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From baby bangs to curtain styles, we look at those fringe benefits

Celebs like Audrey Hepburn and Zooey Deschanel have led the charge. Prudence Wade reflects

Having a fringe is something of a rite of passage. Whether you chose the perfect style for your face, or followed a fad trend you soon regretted, many women (and men) are well-acquainted with the trials and tribulations of getting a fringe.

And just like anything else in fashion or beauty, the decades have seen a number of different trends and styles come and go - from short baby bangs through to side-sweeping curtains, and a lot of choppy variations in-between - and some of the most famous style icons have been responsible for popularising them.

Here are some of the most iconic fringe styles over the years ...

1950s: Baby bangs

Baby bangs may very well be the toughest fringe of all to pull off. It essentially does what it says on the tin - a super-short fringe, popularised by Audrey Hepburn. Since its 1950s heyday, we haven't seen a particular resurgence in the popularity of baby bangs, as everyone seems well aware of what a notoriously tricky style this is to wear. However, earlier this year, actress Emma Watson debuted her new haircut that seems to be directly inspired by Hepburn. Maybe 2018 will be the year people start experimenting with the trend again?

1960s: Curtain fringes

Hepburn's baby bangs were very cute, so when the Swinging Sixties came around, the fashions started to become distinctly more sexy. Thanks to pin-ups like French actress Brigitte Bardot, hairstyles got longer and more people started asking for curtain fringes when they went to the salon. These are long, lustrous bangs that are parted at the middle and swept over to either side of the face - yes, just like curtains.

1970s: Thick and wavy

By the time the Seventies hit, the small and perfect bangs of the Fifties seemed long gone. Just think of Farrah Fawcett in that poster, where she's wearing a red bathing suit and sporting her trademark heavy, wavy fringe. Few pictures are so iconic or instantly recognisable - the poster sold a record-breaking 20 million copies. The style was thick, bouncy and not overly 'done'. Fawcett did her own hair and make-up for the shoot, so it was easy for others to replicate.

1980s: Messy and choppy

Things got wilder still when the Eighties came around. Thanks to Debbie Harry and Madonna, fringes got more of a rock 'n' roll makeover for this decade. Think of curly, wispy, all-over-the-shop bangs that were much choppier and less preened than was previously the fashion. Fringes paired with a high ponytail and a scrunchie would have really completed the Eighties look.

1990s: The Rachel

Few haircuts get as classic as 'The Rachel', popularised by Jennifer Aniston's character on Friends, of course. This choppy style was shoulder-length and included long bangs that framed the face, and the look was copied by everyone from Meg Ryan to Goldie Hawn (and half the girls at high school).

Somewhat awkwardly, in 2011, Aniston revealed she actually wasn't too keen on the haircut and called it a 'disaster', telling Allure magazine: "I think it was the ugliest haircut I've ever seen. How did that thing have legs?" Another scourge of 1990s hairstyles was the prevalence of gappy fringes, which, for some reason, weren't seen as such a faux-pas back then.

2000s: The full fringe

As anyone who has experimented with different types of fringe knows, it's particularly dangerous to go all-in with a full block fringe, before experimenting with other styles. However, that's what many women did in the Noughties. During this decade, we bade farewell to the long, sweepy fringes that could be tucked behind an ear, and replaced them with heavy blunt ones that almost covered your eyebrows (thanks to the look rocked by the likes of Zooey Deschanel and Katy Perry). Full fringes like this are particularly severe, so not for the faint-hearted. While they look great on the likes of Perry, many of us have some serious hair regrets from the 2000s.

2010s: Side-swept curtains

And now to the decade that we're nearly at the end of: the 2010s. Thankfully, full fringes aren't quite as popular as they once were, showing just how quickly beauty trends come and go. The focus for fringes nowadays is much less heavy. Instead, we're seeing something more similar to the curtain bangs of the 60s, but mostly swept to one side. Style icons like Alexa Chung stick with traditional bangs parted down the middle, and it's famous faces like Victoria Beckham and actress Carey Mulligan who show us how to make a side fringe seem both elegant and grown-up.

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