Bobs: A Guide To The Different, Weirdly Named Versions Of This Classic Hairstyle

Lobs? Clavicuts? Here's how to know what the hell hair buffs are talking about.
Publish date:
December 5, 2014
hairstyles, haircuts, victoria beckham, Karlie Kloss, bobs, Lob, Clavicut, Rose Byrne

When Victoria Beckham stepped out a few years ago in that graduated bob now simply known as The Pob (portmanteau of her Spice Girl moniker “Posh” and “bob”), it refreshed the celebrity hair landscape left in the doldrums in the wake of The Rachel. (Side note: Jennifer Aniston recently revealed that her stylist was "stoned out of his mind" when he created the iconic hairdo.)

Bobs in particular come in all shapes and sizes, including Anna Wintour’s classic Louise Brooks cut, which will always be in vogue (pun intended). All the variations -- and their names -- can be a little confusing, though.

Here’s a roundup of bob-du-jours that have been gracing salons and red carpets all over.

The Karlie

In 2012, supermodel Karlie Kloss sheared nearly seven inches for a hair feature in Vogue. This drastic cut arguably made Kloss a household name: Suddenly, everyone knew who Karlie was (although these days, she’s better known as Taylor Swift’s NYC BFF) and referred to this particular move -- going from long to short and shaggy hair that goes past the chin -- as “The Karlie.”

It’s also known as The Chop, per Garren, the stylist who created this cut and describes the look as something that would come out if one took the shears to their own ponytail.

The Lob

Short for “long bob,” the lob leaves the most room for interpretation. It can look exactly like The Karlie, be slightly longer, be blunt, razored at the edges, or even asymmetrical. It can be worn pin-straight a la Gwyneth Patrow, or slightly wavy like Jessica Alba and Olivia Munn. (Another side note: Jennifer Aniston has consistently sported a lob over the years ever since the Rachel.)

And, because it’s short and light enough to be worn as is -- blown-out or flat-ironed -- and long enough to hold an updo, the lob is a dream to style. Check out this tip for a textured bob from Doug Martucci, stylist, chief colorist, and owner of the Pharaohs Hair Designers in Center Moriches, New York: “Wrap one-fourth-inch vertical sections of hair around a curling wand. Once hair is curled, gently run fingers through and mist with a light hold hairspray.”

The G-bob

A cut that is nipped at the back then slowly cascades to the front is a graduated bob, or a g-bob. Mentioning this at the salon may elicit an approving nod from your stylist, who most likely learned this in beauty school. Like the lob, the g-bob may vary in length. (Victoria Beckham’s Pob is technically a g-bob.)

The Clavicut

A writer for Elle flew all the way to Tokyo for a clavicut with Yuki Kannou at the Shima Salon. The stylist is known for his meticulous snipping, shaping and “flawless blending,” where layers practically “disappear” into the hair. This length grazes the clavicle, or the collarbone, hence the moniker.

Perhaps the best part about lopping off long hair in favor of any of the above statement-making short styles is that one literally gets a fresh start. “You instantly get rid of frayed or split ends,” says Martucci. “It’s also a great way to ‘reboot’ color.”

Are you currently sporting a version of a bob? Have you been thinking about making the cut?