The ultimate classic haircut, the Bob, is once again bang on trend and I’ve embraced it!
I hadn’t had my hair cut or coloured for 4 months, even managing to go through Christmas and New Year without a visit to a hairdresser, but a few weeks ago, my lack of style got to me. I think your hair leads your style image. It doesn’t matter if it’s one length long hair, as long as it’s shiny and healthy. Mine looked “endy” and as I’m lazy when it comes to styling I knew I need the chop!
I toyed with a few styles: a layered mid-length look with a fringe, (very Boho,) a round layered shorter look, a Lob, or a classic one length, bob without a fringe. My lovely friend, TIGI European Session Director, Maria Kovacs, took one look at me and said, “No question! Bob!” So we found a corner in our studio and she cut inches off my hair. This she did by cutting from a centre parting so I can wear my hair parted on both sides or in the middle, and on the side it gives a slight asymmetric look. She styled it with Bed Head After Party and spritzed with Bed Head Headrush…..And I was instantly revived. The compliments haven’t stopped coming since.
In wearing a Bob I’m joining an elite group! The Bob has seen a huge trend resurgence led by Hollywood celebs and looks to be the hair cut of 2020. Straight or waved, ‘Lob’ length or short, the hairstyle of the moment was seen at the 2020 Golden Globes and Oscars on a huge number of stars including Naomi Watts, Greta Gerwig, Zoey Deutch, Reece Witherspoon, Michelle Williams, Natalie Portman and Lucy Boynton.
“The Bob’s timeless!” Maria said, “It’s youthful, chic, and lends itself to many textures. It’s really adaptable too. Anyone can look good wearing the Bob. One of its enduring aspects is that it instantly gives the wearer a new image, without compromise or the fear of losing too much length.
And look who’s worn a Bob! What about Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra? It’s an historical reference..and it’s Elizabeth Taylor!”
But there’s more to the Bob than being stylish as there are underlying links of this on-trend haircut to historical, political and economic changes …and the on-going rise of ‘girl-power’. In fact you could say it’s a symbol of emancipation and freedom, not just an enduring trend.
Nowadays the word ‘empowerment’ has become symbolic with women’s rights, but this evolving movement has been bubbling up since the women first won their political and social freedom during the “roaring twenties”. With an increased number in work, for the first time women had financial freedom, so it’s no surprise that during the 1920s both fashion and hair styles demonstrated women’s emancipation. And, it was during this decade The Bob became widely popular, having first been worn some 10 years earlier by a forward thinking few. It’s even been suggested that perhaps the name ‘Bob” was a reference to the androgyny of the cut itself.
In the early ‘20s The Bob was often ‘Marcel-waved,’ or permed, but in the latter years, the shape became more severe, as famously worn by the Jazz Age icon, actress Louise Brooks. The characters Brooks’ played were rebellious, seductive and showed sexuality, leading to the Bob to be linked to freedom and sensuality that strongly appealed to young female movie-goers of the era.
During the Swinging 60s, the Bob, along with short hemlines and The Pill, again demonstrated the rebelliousness and freedom of women, perfectly worn by fashion designer Mary Quant and model Twiggy. The Bob was part of a style trend that illustrated the power of ‘youth’, and came with a decade of change in social norms with the emergence of new music genres, drug-taking, sexual freedom, political and student uprisings.
In the early 90s women began to gain real power (or so they thought.) The shiny Bob re-emerged as a trend-led hairstyle. From Posh Spice, aka Victoria Beckham, to Courtney Love and Winona Ryder, women began symbolising a new rebelliousness and a shiny or textured bob was a stamp of their power. And for some, like American Vogue’s Anna Wintour, the Bob has become an enduring style significant with their power and image.
100 years after women first wore the Bob it has re-emerged as a fashion trend. Is this linked to a female empowerment? Women are certainly fighting hard for equal opportunities and equal pay, making their ambitions heard at the highest level. With the ‘Me-Too’ movement they are increasingly standing up for themselves, yet in reality there are still few women in top roles and women are still abused in the work place. Does the Bob signify success or is its androgyny the appeal to women wanting to make their mark in the world?
Which brings the Bob back to me. This isn’t my first generation Bob. I had a permed, curly bob in the mid-80s, a soft layered bob in the 90s followed by a sharp Lob and full fringe. It’s been a while since I’ve returned to this look, but one thing I can say, in all its variations, it’s made me feel as if I can conquer anything, stand up to anyone and definitely rock it!
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