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
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
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.