A hairstyle can truly make or break a person’s signature look. From looking at someone’s hairdo, you can instantly tell a great deal about the wearer’s chosen style, their fashion inspiration, and much more.
Not only that, but hairstyles through the years have continued to evolve in the most fascinating ways—updating and innovating every year.
In fact, every year since 1950 has its own signature ‘do—and you’ll be amazed how many you recognized.
Which hairstyle was in vogue the year you were born? Read on to find out.
Here we have Betty Grable modeling the signature hairdo of the year 1950, which was the style known as victory rolls.
This heavily styled rolls first came onto the scene during the 1940s, and became the go-to style for 1950. They were named after the fighter planes during WW2, as they would do loop-the-loop maneuvers as a victory symbol.
In 1950, Grable starred in Hollywood hits Wabash Avenue and My Blue Heaven, and was officially the most successful female star at the box office that year. Victory, indeed!
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1951—The Poodle Clip
Next up we have the lovely Lucille Ball showing us a perfect example of the poodle clip, the most popular hairstyle in 1951. This hairdo was sleek and straight on the sides, with a big curly bouffant bit on top, just like the popular dog breed it’s named after.
And Ball wasn’t the only starlet to sport this style—she was in good company, with celebs such as Betty Grable, Peggy Garner, and Faye Emerson also rocking the ‘do.
1951 was of course also the year that Ball created the iconic sitcom I Love Lucy—cementing her place as a true Hollywood legend.
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1952 was the year of the short curls, modeled here by the iconic Marilyn Monroe. Monroe was a true style icon of the 50s, and she was the one who made this classic hairstyle so popular.
Even though Monroe is still regarded today as the quintessential blonde bombshell, did you know that in real life she was actually a brunette!
As well as changing the hair styling world forever, in 1952 Monroe was named the “best young box office personality” by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
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1953—The Cap Cut
As we progress further into the 1950s, hairstyles get shorter and shorter. Changing times and fashions meant that women were becoming more adventurous and stepping away from what was regarded as traditional femininity.
1953 saw the advent of the “cap cut”. It was sort of the 50s’ version of a pixie cut, but with a bit more curls and waves added in to frame the face.
Here we see the iconic Elizabeth Taylor sporting the ‘do in a gorgeous promo shot.
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1954 saw the release of the iconic and much loved movie Sabrina, starring Hollywood darling Audrey Hepburn as the titular character.
Hepburn is well known as one of the ultimate style icons of both the 50s and 60s, but it was her hairdo in this movie that took the world by storm that year.
Dubbed simply “The Sabrina”, this hairstyle embodied the waifish and stylish chic that Hepburn came to embody during her glittering reign as the fashion princess of Hollywood.
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Lucille Ball was one of the biggest and most influential Hollywood stars throughout the 50s, and so here she is again sporting the hairdo of the moment for 1955—the ponytail!
By 1955, I Love Lucy had become one of the most popular shows on TV, and Ball was well and truly the beloved sweetheart of American television.
And it was Ball’s style on this show—a chic and short ponytail tied with a bow—that popularized this hairdo across the nation.
Screenshot from “I Love Lucy”
Just look at that style and elegance! This chic chica is of course none other than Grace Kelly, the Hollywood superstar who later became a princess when she married a prince of Monaco. Dreamy!
Well, as well as living the true American Dream, Kelly was also a style and fashion dream for many Americans, particularly in 1956 when she sported the shoulder bob.
Sometimes she wore this in a sleek, straight style, and sometimes in soft curls—but either way she set the standards for classy ‘dos everywhere.
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Here we have Hollywood starlet Rita Hayworth, rocking the quintessential hairstyle of 1957, the low-maintenance and relatable style of long, soft curls.
Showing a more girl-next-door style than the super-coiffed styles of the previous years, Hayworth ushered in a new era of relaxed and real-life Hollywood images, inspiring women everywhere to own and enjoy their natural beauty.
Hayworth was known as the “Hollywood princess” and in 1957, she starred in the movies Pal Joey and Fire Down Below.
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One of the classiest and chicest hairdos of all time, of course this style would have been originally popularized by the inimitable and unflappable Audrey Hepburn.
Here Hepburn is showing off her natural grace and beauty with 1958’s most popular hairstyle, the chignon.
This elegant updo is rumored to date back to Ancient Greece, and is still incredibly popular today.
Funnily enough, Hepburn would soon cover up her luscious locks, donning a wimple for her role as a nun in The Nun’s Story.
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Marilyn Monroe was known as the quintessential 1950s’ blonde bombshell, but towards the end of the decade, she had a contender for that coveted title—none other than fellow Hollywood starlet Jayne Mansfield.
Mansfield was in many ways marketed as the “new Marilyn”—but she took the iconic blonde hairdo to a totally new dimension, making it all of her own and establishing her own credentials as a true Hollywood style guru.
Here we see her rocking the most popular hairdo of 1959, the platinum blond.
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Now here we are, at the beginning of the Swinging Sixties! As you probably know, the 60s were an incredible time of change and innovation, and fashion and beauty was no exception.
And in 1960 the star of the moment was none other than screen siren Brigitte Bardot, who ushered in a new style of big, beautiful hairdos—shown here in the most popular ‘do of 1960—the messy updo.
1960 saw Bardot’s fame grow as big as her hair—starring in the movie The Truth, her performance received huge praise and gained recognition worldwide.
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The further we get into the 60s, the bigger the hair gets!
Here we see iconic 60s girl band The Supremes, rocking their signature look, and the most popular hairstyle of 1961—the bouffant!
The Supremes were fronted by soulful singing legend Diana Ross, and 1961 saw them raise their profiles as high as their hair—as this was the year that they first signed with Motown Records, the label for which they would come to be the undeniable leading act.
1962—The Flick Up
1962’s most magical hairdo was known as the flick-up, and here we see it modeled by the lovely Elizabeth Montgomery, star of the super popular magical sitcom Bewitched.
The style was made by increasing the hair’s volume all over, and then flicking out the curls at the bottom.
Other notable people who sported the look during this year was First Lady Jackie Kennedy, also known for her classy and super-sized hairdos.
1962 also saw the death of Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe, leaving a huge hole in the showbiz and fashion landscape.
But just who would step in to fill her shoes?
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1963—Long Bangs and Layers
Here we have once again the formidable femme fatale Brigitte Bardot, known for her iconic movies such as And God Created Woman and Love is My Profession.
1963’s most popular hairdo was long bangs and layers, and here we see Bardot modeling long sleek locks with effortless style and panache.
This time also saw Bardot expanding her movie repertoire to a more international audience, starring in the French drama movie Le Mépris, directed by Jean-Luc Godard, and fully cemented her status as the ultimate 1960s bombshell.
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With the advent of bangs and sleek styles came a slow turn into shorter haircuts, modeled here by 60s style icon and fashion designer Mary Quant.
Quant was credited with ushering in a new era of style and chicness in the 60s, moving away from the over-the-top and ultra-coiffed styles into a simple, chic, less-is-more kind of vibe.
1964 was the year of the geometric cut, introduced by the iconic celebrity hairstylist Vidal Sassoon. Here we can see Quant modeling the sleek cut, perfectly complementing her signature suaveness.
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1965—The Twiggy Cut
We obviously can’t talk about 1960s fashion and style without mentioning the ultimate supermodel of the era, Twiggy.
Twiggy was the undisputed face of 1960s fashion and embodied the simple chicness of the era, which came to be known as the quintessential mod style.
And Twiggy’s short, closely cropped hair became as much part of her identity as her giant eyelashes or her short, straight minidresses—a style still very much admired and emulated even today.
What a time to be alive.
As the hairstyle evolution of the 60s continued to progress, we saw hairstyles becoming shorter and shorter, epitomizing the less-is-more overall vibe and the simplistic chic of the era.
And in 1966, we saw the most popular hairstyle become the pixie cut, modeled here by the inimitable Mia Farrow—star of the iconic and seminal horror movie Rosemary’s Baby.
Thanks to her acting skills and new and innovative style experimentations, Farrow would go on to make Hollywood history in both the film and fashion stakes.
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1967—Straight and Shiny
1967 saw hairstyles becoming longer and sleeker once again, most especially embodied by singer Cher in this picture showcasing her super-smooth and sharp locks.
Cher, alongside her husband and singing partner Sonny Bono, became a household name around this time, first rising to fame as backing singers for Phil Spector, before making their mark on the music scene on their own terms.
When you look back at Cher’s videos from this time now, her long, super-straight, super-sleek hair seems like an entity of its own. It’s truly mesmerizing!
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When you think of the quintessential 60s’ hairdo, it’s possible that this is the one that first springs to mind. We are of course talking about the beehive, which sprang to the top of hairdo popularity in 1968.
Aretha Franklin was one of the most famous and beloved stars to sport this high-powered ‘do, rocking it here in a stylish promo photo.
This was also the year that Franklin released her second live album, Aretha in Paris, cementing her place as a true soul star.
Image via Atlantic Records / Wikipedia
Towards the end of the 60s, we saw a resurgence of a hairstyle that had been popular at the beginning of the decade.
That’s right, 1969 saw the return of the bouffant—but with a twist! This later “modern bouffant” had all the size and style of the earlier version, but with a bit more of a toned-down sleekness to it.
Here we can see actress and singer Diahann Carroll rocking the iconic look. That year, Carroll won an Emmy Award for her work on the TV series Julia.
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1970—Long With a Center Part
The 1960s were a tough act to follow, no doubt about it. But the following decade would certainly hold its own in terms of style, and making its own reputation as an era of hedonism and decadence.
And the beginning of the decade saw hairstyles slide into something a bit more extreme, with this super-long and straight style, with a perfectly split center part.
Here we can see Love Story‘s Ali MacGraw kicking off the starry seventies with this perfect example of the iconic look.
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Style experimentation continued into 1971, yielding some—um—mixed results. In 1971 woman of the moment Jane Fonda starred in the movie Klute, sporting this rather bizarre and choppy hairstyle known as “the shag”.
Looking back now, it’s hard to see the appeal of this ‘do, but it actually went on to inspire some of the greatest haircuts in the fashion world as the years went on—as we’ll see in more detail later.
However, at the time, people loved this look—and Fonda became even more of a star.
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in 1972, Pam Grier burst onto the Hollywood movie scene, making history with her iconic acting skills and sassy style—as well as a hairdo not popularized among the female celeb scene until this point.
That’s right—Grier became the iconic style guru for the afro hairdo, in contrast to the heavily straightened or relaxing procedures that many Black women had been employing previously.
Grier was one of the pioneers for modeling the natural look for Black hair—and she certainly rocked it.
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Remember Diana Ross and the Supremes rocking the bouffant look back in 1961? Well, Ross continued to make music and fashion history for many years to come, and in 1973 she took the world by storm once again with her album Touch Me in the Morning, and a new hairstyle to match.
Because this was the year of the disco curls—ushering in the era that the 70s would come to be forever known for.
As disco took hold of the world, fashion and style were about to change forever.
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As the disco era began to sweep the world, many people were too busy losing themselves in the groovy music, to pay too much time or attention to grooming their hair.
And the biggest celebs of the moment were leading this trend—with singer Joni Mitchell a prime example.
Here she is rocking the top style of 1974, the long and loose waves. Low maintenance and high-impact, this was a more chilled out version of the ‘do we saw way back in 1963 on Brigitte Bardot.
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The natural look continued to take hold of the fashion world as the 70s progressed, with people loving the opportunity to embrace their laid-back looks and flowing locks.
And in 1975 we saw celebs such as Barbra Streisand rocking the natural texture, which became the year’s signature style.
Best known for her roles in The Way We Were and Funny Girl, Streisand embodied the idea of following your dreams, owning your natural looks and allowing your talent to speak for itself.
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Throughout this iconic decade, one of the biggest style inspirations remained celebrity hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, who styled some of the biggest stars of the moment.
And in 1976, his protégé Trevor Sorbie took the helm, with his latest invention, the wedge. This sleek and simple cut was modeled by stars all over, but most notably figure skater Dorothy Hamill—who took the world by storm that year when she won the gold medal representing the United States at the Olympics.
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The further we get in to the 1970s, the more laidback and natural we see the styles becoming. And Meryl Streep epitomized this in 1977 with the iconic look of the year—the side swept bangs.
Looking both effortlessly glam and impeccably groomed, Streep knew how to combine natural beauty with a stunning style statement. Streep would go on to make movie history with a record 21 Academy Award nominations to her name, winning three.
But as the hairstyles continue to get wavier and wavier, can you guess what truly iconic look is coming next?
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We bet you were expecting this one! You can’t mention iconic hairstyles of the 70s without of course mentioning Farrah Fawcett, who burst onto the showbiz scene with her role in the legendary TV show Charlie’s Angels, alongside Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson.
Fawcett’s hair became in many ways a bigger star than the actress herself, with hair salons across the country becoming inundated with requests for “The Farrah”.
Even today, when we think of 70s fashion and style, this is the instant look that springs to mind.
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In 1979 the hairstyles became a bit wilder and messier, showing us the first glimpse of the wild, rocky times that were to come in the decade ahead—both in music and fashion.
And here we can see Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry rocking the rock chick look—undeniably the signature hairstyle of 1979.
The year also saw Harry and her band catapulted to worldwide fame with the release of their stellar hit “Heart of Glass”, as well as their iconic cover shoot for Rolling Stone magazine.
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Oh dear. That shock of wild hair dye and frankly chaotic, messy style can only mean one thing—the 80s have begun.
Now, don’t get us wrong—we love a bit of 80s’ fashion, but there’s no denying it was a pretty bonkers aesthetic, playing around with every single style rule in existence, and then dying it neon orange.
And here we have Cyndi Lauper showing us exactly how it’s done, throwing out the rulebook with the signature style of the year 1980—experimental colors.
It was just a different time.
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Often regarded as the ever-changing style chameleon and master of disguise, Queen of Pop Madonna began her reign in the early 80s, with smash hits such as Lucky Star and Like a Virgin.
And it was her fashion and style efforts that made just as much of a splash as her records and singing talents—and for good reason.
1981 saw popularity surge for the side ponytail, a look very much inspired by the Material Girl herself—and one that would continue for many years to come.
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1982 continued to push further and further into unchartered fashion and style territory, with these wavy feathered bangs, modeled here by celebrity icon Priscilla Presley.
Sure, we had seen waves before, but when it came to bangs, they’d always been kept a little more under control, straightened out or swept to the side.
But this was the 80s! All fashion rules were thrown out of the window, and bangs were left to grow freely and as wildly as they liked.
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Now this is what we call a true 80s hairdo. In the 80s, it was all about volume and height. If creating more volume and height made you hair a bit messy, did you stop? No you did not!
You lay more volume in there, backcombing it for all it’s worth, no matter what kind of wild bird’s nest you might end up with. Nothing matters except the volume.
Here we can see actress Morgan Fairchild rocking the wild look in 1983. She certainly manages to pull it off!
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We were hoping to delete this one from the annals of history, but here we go. 1984 saw the surge of one of the most regrettable and painful to look at hairstyles of all time, the mullet.
Though it epitomized the rock star vibe at the time, we are sorry, but we just cannot see the appeal of the spiky and shaggy birds-nest of a ‘do that was this inexplicably popular hairstyle.
Here we can see rock star Joan Jett, who, luckily for her, was beautiful enough to pull off such a crazy look. The rest of us weren’t quite so lucky.
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Aha! Here we have a true classic, a hairstyle that many survivors of this decade still bear the scars from—and some truly traumatized people still insist on wearing.
Everyone loves Dolly Parton, and she’s one of the few people that can get away with this totally bonkers style—1985’s forgotten favorite, the perm.
Just look at her—whatever she wears, fashion or hairdo-wise, she’s still just an absolute style icon. We love you, Dolly!
Parton celebrated 1985 by releasing her 27th(!) studio album, putting almost every other singer-songwriter to shame. What a legend.
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Good grief. Here we have another iconic hair trend from the decade that style forgot—1986’s favorite ‘do, the crimp.
It is a mark of Ghost star Demi Moore’s exquisite style and beauty that she still manages to look so ravishing, and—dare we say it—cool, in this total mess of a wacky hairdo.
We don’t know how you do it, Demi—hats off to you.
If it were us sporting this bizarre hairstyle, it would most certainly be hats on.
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The most popular hair trend of 1987 wasn’t a style, but rather a color. That’s right—this year marked the undisputable fashion transformation, the rise of the redhead.
And no one rocked the ginger locks better or more brilliantly than The Breakfast Club star Mollie Ringwald.
This cult movie also heralded the beginning of the reign of the “Brat Pack”, the talented bunch of teens that would all go on to become mega Hollywood stars, such as Emilio Estevez, Demi Moore, and Rob Lowe.
Screenshot from “The Breakfast Club”
1988 saw the return of the fashion world’s focus on a hairdo’s size rather than substance, and no one epitomized big, bold, and glamorous hair more than soulful songstress Whitney Houston, nicknamed “The Prom Queen of Soul” or simply “The Voice”. Here she is rocking the curly bob in the way only she can.
This year saw Houston release some of her biggest hit singles of all time, such as “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”, “Love Will Save the Day”, and “I Know Him So Well”.
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1989—Long, Natural Curls
As the wild mania of the 1980s started to settle down, popularity once again began to increase for natural, laid-back styles.
Enter Julia Roberts, Hollywood’s sweetheart for much of the 80s and 90s, and her signature long, natural curls, which became the most popular hairdo in 1989.
Sure, they are still enormous and wild, but things are still calming down a little as the raucous ride of the 1980s began to come to an end. Phew!
But don’t get too comfortable—as you know where that means we’re heading next…
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Hooray, we’ve made it to the 90s! For many of us, this decade seems so recent that you probably wouldn’t expect it to have any style or fashion moments that are too far removed from how we all look and dress today.
But oh, how wrong you are!
Let’s take a look at this pic, which shows Mariah Carey rocking the most popular style of 1990—natural ringlets.
Carey’s girl-next-door appeal made her the most popular singer of the moment, and her single All I Want For Christmas remains the ultimate festive song even to this day.
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1991—Big, Bouncy Waves
1991 saw the return of some old-school glamor, with the world being taken by storm by a new generation of beauties—the global supermodels.
A stellar group of long-legged ladies featuring Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell, they epitomized the power of female beauty and sexuality.
And Cindy Crawford rocked this style better than anyone, as we can see here in this photo of her rocking the year’s signature hairdo—big, bouncy waves.
Image by Mike Forster/Daily Mail/Shutterstock (1132898a)
1992—Short and Curly
Demi Moore bursts back onto our list once again, this time showcasing the ultimate hairdo of the year 1992, the short curls.
Slightly reminiscent of the sparse styles we saw back in 1952, but with a more sort of rugged and rock-chick kind of vibe to it, this trend mixed glamor with grit, making for an utterly unforgettable and iconic look.
1992 was also the year that Moore starred in the movie A Few Good Men, alongside fellow Hollywood legend Tom Cruise.
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Here we can see the lovely Janet Jackson rocking the iconic hairstyle of the year 1993—the beautiful box braids.
Jackson wore her hair in this ‘do when she starred in her first feature film, 1993’s “Poetic Justice”, and viewers were just as impressed with her style as they were with her acting chops.
This hairstyle truly took the world by storm and inspired many other celebs to don the same look, such as Jada Pinkett, Lisa Bonet, and Brandy.
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Supermodel Naomi Campbell continued to reign supreme over the fashion and modeling world in 1994, despite the rumors that she only did this because everyone else lived in mortal terror of her.
Anyway, the controversial supermodel certainly made some undeniable contributions to the ever-changing hairstyle inspirations of the 90s, such as this straight and sleek bob she sported in 1994—making it the most popular ‘do of the year.
Even today, this remains a much beloved and commonly seen hairdo among high-fashion peeps, and it’s not hard to see why.
Image by s_bukley / Depositphotos (16197485)
Here we go! We can’t possibly run through the gamut of most iconic 90s hairstyles without of course mentioning the absolute style classic, “The Rachel”.
Jennifer Aniston popularized this wildly successful haircut, with shaggy layers and soft feathering framing the face, with her character Rachel in the hit sitcom Friends.
Aniston later admitted that the popularity of this hairstyle was a lot of pressure on her, as she couldn’t change it, and it was actually a bit of a pain to maintain.
Still, even today, we must all salute this stalwart of styling greatness. Long live The Rachel.
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The latter half of the 1990s was when things started to get really spicy. Because in 1996, the music industry changed forever when legendary British girl band the Spice Girls burst onto the scene.
Posh, Baby, Scary, Sporty, and Ginger became the global icons for every young girl around the world, and their unique fashion and style was only just one part of their incredible influence.
But it was Ginger Spice, aka Geri Halliwell, that made the biggest hair splash with her wild streak—the shock of blonde hair inserted into her ginger locks. This quickly became the most popular hairdo of the year, with stars like Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera following suit.
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1997—Long and Layered
We all know that Jennifer Lopez changed the course of history forever when she arrived to the Grammy Awards in a dress that fashion experts are still talking about even to this day.
Often credited with being the inspiration behind Google Images, this stunning dress shocked and delighted fans and fashionistas around the world.
But JLo has in fact been making style splashes since 1997—when she popularized the long and layered look.
Never change, Jenny from the Block. We love you.
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Drew Barrymore first burst onto the showbiz scene in 1982, when she starred in the classic sci-fi movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial at the tender age of 7.
But it was in the late 1990s when she really started making a splash, showing that she had truly grown into a strong and independent woman, owning her own fashion and style and working the confidence to experiment with new looks.
And thanks to her, this short and funky fringe became the go-to style for hair lovers everywhere in 1998.
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1998 was a monumental year for Gwyneth Paltrow fans everywhere, because it was when most of us realized that she wasn’t actually British.
Accepting her Oscar for the mega-successful movie Shakespeare in Love, she shocked the world by speaking in her real, American accent, something not everyone had heard before.
Anyway, once we had recovered from that amazement, we were free to gaze upon her stunning short hairstyle—the soft crop, which became the most popular hairdo of that year. Lovely!
Screenshot from “Sliding Doors”
And so we come to the end of our hairdo saga, stopping at the end of the millennium with one final, iconic look.
And who better to represent that look than Aaliyah, the Princess of R&B. Aaliyah was a huge star since first appearing in the scene and she worked with mage popular producers Timbaland and Missy Elliott. In 2000, she appeared in her first film, Romeo Must Die. That same year, her single “Try Again” topped the Billboard Hot 100 solely on airplay. Sadly, a year later she tragically died in an airplane accident in the Bahamas.
Here she is rocking the signature look of the year 2000, the super straight style, at the red carpet of the MTV Music Awards. Now that’s what we call fierce!
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