[Hair story]: How the bob has changed over time

As one of the standout short hairstyles, the bob comes in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Read on to find out how the bob has changed, from when it first appeared to the present day.

A rebellious haircut before the First World War

Whereas long hair was all the rage for Western women, the bob was not commonly worn and considered to be disreputable by many. Only a few avant-garde women or artists adopted it as a distinctive symbol of their emancipation and pioneering spirit.

Yet once women were enlisted for the war effort, their long tresses got in the way and the practical side of short hair legitimized the beginnings of the bob haircut.

The bob: a cult haircut linked to the status of women in the 20s


Now used to short hair, women kept it short and gave it an androgynous look to state that they were now equal to men. The bob was born, in an extremely short ear-length structured version. With a straight fringe, this bold haircut was sported not only by famous actresses, such as Louise Brooks, but also by ordinary women. The bob became an emblem of emancipation.

The notched bob of the 30s: the comeback of a feminine look

The bob was accepted for good, and this short style was still worn proudly but changed slightly to get its feminine allure back. Women let the ultra-short androgynous version fall by the wayside in favour of the shoulder-length version. They added a sophisticated touch with pretty finger waves in the hair for a swirly look.

The floaty bob takes hold in the 50s to 70s

The search for glamour hits Hollywood fuelled by silver screen icons such as Marilyn Monroe. The bob is of course short, but now worn with beautiful voluminous curls. This reinvented version gave the hairstyle an iconic status.

The 80s: the bob bowl cut


During this decade, another bob became more in vogue than ever due to the popularity of the bowl cut: the bowl cut bob as worn by the singer Mireille Mathieu. The distinctive feature of this bob haircut? It perfectly frames the face and the ends are curved inwards. The shape is rounded for a deliberate “helmet head” look.

The “Rachel”: the IT hairstyle of the 90s

The advent of layers revolutionised how short hair was worn with the unstructured bob trend. To be exact, the one straight from TV: the bob sported by Rachel, the character played by Jennifer Aniston in the series “Friends”. Layered and thinned out to give maximum volume and movement, this bob was what all women were asking for in salons. In 1995 it was also voted “Best hairstyle of the year” by several fashion magazines.

The noughties: the advent of the A-line bob


Then another hairstyle became all the rage. Bold and unstructured, the bob dared to go extremely short, even shaved at the nape of the neck, to showcase longer locks framing the face and plunging downwards at the front. A completely new look adopted for several years by Victoria Beckham who made it her signature hairstyle.

A multitude of styles in the present day

Gone are the days of major trends wiping out all others. Today the bob can be worn either wavy or straight, mid-length, ultra-short or as a blunt bob. Even those with long hair can go in for this trend by wearing a faux bob for a day. So go ahead and try it!

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