Patent Leather Look

M en had for some time carefully groomed their hair to give it shine. But in the 1920s a smooth glossy finish called the patent leather look became very popular. Film stars such as Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926) and George Raft (1895-1980) wore the patent leather look and helped spread its appeal. Men slicked down their short hair with grease to make the flat, perfectly styled look. Some men added a stiff wave to their plastered-down hair. Most men parted their hair on the side, but some men, especially those losing their hair, used a center part. The patent leather look was worn most often with a clean-shaven face but a pencil-thin mustache could also accompany the look. The look was a perfect example of the desire for men to wear short, neatly-styled hair throughout the decade.


Corson, Richard. Fashions in Hair: The First Five Thousand Years. London, England: Peter Owen, 2001.

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