short hair, I missed having different styling options. My hair is down to shoulder length now, and I just can’t decide if I want to keep growing it out or if I want to cut a couple of inches off and keep it there. Granted, it’s not quite as drastic a change in length as what you’re contemplating, but since my hair only recently started to cooperate with vintage styling, I don’t want to make a bad decision. For something so easy to change and fix, it’s odd how easy it is to get caught up worrying about it, isn’t it?


    • How true! But it does make sense as while it’s easy to change, it’s one of the first things you see on yourself, so if you feel unhappy about your hair, it can make you feel unhappy about how you look in general. I sure do spend a long time wringing my hands of decisions about it, that’s for sure! 😉


  • I have fine, very straight hair, and I now have a hairstyle really similar to the top ones you posted! I LOVE it! I also got a perm when I got a cut (with the smallest rollers), and that has helped my hair stay voluminous and curled longer than it naturally would. I highly recommend it!


    • Your hair looks so cute on you! Probably a bit shorter than I’m thinking of going. You got the Baby cut right? Although my hair naturally takes to setting really well so it may end up looking more like that, lol! I actually had a perm a couple of years ago which helped with setting, although not in a crazy dramatic way, as my hair takes to curl well in general, at least with non-heated sets (I’m actually curious to try heated ones just for fun and a change of routine now and again). I’d consider getting another perm for a shorter ‘do however since I also dye my hair I think that’s veering into the over-processing land. 😉 But once I have several inches cut off, we’ll see how it reacts, and I may re-think that and go for one in the future if I like the style but have trouble keeping it looking good!


  • I’m all about short hair right now. For me, it’s much lower maintenance. I’m lazy, though. I can’t be bothered to fuss with it too much. Your hair always looks meticulous, so I’m sure whatever you decide, it will be fantastic.


  • Hi,

    I love your red hair and think something shorter would be a great change. Of course, i did just whack mine all off and am totally loving it. So much easier and faster to style. Can’t wait to see your new look.



  • My hair is also soooo prone to tangling, I feel your pain. As soon as the weather is cold enough for scarves and/or hats I get these impossible tangles in huge sections of my hair. I call them rat’s nests! 🙁 It got so bad that I gave myself a home haircut to shoulder length (sometimes I can be a little too impulsive…) but I’m going to the stylist soon for something SHORT that will keep it out of reach of the evil scarf ha ha. So thanks for the inspiration! Everything does look extra cute on Marilyn but I know this cut will look great on you too! Especially with red hair!


  • I did the EXACT thing about three months ago—I cut a bit longer than a bit-longer-than-chin length bob with side-swept bangs. The nice thing about that style is that is still looks “vintage” without a set, but the bad part is that you’re limited to a curly down-do other times. I was able to do a pony and french twist within a few weeks of the cut, albeit I had to spray the crap out of my nape hairs or wear a hair ribbon or scarf. Overall, I really like the length and feel it suits a wider-range of decade-styles—you can do a super fun and wild curly 30s thing (my fave), 40s bang pincurls, the 50s Marilyn, and a 60s bouffant-ish bob (this, actually, is pretty much how I sequenced through the days of my wet set). The side-swept bangs also made me look a bit younger…The only downside for me is that my hair grows super slow and I am just now able to wear my bangs off my forehead. But, now my hair is great for a short pageboy-style.

    Can’t wait to see what you do! You frequently influence my hair decisions through your lovely pictures, so always excited to see new things on you. And, would love to hear what tips you discover on creating volume with product, as I have the same issues with that! Thanks for sharing Tasha!


  • I’m saying go for the short! I have mixed African American kinky curly hair. I did reach armpit level in August, but it was super boring! I had it cut into a short tapered style. Go short if you’re bored or if you got a lot of tangles. And I love the Marilyn cut, super versatile! Can’t wait to see it!


  • […] I did it! After talking about it on my blog last week, I got my hair cut over the […]


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