Victory … and other words for morale
The word “Victory” was a very popular word for morale during WWII. Winning a battle, winning the war, and winning the chance to see your loved ones again all fell under the category of Victory. So governments and media used the word… A LOT. It appeared in propaganda, in news headlines, and in advertisements in women’s magazines for everything from hairpins to hairstyles.
This blog post is from a 2-part series about WWII hairstyles. Read the first post Victory Bobs and V Modes here.
Table of Contents (Click to jump)
- The First Victory Rolls
- Victory Rolls for Dinner
- The Roll Hairstyle with No Name
- Victory Rolls Tutorial
- Betty Grable’s Iconic Rolls
- Victory Rolls aren’t What We Might Think?
- Victory Roll Hairstyle Mystery Solved
The First Victory Roll
The first use of the term “victory roll” was by fighter pilots. It was a spin maneuver they might do after a successful mission. Essentially it was a victory dance for a fighter pilot.
The specific aileron maneuver is described as “flying low and fast, pulling up slightly to avoid descending when inverted, then applying full aileron until upright again.” courtesy of Royal Air Force Pilot BEagle on PPRune.com.
Victory Rolls as part of your dinner
Don’t forget Victory Rolls at the dinner table! Food was not to be outshined in this environment of propaganda. The dinner you cooked from the food you grew in your victory garden was all considered part of your efforts at home while the boys were fighting abroad.
This recipe for victory rolls describes prepping the rolls almost like a swiss roll that you cut into sections before you bake.
But this isn’t a baking blog…
The hairstyle that didn’t have a name… yet
The roll hairstyle element we now call Victory Rolls started before the war broke out, but it didn’t have a name yet. Hair magazines from the late 1930s had examples of the sausage shaped rolls styled above the ears with an open curl facing forward.
These late 1930s hairstyles often had smaller and more numerous amounts of these long roll shapes.
These long form curls were styled the same way we style a victory roll today. The strand forming the curl is pulled out and back combed on the inside of the strand. Next, the curl is brushed lightly over the fingers. Finally, the curl is spread flat with thumbs and fingers and placed in the desired position.
Video tutorial for easy Victory Rolls
Don’t miss my video tutorial for easy, well-shaped victory rolls on YouTube!
The Victory Roll Hairstyle
As we know it today, the Victory Roll hairstyle is a number of open front rolls, usually 2 or 3, styled to sit above the ears and eyes. The hairstyle is both graphic and feminine and an unmistakable representation of a 1940s hairstyle.
You might also like: Victory Hair Pins and Rationing in the Beauty Salon
WWII Pinup Betty Grable
Betty Grable, a famous pinup during WWII, wore what we today call a Victory Roll hairstyle prominently in the 1941 movie Moon Over Miami.
You will see Betty Grable wearing this famous hairstyle in publicity images for the film noir classic I Wake Up Screaming with Victor Mature, but these images were taken while she was either doing hair tests or filming Moon Over Miami, so she’s wearing a hairstyle from a different movie!
What if a Victory Roll is actually something different than we thought?
After setting out to find proof of the use of the words victory roll in a hairstyle in the 1940s, I am finding other proof that this hairstyle might have been something different than the top rolls we think of today.
Asking YouTube watchers to send me any proof they had of the words victory rolls used together to describe a hairstyle, one audience member sent me this advertisement for a hair salon in Seattle from 1942. And it is plain as day, VICTORY ROLLS!!! …
But then I started to read into the advertisement and it seems to describe something other than top rolls.
The ad describes victory rolls as a hairstyle appropriate for military uniforms. Military uniform hairstyles’ key restriction was that the hairstyle be contained and neat and above the collar. So were Victory Rolls actually the V-shaped back roll like the one I described in my blog post about Victory Bobs and V Modes? The hairstyle I describe (shown below) was designed to be worn with a uniform.
You might also like: Post WWII Hairstyle Looks
So I dug a little more…
In a continued search for the words “victory roll” in a hair advertisement, I came across this ad for a wig and hair switch company.
In the list of hair additions you can buy from the company are:
- All Around Rolls (the continuous roll I assume)
- Victory Rolls
Yes, they could be referring to a hair piece roll that you pin to the top of your head, but, since it is within a list of other hair switches women generally pinned around the back and behind the ears, I am still led to believe that the victory roll might be a hairstyle element at the back of the head, not on the top.
Victory Roll Mystery Solved!
After a long research process, I think I can confidently say that the mystery of the original Victory Roll has been solved… or clarified… or now I just know something that I didn’t know before.
This article (below) from The Weekly Times of Melbourne, 1943, gives us a detailed description and photos of… cue trumpets… the Victory Roll hairstyle. Thanks to a reader in Australia, we now have detailed info on the famous hairstyle.
“The Victory Roll,” it reads, “has three stages. It begins life very short and curly. It grows into a long halo roll, and it ends as a soft turned-in curl round the nape of your neck.”
This small clip (below) from 1941 also clears up that the hairstyle does start at the back at the nape of the neck. It reads:
“A new hair style inspired by the V for Victory campaign is sweeping London at present. This hair do called ‘Victory Roll’, with a smart upward movement, sweeps the hair from a centre parting into two inward rolls, beginning at the nape of the neck, and ending on either side of the forehead.”
So, to style an authentic Victory Roll hairstyle, be sure to include the V roll at the back!