Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Guest Post: Pete's Mad Men Wet Set Series / Betty

Pete from Incurlers is back! You may remember his previous posts; Here and Here;  on wet sets for vintage hairstyles. I recently asked him to give us some insight into Mad Men era hairstyles. In this three part series, Pete explores the hairstyles of Betty, Joan, and Peggy as they would have looked from the pages of 1960's Good Housekeeping magazines!

Take it away, Pete: 

When Karen suggested I do a Mad Men hairstyle article, I thought it would be quite easy. Just look though some old magazines in my collection, pick out some hairdos similar to what the main characters wear and my work would be mostly done.  Not having having seen an episode of Mad Men in over a year, I set out to do just that and was quite pleased with what I found. That is, until I looked at some pictures from the show and while the hairdos I had selected were similar, they were not identical to what is actually used on the show. Even with a bit more research my original choices did not change, so these articles are about the hairstyles that Betty, Joan, and Peggy might have worn had they been reading Good Housekeeping (GH) or any similar magazine as many women would have done at the time.

Betty Draper/Francis

This beautiful yet simple everyday style is what Betty might have worn as a housewife who's fashionable appearance was very important to her self image.
  (Photos below from GH Nov.1963).

Like almost all hairdos of that period, it was done with a wet set and Good Housekeeping provided both a setting pattern, instructions and advice: 

"Brush all hair back; let sides come forward. Push in shallow dips at temples and ears; hold as you brush sides and back smooth close to the head. Cup all ends under. A soothing creme rinse after shampooing helps tame flyaway hair." (GH Nov.1963)

The main thing to point out here is that this hairdo uses medium or larger rollers to add volume, and you don’t need to be overly concerned with setting you hair perfectly since it will be mostly the brushing (or combing) that will be used to create the final shape. 


I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the past. Since these photos and instructions are taken from vintage 1960s Good Housekeeping magazines, thousands or even millions of women in the 1960s would have actually duplicated and worn these exact hairdos. It doesn’t get more authentically vintage than that! 

The advice I always give is, it does take practice and experimentation to get good at any vintage technique or successfully create a vintage hairdo, so try these hairdos a number of times at home when the results really aren’t that important so you can simply wash them out if thing don’t work out as you had hoped. And above all, have fun trying some authentic vintage hairdos.


Thank you Pete! I am inspired to try this!

Stay tuned for Joan, next week!
 For more vintage hair style fun, read Pete's blog; Incurlers or follow him on Twitter @incurlers

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