1940s-inspired Style: More Like “Defeat Rolls”


When I decided to try out a 40s-inspired ensemble for a museum opening reception (you know, like normal people at museum receptions do!) last week, I really wanted to complete the look by recreating “victory rolls,” a popular 40s style that involves lots of big curls defying gravity like they’re Idina Menzel.

I’m sad to say, however, that victory eluded me. I suspect it’ll take some practice (and an army of bobby pins) before I can truly capture the Peggy Carter aesthetic. In the meantime, though, my retro-ish outfit and a simpler alternative hairstyle did the trick!


Though I’d like to think I possess some vintage style skills–such as an uncanny ability to find weird dresses secondhand, for example–the realms of hair and makeup are completely beyond my limited powers. I wear my hair down nearly every day, and my cosmetics bag has only four items in it (BB cream, blush, wine-red lipstick, and special-occasion shimmery eye shadow).

Headband curls and red lips, however, are the only styling tricks that I can master every time. I wrapped my hair around a comfortable loop of fabric over night, and woke up feeling glad that I didn’t have to wear rollers.


In lieu of proper victory rolls, I just played around with some bizarre pinned-back whorls that kept my hair neatly out of my face.


I still dream of the day when I meet my Cool Vintage BFF who can teach me what on Earth mascara even is and how to perfect all pin-up hairstyles! And in return, I can show her how to…make envelopes, or play sad folk songs on the guitar, or speak semi-eloquently about Assyrian reliefs and Abstract Expressionists? Send me a telegram and we’ll talk!


  1. I love this look and you pull it off so well! I feel your pain about being a styling ‘minimalist’…I am still having trouble trying to get those waves my hairdresser got w/ the straight iron…she made it look so easy! I might try your headband curls idea…have you considered sharing a tutorial?

    • Thanks! For me, it’s that elusive post-hairdesser-bangs style that I can never recreate as soon as I wash my hair. But yes, the headband curls are basically the one thing I can handle! Super simple, and I think I’ve worked out some of the quirks over the years. Perhaps I will indeed make a tutorial! 😀

      • Excellent! I would love to learn how to do the headband curls. I tried sock curls once and it was a disaster 😦

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