Books of a Vintage Stylist
Aug 11, 2019

Books of a Vintage Stylist

So what kind of books does a vintage stylist have on their bookshelf? Take a peak at what inspires me, what has taught me, and why there ain't nothing that compares to a good ol' paperback.




Call me old fashioned (well, actually, I am!), as much as Google and YouTube have set the standards for information searching and delivery, I still love to just sit down and flick through the pages of a book. Maybe it's my years of studying, but I tend to retain information better when it is read in hard copy. That is why I fondly refer to my office bookshelf to draw inspiration, and relearn tips for vintage hair styling, photography and styling in general. I have also recently rediscovered the treasure trove that is my local library (thanks to my book obsessed toddler), I often come home with armfuls of borrowed books featuring fashion history, photography basics, business advice and old Hollywood tales. 

Now that I am reflecting on the topic, I guess that my love of mid century style stems from my Pop, who is a huge Elvis and Marilyn fan. I remember seeing posters and other memorabilia around their home growing up. And as my love for this era has heightened in previous years, my Pop has been so kind to pass on some of his books to me. 


Hollywood Book


Hollywood, 50 Great Years by Lodge, Taylor, Turner, Jarvis and Castell

A book which Pop recently fished out of his bookshelf for me, is pretty self explanatory. It features the filmography of all the great classic films from the 1930s to the 1970s. Its great to add more movies to my 'watch list' and of course, the photos act as great styling inspiration. 

Marilyn Monroe Book

Marilyn at Twentieth Century Fox by Lawrence Crown

Another book from my Pop, features Marilyn's filmography as well as her rise and fall. I just love looking at all of the pictures for hair styling and wardrobe inspiration. What is my favourite Marilyn movie you ask? Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - cliche for a pinup girl I know, but it is one that has always stuck with me for its humour and glamour and one I can watch over and over again. 

How to Handle Long Hair book

How to Handle Long Hair by Ingerid

Originally published in 1954, I found the title of this book very intriguing. As many hairstyling books of the time did feature predominantly shorter length hair. This book features 11 styles from the one setting pattern. The setting pattern is a little complex to do on yourself (trust me I tried) but it gives some great inspiration for how you treat the curl and brush the hair to create completely different hairstyles. This book is also where I first saw the name 'Grip Tuth Comb' and if you have been here for a while, you know that I swear by these babes! 

Vintage Hairstyling Book

Vintage Hairstyling by Lauren Rennells

Yes, I am a nerd. Some of my books I have sign posted resourceful pages so I can easily find and refer back to helpful information. I say to a lot people that if you invest in one book for vintage styling, this is the one to get. It goes through all the basics of pin curls and curl setting for vintage styling using modern methods. She also has many wonderful complete hairstyle tutorials for modernised period looks from the 1920s-1960s. It even features some makeup tips and how to create your own simple hair accessories. Lauren is a fantastic educator and sells her books, hair tools and classes via her website

Vintage Hairstyling Wedding book

Create Vintage Inspired Wedding Hairstyles by Lauren Rennells 

I may have purchased these two books as a package deal. But not only is the wedding hairstyling edition simply stunning to flick through, she also gives out industry secrets for long lasting hairstyles such as hair sewing and creating base rolls for securing wave details. I have used many of the techniques laid out in this book with my clients and use it as a constant inspiration for those softer, vintage inspired looks. 

Creative hairshaping book

Creative Hairshaping and Hairstyling by Ivan

Originally published in 1947, this book serves as a textbook for vintage hair cutting and styling. It goes into great detail of the period haircuts (I bring this book to hairdressers when asking for my vintage haircuts), pin curl basics and setting patterns. It shows you how to treat the hair and create a 'flattering hairstyle' for your client based on their face shape, hair cut and age. I love how it focuses on 'mass outline' in hairstyling where you need to achieve a sense of balance in the final look. 

Mystery of hairstyling book

Mysteries of Hair Styling - Comer Syprett and Grace Doran

As this book was originally published in 1953, a lot of the information is repeated from the previous Creative Hairshaping and Hairstyling with regards to haircuts and curl basics. However, it does note some additional face shape troubleshooting and how to work with the natural ridge wave in perms. It also features some stunning 'High Fashion Coiffures' demonstrating how the basic patterns listed within the book can create amazing full hairstyles. 

Art deco hair book

Art Deco Hair - Daniela Turudich 

This book is not just for the hairstylist, it is an amazing historical read for any vintage lover. It delves into the history of the era, including the timelines for style changes throughout the 1920s and 1930s. It steps through the important period haircuts and of course the popular marcel wave and water waving techniques. It also goes into great detail the styles that were used for longer hair and art deco hair accessories. I love that it includes original setting lotion and brilliantine recipes with a full index. 

60s hair book

1960s Hairstyling - Bramcost Publications

This is a great short and sweet book featuring 75 curl setting patterns for 1960s styling. I say short and sweet, because it is mainly setting patterns rather than reading text. As large rollers were popular of the time, it is interesting to see the variation you can achieve when playing with just the direction of the rollers. This book also shows how to create some great updos for longer hair using twists and how to troubleshoot different face shapes - and you guessed it, that meant more volume! I particularly love the '10 Commandments of Hair Setting' which is applicable to all decades of hairstyling. 

I found the vintage hairstyling books from Bramcost Publications, which is a great online service of getting newly printed and bound copies of vintage books on a range of topics. You can also view my list of vintage hairstyling book recommendations through Benable.

 Renae xo 



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