Ph: Emma Summerton for Vogue Japan. Hair by Neil Moodie

Ph: Emma Summerton for Vogue Japan. Hair by Neil Moodie

11th July 2019

The BOB and how it just keeps

bobbing along!

The name is short sharp and too the point, just like the haircut. If you have this haircut, your hair bobs ( or bounces) up and down. Well that’s my theory as to where the name of it came from and I’m sticking to it. LOLz

A 1903 engraving of Joan of Arc by Albert Lynch featured in the Figaro Illustre magazine

A 1903 engraving of Joan of Arc by Albert Lynch featured in the Figaro Illustre magazine

Bobbed hair styles in fashion date back to the 1920s, with the cigarette holder smoking, flask carrying flapper girls. The haircut possibly dates back to the 15th Century with Joan of Arc supposedly sporting a bob type haircut. Meanwhile, the New York Times traced the origins of the bob haircut back to 1903, when two female students at Bryn Mawr college appeared with short hair to play basketball. The article also claims that “bobbed hair” became popular in Greenwich Village between 1908 and 1912, thanks to the influence of "intellectual women" from Russia who used bobbed hair to disguise themselves from police”

Singer Mary Garden was quoted as saying when she was interviewed for the Pictorial Review in 1927

“Bobbed hair is a state of mind and not merely a new manner of dressing my head…When I consider the achievements of women in the past few years in the field of athletics I find it impossible to do so without taking into account the tremendous freedom-giving changes in fashion that have accompanied them. And enjoying the blessings of short hair is a necessary part of those fashion changes. To my way of thinking, long hair belongs to the age of general feminine helplessness. Bobbed hair belongs to the age of freedom, frankness, and progressiveness.” taken from “Why I Bobbed My Hair,” Pictorial Review, April 1927

Screenshot 2019-07-10 at 06.31.13.png

A decade before the 20’s flapper girls, the bob haircut had already started to become mainstream. Long hair was always considered to be the most feminine but a well-known American dancer named Irene Castle cut her hair off purely for convenience before entering a hospital for an appendectomy in 1914, which apparently started a trend and the bob haircut was seen as ideal for rebellious young women in the 1920s. It complemented the tubular silhouettes coming through in women's fashion during much of the 20’s, and the length meant that your hair wouldn’t interfere with any ‘crazy’ dancing. The controversial cut also helped create publicity for actresses Clara Bow and Louise Brooks,. By the start of the 1920s, the bob had become desired by millions of women across all ages and social classes. It became associated with the "shocking" behaviour of the young women who drank alcohol, wore makeup and showed their knees, and weirdly even now, if a woman or a celebrity cuts their hair off into a bob from long, it still creates the occasional gasp and column inches.

So why is it so popular?? I’ve been asking myself this question for so long and I’ve come to the conclusion it’s because we’ve created so many different variants of it over the years that there is literally a version of a bob for EVERYBODY! There isn’t a soul on this Earth that some version of a bob wouldn’t suit, be it straight, wavy, curly, bouffant, slick, shorter, longer, even with a long or short fringe etc. and men also get in on the act too. This is the reason why it never really goes out of fashion!!!

Ph: Emma Summerton for Vogue Japan. Hair by Neil Moodie

Ph: Emma Summerton for Vogue Japan. Hair by Neil Moodie


A Round Face: The best bobs for round faces are longer bobs or the lob as it’s more commonly known these days.

A Square Face: A bob cut an inch or two below your jaw is best. A graduated bob will work really well where the back is shorter and front is longer.

Heart-Shaped Face Longer bobs are the most flattering for this kind of face shape.

Oval Shape Face: Any length bob works well on an oval shaped face.

Long Face: Jaw length or a little shorter will help to even out a long face

Heart Shaped Faces: Chin-length bobs are great for this face shape. A side-swept fringe can also flatter this face shape.

Oval, Heart & Long Faces: Bobs with blunt fringes are perfect for these face shape.

All Face Shapes: A long, textured Bob is great for all face shapes

Let’s take a quick look at the most popular Bobs from the beginning of the 1900’s through to the present day and you’ll see why it's never lost its connection with female empowerment, therefore never really going out of fashion.

Famous Bobs over the years

Famous Bobs over the years

15th Century heroine Joan of Arc may have been a direct inspiration in the creation of the bob fashion at the beginning of the 20th Century ( She’s known to have sported the short bob for practical reasons to disguise her gender as male during the 100 years war between France and England).

1910’s: Irene Castle, Geraldine Farrar, Cleopatra, Theda Bara, Coco Chanel, Lady Diana Cooper

1920’s: Josephine Baker, Fanny Ward, Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, Joan Crawford

1930’s: Jean Harlow, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Katherine Hepburn, Carole Lombard and Ginger Rogers

1940’s: Princess Grace of Monaco

1950’s: Doris Day

1960’s: Mary Quant, Jackie Kennedy, Mary Tyler Moore, Barbara Streisand, Jean Muir, Julie Andrews, Catherine Deneuve, Marianne Faithfull, Anna Wintour (at the age of 14 to the present day)

1970s: Julie Christie, Barbara Streisand, Diana Rigg, Faye Dunaway, Debbie Harry, Cher, Twiggy, Diana Ross, Dorothy Hamill

1980’s: Daryl Hannah, Siouxsie Sioux, Beatrice Dalle, Winona Ryder, Corinne Drewery ( Swing Out Sister), Siobhan Fahey, Alison Moyet

1990s: Victoria Beckham, Uma Thurman, Lisa Stansfield, Whitney Houston, Christina Aguillera Courtney Love, Kate Moss

2000’s: Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham, Madonna

2010’s: Adele, Arizona Muse, Beyonce, Sienna Miller, Jennifer Lawrence, Keira Knightly, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Kirsten Stewart, Margot Robbie, Cara Delevingne, Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Jourdan Dunn

Current, 2019 : Charlize Theron, Emilia Clarke and Irina Shayk, Emma Stone, Bella Hadid, Charlize Theron, Kaia Gerber, Rosie Huntington Whiteley, Reese Witherspoon, Lily James, Saoirse Ronan