This short-and-chic hairdo has a long history of shaking up the status quo.

Welcome to Fashion History Lesson, in which we dive deep into the origin and evolution of the fashion industry’s most influential and omnipresent businesses, icons, trends and more.

We recently called the short, blunt bob the official haircut of 2017 after seeing a slew of editorials, runways shows and street style snaps featuring the iconic ‘do. While bobbed hair always has an air of modernity, there’s still something that’s undeniably classic about the look. It’s no coincidence that a slew of fierce, fashionable females, from Coco Chanel to Anna Wintour, are associated with the bob haircut.

So, what is it about this simple coiffure that seems to represent confidence, individuality and high style? On a subconscious level, it still serves as an indicator of a woman’s choice to break from tradition. While cropped hair has been worn by women across the globe for thousands of years, beauty ideals for women throughout the majority of Western history have usually included long hair (a standard that’s held far more constant than those ascribed to “ideal” body types). Of course, there’s also something undeniably sexy about the bob. Vogue summed it up aptly in a 1988 story: “When a woman cuts her hair, she creates fresh erogenous zones and effects.” Sexy yet sweet, the haircut is somewhat of a paradox: “childishly demure, yet calculating, quirky, and soignée.” [3]

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