With all of the new bob variations about, going back to the classic bob shape is imperative to understand its fundamental characteristics. Toby Vernay, master stylist and educator at Puravida Salon and Spa defines the classic bob. “The actual definition of a classic bob is, a flat line cut onto a round surface with no graduation and no layers.” This look was and still has been a popular staple for women for centuries, hence the word classic. The foundation of the bob early on stood as a symbol of strength in a woman; a stance to go against the grain of the idealistic, longhaired, submissive woman. The bob was to communicate independence and strength.
VisforVintage.net explains the many historical, female figures that made the bob the longstanding classic that it is today. “Strong female personas throughout history have been defined by their bob hairstyle. Cleopatra is often depicted wearing aspects of the bobbed style (actually, it’s a braided headpiece). Also, Joan of Arc in the 15th Century. Pioneer aviator Amelia Earhart wore cropped hair.”
Today’s woman is undefined by predictable faux paus and unrealistic expectations, thus shaping our current hair and beauty trends. Hence the variant bobs we see today. Toby Vernay chimes in to shed light on the variations: "A graduated bob is otherwise a classic bob with a shallow 45 degree elevation of graduation at the nape. A contoured bob is and otherwise classic bob with an even amount of gentle graduation all the way through from the back and onto the sides.” And it doesn’t stop here. Curly hair women have now taken the foundational bob and introduced the asymmetric bob, stacked bob, long bob, layered bob, etc. While new bob-shapes are emerging everyday, here is a little vocabulary to bring you up to speed.
This very typical look shapes the hair into an A around the perimeter of the cut. The point of the ‘A’ being at the nape of the neck and the two pillars of the A stopping around your chin, neck, or collarbone area.
The most popular among curlies! This bob is known for one side of the front of the hair being longer than the other side. All other factors are negotiable. This bob is highly praised among women with textured hair for its softer effect on the face and a multifunctional nature.
Also known as the graduated bob mentioned previously. This bob can be an A line or a flat line with elevation, typically cut at a 45 degree to give the illusion of hair stacked on top of one another.
This popular summer look allows the woman to wear a classic or trendy bob with less of a long-term commitment to short hair. This bob typically falls around the collarbone.
Layers are achieved by holding the hair at particular elevations while cutting. Results vary by hair texture, but wispy ends that end at different lengths and a seamless finish are common characteristics.
Straight and wavy hair types will benefit from all versions of the bob haircuts. Curly or kinky hair types also have options, however less layers are more recommended to give the “fall” of the bob with the most favorable style being the asymmetrical curly bob which every curly must try at last once!
Would you ever get a bob haircut?