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Betty Grable – Movie Icon

January 6, 2015

Betty Grable was a famous Hollywood actress and singer renowned for her roles in many famous musicals. She was also famous for her shapely legs and her forties hair, those victory roles and curls, teased into shape around the top of the head – pure forties hair.

Betty Grable-Chorus and pin-ups

Betty Grable was born in 1916 and started her career as a chorus girl and would go on to become a model and pin-up girl before and during her Hollywood years. Her most famous picture was a big favourite with World War II soldiers, and like Hayworth’s famous black lace picture, Grable, standing with her back to the camera in a bathing suit, looking coquettishly over her shoulder, created a striking silhouette.

Betty Grable in a bathing suit, 1949

Betty Grable in a bathing suit, 1949

“You got legs right up to your neck”

Betty Grable’s legs were legendary and reputedly earned her thousands of dollars each year, such was the demand for her perfect pins, that they were insured for $1 million. They were so famous, an image was created of them and set in concrete, immortalised forever outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

Betty Grable-Pure forties glamour

Betty Grable’s look was pure forties glamour, with nipped in waists, high waisted tight shorts, red lips, swirling up-dos and victory rolls. Her hair was pure golden blonde and stayed that way for the majority of her career. She was no character actress and was at her best in musicals, a Hollywood staple throughout the forties that kept spirits up, during and after the Second World War.


Betty Grable’s films included Moon over Miami, Down Argentine Way, Mother Wore Tights (yes, really) and Meet me after the Show. Her fame as an all-round entertainer and musical actress waned after the popularity of the Hollywood musical died down, but she will always be remembered for those legs and that gorgeous golden hair.


Although Betty Grable’s pictures could be alluring and her expression a little coquettish, her image was always more wholesome and sweet than many of her contemporary peers at the time, who smouldered and seduced their way through the forties, like Lauren Bacall and Joan Crawford. She was the Hollywood darling everyone wanted a happy ending for.

Want a piece of Betty Grable magic?

If you fancy emulating the Betty Grable look, then think hair, legs and forties dressing.


Foe Betty Grable style hair you can wear your hair up or down. For a really authentic look you could brush your hair up and forward, towards the crown of your head, pin it securely and curl the front, teasing it into curls and waves. Once securely pinned up, apply some hairspray.If you wear it down, then put some rollers in cold, spritz it with some setting lotion, and when a reasonable amount of time has elapsed, remove and brush through.


Make up should be moderate on the face and eyes, with most of the attention drawn to the lips. They should be bright and preferably red for a bold and glamorous look. All make-up should be accurately applied for a sharp and accentuated look that stops people in their tracks.

Legs and then some more legs

Like Betty Grable, legs should be well groomed and moisturized and if you wear shorts – match them with some platforms or pumps with heels.Tight sweaters with a well-fitting bra that cinches in at the waist is a good look, matched by a knee length skirt. Fitted jackets with padded shoulders look great, always think curvaceous and pure glamour.

Forties Betty Grable glamour

Betty Grable was always dressed stylishly and dressed with the times, whether that be fifties class or forties glamour. You can go with either decade – but forties is more fun, because you can emulate Grable’s beautiful hairstyles that really showed off forties style to perfection.Keep your lippy to hand and make sure you slip some hairspray into that handbag of yours (pure forties authentic please, with a sweet little clasp) and you’re good to go.




million dollar legs

The Dolly Sisters, Betty Grable

pin up girl 1943

Eisenberg & Sons 1940’s Two-Toned Gray Suit