The pompadour, named after Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of France’s King Louis XV, first became popular with women in the 1700s. The pompadour features hair worn high above the forehead, and often swept outwards to emphasize the volume in the area above the face. For a full pompadour the sides and back are pulled up as well, but they can be worn in various ways.
Most likely due to the dramatic affect that this style breeds, it has endured many revivals. During the late 1800s it became a major part of American culture for its association with the Gibson Girl—seen as the standard of feminine beauty from popular stories created by Charles Dana Gibson. Actress and pin-up model Betty Grable made the style a hit again during World War II with her iconic bathing suit poster. In the 1950s, men began to style their hair into the pompadour, especially rockabilly stars like Elvis Presley, which is why it now has a strong connection to the greaser and rockabilly subculture.
In recent years the pompadour has begun reappear in popular culture with musicians like Janelle Monae making the hairstyle her trademark along with the tuxedo. At this year’s Grammy Awards, Bruno Mars kicked off the show with a high-energy performance and a perfect pompadour. Alicia Keys also came to the awards show with hair coifed in the pomp. Versatile for both men and women, the pomapdour is sure to give a rocker edge to any look.