September 18, 2011

My hair has traveled up and down my back since my early twenties.  When I did Polynesian dance, it stayed on the longer end.  When I was taking a break from competing, up it would drift.  Now that I am doing more vintage on a regular basis, I thought it was time to modify my usual layered cut into a proper vintage haircut.

I trotted off to visit Sandra D at Capella Salon.  Sandra, in addition to being able to style hair in modern cuts, can whip out a vintage do as well.  When I went to another hairdresser a half a year ago and asked her for a long middy, she looked at me like I was daft.  Turns out, they don’t teach it a lot anymore and if they do, they don’t call it a middy.  I asked Sandra if there was a modern name for the cut, so maybe if stylists of today didn’t know what the word middy was but did know it by another name, you would still be able to ask for the cut and they could replicate a facsimile.  Turns out, not all teachers teach it.  Sandra asked her instructors specifically how to do it, as she had an interest in vintage hair.  So I felt I was in pretty good hands.

I asked for a longer middy, as I have a round face and am horrible at drying my hair.  Give me a hairdryer and short hair and you have a basketball head in 15 minutes.  I need the length to weigh down the curl as I also have a natural wave to it.  We agreed to take 4 inches off my length, which brought me in at around 8” in length overall.  According to the 1940s Hairstyles book by Daniela Turudich, a 6” long in the back middy is known as a Femme Fatale and supposedly was the length sported by Lana Turner and Rita Hayworth.  She doesn't note the name of a longer style.  As you can see from the photo of me, even 8”, 2” longer that the Femme Fatale, isn’t “long” by a longshot.  The layers on top of my head curl around to frame my jaw, not my cheekbone.

vintage middy cut by Lady by Choice

The initial cut was a classic middy-shape, with a U-shaped back, sharply sloping sides, and layers.  After drying my hair, and seeing how full it was, Sandra decided to thin out my hair.  A lot.  I’m sure the lady sweeping up the hair was very dismayed, as every time she came back from sweeping up, there was another pile of hair on the floor.  I looked like I was molting.  Before I go further, I have to tell you a story, so you know why this was necessary.

When I was in elementary school, we had to each write a sentence describing our classmates.  One of my classmates wrote about me, “Patricia is pretty and she has log hair.”  Now, I’m sure he meant to write long hair, but it turns out he was very skilled in metaphor long before his time.  Because, it could be said I have log hair.  Very thick, very coarse.  When my middy was dried out, I looked a bit like Rosanne Rosanna Danna and that was even without a wetset. Too much volume.  Can you imagine hair like this after a Hot Stick set?  Yikes!  A little (or a lot) of thinning, and the curl looked much better for my weight of hair.

vintage middy cut by Lady by Choice

vintage middy cut by Lady by Choice
 Post-thinning.  Looks a bit like it could turn out like a Carol Brady cut, no?   
But look at it once dried out a little…
vintage middy cut by Lady by Choice
 See?  Fluff, thickness, volume.  I has it.  Even with the thinning.

I didn’t have time to do a proper wetset on it, so I had to resort to some handy Velcro rollers and a bit of a blow dry to quickly get ready for dinner.  Now you will see why I got a longer middy.

vintage middy cut by Lady by Choice
 See length of style when stylist does it.

vintage middy cut by Lady by Choice
See length of style when I get my hands on it.  And remember, that is just bend, not curl.   
When I curl  it, it may just be able to rest on the top of my shoulders.

vintage middy cut by Lady by Choice
 Me in my unmade-up glory. 

So there you have it, my loves.  My haircut is complete, though my quest is not truly at an end, as I haven’t found the perfect vintage set for it yet.  A haircut is not a perfect haircut unless she of the power dryer can tame it into luscious Lana curls.  So tune in another time for the Middy Mission.

vintage middy cut by Lady by Choice
If you’d like to visit Sandra D, try her out at Capella Salon in Studio City or vist her website at  This is not a paid endorsement.  I just dig her.

'Bye for Now,

Lily said...

Do you have a hood or bonnet dryer? I should show you how I wet set my hair. It's easy-peasy, and great for a proper vintage look.

Patricia Lynn said...

Yup, I have a bonnet dryer. My issues is I tend to get BIG hair. I start looking like a football.

Lily said...

Oh, dear! Well, the length should help, for sure. So would basing the curl off-base a bit. That should lessen the volume and just add curl. We should have a girlie slumber party where we watch old films, drink cocktails, and do each other's hair. :)

Anonymous said...

Ooh which blue black har dye did you use? :)

Patricia Lynn said...

I actually don't use black hair dye. I use dark ash brown, but because I dye every two weeks it builds up, even though I just dye the roots.

Unknown said...

With my curls I find it a lot(!) easier to roll, if the hair is cut sharp - without any thinning.

For voluminous curls I like to hairspray and teeze into the curl a little bit.
Spray afterwards and grab your curls and hold them pushing upward a few seconds. Now the spray is dry and my curls are bouncy :)

Best wishes

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