Bangs are having a moment.
The sleek, snipped-across-the-brow cut is on the minds of many women these days. Kate Middleton and Kim Kardashian are sporting the look. In January, Michelle Obama put an exclamation point on the trend with the debut of her fringe cut just before the presidential inauguration.
“They have always been fairly fashionable, but right now they are huge,” said Teri Cipowski, cosmetology manager at the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis. “Whether they are full and round or swept to the side, the fringe is everywhere you look.”
Victoria’s Secret supermodel Karlie Kloss is credited with sparking the conversation. She chopped off seven inches of her dark ’do for a Vogue photo shoot in November. Style bloggers are comparing the hype to that of Jennifer Aniston’s mid-’90s haircut, dubbed “the Rachel” after her character on “Friends.”
Although hair experts in the Twin Cities agree that bangs — especially those straight across the forehead — are all the rage right now, they say fringes are timeless and universally appealing.
Andria Nicholson’s bangs have been through many styles, even “the great-big-hairsprayed-up-into-a-stiff-wall-of-hair” bangs of the 1980s, she said. Nicholson, 47, of Deephaven said she likes wearing a fringe cut because she likes the way the bangs frame her features.
“If I pull my hair back, I still have a little something around my face,” Nicholson said.
For a lot of women, bangs are a dramatic change, sometimes an emotional one.
“Some people come in saying, ‘My boyfriend broke up with me, so I’m getting bangs,’ ” said Mo Murphy, owner of Miyagi in northeast Minneapolis. “That’s fine, but they need to know that it takes a while to grow them out, and if you don’t get them for the right reasons, it can be a total nightmare.”
Brian Graham, who runs his namesake salon in Minneapolis’ Warehouse District, said people can think of bangs as an alternative to going “super short.”
“Depending on the length, anyone can pull them off,” Graham said.
The shape of things
Obama’s eye-skimming, soft fringe was seen earlier on celebs Zooey Deschanel, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. There are many variations to the look in terms of length and texture, and stylists say there are several factors to consider before taking the snip. Nicholson, for example, does not have a blunt fringe — instead she has side-swept bangs.
“It’s all about the length of the face and the length of the forehead,” said Uptown Minneapolis salon owner Jon English. “It takes a special kind of face to take a full bang.”
For example, someone with a round face would want a bang with a gentle arch to soften the roundness.
“You always want to try and get that perfect oval shape,” Murphy said.
Regardless of your face shape, English said, a conversation with a hairstylist will go a long way. A stylist will be able to tell you if your favorite celebrity’s look will work for you.
“You really want to do your homework and bring pictures,” English said. “If you are at Lunds or at a wedding party and you see someone you think looks great, take a picture. That way, when you come in for that 12:30 appointment, you know what you have in mind.”
Michelle vs. Karlie
Just as important, however, is telling your stylist what you don’t want.
Customers need to understand that there is a fair amount of maintenance required, Murphy said, especially with a long bang (such as the first lady’s).
“There is an upkeep to it,” she said. “Most salons offer at least one complimentary bang trim, especially with those bangs that hit the top of the brow. [They’re] going to be getting in your eyes soon.”
While the first lady has pushed the trend forward, Vogue is pinning the look on Kloss, the supermodel. The magazine has called her bob-with-bangs “the haircut of the year.” Whether fashionistas end up calling it “the Michelle” or “the Karlie,” one thing is for sure: These bangs are making a name for themselves.
“I started doing hair just when ‘the Rachel’ haircut exploded,” Murphy said. “If I had eight clients that day, at least five were asking for Rachels. This is probably going to end up being the same thing because so many people can wear it and look good.”