Friday, May 23, 2008

Rebecca and Kate Bob Their Hair

I can think of many fashion statements throughout American Culture which have impacted me greatly but only one in hair fashion that has remained a lasting influence from the time I first donned one in 1973 until my most recent visit to the hair salon, this week. I’m speaking of none other than “the bob”.

“The bob haircut was simply a blunt cut, level with the bottom of the ears all around the head. It was worn either with bangs or with the hair brushed off of the forehead. It was a simple look but a drastic departure from the long feminine looks created by Gibson and Marcel.”(From 1920’s piece)

The first credited “bob-cut” took place in 1909 in Paris and was cut by hair stylist Antoine. His inspiration was said to have been Joan of Arc. Before the end of the First World War, the style became somewhat popular in Britain amongst the Bloomsbury Circles. However, the revolution known as “the bob’ really began in 1915, when a Ball Room dancer named Irene Castle ( from Irene and Vernon Castle fame) decided to defy convention and cut her hair for the sake of convenience. With this new look being coined “the Castle-bob,” a timeless masterpiece in hair arts was created and still remains immensely popular in salons all across America.

“On May 1, 1920, the Saturday Evening Post published F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story "Bernice Bobs Her Hair." This infamous tale depicts a sweet-but-dull young lady who submits to the barber’s shears and is transformed into a smooth-talking vamp by her fickle society-girl cousin. The heroine would become a role model for many young women.”(1920’s piece)


Embracing this new look was famed fashion designer Coco-Chanel followed by actresses Clara Bow and Louise Brooks. Their images have long been among those most associated with the revolutionary style. Young women began embracing this new trend. They followed the leads of Chanel, Bow, and Brooks and began “bobbing their hair.” When a woman decided to have her hair cut in this new short style she showed a statement of her equality with men by her boldness in discarding her heavy locks- a token of femininity. Soon after this, women would begin wearing, “long beads, shorter skirts, rolled stockings, and rough on her knees” an expression which would become synonymous with-the flapper.” This new rebellious trend in hair design would serve as a harbinger to drastic social changes and “cause a revolution in the way women would wear their hair  forevermore.”

Did you know that the Bobbie Pin was created specifically for "the bob" hair style?

Our contributions to the hair cut-Kate's first "bob" at 16 months....

My latest "bob"....

24 comments:

DeeDee said...

I've enjoyed this so much Rebecca and your music brings back some good memories ...You look darling with that new "Bob" cut and so does little Kate...You know I was thinking of the movie The Great Gatsby as I read this..I loved the hair styles in that movie..do you remember Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan? Thank you for such a lovely post..

willow said...

Hi...I'm back to the full swing of blogging! And I must be a true addict, because I missed it SO much! Put the kettle on and let's have a cup of tea...what have I missed at The Society?

Your new bob is marvelous!!! It's cut just like mine, only without bangs. (mine needs a little trim)

Very interesting post, Rebecca! I'm staying for a while to read up on those I missed. So good to be back!! :)

Rebecca said...

Deedee...I love the Great Gatsby! We're having a Great Gatsby Tea this year- probably in the fall..I need to pull out my vintage hats and start looking to make some flapper dresses...

Rebecca said...

Willow...So glad to see your lovely face! I love your bob as well. I almost had the cut with bangs but my bangs irritate me at times. They can be so contrary. But....part of me would really love to go all out and get a complete Louise Brooks Classic Bob with bangs! I actually have a wig like that which I've worn to Costume parties and Murder Mystery Dinners.

Betsy said...

Rebecca ~ It's chic and stylish and you look beautiful! It's perfect on you! :) Never knew the history of the cut or the bobbi pin!

steviewren said...

Both you and Kate look adorable in your bobs.

Blog Princess G said...

One of the most delightful posts I've read in ages - what a great idea to talk about the bob! It must have caused a sensation when it first came out.

And you and your little girl look wonderful. With or without bangs would suit you I'm sure.

Rebecca said...

Betsy, thanks for such kind words! I didn't know that about the bobbie pin either until researching the hairstyle.

Rebecca said...

Steviewren, thanks. Katie was pretty squirmy for her first cut but it turned out pretty well. She's so funny..She really knows how to work it-whipping that hair around..It's pretty funny to watch.

Rebecca said...

BPG,thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I had a ball researching this. My hairdresser and I talked about it when she was cutting mine. She has a bob, too and said it will forever be her favorite cut. She took her time with me and talked me through the entire process. Actually, when the bob was all the rage, barbers were the ones that women went to for the cut because they seemed to really master the technique. It was certainly quite the scandal when women first did this and it also created the need for more stylists to be trained because the barbers couldn't keep up with all the new customers.

willow said...

Just a little note to let you know that I had a few inches cut off and my bob is now fresh and bobish again! I should have done it before our Philly trip, but was too busy. Your post inspired me! :D

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Ah, the bob! Your post has stirred mixed emotions in me. First of all, let me say that yours and your daughters looks fabulous.....really beautiful. You are so lucky that this incredible hairstyle suits you.

I have hungered to have a bob many times in my life, and have had it a few times...each time it was a disaster. Tragically, I don't have the right kind of hair. Getting the bob cut made crazy springy curls and waves erupt and go off in every direction (including upward); no matter how much gel, mousse or other product I applied to tame it. The last time I fooled myself into thinking the bob would work for me, was about 4 years ago...lets just say that I had to wear my hair pinned up and back for months before it could safely be let down.

I am so jealous...your bob looks great....why oh why oh why wasn't I born with straight hair?

Rebecca said...

Willow, I bet it looks fabulous and so glad you were inspired by the post! I think I've gone 1920's nutty in that everything I want to wear has a definite early 1920's look to it..

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Rebecca, I can't think of anything more boring than wearing the same length/ same hairstyle, same do, year in and year out. Incredibly, I do know people who have not changed their hairstyle for years, even decades. It can make a person look terribly dated.

I envy your ability to look good without bangs!

Rebecca said...

Lavinia, I have always wanted thick hair with natural curls like my sisters... My hair is so stick straight that the bob is really about the only hairstyle that I can actually pull off without a lot of fuss. The perm nightmares I've gone through are awful. I looked so ridiculous that it made me cry until my hair would start to loose the curl which was not long since my hair doesn't hold it that well. I can pull off some volume and wave to my hair but mounds of curls make me look like a poodle..

Today was the first time a lot of friends from church saw our new dos and it feels so weird to "unveil" a new hairstyle when others are so used to seeing you look one way. It seemed to be a hit, though, and we got lots of compliments( Katie always gets them, though...:-)...)

Your hair is so lovely with such long thick tresses...You are such a beauty...

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Thank you Rebecca, but I don't always feel grateful, especially at the salon, where it often takes two stylists to blow dry my hair, simultaneously, because there is so much of it. Makes me feel like a tennis ball at a match, being pushed and pulled and tugged at from both sides of my head at once!

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Loving the flapper music, Rebecca!

Blog Princess G said...

Rebecca, there's a lovely bob to be seen on Cate Blanchett in the new Indiana Jones film. She's such a chameleon, always different, always stunning!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love it - so chic - just lovely...on both of you. And just to add a note - it would look wonderful with the bangs, but I understand that would be a little drastic at first and would take a little getting used to. Just love it! Can't wait to see it in person.

Rebecca said...

Lavinia, Thanks! I love that music too and can't help but tap my foot when listening to The Charleston.

BPG, I haven't seen the movie yet but I saw an ad with Cate Blanchett and she looks great with her bobbed wig!

Rebecca said...

Kim, I can't wait to see you, too! The Gallery and bistro in Louisville that you mentioned sounds perfect! I'll call you when we return from South Carolina. We're heading out this Saturday morning.

Mmm said...

Great haircut. Love these bobs adn yours looks wonderful too--very complementary indeed. Funny, as for some reason, from your small bio pic, I thought you were Hispanic! ha ha!

Rebecca said...

Thanks, MMM...Nope...No Hispanic ancestry but lots of English:)....

Mmm said...

I should have thunk it! :)