Friday, November 9, 2012

To Bob or Not To Bob – That Was the Question

On Tuesday, November 6th, American men and women went to their local polling places to vote. While American men had been voting since the 18th century, women had to wait until the 20th to enjoy that privilege.

The passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution gave women the right to vote, a right which they have exercised ever since the presidential election of 1920.

But it wasn’t just the right to vote that would forever change the fair sex. The decade known as the “Roaring 20s” ushered in an era of social and sexual freedom she had never known before, and the American woman has never looked back.

The “new woman,” as much a term of derision as of admiration, smoked and drank in public, and, if all that weren’t enough, she unlaced her corsets, shortened her skirts and showed her knees. How scandalous!!


And, then, she did something even more outrageous……….

She cut her hair!!!! Silent film star, Louise Brooks, was as famous for her Bob, as for her sultry screen persona.

Suddenly, every woman wanted the Brooks Bob, while many a husband, boyfriend and pompous politician railed against it.

The great Bob debate was born, and everyone cast a vote.
“America’s Sweetheart,” film star Mary Pickford, voted “No.”

Glamorous opera star, Mary Garden, voted “Yes.”

And my Grandmother, Marie Anastasia, handed my Grandfather a pair of scissors one afternoon and said, “George, bob my hair.”

George took one look at Marie’s long, lustrous dark hair, her “crowning glory,” and couldn’t bring himself to do it.

“Cut it, George,” Marie demanded. “It’s time for me to be a ‘new woman’.”

Against his better judgment, George complied.

Happily, they were both delighted with the result.

Never again would Marie grow her hair.

The Bob has come a long way since the Brooks Bob, but no matter how we tweak it, it remains a timeless classic suitable to any face at any age. 

 Here are some of my favorite modern takes on the classic Bob. 
The Straight Bob


Here, Katie Holmes looks quietly delighted with her classic Bob, which would not have looked out of place in the 1920s. This sleek, one-length Bob with full bangs creates a beautiful frame for her delicate features and perfect oval face.

Rebecca Atkinson’s Bob has ever-so-slight layering at the bottom to give a little fullness where she needs it. Notice how the strong vertical line of this side-swept Bob cuts the roundness of her face. And what a lovely smile!

The Angled Bob

Keira Knightley’s angled, side-swept Bob is longer in the front and shorter in the back. This is the perfect Bob to complement a strong jawline and highlight great cheekbones. To me, this is a real throwback to the 60s. Can you say “Vidal Sasoon?”

Model Luisa Hartema’s angled, side-swept bob is shorter on one side and in the back. Its slightly choppy look adds an adorable touch of the gamine.

The Longer Layered Bob

What can I say about Milla Jovovich’s Bob?  Its longer layers and subtle waves make it classically feminine and universally flattering.  She looks absolutely stunning!

The Long Bob

Marija Pikic’s classic, long Bob might look a bit boring were it not for the off-center part at a slight angle, which gives it movement and interest.

Here, Willow Bay wears a long Bob with a center part and side-swept bangs. No matter your age, you can always put your best face forward when framed by this classic beauty of a Bob.

The Long Wavy Bob

Ali Larter’s long, wavy Bob has a center part, soft layers and a bit of lift at the crown. This is a great way to make the most of soft waves, if you’ve got ‘em. It looks slightly mussy, touchable and sexy.

Brooklyn Decker’s long, wavy Bob has a side part, soft layers and a bit more curl, but only on the ends. She has kept the lines around her face fairly straight as a frame, but starting at the sides, the Bob ends in soft curls. It’s an unexpected and delightful touch of femininity.

The Elegant Bob

Now we come to my favorite Bob. Emma Watson wears an elegant, short Bob with the sides swept back over her ears to showcase her lovely face.

Strong eyebrows play a major role in framing her dark eyes, and fresh pink cheeks and subtle lips complete the picture.

There’s something very 1950s Grace Kelly about this Bob that makes me yearn for a more elegant time.

And there you have it, Ladies. I vote a resounding “yes, yes, yes” to the Bob. How about you?


  1. Most excellent post, about a most excellent hairstyle, my dear M-T! I have always admired "Le Bob." Louise Brooks did it like no other. I have finally caved in and started wearing a short bob two years ago, so I was very interested in your story, and the beautiful photos you selected to illustrate it. Unfortunately, my hair is too thick to emulate Keira's angled bob, but how pretty she looks! Loved reading about your Madame Marie Anastasia. A nice personal touch. Bon weekend sur la Cote Est! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

    1. Ma chère Véronique, comme d'hab, I love and look forward to your comments.

      What sort of a Bob appeals to your lovely thick locks? I think you would look adorable in Milla's Bob. Qu'en penses-tu?

      Bon fin du weekend.

  2. Replies
    1. I did include wavy Bobs and Brooklyn Decker's soft curls at the bottom of her Bob, but you are quite correct -- I did not include a curly Bob. How remiss of me -- especially with my naturally curly hair!!

      I will rectify that Post Haste (so to speak) in my next Post, for which I will give full credit to you.

  3. What a fun post, chère M-T!
    Haircuts are always a thrilling topic we can all relate to. I vote definitely yes to "the Bob" (with a preference for the "angled Bob"): delightfully and paradoxically very feminine with the right subtle touch of sexiness.
    Your Grand Mother was a "sacrée" femme and George a "sacré" mari! Wow... Wow! What a cute story :-)
    If having short hair today would be enough to maintain women's rights, I would cut mine as short as necessary (n'en déplaise à mon mari). I am not a women's lib type of person but I truly think we need to tell politicians we are here and there are rights we cannot be deprived of. The symbol in the 1920's were hair, in the 1960's bra. What do you think the next symbol will be??? I wonder...
    Bisous ensoleillés,
    Ta cop

  4. My Grandmother was indeed a "sacrée" femme. I would call her a "new woman" avant la lettre.

    Unlike Samson, her strength of character did NOT come from her long hair.

    What will be the next symbol for us? Hmmmm. Il va falloir que j'y réfléchisse.

    Bizzzz de ta cop du NJ, M-T

  5. J'attends avec impatience ta réponse....


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