Sunday, 1 July 2012

the bob

A "bob cut" is a short haircut for women in which the hair is typically cut straight around the head at about jaw-level, often with a fringe at the front. Traditionally women in the west had worn their hair long and short hair was not considered respectable. An exception was Lady Diana Cooper an aristocratic socialite who had always worn her hair short.

Lady Diana Cooper, Viscountess Norwich

After working as a nurse during the war and working as editor of the magazine Femina, she wrote a column in the Beaverbrook newspapers before turning to the stage and latterly silent films. 

The First World War was a major factor as women who were engaged in war work found long hair an inconvenience. Renowned dancer and fashion trendsetter Irene Castle introduced the bob to an American audience in 1915 calling it “the castle bob”.

The hairstyle was further popularised by film stars Colleen Moore and Louise Brooks in the early 1920s, it was then seen as a somewhat shocking statement of independence in young women.

Hairdressers, whose training was mainly in arranging and curling long hair, were slow to realise that short styles for women had arrived to stay, and so barbers in many cities found lines of women outside their shops, waiting to be shorn of hair that had taken many years to grow.