90th IDPG Original Research


GI Hairstyles: Original Images, Observations and Recommendations

Date Written: Winter 2010
Foreword: Mike Ellis - 90th IDPG


“Hair brings one's self-image into focus; it is vanity's proving ground.  Hair is terribly personal, a tangle of mysterious prejudices.”
-Shana Alexander, 1925-2005

A bad haircut can ruin any impression, regardless of time spent interviewing veterans, serving at the VA, prior service in the military, money spent on uniforms, equipment, vehicles, or time digging foxholes. Many reenactors have been asking us, then, “what is the correct look for a WWII GI?”

Much talk has been made of the perfect WWII look. Pomade, long cut, short cut, white walls – all are the ultimate look, or “inauthentic”, depending on who you talk to. The problem is that hair cuts are a very personal matter (now and then!), and much leeway was and is given to the American fighting man when it comes to this issue. In order to set the record straight, we have compiled 90 wartime photographs, showcasing the great variation allowed to service members and grooming. While there are many, many ways to be right, there are also a few ways to be wrong. Should you have further interest, we have also compiled some of the language and terms you should use when speaking with barber or stylist regarding a “1940s” hair cut.

So if you’re ready; grab a seat, put on the apron, give your glasses to the barber and get ready for…


The 90th ninety: Haircuts of World War Two

There are two obvious extremes to hair - long and short - while both can be supported by chance photographs for WW2 US GI's, the "typical" GI haircut was somewhere in the middle. To get started, pick any section from below and you’ll see what we mean…

1.) Defining Terms and Styles
2.) Analysis and Conclusions
3.) What to ask your barber
A.) The images



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