The saying goes that when it comes to clothing and hairstyles, everything trendy eventually comes back into fashion. That's certainly true of the pompadour hairstyle, which, more than 250 years after it originally became popular, is having another moment. Jenny McCarthy was the latest star to rock the look as she walked the red carpet at the 2012 American Music Awards on Sunday, but she's far from the first to try out the trend, even in this decade. Celebrities such as One Direction's Zayn Malik, Rihanna, Ashlee Simpson, Alicia Keys, and Justin Bieber have all tried out the retro style that somehow manages to be totally modern. Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae regularly don the 'do, as does Pink, who caused a stir when she and Miley Cyrus both wore similar pompadour hairstyles for the 2012 MTV VMAs in September. So it's official: the pompadour is back! Again.
The pompadour originated in the mid-1700s, when a mistress of France's King Louis XV, Madame de Pompadour, began sporting it. "From there, it has moved on to generation and generation and now every decade a few celebrities are always bringing the pompadour back and putting their own twist on its original style," celebrity hairstylist Jose Eber, whose clients have included Elizabeth Taylor, Cher, and Julia Roberts, tells omg!. In more modern times, it's a young Elvis Presley who was best known for his pompadour — so much so that in July Time magazine included the King's poufy coif on its list of the 10 most iconic hairstyles of all time.
Of course, there are variations in the way Elvis, James Dean, Dita Von Teese, Gwen Stefani, and others have worn the look. But what all proper pompadours have in common — whether in the '50s or today — is that the hair is swept up from the face and worn high over the forehead. According to Raphael Reboh — a hairstylist who's worked with Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, and Claudia Schiffer — the style says the wearer "has edge, she is not afraid to take risks and she is comfortable sporting a classic style and making it her own. The pompadour is not an easy style to pull off for the faint of heart. You have to sport it with confidence!"
Still, non-celebs can pull off the dramatic 'do without making a trip to the salon. No, really! "It's simple," says celeb beauty expert Tai Young, who's worked with Vivica A. Fox, Common, and Queen Latifah. "Just part the hair in a section at the top, tease it a little, pull into a ponytail and tuck the teased hair in a slight ramp shape with bobby pins," Young explains, adding that tresses that have not been freshly washed work best. "The higher your pomp, the bolder you are!"
And when it comes to choosing a wardrobe to go with your big hair, try not to overthink it, because the pompadour works with almost anything. "It could be funky pants, a dress, a suit, it could be anything," Eber says. "Honestly, I am not a (clothing) stylist, but I do know that the person who is wearing the pompadour — trust me, they will know exactly what to wear and what not to wear."
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