The Gibson Girl-style was perhaps the first decidedly American fashion-phenomenon, invented in the form a series of pin-up drawings by the illustrator Charles Dana Gibson.
Not only was she beautiful, with her signature hair-do and hour-glass shape, but she was also free-spirited (in so much as it was possible in that constricting corset), funny and even sporty. She went to college, played tennis, travelled, and was even pictured as somewhat of an equal to the men in her circles, though obviously she did not get to vote, and had little prospects outside of marriage.
Nonetheless, the gibson girl was the feminine ideal for a more modern era, and definitely a beauty standard fit for the New World, which had for much of its history been following the trends of Europe, rather than creating it's own. Certainly her arrival paved the way to the revolutionary styles of the Jazz Age, for the gibson girl often favored shorter skirts than what was accustomed to, and required sporty outfits for such past-times as swimming and tennis.
While one does not want aspire to having the freakishly small waist, or the ridiculous beauty and attitude notions of the era, there is something utterly alluring about the Gibson Girl. For me at least, the piled-on-top-of-the-head hair has been an object of (mostly unfulfilled) yearning, since 6th grade. Its extravagant, yet carefree look sets off a modern outfit perfectly, adding a touch of class and elegance, and it is fairly easy to do if you have long hair. (Bangs are a problem, alas.)
Witness this Helsinki-beauty pull it off, with a perfect Gibson-esque blouse, and high-waisted jeans (and a bag featuring one of Tove Jansson's Moomin-characters):
Image from Hel-looks
Easy instructions for the hair-do are available here. I'm off to try them myself. Followed, perhaps by a rousing game of tennis, a walk on the beach (parasol included), and some drinks at the club. I hear they have a divine new pianist.