Aleya is the owner of Spontaneous Chick, a beauty blog that also features fashion, health and décor tips. The blog started a little over a year ago, and now a new Facebook page has just been launched! Thank you Beauty School Directory for allowing me to share this information with your readers.
Before the 1920s, women generally preferred to wear their hair on the longer side to show femininity and beauty. Women with short hair were actually considered to be rebellious and undesirable. People would shun them and men wouldn’t date them. Even if she wanted to cut her hair, a girl would normally stop herself as to not offend the men in her life, be it her father, brother, husband or boss. It really was only a matter of time before women decided to take a stand and cut their strands to show that they are their own person and have minds of their own.
Around 1918 and in the early ’20s, there were two things that caused millions of women worldwide to adopt a very short hairstyle called the “bob” and cause panic to their male friends. The first was that during World War II many women had to work in factories and the medical area. This made long hair difficult to maintain and as far as the medical jobs go, it was also considered to be unhygienic. The other force was a ballroom dancer and actress named Irene Castle, who chose to cut her hair for convenience and to show how modern she was by cutting her locks short. This cut became so popular that it was named the ‘Castle Bob.’ Soon other celebrities such as Coco Chanel followed in her footsteps and before long the bob became a highly popular cut among the mainstream.
Although countless newspapers, magazines and men tried to say that the style was not appealing and not fashionable, the desire for hairstyles that were not so difficult to achieve and easy to maintain made the bob thrive. The first style developed by Irene Castle was on the longer side and the hair swept down to the ears. Women had the choice of showing off the cut with bangs or simply brushing all of the hair off of their foreheads. Although the cut is considered to be feminine today, back in 1915 it caused quite an uproar. Couples got divorced, women lost their jobs and even the media went into a frenzy. It was the ultimate act of rebellion against tradition. As far as the beauty industry goes, hairstylists who originally refused to give their clients the bob cut soon found that they were forced to do so if they wanted to keep their clients because many women were leaving the beauty parlors for barber shops.
Soon the Castle Bob was left behind in favor of the Shingle Bob which was a little shorter. This version included a V shape at the nape of the neck while the rest of the hair was flat and covered the ears. In addition to shorter haircuts, women also found themselves trying out new hair colors and even getting perms. Beauty parlors around the world were flourishing and increasing in number as women flooded in to keep their short locks fashionably short. Just as the media was finally giving up and accepting a woman’s right to choose short hair, the 1930s rolled in and long hair became stylish again.
We didn’t see the bob very often until 1963 when Vidal Sassoon gave fashion designer Mary Quant a modern bob with an English twist. The style looked sleek and captured the spirit, fashion sense and rock sound of the ’60s perfectly. Once again, women all over the world headed to beauty salons to cut their hair, but this time they had the support of their stylists and the media. In fact, several new versions of the bob came out including the Pillbox bob which was a favorite of Jackie Kennedy’s, a super short cut favored by Twiggie and numerous longer versions. Hairstylists were truly free to get creative and innovative during this period.
During the 1970s the bob was still very much in style but it was softer. Styles included flipped layers and the inverted bob which basically means that the hair went inwards. The length was generally worn to the chin however longer styles were also flaunted. The styles truly captured the sexy feel of the seventies.
During the 1980s the bob was given a New Wave feel. This was done by growing out the bangs, straightening the hair and brushing the front to one side for an asymmetric look. Many women were also seen with crimped or permed bobs which fed into the big hair look that was popular the time. The more daring fashionistas also opted to dye their hair bright unnatural colors such as hot pink. They captured the youth and easy going feel of the eighties.
During the ’90s the “Jennifer” was the sought after do, but not far behind was the pixie cut favored by Winona Ryder. The style brought out the angles of the face because it was cropped so closely to the head, included various lengths and was very choppy. It wasn’t an easy style to wear so it wasn’t as popular as some of the longer styles but you’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t love the style done right.
At the turn of the millennium, the bob continued to be strong and as the years passed it became more and more popular. We’ve seen celebrities as young as Emma Watson and Halle Berry adopt the pixie cut. Victoria Beckham made a bob with super long bangs and a shorter back incredibly popular, and people are constantly bringing pictures of Victoria into their stylists. Still others preferred a bob that was wavy and casual. Today the bob’s popularity shows no sign of slowing down. Women still love how easy it is to maintain the look and stylists have given us new ways to make them look sexy and sophisticated. We’re looking forward to seeing the new versions that the future will bring.