An independent statement: the Bob

As we all know by now, the 1920s was an era of change (yes, we shall call it an era). It was not only the society that changed but also the fashion and female fashion in specific (read more here). What we have yet to discuss is how the 1920s also changed the beauty world and how women would style their hair. Folks? This is the story about the bob!

What is the bob?

The bob is the name of the hairstyle that was popular during the 1920s. In previous centuries, the norm for women was to wear a wig or have long hair. The bob is a short hairstyle, with the hair often ending just below the ears.

Development of the bobThe 1920s Hairstyle The Bob and its history | The Fashion Folks

The story of when the bob began is not completely defined. Reports states some women wearing it late 19th century and early 20th century. The story of its symbol of independence began in 1915 when performer Irene Castle cut her hair short. The hairstyle didn’t reach the fashionable life until the 1920s when Hollywood actresses such as Louise Brooks (right) took it to the scissors. Young women followed and the bob cut was here to stay. The  haircut was edgy, easy to handle and didn’t demand as much effort as the old updos.  Through the course of the 1920s, more people learned how to cut the bob and different versions of the hairstyle emerged. How about the shingle, the bingle or a wavy bob?

The symbolic value

With a modern perspective, it’s not easy to understand the hairstyle’s controversy. Women in Western history had had long hair for centuries.  Fashion wise they had also been led by the societal norms with corsets, heavy outfits and demanding clothes. The bob was a symbol of the new time where women began playing the leading roles in their own lives. And of course the society wasn’t too keen on the change nor its symbol of modernity. As society didn’t follow quite well, people were fired for their new hairdos and met with dislike (except among the women themselves). It took until late 1920s until the hairdo was considered acceptable, by then, millions of women had already chopped their hair off.

Bob today?

It’s still a norm today for women to rock the long hair. Women with a bob or a page are also accepted in a normative way. Where the statement of hair lies today, is probably when women work a cropped haircut. Or any haircut that’s close to the norm of men’s hairstyle. Though it’s weird that so is the case, women who work the shortest hair are often complimented for being edgy, bold and independent. Perhaps they are fierce for going against the societal beauty norm, but in 2016 it shouldn’t be a statement what haircut you decide to wear, no matter what gender you identify with. Your personality shouldn’t be based on the length of your hair.

Then again, we live in a society where we are mostly generalized and sorted by the clothes we choose, the makeup we wear and the hairstyles we work. It’s as inevitable as it is foolish and genius – it’s complex. What remains though, is that the bob of the 1920s had a symbolic value that reached beyond the haircuts physical existence, but a demonstration of women’s rights to an independent life.

Bob? I like you! Xx

The 1920s Hairstyle The Bob and its history | The Fashion Folks

The pictures used are not the property of The Fashion Folks. Louise Brooks (public domain) and Eleanor Gutchrlein & Karla Gutchrlein (public domain).

29 thoughts on “An independent statement: the Bob

  1. This comes at a perfect time since I’m ready to cut my hair short yet again for the umpteenth time in my life LOL. I literally cut off some of my hair several days ago because I got tired of it looking limp and weird. Long hair for the sake of just long hair is pointless, both on women AND men.

    That said, I’m considering the bob again. I always thought they were super cute (and YES to the fact that bobs are so manageable).

    Style Tomes ||ST on IG

    1. I think the bob would suit you perfectly, and it definitely gives some edge to the face! And long hair for the sake of long hair is definitely pointless, if one wants long hair (I do) it should come with some care and love for it. Do different styles etc! Xx

  2. Such an amazing, informative post, my lovely! I never knew about the history of the bob hairstyle nor its symbolism, but after reading your post it makes a lot of sense now! I can’t believe that people used to get fired for it, but I guess it was just a different time. I’m glad that in this day and age we have so much freedom to wear our hair, clothes and makeup pretty much however we like. Thanks for sharing, babe! Kisses. <3 xoxo


    1. IT kind of does, doesn’t it?! And I’m happy for our freedom too, even though it wouldn’t be possible without the courage of all the women that have fought their way, even by something as simple as a bob! Xx

  3. Such a great post on the evolution of such a great hairstyle! You know, when I was younger, I went through a phase of wanting a bob SO bad, haha! I would always go to the stylist when getting my hair trimmed and would put my hands to my ears and say, “this, this, I want it like this!!!” It never happened, though, haha. Now, I wouldn’t do it only because I don’t feel it would work with my face shape, but I love the way it looks on others, so chic! I also love shorter styles a la Halle Berry! I also agree with you in regards to hair lengths and styles shouldn’t come at a surprise or viewed as a statement in today’s world, but it is and like you’ve said, I think it has its pros and cons because I think those who do something funky with their hair don’t mind the attention and accolades for going so bold! Thanks so much for sharing, beauty, and I hope you have the best weekend ahead!



    1. Thank you love! Hahah there have been moments when I’v adored the bob too, but I think I’d never dare to! I Halle Berry always looks so so fierce, and there is inevitably the word edgy written all over it. As you say, there are different aspects of how society associate and treat things that are outside the norm! Xx

  4. I do love a good bob. My entire life has revolved around cutting my hair into a bob and growing it out, then cutting it back into a bob. It’s a never ending cycle. It’s nice to know a bit of history about the style!

    Amber | y a c h t s m a a n

  5. I like the bob hairstyle and have been thinking lately of chopping my hair into something similar (although maybe a “lob”). Fun to know its history too!

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