The 1920s' hairstyles created more controversy in hair fashion than hairstyles in any other period of American culture. One particular hairstyle of the Roaring Twenties known simply as the "3/4 Bob" became an ever-present symbol of the bold modern era of feminism. The 1920s was a decade when thousands of women flocked to hairdressers to sacrifice their long tresses in favour of variations of the Bob style because it was practical and hygienic. Some popular hairstyles of the time experienced a revival in later decades.
The bob, which is the most iconic 1920s hairstyle, has recurred throughout history. Women wore their hair bobbed in the second century, and in 1900 middle-aged women cut and curled their hair in the same manner. It became very popular again in 1925 and was known as the Rose-Petal or Mae Murray Bob. By the middle to late 1920s, the bob was transformed into much more feminine stylish curls and waves.
The early bob styles, such as the Castle Bob, Dutch Bob and Page Bob, were relatively plain. As time went by, women looked for more stylish appearances. One such style was the finger wave, which was not complicated to create. It was deemed elegant, feminine and classy, and it worked best on short hair. Today the style has taken on a modern twist with different curl sizes and hair lengths, making it ideal for a sleek and sexy look.
Bob Style Variations
Variations in bobbed hairstyles emerged as women experimented with more individual haircuts to suit their face. Styles included the shingle, in which hair is cut shorter in the back than in the front, and the Eton crop, in which hair has a virtual short back and sides. Women who could not afford Marcel waves, or permanents, to curl their hair used rags as an alternative, leaving the rags in their hair overnight to form curls.
Men also wore their hair longer before the 1920s, and the popularity of the bob influenced their hairstyles, which were kept simple. A cut with short hair in back and on the sides was born and became very popular. For formal or dressy occasions, men slicked back their hair. For a more sophisticated look, men left the top layers of hair longer than the rest, greased them with tonic and combed their hair back.