After musician and Cities 97 morning show co-host Keri Noble traded her long tresses for a mid-length cut, her stylist, Charlie Brackney, was inundated with requests from clients who wanted a copycat look. So much so that Brackney, founder and creative director at Haus Salon in Minneapolis, dubbed the haircut “the Keri.”
He didn’t need to give it a name. It already had one: bob.
The blunt cut that falls anywhere between the jaw line and the shoulder has become the style du jour. Just as it was in the 1920s. And the ’60s. And the ’80s. In fact, the bob has been a go-to style for nearly a century.
“Some form of the bob is always in fashion,” said Woody Theis, the top stylist at Juut Salonspa in downtown Minneapolis. “Texture and lines change, but the idea of the bob — its basic concept — is always in.”
In fashion and beauty, what’s old is often new again.
“The bob is definitely on its way back,” Brackney said. “And it looks very different from the bob of yesteryear.”
The new bob varies in length and is softer than the bobs of the past. Adding texture and accessories, like a bang or wave, and headbands or hair pins, gives the cut a more modern look.
Model Karlie Kloss recently cut her flowing locks into a jagged, tousled chop with bangs that frame her heart-shaped face. After her Oscar win, Jennifer Lawrence updated her look with a shaggy, layered mid-length bob. The release of “The Great Gatsby,” in which Carey Mulligan dons a 1920s-era flapper bob that’s cut to her cheek bone, fed the rush to bob.
Stylists say the women bobbing their hair are often more fashion forward and edgy.
Katie Peterson recently chopped off about a foot of her wavy locks to sport a bob “with an edge” that will complement her Art Deco 1920s wedding dress.
“I’m a risk-taker in general,” the 28-year-old Minneapolis woman said. “Chopping off my admittedly long and beautiful hair gives me a thrill.”
Still others, who may not be as daring, also seem comfortable trying out a bob.
Jessica Reipke, who has had the same haircut since she was 15, felt she was finally ready for something fresh.
“It’s a psychological thing,” said Reipke, 29, of Minneapolis. “I’m turning 30 soon and I think a lot of people associate long hair with being young, and have a hard time letting go of it. It’s like an adult version of a baby blanket.”
Reipke opted for a longer bob, often called a “lob,” to round out her square facial structure. She says with her new look, she feels “sassy,” but more grown up.
To many women, the bob is nothing new.
Twin Cities Live co-host Elizabeth Ries has worn a bob for as long as she can remember. Ries says she has fine hair and a bob helps her maintain volume.
“A bob looks really classic and never too trendy,” Ries said. “It’s a timeless style — and it’s just fun to say that you have a bob.”
The distinctive cut first gained notoriety in the 1920s, when women bobbed their hair to exert their independence and identity. Louise Brooks, a 1920s starlet, made the look famous with her signature beveled bob and blunt-cut bangs.
In 1963, Vidal Sassoon resuscitated the bob with a more angular slant. The late hair stylist is often credited with repopularizing and perfecting the bob.
This time around the bob has lost any of its “helmet head” associations.
“The bob today doesn’t have the old-fashioned blown under look,” said Mary Gail Hall, the Twin Cities-based artistic director for Regis Salons. “You can add your own creativity to make the bob your own.”
That’s one of the reasons the cut works so well with so many face shapes. Many women who try it stick with it, in part because of its ease and versatility.
“That’s the beauty behind it,” said Nino Altobelli, style director for Rocco Altobelli Salons. “It’s so simplistic.”
Stephanie Wilbur Ash has worn nearly every incarnation of the bob known: mussy, pointed, stacked wedge, the rounded “Dorothy Hamill,” the demi-bob, the sideswipe.
Ash, who has straight hair and a square facial structure, says the bob — in any form — gives her volume and roundness where she needs it. To add some personality, she changes her color often. And the ease of maintenance appeals to this busy mom.
“I’m a mom, but I’m also smoking hot,” she said. “The bob is sexy and low-maintenance enough to bridge that gap.”