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HAIR HISTORY - The Flapper And The "Bob"

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The "bob" haircut emerged on the fashion scene in the late 1920s with much debate and outrage. Women’s hairstyles had been worn long, and mostly styled up, for over 100 years. The bob is a great example of how fashion follows history. Clothing designers generally copy whatever is happening historically at the time; then hairstyles copy clothes.

The Victorian Era, at the turn of the century, was a very prim and proper time. Clothing was worn high on the neck, sleeves completely covering the arms, and skirts to the ankle. Bustles were worn under skirts to give a fullness to the fabric. Hair followed suit, and was worn up with horsehair pads to give it fullness. The Gibson Girl was the trendsetter of the time.

After World War I, many women kept their wartime jobs or opted for another career. They saw a need for an easier hairstyle to accommodate their busier lifestyle. Suffragettes bobbed their hair to celebrate their emancipation. Women started to smoke cigarettes and apply lipstick in public. Until then, tobacco was locked in a cabinet, unavailable to them.

Speakeasies sprouted up, along with the trendy dance, the Charleston. Dresses were shortened to the knee and hairstylists began cutting the tresses short to match the skirts. The automobile became a common purchase. Clothing designers made slacks for women and small hats to keep their hair in place while riding in the open wind. Yet another reason to bob the hair. The famous cartoon character Betty Boop sported a bob, and the beauties of Hollywood promoted it on the silver screen.

The bob is still in fashion today. It is layered, and highlights of various colors are added to give the style texture. The bob is what the industry calls a "classic haircut". It really never goes out of style.






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