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The history of the bob haircut at Darren Michael Hairdressing, Oldham

Louise-Brooks-bob-232x300One of the strongest looks for 2014 is the bob haircut. Wear it straight, curly, wavy or slicked back, on the jaw or skimming the cheekbones!

At Darren Michael Hairdressing in Oldham we decided to look back at the history of the bob to find out how it all started…

Throughout history strong females have been defined by their bob hairstyle. Cleopatra is often depicted wearing a bobbed hairstyle or hair piece, Joan of Arc appeared to have a short bob and pioneer aviator Amelia Earhart wore a cropped bob.

In the main, women tended to wear their hair long until World War I when two sets of bob-wearing women emerged: those engaged in war work favoured shorter hair because it was more convenient, while an avant-garde set of Bohemians (actresses, writers etc) wore their bobs as a fashion statement.

The 1920s bob signified independence for women

The-shingle-bob-225x300The bob signified progression, independence and spirit. Post war the bobbed hairstyle was given a fashionable edge by movie stars such as Louise Brooks (pictured above).

By the mid-1920s the style was the dominant female hairstyle in the Western world. Much like the bobbed hairstyles of 2014, women in the ’20s wore their hair in different styles – with a side parting, curled or waved and graduated into the nape of the neck. The shingle cut (pictured right) became popular. The bob was the perfect hairstyle of the time, symbolising a period where women were gaining more freedoms and equal rights to men.

As with all fashions, the trend eventually died down and in the 1930s and 1940s women were growing out their bobs for longer hairstyles.

The 1950s bob was structured and lacquered in place

1960s-bob-204x300The 1950s saw a new look for the bob. It became smoother and more structured, with flicked ends and lots and lots of hairspray to hold it in place (see picture left).

It wasn’t until the 1960s that we saw a real reinvention of the bob. Hair stylist Vidal Sassoon transformed the bob with geometric, angular shapes. The cut was unfussy and simple – the focus was on the shape and less on the products to hold it in place.


Fashion designer Mary Quant (pictured right) was among the high profile celebrities of the day to wear the 1960s bob. In the so-called ‘swinging sixties’ the bob was fashionable once again!


The bob remained in fashion throughout the 1960s but became less ‘severe’ as the years rolled by, as can be seen by singing sensation Diana Ross‘s chic bob (pictured left with The Supremes).

The 1970s saw a move away from coiffured looks and the rise of punk Siouxie Soux bobrock and punk fashion, while the fashion focus for the 1980s was on futuristic styles (as seen on singer Siouxise Sioux, below right) and the frills of the New Romantics.


While some fashionistas opted for a buzz bob – shaved underneath at the back but looking like a classic bob from the front, the most popular look in the mid to late ’80s was for permed hair which many wore in a bob shape.

In the 1990s there was much more choice when it came to hairstyles. The bob was less of a fashion statement and simply became another hair choice for women… and the occasional man!

When the Spice Girls burst onto the pop scene in the mid-1990s we first saw Victoria Beckham with her sleek bob, but it wasn’t until many years later that she really wowed us with her A-line bob (left).

For some women the bob hairstyle is the only one they will ever wear – as Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour will tell you!

Throughout the ‘noughties’ we saw bobs in all shapes and lengths: retro, chic, edgy, vintage and arty. Today the bob remains a firm favourite. On the catwalks of London, Paris, Milan and New York we saw models wearing bobs slicked down, with low side partings and in flattering curls this year.

Update your hair in 2014 with a bob at Darren Michael Hairdressing, Oldham

99In 2014 we are more adventurous when it comes to our hair cuts, colours and styling. We are wearing choppy texturised bobs, sleek bobs and wavy bobs in many lengths and a multitude of vibrant colours.

There is no doubt that the bob haircut is rising in popularity once again! Take a look at our ‘Short, Chic Summer Styles’ news post here for inspiration!

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