Bob cuts, it’s everywhere. You probably saw it on the Instagram feed of your favorite blogger, in a runway show, in a slew of editorial mags and street style snaps. Even nearly all Hollywood celeb at some point, chop their hair and wear their own version of the iconic ‘do; from Charlie Theron’s timeless chin bob, Jessica Chastain’s sophisticated lob, Rihanna’ edgy bob, and Taylor Swifts’ pageboy look.
While the bob cuts always seem to portray an air of modernity, this short-and-chic hairdo has a long rich history of breaking the status quo. Early in the 20th century, long tresses were the exemplification of a pristine kind of femininity. The year was 1909 when France-based hairdresser Antoine de Paris debuted the revolutionary cut that shook the hairdressing industry and gave rise to feminism ultimate statement. Since then, many women have turned to cropped their hair bob style for a dramatic change.
The breakthrough and controversial cut were predicted to be short lived. Yet still, here we are, over a century later, googling about the latest trend in bobs. Today, we’ll find out what is it about this simple coiffure that seems timeless and classic. And since this A-list of hairstyle du jour is constantly reinventing itself in a diversity of lengths and texture, we’ll also discuss some of the modern bobs cuts alongside the classic types that stood the test of time, accompanied with some celebrity photos for some style inspirations
What exactly is a bob cut?
Bob cut is defined by a short hair cut cascading above the shoulders, cut in straight with a side fringe that frames the face. But this was just the vintage style which the present versions were patterned from. Today’s modern and fresh intakes are not only limited to cut or the length but also to the style and color. Apart from the graduated and inverted types, some are worn in messy curls while some are popularized in ombre versions.
A little bit of a trivia: Antoine de Paris, the French hairdresser who created the look, got his inspiration from when Joan the Arc cut her hair short, pageboy style. In France, the haircut is still popularly known as the coupe à la Jeanne d’Arc (Joan the Arc’s haircut). But where does the term “bob” came from? In American English, the popular cut was referred to as the “bob” as a reference to a boy named Bob because back then, the style was viewed primarily as a man’s haircut.
Why get a bob cut?
No longer that hairstyle that is exclusive for men, bob cuts are for all women looking for a drastic change in their look. Are you still having the second thoughts? We get it, the idea of chopping your hair off is sure terrifying, especially if you have long hair for as long as you can remember. But really though, you will never know what you are missing if you haven’t taken the sword to cut your tresses, Mulan-style.
There is a bob for everyone. Regardless of your hair type — curly, straight, thin, fine or thick –, you can’t be wrong with choosing a bob because this versatile hairstyle looks good on everyone. Additionally, bobs are can be easily customized to suit whatever your personality is. Whether you’re quirky and fun, edgy or flirty or an avant-garde trendsetter — there is a ‘do that best describes you.
You are always in style. Trends come and go, but bobs are here to stay. It has stood the test of centuries. So if you are looking for the timeless signature hairstyle you can keep perhaps for the decades to come, the bob is just right up your alley.
It’s the lazy girls guide to looking best. Even Anna Wintour herself kept her signature pageboy bob for 30 years straight because according to her, she’s too lazy to change it. Well, we can’t blame her, bob is a low-maintenance hairdo for a busy Vogue editor like herself. As compared to long hair, short hair dries much faster which makes it almost a ‘wash and wear’ kind of thing. You can roll out of bed, jump in the shower, do a little blow-drying and leave the house without spending ages in styling. Of course, you will need to visit the salon from time to time to maintain the length. But other than that, it’s not that much of upkeep.
There’s just something about cutting your hair short that feels liberating. Apart from letting go of split-ends and all those extra-dead cells weighing your hair down, cutting your hair makes can boost ego and confidence. Take it from Katty Perry who says chopping her hair frees her in so many ways. “I feel so liberated with this hair now. In general, I feel 360-degrees liberated all around. Whether it’s politically, mentally, spiritually, sexually. I feel liberated from all the things that don’t serve me.” Need we say more?
The Different Types of Bobs
When it comes to selecting a bob type, the choices are almost endless. Bobs have proven to evolve with time and no longer limited to the tapered neck-length hairstyle of the 20th century. Time. Looking for inspiration? Here is a list of the different bob types, from the classics to modern uptakes
The 1920’s Bobs
In the U.S., 1920 is the year of the dramatic chop wherein women opt for short hairstyles to emulate a free-spirited independent American woman. Also known as the classic bobs, this is the type of short bob wherein hair floats above the jawline, bringing a flattering look to the jaw area. As you can see in the photo, some are slicked down with curls while others are worn straight with the fringe.
Castle Bob is one of the most popular styles at that time, named after the famous flapper dancer Irene Castle. It’s basically a short to medium length with a fringe on the front that Irene mostly wore in the finger-waved style.
Among the other styles that belong in this era are the orchid bob, page boy bob, faux bob the shingle, the coconut bob, Moana bob, Eton bob, and the charleston bob.
Recently, we saw a resurgence in the retro bobs popularity in some of the A-listers, on and off-red carpet. Anne Hathaway’s version of faux bob is perhaps the best throwback. Just like Anne, you can also tousle in some soft curls to add more definition to the look.
The A-line Bobs
The term ‘A-line’ refers to the perimeter of the hair length. This a modern twist on the classic bobs where the front hair is slightly grown while the back is kept short. While there are many ways to wear this cut, it’s almost impossible to spot the difference. To get a grasp of what we are talking about, here is the break-down of the many variations of the A-line cuts.
The Asymmetrical A-line: This bobbed cut has an uneven cut in the front where one side runs shorter while the other slightly longer.
Riri, the queen of bobs, proves this style is equally dope and timeless as she sports her signature ‘umbrella’ look in this photo.
The Graduated A-line: Also known as the stacked bob because ‘stacked’ layers in the back of the hair are the prominent feature. In many places around the world, this type of cut is also known as the inverted bob.
Spice Girl Victoria Beckham a.k.a Posh made this look even more popular, giving birth to the iconic term Pob coined from Posh + bob.
Buzzcut A-line: This is the edgier cousin of the graduated bob wherein the back or the side is cut with an electric clipper.
Here you can see singer Demi Lovato showcasing her punk rock side with a shaved portion of her bob. She even took it to the next level with those undercuts.
Lob hairstyles are your go-to if you want your stylist to pick up the shears but don’t want to go way too short. The lob is basically a long bob, hence the name. There are a lot of styles you can do with a lob — pin-straight, wavy, middle part, side part or throw in some bangs, just like some of these celebs nailing the look.
The Layered Bob
This is the type of bob wherein the hair displays various lengths. The top layer is normally cut shorter but can also be curled to emphasize the sharp layers. Layered bobs can be mixed with other bobbed cuts. Just like this chic, layered-lob that works beautifully on Scarlett Johannson’s heart-shaped face. Don’t you just love the shaggy cut and the texture?
You can also keep the style short, just like what Emma Watson did when she grew out her pixie cut. She turned it to inverted comb-backed, layered bob with beautiful streaks of balayage. The style gives more volume to her fine hair.
The Blunt Bob
This is basically the cropped or shorter version of the lob but a slightly longer than the short-bob types. Another prominent feature is the straight cut at the end
Below, you can see some creative ways to spice up your blunt bob, the Kardashian-style. From left to right; Kylie with her slick-back platinum blond, Kim giving the bob a flicked inward ends, and Khloe with her wet-look wavy bob.
Or you can also throw in some blunt bangs. Anna Wintour and Taytay prove bobs and bangs never go out of style. As you can see, this particular look accentuates the shape of your face. This works best of the oval, heart and long face.
Are you ready to jump on the bandwagon?
There are two distinct ways to look at a bob cut; bold and exciting or completely terrifying. If you fall into the latter, chances are you are just too anxious to let go of your long hair. Yes, your hair will notably go into a drastic change but the looks aren’t jarring. Another plus, you’ll look good no matter what type of bob you go for because this is a versatile hairstyle that suits any hair types. On top of that, can customize your look according to your individuality.
Go shorter or tapered. Pair it with a complementary color, throw in some waves, fringe or bangs — the sky’s the limit. The good thing about bobbed cuts is it lets you experiment with the look. You just need to make the daring move and give your crowning glory the timeless fresh chic ‘do, namely thy bob.