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The bob is cut at the level of ears, below the ears or above shoulders.
Historically, women in the west have usually worn their hair long. Although young girls, actresses and a few "advanced" or fashionable women had worn short hair even before World War I—for example in 1910 the French actress Polaire is described as having "a shock of short, dark hair", a cut she adopted in the early 1890s—the style was not considered generally respectable until given impetus by the inconvenience of long hair to girls engaged in war work. English society beauty Lady Diana Cooper, who had had bobbed hair as a child, kept the style through her teenage years and continued in 1914 as an adult. Renowned dancer and fashion trendsetter Irene Castle introduced her "Castle bob" to a receptive American audience in 1915, and by 1920 the style was rapidly becoming fashionable. Popularized by film stars Colleen Moore and Louise Brooks in the early 1920s, it was still seen as a somewhat shocking statement of independence in young women, as older people were used to seeing girls wearing long dresses and heavy Edwardian-style hair. Hairdressers, whose training was mainly in arranging and curling long hair, were slow to realise that short styles for women had arrived to stay, and so barbers in many cities found lines of women outside their shops, waiting to be shorn of hair that had taken many years to grow.
Although as early as 1922 the fashion correspondent of The Times was suggesting that bobbed hair was passé, by the mid-1920s the style (in various versions, often worn with a side-parting, curled or waved, and with the hair at the nape of the neck "shingled" short), was the dominant female hairstyle in the Western world. The style was spreading even beyond the West, as women who rejected traditional roles adopted the bob cut as a sign of modernity. Close-fitting cloche hats had also become very popular, and couldn't be worn with long hair. Well-known bob-wearers were actresses Clara Bow and Joan Crawford, as well as Dutch film star Truus van Aalten.
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