The "Roaring '20s" was the era of Prohibition, when saloons were called speakeasies and women who frequented them were called flappers. The flappers wore bright red lipstick, danced the Charleston and listened to jazz bands. They also had black bobbed hairstyles. Actresses Clara Bow and Louise Brooks epitomised the classic flapper look.
The bob haircut became a sign of social liberation. It was a radical departure and form of rebellion against the way society had dictated women should look in prior decades. The bob hairstyle evolved throughout the decade into a few different variations.
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The Classic Bob
Some give credit to ballroom dancer Irene Castle as the first woman to get a bob haircut in 1915, but it didn't gain popularity until the 20s. Her short, simple cut became known as the Castle Bob. To create this classic bob, hair was cut bluntly straight across, level with the bottom of the ears or chin. During the early 20s, the bob was worn straight, with or without fringe.
By 1921, long lines of women stood outside barbershops waiting to be bobbed. In New York City, it was reported that up to 2,000 women a day were getting the haircut.
The Shingle Bob
The Shingle Bob, or Boyish Bob, was introduced in 1923. This style tapered the hair into a razor-cut V-shape at the nape of the neck. Hair was worn flat, covering the ears. Actress Gloria Swanson was known for wearing this style.
Hairdressers in women's salons perfected this hairstyle, as they became more skilled in cutting women's hair short, in an effort to lure former customers back from barbershops.
The Eton Crop
By 1926, an even more daring style became trendy -- the Eton Crop. The style was patterned after mandatory boy's hairstyles at London's prestigious Eton Preparatory School. Burlesque dancer Josephine Baker was known for wearing this hairstyle.
To create the Eton Crop, hair was cut short all over, contoured to the shape of the head. Products like hair grease or pomade made the hair super-shiny, keeping it firmly slicked down flat against the head and around the ears, leaving them exposed. This style was often accented with a few flat curls, pressed against the side of the face.
Finger Waves & Marcel Waves
Short bob hairstyles were often adorned with waves, especially from the mid-20s to the end of the decade. The finger wave and Marcel wave were popular styles used on bob haircuts. Finger waves were S-shaped curls that were created using the fingers, setting lotion and hair clips.
French hairstylist Marcel Grateau created the Marcel wave hairstyle, right after the first electric curling iron was invented in 1920. The curling iron was used to create Marcel waves along the sides of the head.
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