The clavicle’s where it’s at
By Natalie Serafini, Assistant Editor
Ladies, I get it. Long, mermaid-like locks are traditionally the embodiment of sultry. “Hair,” from the musical Hair, rather appropriately says it best: “Gimme a head with hair / long beautiful hair / Shining, gleaming / streaming, flaxen, waxen.”
But you know what’s sultry, sexy, and sassy? Know what can be extremely flattering, and has previously captured countless women in its becoming clutches? You probably guessed it from the title, but it’s the lovely lob. The name is a portmanteau of “long” and “bob,” and it’s the fresh new style of Spring 2014. Need more convincing? That’s where I, someone who recently chopped off four inches of hair for the cut, come in.
The lob—which has at varying times been spotted on the shoulders of Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Richie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sofia Coppola, and now on the goddess that is Beyoncé—is the hybrid hairstyle of a grown-out bob. This cavalcade of clavicle-grazing coifs presents hair that is messy, edgy, and laissez-faire. Looking at all the different face shapes that have featured the cut, rest assured that whether you have an oblong, rectangle, oval, triangle, diamond, heart, round, square, long, or anything-in-between shape, the lob will look fetching.
There are specific proportions and shapes that are inherent to the lob. The bottom layer of the style doesn’t vary in length, making it similar to a chin-length bob; this is what makes the lob different from a regular shoulder-length cut, which doesn’t follow the template of a bob. The rest of the hair is layered to add visual interest. This is where you should consult with a hairstylist and follow their expert opinion: straight, wavy, or curly hair will likely require different approaches to bring out the best in your tresses. Be sure to surf Google, Pinterest, or any other sites, so you can bring pictures in to your hairdresser showing them exactly what you’d like.
Once you’ve lopped it off, there comes the question of styling. Because the cut is designed to look slightly messy and like you haven’t kept up with getting your bob trimmed, your approach to styling the lob shouldn’t be too sleek. If your stylist has layered your hair to suit your mane, the lob is fantastic for rolling out of bed and being ready to go—little to no styling required. For more primping and preening, I use a Paul Brown Hawaii ceramic hair straightener with rounded edges for straight hair, wavy locks, or curls with a little bit of bounce. Alternatively, a curling wand makes for some gorgeous loose curls: shoulder-length hair suits a 1-inch wand, like Sultra’s the Bombshell at Sephora (a bit of an investment at $150).
With more and more women taking their tresses to their shoulders, cropped locks are in style. It’s easy to maintain, takes weight off your hair, lets you comfortably skip a few days of shampoo (handy if you’re following along with Sophie Isbister in her quest for no-poo), and looks pretty darn great on just about everyone. If you’re ready to take your locks up a few notches (and inches), go forth, prosper, and get a lob.