Disco Diva, 1981
Call her Miss Ross--and declare her a disco-era style victory. We’re not sure if it’s a weave up there or her own silky strands blowing outward in some glamour photog’s studio (tell us if you know), but we’re transfixed. Along with the major nails, dramatic makeup and super-shiny clothes, there’s nothing subtle about this mane.
The Angel Who Struts Among Us, 2000
Enviable hair is pretty much de rigueur for supermodels, but some take it to the next level. Case in point: Gisele Bündchen and her ridiculously lustrous mane. Endlessly imitated but never matched. Seriously, how many ’dos are iconic enough to inspire parody Twitter accounts?
Queen Of Locks Since 2010
Catherine, “Babykins,” Duchess of Cambridge… No matter what you call her, you can’t deny that the girl’s got royally perfect hair. Unlike the other Kate on this list, the Duchess’s locks are never short of perfectly coiffed. Sure, she sticks to the same style, but if the glossy waves ain’t broke, don’t fix ’em.
XOXO, Gossip Girl, 2007
Long, golden and perfectly tousled, Blake Lively’s gorgeous blonde locks have the look of a born-and-raised California girl who has it all. Effortlessly layered and precisely honey-hued (good work, lowlights), it’s a hairstyle that’s full of movement. And though an ace colorist is the partial secret to her success, Blake’s statuesque saunter and her talent for tossing that shiny mane at just the right moment can’t be underestimated.
Breakout Bangs, 2007
Although this Southern belle may not instantly come to mind when you think of iconic hair, the moment she debuted her new bangs with pin-straight locks at the 2007 Academy Awards will be forever ingrained in our dream-hair library. Not to mention, her golden blonde color is spot-on to the point that it’s practically glowing.
Back to Black, 2006
If big hair really does hold lots of secrets, then Amy Winehouse’s was a veritable Pandora’s box. Taking the beehive to new heights, Winehouse’s wig (yes, it was a wig) had a life of its own--perched precariously on the crown of her head and often embellished with a rose or bandanna. While it may not be a style you ever wanted to emulate personally, you have to admire the rocker’s desire to set herself apart.
From Grunge to Glamour, 1988 to present
Kate Moss is the iconic rocker chick, and her hairstyle--long, flowing, with a bit of dark roots peeking out from beneath the blonde--is the cornerstone of this look. Her hair (like her life) is rich-looking, a little bit messy and very glam. Kate’s sexy mane is the reason that every time we leave the salon with a neat new haircut, we always turn our head upside down and shake it up a little bit before we feel we look our best.
Big Wigs, Bigger Talent, 1974
As big as the Great Smoky Mountains where she grew up, Dolly Parton’s hair (or more precisely, her wigs) was her other trademark feature. “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap,” Dolly quipped. Though in recent years she’s gone straighter and sleeker, we still love the Parton-in-her-prime meringue swirls the best.
Sullivan’s Travels, 1941
Long, sleek waves with a serious side part dominate the red carpet these days. Just Google “Old Hollywood hair.” But long before Sienna Miller and Amanda Seyfried, there was Veronica Lake. Her locks encapsulated the era of 1940s glamour: mature, polished and never too fussy. No wonder celebs still mimic it by the droves.
Sex And The City, 1998 to 2004
You know it by heart: a few unmistakable bars of opening music, shots of the New York City skyline and a head of perfectly imperfect tousled blonde curls. Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw is the ultimate style icon of the ’90s, with hair to match. SJP’s naturally curly tresses were the perfect accoutrement to Carrie’s over-the-top ensembles--bouncy, fun and totally endearing.
Charlie’s Angels, 1976 to 1980
Farrah Fawcett was the classic California dream girl, and her hair--flipped back with loose curls--was equally dreamy. In the ’70s, everyone from preteen roller skaters to full-grown disco divas tried to re-create the look. And as they all found out, it takes a skillful cut, some extensions, hot curlers and a can of Elnett hair spray.
That ’70s Center Part
All that prepping and preening can get old. Sometimes we just want to channel the effortless, all-American beauty of Ali MacGraw in 1970’s Love Story. The center part, the thick texture, the glossy mane. We coveted it all…and spent years (and a small fortune) using thickening spray.
Hair With A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi
Brigitte Bardot’s mane. It murmurs “groovy French fox.” The actress was an innovator of Big Hair, with streaming blonde waves framing her face and décolletage. Long and loosely layered, it was versatile enough to be piled onto the crown for a can-can-girl effect or back-combed close to her head with long cascading tendrils. And those bangs--we’ve never seen anyone make grown-out bangs look so come-hither.
The Rachel, 1995
Raise your hand if you had this hairstyle in the ’90s. Who didn’t? “The Rachel” was a shoulder-length study in layers, with lots of body, a messy part and highlights that framed Aniston’s heart-shaped face. The actress has since said she hated it, but we can’t deny there was something sexy about the cut that inspired a million copycats. Would we do it again? Maybe. Minus the highlights and the theme song.
You can’t have any sort of list of iconic style without including the refined yet youthful Mrs. Kennedy. The former First Lady oozed class, and it went far beyond her pillbox hats. Her signature look--demure waves set right at the base of her neck--went from the East Room of the White House to the back porch in Hyannisport without a hitch.
The Big Sleep, 1946
Whenever we want the look of classic film-noir tresses, it’s Lauren Bacall that we’re channeling. The key here is that the roots are lifted in the front, as opposed to lying flat on the head á la Veronica Lake. The cut is what we currently call a “lob,” and the style can be achieved using pin curls. But good luck attempting this one on your own. You may need a few YouTube tutorials.
Breakfast At Tiffany’s, 1961
Whether captured in one of her famous films or by 1950s paparazzi as she strolled through the airport, each of Hepburn’s hairstyles epitomized an entire decade--from the androgynous crop in 1953’s Roman Holiday to the much-copied chignon she wore in 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany's. Choppy, super-short bangs will always remind us of her.
The Bangs That Rule An Industry
Vogue magazine’s infamous editor in chief has kept her trademark crop for roughly 40 years, and that speaks volumes. Short, straight and slightly severe, it means business and so does she. Regardless of the changing hemlines and rising heel heights, one thing in fashion remains consistent: Wintour's bangs.
The Shag Heard Round The Rom-Com World, 1991 to 1999
Was it the adorable awkwardness or the ever-ruffled ’dos that kept us coming back for more Meg Ryan? (She starred in 16 movies between 1991 and 1999.) The actress’s hair ran the gamut from a peroxide mullet in Top Gun to a near-Pentecostal pullback in Sleepless in Seattle, but it was this piece-y shag of the ’90s that reached icon status. The cut was sassy and free-spirited.
Posh Spice Updates Her Bob, 2007
Everything about Mrs. Beckham is just so. Honestly, have you ever seen her looking even the least bit disheveled? Her asymmetrical bob is always perfectly shaped (voluminous in the back, piece-y in the front) and looks as if there isn’t a single strand out of step. A power cut if we’ve ever seen one.
The Au Courant Bouffant, 1966
Prior to the 1968 Funny Girl curled updo, Babs sported a super-short, straight ’do featuring large side bangs in the front and a sleek pixie style in the back. She would even add some volume with a kitschy hairpiece and dubbed it her “easiest” hairstyle to date.
Foxy Brown, 1974
Pam Grier made a name for herself by playing strong, kick-ass characters, making equally fierce hair a necessity. Pam’s Afro was big and bold, wild and crazy, but always perfectly shaped. Foxy Brown became a symbol of empowerment and pride--and an icon for sexily battling villains.
Good Girl Gone Bad, 2007
Rihanna is a rebel rock star who never shies away from controversy, and this cropped style is all about contradictions. Shaved close in the back, with a long shock of bangs hanging over one eye, the cut gave the singer the look of a hot skateboarder--but she maintained femininity with eye makeup and pink lips. It takes guts to pull off a style like this, but if anyone can do it, it’s RiRi.
A 15-Year-Old’s Pixie, 1967
That sideswept pixie cut, that lanky boyish figure and those spidery lashes framing huge doe eyes: Twiggy’s mod look defined the Swinging Sixties. She was just 15 when she debuted the cropped ’do and ushered in a new standard of youthful sophistication. Short hairstyles can walk a fine line between city chic and soccer mom, and the secret to Twiggy’s success was simplicity. No layers, no streaky highlights--just a sleek cap of healthy hair.
The woman may look as if she just stepped out of a Pantene Pro-V commercial today (seriously, does she eat nothing but protein?), but the hairstyle we can’t get out of our heads is that boyish crop she rocked in Ghost. Fringe bangs work for you, Demi. But then again, so does a bald head.
For Heath, 2007
When we think of a signature pixie, second to Twiggy is the adorable Michelle Williams. Her textured, often sideswept style frames her oval face, and we can’t imagine her ever going long again. Another reason Williams likes to keep it choppy? It’s a tribute to the late Heath Ledger. She once claimed that her former flame and the father of her daughter was the only straight man who ever liked her hair short.
The Hair-Gel Enthusiast
Halle Berry’s spiky, artfully mussed pixie was genius for setting off the symmetry of her gorgeous, almost-too-perfect face. Halle is a serious and passionate actor (who could forget the raw emotion of that acceptance speech at the 2002 Oscars?), but this style showed the star in a different light: It was a glimpse at her playful, edgy side.
Nothing Compared to This, 1990
We gasped when Britney shaved her head, but she wasn't the first star to hit the razor. Sinead O'Connor debuted her shorn locks nearly two decades earlier as a challenge to conventional beauty (chart toppers at the time included Celine Dion and her Canadian tresses, as well as Dolly Parton, who had the biggest, um, hair in the biz). The uber-dramatic look fit perfectly with Sinead's rebel image--though the killer brows and bone structure didn't hurt.