Most of us have heard of the Bob haircut, right? It’s the style that became popular for the first time in the Roaring 20’s when many women were choosing to cut their hair off above their shoulders in a square shape. This haircut exemplified the emergence of the expression of female independence. In fact, women with short hair prior to 1915 were considered to be rebellious and undesirable.
Then came Irene Castle, a ballroom dancer and actress, who cut her hair for convenience and to show how modern she was, although her Bob was on the longer side as compared to many who followed her example. Castle’s haircut became so popular that it was named the ‘Castle Bob.’ Many famous women followed in her footsteps including Coco Chanel, Mary Quant, and Jackie Kennedy which made the Bob haircut mainstream with hairstylists everywhere cutting Bob’s throughout the decades since the 1920’s.
The Bob is now considered a classic haircut shape with many variations and lengths from a completely solid form to one with tons of internal movement created with layering and/or graduation. It can sit at the chin, jaw, shoulders or just past the shoulders. It can remain a square shape or it can include a shorter fringe area to open up the face and highlight the eyes.
Here is where the term Lob comes into play. Maybe you have heard all about Julia Roberts new Lob haircut, or maybe you’ve just heard the term and are wondering, ‘What is a Lob, anyway?.’ A Lob is simply a play on the words long and Bob, so it’s a long Bob. It’s typically just touching the shoulders, slightly longer than the shoulders or just a bit above the shoulders. Not only is it on the longer side as far as Bob’s go, but it also has lots of texture cut into the shape to give it a modern, “un-done” feel. Like back in the Castle Bob days, hairstylists everywhere now are perfecting the current incarnation of the Bob, the perfect imperfection of the “un-done,” structured, unstructured Lobs that are popular now.
An amazing aspect of looking at the history of the Bob haircut is realizing just how versatile the cut is and how adaptable it is to the evolving fashion and trend landscape. In the beginning it was coined the “Castle Bob,” then the “Classic Bob,” now the “Lob.” Each evolution has its own flare with its own reflection on the culture of the time, the fashion trends and the sensibilities of the women who wear them.
Joelle Garfinkel is the owner-hairstylist of Escape Salon & Spa (Temecula Valley) and Escape Hair Salon (San Diego). She has more than 30-years of experience as a hairstylist and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.