Beauty

Bob hairstyle inspiration: stars from Sandra Bullock to Reese Witherspoon rock our favourite short haircut

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
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Lily Aldridge at the CFDAs with a long ponytail

From Sandra Bullock to Reese Witherspoon, we’ve decided to take a look back at the A-listers who went for the chop and made the iconic bob hairstyle their own.  

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 Seventies, while women in the Eighties 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

Lily James, Fearne Cotton, January Jones, Kaia Gerber, Kerry Washington, Reese Witherspoon and countless others have all fallen for the bob this summer. Here, we have collated just some of our favourite twists on the classic haircut, so get ready for some serious short hair inspiration…

Usually known for her long chocolate locks, Victoria’s Secret Angel Lily Aldridge made a major summer switch to this wispy platinum bob, debuting it on Instagram with the caption “Dream Haircut”. 

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.

Kerry Washington decided to debut her blunt bob at Cannes 2019, and gave her fans some serious #shorthairgoals in the process.

“Beautiful,” wrote one.

Another added: “Amazing – I need to go short!”

Kaia Gerber

Kaira Gerber debuted her new jaw-length bob on Instagram, where she promptly dubbed it “the drama cut”.

Emily Ratajkowski makes a case for this iconic Sixties hairstyle

Emily Ratajkowski 

Brigitte Bardot put the layered lob and side-swept bangs on the map back in the Sixties. And, at the 73rd Tony Awards, Emily Ratajkowski followed suit with a modern twist on the classic just-below-the-shoulder cut.

The singer and activist has been experimenting with her look using shorter wigs over the past few months, so it remains uncertain whether or not this bob is for real or… well, faux. Either way, though, we predict her take on this nostalgic style is going to inspire a LOT of fans to go for the chop this summer.

Reese Witherspoon

On 5 June, Reese Witherspoon shared a boomerang from the salon of celebrity stylist Lona Vigi.

“Thanks for my new summer cut,” the Big Little Lies star captioned the video, which saw her flicking her blunt bob – cut to fall just below her shoulders, with plenty of texture and minimal layers – back and forth.

The look proved a hit with fans, with one writing: “That’s my favourite style!”

Another added: “Awww, I love it Reese.”

Anyone else have a feeling that plenty of folks will be rushing to their own hairdresser with Witherspoon’s Instagram post in hand as #shorthair inspiration? 

Lily James

From Mamma Mia to Cinderella, she’s had long blonde waves in pretty much every big screen venture she’s been in so far. However, on 30 May, Lily James confirmed that she’d cut her hair into a short, blunt bob – and her new ‘do is effortlessly cool.

“Chopped it off,” she captioned the post. “Thank you to my gorgeous glam team!”

January Jones

January Jones has been growing her hair out for as long as we can remember, but she recently decided that she missed having a short, chic bob.

Taking to Instagram to show off her new cropped cut, she captioned the post: “So I changed my mind again. @bridgetbragerhair you’re a dream.”

Fearne Cotton

“Once you’ve chopped you can’t stop ,” Fearne Cotton announced on her Instagram. And she certainly wasn’t kidding: the Happy Place presenter has been sporting long blonde waves for several months now, but it seems she couldn’t resist the allure of a blunt bob for summer. With a little help from celebrity stylist Paul Percival, she got herself ready for balmy summer climes with a razor-sharp blunt bob, which just skimmed her chin and framed her face perfectly. No wonder, in just 17 hours, the post had racked up a whopping 72,312 likes!

Naomi Watts

Naomi Watts has always been happy to experiment with her hair, so it makes sense that she decided to go for the chop ahead of 2019’s Tribeca Film Festival.

Taking to Instagram Stories, the Hollywood star unveiled a glamorous new blunt bob, which had been chopped to follow her jawline perfectly.

“New haircut,” she said, showing her mini-mane off from all angles. “Kind of loving the short hair!”

Us too, Naomi. Us too.

Sarah Hyland

Sarah Hyland is never afraid to experiment with her hair. In the past, she’s experimented with blonde waves and sleek lobs. Her newest look, though, is one of our favourites: think a deep chestnut brown bob, cut into shaggy layers and finished off with a sweeping side fringe. 

“New hair, who dis?” she captioned the first photograph of her new look on Instagram.

Is anyone else getting major Joan Jett vibes?

Irina Shayk’s poker-straight bob

Irina Shayk swapped up her long choppy bob for a short, blunt, poker-straight number at the 2019 Oscars.  Closer inspection shows her hair has been chopped clean to the nape of the neck in the back, and graduates to just past chin-length in front, which allows for that sleek A-line silhouette.

Charlize Theron’s brunette bob

Charlize Theron may be famed for her long blonde tresses, so the actress left many shocked when she debuted a luxe rich brunette bob at the 2019 Academy Awards. Apparently, her stylist Adir Abergel (@hairbyadir) took inspiration from two iconic Seventies films: Michelle Pfeiffer’s sleek and beveled bob in Scarface and Julie Christie’s iconic asymmetrical bob in Shampoo. Regardless of the hair muse, though, there’s no denying that this blunt, side-swept look is serious bob goals.

Chrissy Teigen short bob

Chrissy Teigen has given her hair a shake-up for September, swapping her mermaid-length locks for a short, textured bob cut. And yes, she may have debuted her shorter hairstyle on the red carpet at the 70th Primetime Creative Arts Emmys, but we got our first proper look at her own unique take on the bob style at the launch of her kitchen collaboration with Target (13 Sep). Anyone else suspect that this is going to be  the ‘new short’ hairstyle of the season?

Lana Condor short bob

Condor is the star of the Netflix smash hit To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, possibly the most perfect rom-com of the last few years. In that film, her hair – long, thick, raven-black and impossibly shiny – was so striking that it almost felt like a character in itself.

Now, though, Condor has lopped off her hair into a laid-back textured bob hairstyle that frames her face perfectly. On Instagram, the actor revealed that the unexpected short haircut is for her role in upcoming Eighties action-thriller TV series Deadly Class

  • Sophie Turner

    Sophie Turner has spent the last few years dyeing her hair red for her role as Sansa Stark in HBO’s Game of Thrones.

    So, while she has been sporting long blonde locks recently, the actress decided to celebrate the show’s big finale with a stylish new tousled bob hairstyle.

    Her new stylish shoulder length-hair bob cut is providing fans with serious lob inspiration, and she has dyed it a very Mother of Dragons-esque icy blonde.

    Turner shared a snap of her new style on Instagram, and captioned it: “New beginnings, new #WellaHair!

    “Thank you @sonyadove and @cwoodhair for transforming my look with @wellahairusa. #AskForWella #ad.”

  • Emilia Clarke

    Emilia Clarke has joined the bob brigade and chopped her long ‘do into a blunt, middle-parted short hairstyle.

    While originally relying on a hairpiece to create the icy aesthetic for her role as Khaleesi in Game of Thrones, Clarke took the plunge and gave her hair the authentic peroxide treatment. Unsurprisingly, the bleach caused some serious damage, and now she’s had to rescue it with a short haircut.

    “This new bob is the chicest way to style out some burnt out mother of dragons split ends…#everypunintended #whenyourendslooklikeawildlingsitstimetochop,” Clarke wrote on Instagram.

    Created by celebrity stylist Jenny Cho, the elegant but low-maintenance short bob cut is ideal for the incoming summer weather. 

  • Mila Kunis

    Mila Kunis has never been afraid to experiment with her hair in the past: in the past, she’s switched up her brunette tresses with waves, straighteners, highlights and, of course, a pair of scissors.

    Now, though, she’s debuted a new take on the classic short bob cut, opting for a chic angled look that is much shorter than any hairstyle she has had in the past.

    In a similar fashion to Victoria Beckham’s classic “Pob”, the cut is longer in the front (just slightly clearing her shoulders) and shorter in the back, framing her face and giving her tresses more movement and texture than a classic bob might.

    The result? A fresh new short hair look, ideal for summery climes. We have a feeling that Kunis’ new style may inspire more than one person to book an appointment with their hairdresser this weekend…

  • Leighton Meester

    Best known for her stand-out turn in Gossip Girl, Leighton Meester’s chestnut tresses are almost as iconic as the ever-stylish Serena’s wardrobe. Now, though, she has switched up her hair look in a big way with a bold cut and colour.

    “Having a blonde moment,” she captioned a shot of her new blonde hairstyle on Instagram.

    In an interview with People Style shortly after undergoing the seven-hour dye job, Meester said she was thrilled about the drastic change.

    “I don’t even feel comfortable saying that I just went blonde. It is a totally different colour of hair! But I love it” she shared.

    “I’ve had long, natural hair for a long time. The length it got to felt like the exact opposite of what I wanted to go for. I really felt like something that was a stark difference would be invigorating and fun.

    “I like to try different things and experiment. So when I wanted to change my hair, I just thought, ‘I should just completely go for it!’”

  • Zooey Deschanel

    Zooey Deschanel has, for as long as we can remember, kept her hair long. But the New Girl star took to Instagram earlier this week to debut a drastic new look: a blunt lob that hits right above her shoulders.

    Naturally, though, she kept things familiar with her signature fringe in place with the short bob hairstyle.

    “Meant to post this weeks ago: thanks @mararoszak for my big time hair cut!” the actress captioned her selfie. 

  • 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.

  • Lauren Conrad

    Lauren Conrad has always been famed for her long blonde tresses, but the former The Hills star unveiled a short and choppy new bob for winter 2017.

    Her hairdresser, Kristin Ess, shared a photo of Conrad’s new very short hairstyle on Instagram, writing: “Last week we travelled three years back in time and returned to the chop that kicked off my bob and lob obsession on my original queen. #ClearTheShoulders.”

    It’s certainly a chic twist on the lob: think lots of choppy layers, beachy waves and shimmering golden highlights.

  • 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…

  • Kate Middleton long bob

    Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, has always stuck to her guns and kept her head full of long, dark, curls over the years. However, when she stepped out at Wimbledon 2017, royal fans were stunned to see she’d chopped her hair into a long, sleek, and elegant bob, which just sits on her shoulders. Of course, it goes without saying that she made sure to inject some volume and bounce into her new mini-mane with her traditional Chelsea blowout.

  • 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.

  • Kylie Jenner short bob

    Kylie Jenner left fans startled when she unveiled her new mini-mane on Instagram, seemingly confirming that she had cut off several inches of her long locks.

     But, alas, the chic bob turned out to be nothing more than a wig – leaving many of the reality star’s fans dismayed.

    Nevertheless, it’s still sparked a clamour for bobbed hair on social media – and we can’t help but wonder if Kylie will go for the chop for real next time.

    Watch this space…

  • 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.

  • Hilary Duff short bob

    Blonde, brunette, ombre, blue, pink, grey - there isn't a hair trend Hilary Duff hasn't got behind. Last Christmas, presumably as a special present to herself, the actress headed to the hairdressers to chop off a good few inches.

    "Soooo it's pretty short. Thank you @cynthiavanis chopping," she wrote on Instagram

  • Serena Williams mid-length bob

    The tennis superstar has sported long hair for as long as we can remember. From sleek and straight hair at red carpet appearances to a scraped back afro on the court, we were so used to her hairstyle that we nearly did a double take when we saw her working a bob last year. The tousled look was chic, choppy and totally badass.

  • 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

    Emilia Clarke

    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."

    Image: Instagram

  • Dakota Johnson short bob

    The Fifty Shades of Grey actress waved goodbye to her long locks and welcomed a shoulder skimming new crop in 2015, but decided that she wasn't quite ready to say goodbye to her signature blunt fringe.

  • 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.

  • Zosia Mamet mid-length bob

    In 2014, the Girls actress appeared at the Golden Globes with a freshly cropped hairdo.

  • Kristen Wiig short bob

    Back in 2014, the comedian and Ghostbusters actress transformed her hair from long brunette, to a sharp brown bob, to a softer blonde crop. And, yes, she suited every single style.

  • Jennifer Aniston long bob

    The Friends star chopped her shoulder-length hair in winter 2013 after Brazilian-style blow dry treatment damaged her hair, and, in 2014, she displayed her long bob at a premiere in Los Angeles.

  • Kate Mara short bob

    As 2013 drew to a close, the former House of Cards actress trimmed her hair shorter and shorter, eventually rocking a chic bob that skimmed her jawline.

  • Lily Collins short bob

    Lily Collins is never afraid to experiment with her thick strands, working almost every style perfectly. But we have a soft spot for this retro Lily look, which saw her trim her locks to just above her shoulders.

  • Clémence Poésy mid-length bob

    In the Harry Potter film adaptations, Poésy's fluid long locks were a crucial part to the role of silver-blonde character Flour Delacour. The French actress debuted her shorter length at Paris Fashion Week in March 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?

  • Hayden Panettiere long bob

    Having gone for a drastic pixie cut in 2010 and grown it out again, Panettiere opted for the long bob in January 2014.

  • Karlie Kloss long bob

    The model has become an ambassador for the new crop, even convincing Taylor Swift to take the chop in February 2013. "I met Taylor Swift last night," said Kloss in an interview with The Cut at the time, “and she said, ‘Ohhh, I want to cut my hair. Karlie, if you see me in a few months with that haircut, know it's because of you.’”

  • Cate Blanchett short bob

    The Hollywood icon rarely leaves her hair lose - opting for up-dos while out and about and on the red carpet - but she channelled a wavy new crop at Cannes Film Festival 2014.

  • Michelle Dockery short bob

    The Downton Abbey star, much like a modern day Lady Mary, was one of the first stars to take the chop and keep it. The bobbed style framed her face perfectly.

Images: Getty, Rex Features, Instagram

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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