Updated on 12 May 2020: Originally a symbol of liberation, modernity and boldness, the bob cut captured the imagination of the world when it was first created by Polish-born hairdresser Antoine de Paris in France in 1909.
Since then the bob haircut has remained a firm favourite with women everywhere (the list includes the likes of Debbie Harry, Diana Ross, Twiggy, Whitney Houston, Courtney Love and Victoria Beckham, to name just a few), although there’s no denying that we’ve seen the bob cut go through a number of reinventions over the years.
Think the shaggy bob hairstyle, made famous by Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail, and the ‘Pob’ (otherwise known as the inverted bob haircut). A messy, textured and heavily-layered version of the bob cut was favoured by punk rockers in the 70s, while women in the 80s opted for permed crops. And let’s not forget the shoulder-grazing choppy ‘lob’ (or long bob haircut), which has been seen all over this year’s red carpets.
Should you opt for a bob haircut?
Essentially, the ever-versatile bob hairstyle is an incredibly chic and accessible look, which really can be tailored to suit any face shape or style.
Celebrities with bob hairstyles
Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Julianne Hough, Perrie Edwards, Kate Middleton, Kelly Clarkson, Serena Williams, Jennifer Lopez, Bella Hadid, Cate Blanchett, Demi Lovato, Natalie Portman, Eva Mendes, Selena Gomez, Penélope Cruz, Millie Bobby Brown, Celine Dion, Lucy Liu, Michelle Williams, Leighton Meester, Lily James, Fearne Cotton, January Jones, Kerry Washington, Reese Witherspoon and countless others have all fallen for the bob this year.
Here, we have collated just some of our favourite twists on the classic haircut, so get ready for some serious short hair inspiration…
Clever styling or a full-blown haircut? Whichever way you look at it, Taylor Swift decided to celebrate the premiere of her new Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, with a new look. We have a feeling this loose wavy bob (faux or not) is going to inspire a sudden surge of salon bookings over the next few weeks…
Millie Bobby Brown
Known for her long, glossy hair, Nicole Scherzinger has teased a shoulder-length bob before but she’s never fully committed. Until now.
Sleek, shiny and blunt, Scherzinger’s take on short hair is all kinds of incredible. Paired with a dark and sultry smoky eye and a pair of statement earrings at the 2019 Fashion Awards, we’re seriously big fans.
Singer Zara Larsson is no stranger to a bob, but she debuted an even shorter hair style at the 2019 Fashion Awards. Her super sleek, pinky peach-toned crop was in a chic centre parting and tucked behind her ears to show off a pair of statement jewels.
Paired with a minimal smoky eye and floating liner, Larsson’s entire look is mega party inspiration.
The Oscar-nominated actor might be famous for her platinum blonde pixie cut but she appears to be growing it out. As she treads the awards red carpets in 2020, fans have noticed that the actor’s hair now falls in a sharp and sleek bob, sitting just below her chin.
Sandra Bullock has been sporting long bronde (that’s not blonde, not brunette, but somewhere really pretty in between) tresses for a while now. However, the Hollywood star debuted a new look at the 2019 ESPY Awards on Wednesday night, where she presented Megan Rapinoe and the United States Women’s National Team with the award for Best Team.
We’re talking, of course, about that lob (long bob), which she’d teased into messy layered waves that hung around her face and just brushed her shoulders. We’re particular fans of that oh-so-chic chocolate shade and caramel highlights combo: ideal for summer.
Blake Lively mid-length bob
Blake Lively is famed for her long beachy waves, so fans were stunned when she stepped out at the Open Road Films special screening of All I See Is You in Los Angeles with a long bob. Just brushing her shoulders, the style featured a deep side parting and screamed old Hollywood glamour. However, there’s a chance it could be a clever faux lob, created with curling tongs and wizardry – especially as she was seen the previous day with her usual long locks.
Jenna Dewan short bob
Dewan has had long to mid-length hair for a while, but she recently went short. The Step Up actress shared a post-chop photo on Instagram Stories, showing her dark locks cut into a wavy bob with golden ombré highlights.
It’s a look that hits the ideal sweet spot between blunt and relaxed – and if you’ve already screenshotted this picture to show your hairdresser, we can guarantee you’re not alone.
Caroline Flack short bob
Caroline Flack’s sun-kissed waves were the envy of many a Love Island viewer, but the TV presenter decided to switch up her look in time for autumn 2017. Chopping her locks into a chic chin-length bob, she also coloured them a deep, rich chestnut brown colour, too.
Sarah Jessica Parker bob
Sarah Jessica Parker has always been bold when it comes to her fashion choices, but, when it comes to her hair, she tends to stick with a tried-and-tested formula (think long, wavy, and sun-kissed tresses). So, understandably, we were pretty surprised when the Sex and the City star hit the streets of New York with a chic ash-blonde bob this week. It’s unclear as to whether or not SJP’s makeover is for her new romantic drama Best Day of My Life, or just a brand-new look for the summer. Either way, we have a feeling that her new mini-mane may inspire a few of her fans to go for the chop too…
Selena Gomez short bob
This isn’t the first time that Selena Gomez has worn her dark hair short, but it is her most dramatic – and edgiest – cut to date.
The singer, mental health awareness advocate and 13 Reasons Why producer posted a photo of her choppy, Nineties-inspired bob on Instagram, where she has more followers than any other account.
The caption was left intentionally blank, allowing the photos to speak for themselves.
Olivia Wilde short bob
Olivia Wilde’s long brunette tresses have always inspired hair envy among her fans. But, in February 2017, the actor decided that it was time for a change – a big one.
Cue an edgy platinum bob, with a unique ombré twist.
The Vinyl actress shared a photo of her new ‘do on Instagram, and captioned her look: “Oh what's up, BLONDE LIFE?”
Katie Piper short bob
The campaigner and businesswoman has never been shy about trying out different hair colours, but Katie Piper rarely veers away from her trademark long locks.
However, in the winter of 2016, she decided it was well and truly time for a change. And, speaking at the Military Awards in London, Piper admitted that her new bob had been a spur of the moment decision.
“[I cut it off] yesterday, in my kitchen - with no mirror in front of me,” she said.
Adding that she was a huge fan of the sleek asymmetric style, which sits neatly at her jaw-line, Piper finished by saying: “My friend did it for me - it’s kind of like, really short.”
Kendall Jenner long bob
Kendall Jenner's long sleek locks have long been her trademark, but this summer the model decided it was time for a change.
Chopping her hair into a shoulder-skimming bob, Kendall has been rocking tousled waves, messy beach hair (her proximity to Malibu helps with this no end) and topknots, proving that a dramatic cut doesn't have to mean less versatility.
Cara Delevingne long bob
Cara Delevingne’s beauty look has always revolved around those iconic eyebrows and her flowing golden tresses, but the model-turned-actress decided to bid ‘so long’ to her long locks this week.
And, after teasing the big chop on Instagram, it wasn’t long before the Suicide Squad star was stepping out at San Diego’s Comic Con 2016 to show it off in person.
Her choppy shoulder-length bob was left tousled and relaxed, styled simply with a sweeping side parting – and it definitely seems as if the supermodel is a big fan of her new look.
“Thank you for the [chop],” she told her hairdressing team on Instagram.
Vanessa Hudgens mid-length bob
Vanessa Hudgens, of High School Musical fame, is best known for rocking long flowing mermaid locks. But, earlier this summer, the actress removed her waist-length extensions in favour of a shoulder-skimming bob.
While many may think of the bob haircut as a sleek and precise haircut, Vanessa has added her own fresh boho twist to the style, keeping her natural tousled waves centre stage. We love it.
Emma Roberts mid-length bob
Emma Roberts opted for a dramatic change in June when she stepped out on the red carpet with a chic blonde bob. It’s a very different look from her former flowing copper tresses, but there’s no denying that she looks incredible.
Eva Longoria long bob
Shortly after her wedding in June, Eva Longoria - better known to Desperate Housewives fans as Gabrielle Solis - showcased a sleek shoulder-length bob. The honey-blonde highlights lift her look, adding texture, depth and some serious gloss, making her 'lob' feel perfectly on-trend for summer.
Adele long bob
For years Adele has rocked a big, bouncy blow-dry. Much like her almond-shaped nails and dramatic feline flick, it was a part of her beauty uniform. But not any more. On X-Factor 2015 she debuted a chic, straightened, long bob - and she hasn't looked back since.
Emma Watson short bob
Emma Watson is no stranger to short hair, opting for a dramatic new hairdo was at the end of the Harry Potter film franchise with a pixie crop. And, last year, she did away with her long brunette tresses again, swapping them up for a wavy bob instead.
The star's publicist took to Twitter to reveal her new look at the time, saying: "Amazing woman. Amazing new hair."
Emilia Clarke mid-length bob
After revealing her new cropped hair on Instagram, the Game Of Thrones star hit the red carpet in Berlin to show off her locks in person. It was very different from the Mother of Dragons' flowing blonde tresses, but her timeless style went down a storm with fans all over the world.
Mindy Kaling short bob
Mindy Kaling said goodbye to her long locks in favour of a shorter crop back in 2015.
Alongside an Instagram post of her new look by celebrity hair stylist Christopher Naselli, the actress and comedian wrote: "Short hair don't care. Just a girl in her housedress drinking mini bar vodka, getting ready to go to her book publisher's party. Thanks @cnaselli for the dreamy cut."
Kim Kardashian long bob
We couldn't believe our eyes when Kim chopped her long black locks off last year - and, since then, she's been sported everything from waist-length hair to peroxide blonde curls. But we have to say we have a soft spot for her shorter, more grown-up, bob hairstyle of old.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley long bob
The model showed off a shorter do back in 2015, with celebrity hairdresser George Northwood doing the honours and getting rid of her trademark blonde tresses in favour of a sleeker style.
Jourdan Dunn short bob
The British model cut off about a foot of hair for the chic new do, which she revealed at the 2014 VMAs. She softened it with ombre dye.
Rita Ora short bob and fringe
Though the singer's hair length changes by week, we loved it when she ditched her extensions for a blunt and angled bob back in 2014.
Jennifer Lawrence short hair
Following her drastic pixie cut in 2013, the Hunger Games actress grew her beachy blonde hair into a loose and wavy bob.
Lena Dunham short bob
"Change is good," wrote the Girls star on Instagram after she reshaped her short hair and dyed it platinum bold.
Emma Stone short bob
From ombre layers to chic red crop: Emma Stone kick-started the shorter hair trend at the Venice Film Festival 2014.
Michelle Williams short bob
Michelle Williams looked beautiful with a pixie crop, but, when she grew her mini-mane out into a bob for May 2014, we were blown away. She looked phenomenal, didn't she?