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June 25, 2022

Bob: One of the Favorite Women’s Hairstyles in the 1920s

‘Bobs’—short hairstyles cut straight around the head, usually around jaw-level—were sported by a few women in the 1910s (most notably by designer Coco Chanel, dancer Irene Castle, and actress/singer Polaire). The antithesis of the long, pinned-up or braided hairstyles that had dominated Western women's fashion for nearly seven centuries, bobbed hair was at first a daring symbol of feminism and individuality. The look, however, gained widespread appeal in the 1920s as film stars like Gloria Swanson, Clara Bow, and Louise Brooks popularized the style.

In general, women’s hairstyles in the 1920s aspired to be exotic and sleek, with hair worn close to the head. If one had long hair, it was pulled back in a small, low chignon. Bobs were cut in tapered layers so that the hair would lie as flat as possible.

By the mid-1920s, the fad of ‘bobbing’ had arrived in the mainstream. There were short, boyish bobs (like Josephine Baker’s ‘Eton crop’) and even ‘faux’ bobs (long hair deceptively pinned up—see Lillian Gish). The bob of choice for much of the 1920s was the ‘shingle’—a bob that covered the ears, but was cut shorter in a v-shape at the nape of the neck. Screen actress Louise Brooks popularized the shingle, and women flocked to their local barber shop to obtain the look.

Here below is a set of vintage photos that shows women with their bob hairstyles in the 1920s.


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