What About Bob? The Evolution of the Bob Haircut

This short hair trend has seriously come a long way

By Megan Vigil Jan 17, 2015 2:53 AMTags
Bob Haircuts, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Kim Kardashianiam.beyonce.com, Getty Images

Last year, we all went bob crazy after Beyoncé rocked the trend with the ultimate short 'do. Sweet Mylanta, that A-line had more than a few people making appointments with their hairdressers.

After that, people who you never in a million years thought would cut their hair were swooning for the style. Emma Stone, Lauren Conrad and Emma Roberts were just three out of many stars who made headlines with haircuts last year.

It had us all thinking, "Who's next? Jennifer Lopez?!" Can you imagine?

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The bob has a long history. The style seems to have originated in the 1890s with the French actress Polaire, but wasn't mainstream until the 1920s. Her hairstyle went against the gender roles that were held for women, and she was criticized for it. On her New York debut, she was deemed "the ugliest woman in the world." 

Polaire was always one to step out of the mainstream. By the '20s the bob had become a symbol of defiance and rebellion against female expectations. Once the ladies of the big screen got a hold of it, it was forever ingrained into our culture. 

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The bob took a dip in popularity in the '30s and wasn't revived until the '60s when celebrity hairstylist Vidal Sassoon reinvented it. The haircut took the mod scene by storm with clean tight lines and surprising geometric shapes. By this time, the fashion world was a full-blown thing, and together with Hollywood the bob haircut once again received new life. 

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People were wearing long shag bobs in the '70s, but the mainstream bob didn't come back again until the late '80s and early '90s. Bobs came back to Hollywood with Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction, Winona Ryder, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell and Sally Hershberger's Meg Ryan-style shag bob. 

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Chris McMillan and Jennifer Aniston got everyone on a layered, razor-cut style called "The Rachel" in 1994. Four years later, Cameron Diaz's sweet blond haircut in There's Something About Mary had the bob with a longer, razor-cut top and shaggier A-line back.

The 2001 movie Amélie showcased Audrey Tautou with baby bangs and a tiny stacked A-liner that can still found on leading ladies today. The late '90s and early 2000s saw chunky highlights and an addiction to layers that could be seen in certain Jenna Elfman circa Dharma and Greg-type haircuts. 

Eventually the mid-2000s found Victoria Beckham's bob, which created a major place for itself within the Bob Hall of Fame, with a choppy back and long front. She continues to contribute to the evolution of the haircut and always stays imaginative and current with her short hair looks. 

After Katie Holmes' famous chop, the bob was back with gorgeous architectural lines and other bob traits until the long curly hair look became the darling of YouTube beauty bloggers everywhere.

Along with dyeing our hair a million colors, big barreled curls were the latest trend. The bob could not be swayed. It reemerged as its classiest incarnation in 2014, which was blissfully filled with a new crop of celebrity bob and lobs everywhere.

The bob ended the year with Gone Girl's pivotal hair scene. When Rosamund Pike popped up on screen with a seemingly one-length, lightly textured crop, women took notice.

Rosamund brought her sought after hairstyle into 2015 with the Golden Globes and confirmed the Year of the Bob wasn't over. We hope that that's true for a long time to come.