Iconic Beauty Moments From Holiday Films
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Festive & Fair1 of 15
By Natasha Burton
To get into the spirit of the season, we're taking a look back at the best holiday movie beauty moments of all time—and the actresses who wore them. See the most memorable hair and makeup looks of the past, including pin curls, pompadours and perms.
The Write Stuff2 of 15
In the 1945 classic Christmas in Connecticut, Barbara Stanwyck plays Elizabeth Lane, a single, independent NYC writer who pretends to be a model housewife (and mother) in her magazine column—and then ends up having to actually act the part. Playing a softer role than in her previous films, Stanwyck's longer hair is shaped in classic 1940s curls with short bangs, kept perfectly coiffed with a headscarf. Her carefully controlled style reflects the citified career woman she portrays.
A Mother's Work3 of 15
To play George Bailey's wife, Mary, in It's a Wonderful Life (1946), Donna Reed had a look that emphasized her character's sweet nature. Her neutral eye and red lips (evident in the color version of the classic film) were paired with soft pin curls, which also matched those of her on-screen kids—including the adorable Zuzu.
Subtle Stunner4 of 15
In 1947's The Bishop's Wife, actress Loretta Young often wore her hair in a chignon instead of the more glamorous curled style. During World War II, the 'do was popular among women who worked in factories to support the war effort, so the style reinforced the tenor of Young's modest character.
Belief System5 of 15
Maureen O'Hara's half-up, half-down 'do in A Miracle on 34th Street (1947) combined swept-up bangs with iconic rolled curls of the era, and no-nonsense combs. The prim style reflected her character's disposition as a cynical single mom whose holiday spirit is renewed through the eyes of her daughter (played by a young Natalie Wood) and, yes, Kris Kringle himself.
Elegant Escapism6 of 15
To play war widow Connie Ennis in Holiday Affair (1949), Janet Leigh's hair was set into a deep, dramatic part with a front-wave, a popular '40s style that epitomized glamour. Through the dazzling styles in World War II films like this, moviegoers found pleasure and distraction during troubled times.
Pomp and Circumstance7 of 15
One style that transitioned from the '40s into the '50s (and is making a resurgence on red carpets today) is the pompadour. In White Christmas (1954), Rosemary Clooney wears a subtle version of this look to play a glamorous singer. Her 'do adds a dose of drama whether it's styled smooth or waved.
Sister Act8 of 15
In the holiday horror movie Home for the Holidays (1972), Sally Field, Eleanor Parker, Jill Haworth and Jessica Walter play sisters. All women sported the cat-eye liner that came into fashion in the '70s. To represent the age and personality differences between the women, each one's hair is styled into a different look.
High, Mom9 of 15
The permed curls in A Christmas Story (1983) fit perfectly with the decade of excess. To play an everyday mom in this wry holiday classic, actress Melinda Dillon adopted the big hair that was the signature style of the time.
Big Moment10 of 15
As the long-suffering wife and mom Ellen Griswold in Christmas Vacation (1989), Beverly D'Angelo's hair was styled in teased waves reminiscent of the 'dos on the era's popular soap Dynasty.
Oh, Brother11 of 15
OK, so Mixed Nuts (1994) clearly stars a man (actor Liev Schreiber) dressed as a woman. However, his smoky eye, blunt-cut bangs and drawn-on beauty mark showcase the edgy, goth-esque look that became popular in the '90s.
Home Girl12 of 15
Claire Danes' fresh-faced '90s style in Home for the Holidays (1995) fits perfectly into this family film. (Though the beanie she sports in the film adds a decidedly grunge edge, reminiscent of her My So-Called Life character, Angela Chase.)
Singular Style13 of 15
With her bedhead and holiday-printed PJs, Renee Zellweger's look in Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), a Christmastime romantic comedy, is decidedly undone. Unsurprisingly, women everywhere related to Bridget's lovable, underdog spirit.
Elfin Magic14 of 15
To play Will Ferrell's love interest Jovie in Elf (2003), Zooey Deschanel dyed her dark hair blond, a move that she later called a big mistake. However, the softer shade fit her look for this film. As a department-store elf, her curled angelic locks and minimal makeup gave her a lovable and youthful glow.
Retro Waves15 of 15
Sharon Leal's loose waves in This Christmas (2007) are reminiscent of the classic holiday-film stars, paying homage to the likes of Stanwyck and O'Hara, who remain icons of cinematic beauty today.
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