Rosie’s ‘Do

Alright other vintage and rockabilly ladies! This is a shoutout for help. I am working hard to build a new me, at the gym, three times a week. The only problem is, I hate ruining the set I struggled so hard to create! I need some help figuring out what is the best thing to do with my hair, while working out. (Because if I’m not sweaty and nasty by the end of my session, I’m not doing a good enough job!) Currently, this is what I look like at the gym. If you need to laugh, it is fully justified.

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I have amassed a small collection of “Rosie the Riveter” patterned bandanas so I don’t look as dopey as I would in a flowery scarf.  BUT I still get my fair share of strange looks.  Under that sexy piece of gym headwear, I have loosely pin-curled my hair up again; as if I were to go to bed.  In fact, I go home, shower, (shower-capped, of course!) and pretty much hit the hay with my head still bundled up the same.
In doing research on vintage workout wear, I discovered a problem. Photographs taken in gyms and during activity, during the 30s, 40s, and 50s, are shots taken for magazines and publicity. So every lady is made up, hairstyled, and often wearing heels! Even during brief research, I only found one photograph of a woman with a sensible hairdo.


It appears that in schools, at least, girls in the 1950s and 1960s were given a gym uniform by the school. I love this concept; not only is it equalizing, but it takes the fuss out of dressing for athletics. You just hop into your issued-playsuit, and out onto the field.

And while the Bomb Girls wore their “turbans” on the job, the scarf was more there for protection from the chemicals than from sweat.


The Bomb Girls

As a fun tidbit I found while researching this subject, I discovered a fantastic 1950s fitness guru, Jack LaLanne! There are episodes of his show on Youtube!  He was the first TV fitness guru, and his show demonstrated easy ways for the housewife to stay fit, in her home, in her spare time.  But even after viewing some of his show, I can’t help but feel like the gym is somewhere you would never EVER find a lady.  Ever.  So the problem I am dealing with, is one that didn’t really exist until (informally) the 1960s, and (formally) the 1970s.  And by the 70s, no young and hip person bothered setting their hair anyways.

Does anybody else out there have a good solution to preserve their set, while being active? This is something that has been challenging me for some time now.


Original caption: “From the mid-1950s to the early 1970s, women had to appear as ladylike as possible, even when doing something as traditionally masculine as working out with weights. This girl is doing a seated press with respectably heavy weight, but her high heels and helmetlike hairdo are like fig leaves preserving her femininity.”

i wish i could look this good working out!

I wish I looked this good on one of these machines!


Seems a bit too easy to be effective, doesn’t it. Maybe I’ll just stick with Dr. Ho’s machine…


1940s yoga? Although the high heels are (thankfully) missing, their hair seems a bit high-maintenance for a good workout.


Marilyn was a huge fan of yoga, and practiced it for most of her adult life.


This 1930s era lady makes me want to burst out laughing. Her outfit, her lipstick, her heels!


Two fashionable ladies in the 1920s demonstrate a modern treadmill.

BL-Exercise  horrorpopdarling-2009062910534-00-original7d_1_b_3417_1


One thought on “Rosie’s ‘Do

  1. Good on you! I think the scarf looks great – and I must say I do the same thing. I don’t go to the gym but I walk the dogs early morning or go on the exercise bike. It’s really hot here at present, so most of the time I wear my hair up – either with a few victory rolls or in a more 50s, 60s updo with french roll. Keeps the back of the neck cool! I think you’re right about the gym too – most women walked everywhere for exercise, and then some toning sit ups etc at home.

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