• Thu. May 30th, 2024

The bob is back and blunter than ever

ByRebecca Houghton

Sep 25, 2023
David and Victoria Beckham looking off camera towards the left, Victoria with a bob haircut17 Nov 2006, Rome, Italy --- David and Victoria Beckham arrive at Rome's Ciampino airport to attend the wedding of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. --- Image by © Tony Gentile/Reuters/Corbis

The bob: the haircut which seeks to be sleek, short and to the point. Not sure if you love it or
hate it? Well, it would appear that some celebrities do; Hailey Baldwin, Kim Kardashian and
Halle Bailey have all debuted their new dos just this year but why? Why now is the bob
back on the rise and crucially, should it be?

Often when thinking of the bob and its origins, images of glitz and glamour spring to mind.
After all, it was THE haircut of the 1920s… right? Although sources differ on exactly who
“invented” the bob, Antoine de Paris, Irene Castle or even Joan of Arc, there does appear to
be a consensus: the bob was a product of the 1920s, a “do” which symbolised adjectives
such as rebellious, androgynous, daring, elegant, sophisticated and modish. Are we merely
experiencing fashion in one of its many cycles? To exemplify we could turn to the mullet.
Thought to be buried within the fashion graveyard never to return, the mullet is having its
own resurgence within fashionable society, invoking the distinctive decade which was the
1970s. Are we simply aiming to recreate the glamour and excitement (often romanticised) of
the 1920s? It would appear to be the bob’s centenary after all.

Not quite satisfied, it’s interesting to turn to contemporary pop culture. As mentioned, the
bob has been adopted by many celebrities this year, all applying their own interpretation:
blunt, wispy, layered and even one named the wolf cut (thank you Jenna Ortega) the bob
has been provided with its own sub strands. As celebrity culture remains a firm favourite
within much twenty-first century discussion, it would be fair to conclude that, at a foundational
level, the bob should give thanks to the cultural channels which touch our daily lives; social
media is everywhere we go… forever in our pockets or bags, heading with us to the office,
lecture hall, café, or shop. Have we reached inspirational overload? Maybe there appears to be a factor missing. Often when debating trends or what’s en vogue we tend to address the aesthetics: is it cool, flattering, unique, edgy or just a plain ‘no’? Yet, we fail to consider what fashion means, what it represents and ultimately how it speaks to our everyday and the very kind of lives we lead. From a personal perspective, I adopted the bob at least six years ago. Of course, part of the decision was based on its looks and ability to tame my heavy and, sometimes, overbearing head of hair… I needed refinement. Soon, however, it went beyond looks. For me, the bob represents ease, a length of hair which takes far less time to dry and style. Living in an age which is fast-paced and often demanding, the bob also appeals thanks to its appreciation for time and stress.

Whilst this debate could continue, it feels appropriate to bring this piece to its final point:
whether you agree with none, one or all of the above, they are just some of the reasons why
the bob has made its return. Fascinatingly, it also begs the question as to who exactly
decides what is to be, or not to be, a trend. It’s you, yes you, the reader of this article,
the people on the street, those who follow the media. To be a trend, one must generate
sufficient adoration from society. Which leads me to my final question: the bob, is it here to
stay or should it stay firmly rooted within the past?

“Victoria and David Beckham” by friskytuna is licensed under CC BY 2.0