Prohibition Pretty: Get The Boardwalk Empire Look

Just in time for the HBO show's second season, a tutorial fit for a speakeasy!
Publish date:
September 24, 2011
vintage, hair, TV, hbo, make-up, retro, flappers, 1920s, boardwalk empire

Lawdy, I love me some "Boardwalk Empire."Yes, there are lots of reasons why: the excellent acting, brilliant storylines, interesting characters, and Michael Pitt's face... But the gorgeous costumes, with the beautifully detailed drop-waist dresses, the super-feminine lovely hairstyles covered in fancy 1920's hats, oh goodness. Those are what bring out the most joy in me. (Okay, maybe Michael Pitt's face, too). HBO, you just get me.

While most people think of flappers when they think of the 1920s, the look of Boardwalk Empire hasn't completely gone flapper yet. The second season kicks off in 1921, when the birth of the flapper was on its way. Hair wasn't quite cropped into Louise Brooks-ish bobs yet, but soft, flowy and full of waves. For example ...

An ad from 1920 for a fabulous, flowing perm. [source]

Silent actress Alla Nazimova sporting an extremely curly updo and heart-shaped lips, 1921.

Paz de la Huerta as Lucy, the crazy lady.

Gretchen Mol as Gillian, Michael Pitt's babely mom.

As you can see, the focus is mainly on the lips, and fabulous hair. So that's just what I did for this look.

For my hair, I clipped my longer layers under in the back and then used a 1/2" curling iron to give myself lots of curls on the shorter layers up front. I then tousled those curls with my fingers and misted them with hairspray for hold. To add some pizazz (yeah, I said pizazz, sue me), I draped a necklace over my hair as a sort of headband thing-a-majig, and pinned it in place with bobby pins. Fancy party hair!

Speaking of parties, I hope you're the kind of people with cool friends who throw TV-viewing parties, and maybe you're going to a 1920's themed Boardwalk Empire party on Sunday. You are, right? Because I'm not and I want to live vicariously through you all ...

For my make-up, I used a dark berry lipstick to give myself a cute little heart-mouth. Basically, that means the peaks at my cupid's bow were rounded out using lipstick and a thin brush to resemble the top of a heart, and the general shape of the mouth was rounded and made all retro-esque. Eyes didn't need much other than a bit of brown shadow in the crease and outer edges for definition, and a few coats of mascara.

Now you just need a secret stash of illegal booze and a fabulous beaded dress and you're good to go. Please have fun at your parties that I'm not invited to!