While it is undoubtedly one of the most timeless and straightforward haircuts of all time, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the humble bob. It is safe to say that no other style loaded with such social and political connotations so you ought to read on before you decide to lop off your locks!
It all started in the 1920s with the flappers when suddenly the idea of glamour and femininity was no longer inextricably linked to long luscious hair. During this era prominent film stars began to sport an entirely different look from that of their predecessors, scrapping long tresses in favour of sculptural new styles. One of the most Iconic was Louise Brooks, an actress and dancer symbolic of the flapper era and attributed by many with popularising the bob cut. Her look, along with that of many other fashion-forward, liberal-minded women of this era, was chin-grazing, blunt, ever so lightly graduated at the front, and often paired with a super short fringe. The style represented a real break from tradition and saw the hairdressing and beauty industry as a whole change forever.
Of course, the style soon co-opted into mainstream beauty culture, and by the 1950s the bob was no longer seen as boyish and rebellious and instead became symbolic of the stylish, independent, modern woman. Movies and media played a massive role in popularising the style, Elisabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Doris Day all wore their hair cropped and many young women headed to the salons looking to imitate their idols.
Then came the Vidal Sassoon era, during the swinging 60s came the second wave of hairdressing and fashion for the modern woman. In 1963 Sassoon re-styled the bob giving it a new sense of attitude and naming it the ‘five-point bob cut.’ This style was shorter and more geometric than ever before. Angular and unfussy, the magic was in the skilful cut of Sassoon’s style. His artful use of scissors meant that the hair could easily be styled at home and required minimum upkeep, unlike the highly styled looks of the 20s and 30s. The true essence of a good bob is minimum effort for maximum impact!
Cropped hair is here to stay it seems, the style remains a favourite amongst some of today’s most relevant and powerful women think Rihanna, Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa and Carrey Mulligan– what’s not to love?!