Making the Cut: Is The Bob the Look for You?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve only made a couple of drastic hairstyle changes in my whole life (and that’s counting the bangs I rocked in kindergarten).

As you can see from my profile picture, my hair falls below my shoulders. I appreciate the versatility of this length. I can wear it back in a long ponytail, style it when it’s down and even try up-dos for formal parties and events.

But as the temperatures climb, I find myself contemplating the classic bob haircut.  Short hair would be ideal in this heat, and the bob falls between the chin and the shoulders, typically in a blunt cut. More modern versions can be asymmetrical (longer in the front, shorter in the back) or textured, and they often include bangs.

The sharp lines of the bob first gained popularity in the Roaring Twenties. According to the Huffington Post, “Another highlight of the ’20s that exemplified change was the evolution of women’s hairstyles. Ladies were saying goodbye to their long Victorian locks and welcoming much shorter hairdos.”

The bob found renewed favor in the 1960s as the Mod movement flourished. Think the Beatles or British fashion guru and designer Mary Quant.

katieToday, the bob is a favorite style for all ages. Just ask Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour or actress Katie Holmes (pictured left). So how do you know if the bob is the right hair style for your face?

If your hair is silky and fine, a chin-length short bob with blunt ends will give the appearance of greater fullness.  If your hair is thick, like mine, a longer bob will help balance the width and length of the cut.  No triangle heads here!

Another benefit to the bob is it can be adapted to match any face shape.  So if you have a very round face, keep the sides longer and layered to give the illusion of an oval face. If your face is square, an off-center part with layers will do the trick.  For a heart-shaped face, try long bangs swept to the side.

This archetypal cut is easy to style although it does need to be cut more frequently to keep its sharp look–probably every 4 to 6 weeks. My longer hair can go 8 to 10 weeks without a cut. And the bob isn’t totally maintenance-free at home, especially if you want your wavy or curly hair to be styled into an architectural bob.

Given that maintenance, the most popular way to wear this cut is about one or two inches below the chin with a few layers or thinned out ends.  Why? It will be long enough for a ponytail or hair clip if necessary (hey, sometimes you’ve just got to pull your hair back), but short enough to give you the sophisticated look of the bob. You can also probably stretch another week or two between cuts with a longer bob.

Here’s an example of a long bob on model and actress Brooklyn Decker. See how she’s able to curl it and style it? She could also wear it straight. The short side-swept bangs soften the overall look, too.


The next time I go in for a haircut, I’m going to talk to my stylist about which version of the cut is best for my face shape and hair type. I’m not the most adventurous person when it comes to hair, but this is clearly a cut that can work for anyone.

Have you tried a bob haircut? How did it work for you? Or do you keep the same hairstyle for years? Leave your comments below!

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