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What is an a-Line Bob?

By Douglas Bonderud
Updated May 21, 2024
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An a-line bob is a women's hairstyle that resembles the capital letter A, hence its name. This style is created by leaving a straight fringe across the forehead, or cutting the bangs into a horizontal line. The bangs or fringe are analogous to the crossbar on the A. Hair on either side of the face is left longer and resembles the two lower pillars of the A. The crown of the head is the point at the top of the letter.

This hairstyle has been popular, in one form or another, for at least 40 years. Proponents state it was one of the first women's hairstyles ever created. Traditionally, the back of this style features the hair cut in such a way that it is tapered down to the neck, with the back hairline higher than those at the sides. Multiple versions of this style exist, such as the inverted bob, in which the back of the hair is cut extremely short or styled up and away from the back of the head and neck. Another modern version is the asymmetrical bob, in which the front line of hair across the forehead is lower at one end than the other, producing a slope.

In the late 1970's, a version of this style known as the wedge or Dorothy Hamill became wildly popular after Hamill's gold medal figure skating win at the 1976 Olympics. This style features the characteristics of an a-line bob in the front, but has the back of the hair cut so that it produces a 45° slope up and away from the neck. This technique, called stacking is achieved by beginning at the nape of the neck and precisely cutting each layer of hair slightly longer than the one below, until the weight line, or farthest point out from the head, is reached. When finished, the hair will stack on top of itself, producing a wedge shape.

The advantages of an a-line bob are that it produces a cut with a great deal of movement and a minimal need for daily attention. While the bob will require some styling each morning to achieve the desired look, only a few products will be required, which may include a blow-dryer, smoothing balm, and a small straightening iron. Due to both its versatility and simplicity, the a-line bob is very rarely considered to be out of fashion.

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