While sitting in the chair getting my hair cut recently, my fabulous stylist Priscilla shared some interesting information about hair styles and the whole time I was thinking, “I feel a blog coming,” so here it is!
Did you know that, despite the plethora of hair styles out there, there are really only three basic types? In essence, whatever style you have right now is very well a take on the Bob, the Crop, or the Shag. Yep, that’s it.
Call Me Bob
Let’s start with the Bob, the classic women’s style shown in photos above in which the hair is cut above the shoulders in a blunt and uniform cut with no layers. It’s clean, classic, and easy to style. Think Anna Wintour or Doris Day.
A distant cousin of the Bob is what InStyle magazine called “The haircut that works for everyone,” the Lob, which is longer than the Bob but still blunt and layer-free. It’s known to longate the neck and have more versatility than the Bob and, with the proper cut, can make stringy, fine hair appear fuller.
More recently Victoria Beckham made “The Posh Bob” the trend of the moment with her asymmetric cut. Featuring hair that is longer on one side than the other or shorter in the back than the front, the Posh Bob was all the rage a few years back.
Then there’s the Pageboy, popular in the late 1950s and 1960s and making a vintage resurgence today. Never one of my faves, think Toni Tennille or Uma Thurman in “Pulp Fiction,” but Rihanna and Coco Rocha slayed it in the two photos here. Its most notable feature is a thick bang, made famous by ’50s glamour and fetish model Bettie Page. This association was not acceptable to women’s magazine editors however, so it was sold to the public as the hairstyles worn historically by English pageboys.
Just Crop It
From there, let’s visit the Crop. This is a short hairstyle made so elegantly famous by Robin Wright’s character in “House of Cards” and in which the hair is cut very close to the head but sometimes long enough to tuck behind the ears. Pieces of a modern crop often go past the bangs, which are also known as “fringe.” Think Kris Kardashian or Princess Di. I’ve had a version of a “Kris Crop” for years now and am pretty sold on it although I have let it grow out a bit.
The Pixie is the “now” version, with everyone from Jennifer Lawrence to Kaley Cuoco chopping their long and glamourous hair into this short and sassy style. I love it and wish I could pull it off. Sharon Stone pulled it off and then some when she showed up at the 1998 Oscars with a new pixie cut and her husband’s white shirt with her Vera Wang skirt. It was insanely elegant and memorable. Twiggy is also a Pixie legend. Her 1960s version is still popular today.
On men, what’s called the “Quiff” could maybe be considered the male version of a crop. Members of One Direction have sported the style as has Bruno Mars. It’s trendy and traditionally pompadourish at the same time.
It’s In The Shag
Finally, there’s the shag, the choppy and layered style created by the barber Paul McGregor. Most commonly layered to various lengths and feathered at the top and sides, this unisex style was made popular by many a celeb, including Joan Jett, Rod Stewart, David Cassidy, Jane Fonda and Florence Henderson back in the ‘70s and ’80s. Henderson’s Carol Brady shag will forever be considered one of the worst styles ever and was “this” close to being a mullet. Don’t tell Billy Ray Cyrus.
The shag resurfaced in the ‘90s with Meg Ryan’s messy version, which I love, and Jennifer Aniston’s “The Rachel” from the hit TV show “Friends.” The Rachel had a following all of its own and is one of the most popular hairstyles in history. Flattering yes, but low maintenance it was not. I tried it several times but could never quite achieve Rachel Green’s “friendly” cut.
It’s interesting to note how all these celebs grow their hair out and to look at all the different styles they’ve had. Granted, extensions and an on-call stylist help, but here are some different looks and “growing out” stages of just Halle and JLaw:
The Men Behind the Hair
You could say Shag designer McGregor was a visionary, and so were Vidal Sassoon and Jose Eber.
Vidal Sassoon was not only a talented hairdresser, but a brilliant businessman and charitable philanthropist as well. Tired of the “set” and stiff styles of the 1960s, Sassoon set out to design efficient but fun hair that incorporated the basic angles of cut and shape.His vision was modern and low-maintenance hair that was shiny and straight and he is who chopped off Mia Farrow’s hair into her trademark pixie. By 1963 Sassoon had created what we know as the “Bob,” most notably worn by Dorothy Hamill in a severe wedge version at the time. The in-demand style was actually done for the gold medal ice skater by stylist Suga, but the wedge itself was invented by Trevor Sorbie in 1974 while he was working under Sassoon at his London shop. Sassoon went on to become one of hair styling’s greatest and complemented his customer base with his own line of hair products, gloriously tagging “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good.” Sassoon looked good until his death in 2012.
French-born Jose Eber will also forever be linked to a celebrity: Farrah Fawcett. Eber wanted to create sexy, carefree, and unstructured hair that was easy to maintain and in Farrah he found the perfect muse. I’m sure neither of them at the time had any idea that her feathered long blonde locks would go down in history as one of the most iconic styles ever. The Charlie’s Angel took her hair straight to the top of fame infamy and lived up to Eber’s motto of “Shake your head darling.” Eber is also credited with bringing the round brush into salons everywhere, allowing full and flawless blow drying to be accomplished in homes across America.
I don’t know about you, but I just loved learning all of this. Whether we’re talking Beehive or Bouffant, French braid or French twist, Chignon or Bun, Buzz or Bowl Cut, Corn Rows or Dreadlocks, Updos or Wings, Mohawk or Payot (those curly locks near the ears that many Orthodox Jews wear), they will all forever be in the dictionary of common terms and symbolize generations uniquely their own. Perhaps newer terms like “extensions” and “blow-outs” will join them someday or maybe they’ll be replaced by trendier terms just like “frosting” became “highlights” and “bangs” became “fringe.”
Whatever the case, here is my “Hair Style Hall of Fame” and “Hair Style Hall of Shame”
Hall of Fame: Halle Berry, Meg Ryan, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston (always has great hair!), Kris Kardashian, Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Patrick Dempsey, Bradley Cooper, Anderson Cooper
Hall of Shame: Kate Gosselin, Donald Trump, Crystal Carrington, Carol Brady’s shag, Keith Urban, Donatella Versace
Hall of Fame Icons – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
Kelly Clarkson (“skunk stripes” during her “American Idol” season)
Jennifer Aniston (“The Rachel” from “Friends”)
Crystal Gayle (remember her hair for miles?!)
Me with different hair styles courtesy InStyle on line. Which do you like best?
The shag looks good!