When you’re after a big change with a chopped crop, all too often the first port of inspiration call is the latest trend cut – despite if it actually suits your face shape – or reverting to that oh-so-familiar cut that you know suits you, but that you found in 2005. As far as short hairstyles go, however, there is an untapped plethora of shapes and styles that reach beyond the Bingle Bob. But, we’re not talking trend forecasting, so much as retrospective revere. We pulled together our favourite classic hairstyles for short hair that never go out of style, ready to make the cut for your next big chop. After all, the women who wore these iconic short hairstyles didn’t get all their confidence from just their lipstick.
THE LOUISE BOB
This shortest-of-bobs was made famous by 1920s’ epitome of glamour, Louise Brooks. Sleek and effortlessly glam, she sums up the flapper era in one sharp, chic, fringed bob. The shorter bangs add some dimension to the look and works to frame your face, avoiding the risk of the cut looking harsh. Depending on the look you’re going for, and how adventurous you’re feeling,the look can be achieved at a few different lengths: from just under the earlobe, to the nape of the neck. Both are flattering for women with long necks and prominent collarbones.
To get a more slept-in but chic style, use a styling wax when your hair is wet and scrunch it just how you like it. Blast with a diffuser on your hair-dryer to finish. To keep in sleek and sophisticated, reach for the flat iron and a smoothing spray – but have a root lifting powder within reach if need be.
THE TOUSLED MARILYN COIFFURE
Along with sex appeal, the ability to stop world leaders in their tracks and of course, a certain white dress, Marilyn Monroe was known for just one other thing: her perfectly coiffed hairstyle. She made the tousled coiffure, with plenty of body and peroxide to hide her natural brunette mane,as famous as she was. Its body and bounce made her the envy of every woman’s hair desires, and still does. While the lack of overall movement in her hair did date, the body, fullness and shine did not.
Instead of using a harsh hairspray that keeps your hair in place like cement, try a light-hold texturising spray, or even a dry shampoo (don’t go overboard as it leaves residue, but spray from a distance about twice as far away as you would for your roots) to give hold without the stickiness.
THE MIA PIXIE
The pixie cut, made ever-so-coveted by Mia Farrow, is surprisingly feminine given there is no hiding behind locks of soft face-framing strands. The cut highlights every feature and is relatively low-maintenance (you just need to ensure you’re getting regular trims to keep the shape in-tact). While a good- dose of confidence can take this cut a long way, it is generally better suited to those with high cheekbones and smaller features. Of course, this is no blanket rule. If you’re ready to show off your more prominent features, we’re with you all the way.
Despite it’s early 2000s’ incarnation that was laden with the gooey stuff, leave the gels behind. This cut is best sported in its original Mia-esque form: soft strands swept with a little holding dust or light hold spray for texture should do the trick.
THE TWIGGY CROP
The crop cut is, in a sense, a ‘lixie’ (long pixie). It still gives you that freeing feeling of breeze on the nape of your neck that comes with a drastic chop, but allows more length and body to work with. The crop has more room for styling in multiple ways, letting you morph your look on mood or outfit – something the pixie doesn’t allow as much. This cut is perfect for those who aren’t yet fully committed to an all-off cut, but would like to test the boundaries; or those growing out their shorter ‘do but don’t want to be stuck in a mid-way rut.
Keep the look soft around the face, avoiding over-styling or heavy hold products. Instead, apply a heat protectant spray and anti-frizz serum to the ends (if you’re prone) and blow-dry hair, working downwards. If need be, clamp the ends with a heated straightener for just a few seconds to ensure no flyaway ends. A bit of root lifting powder or spray can work if it is looking too flat at the scalp.
THE OLIVIA LOB
The golden girl of the ‘70s and ‘80s has had many a hair incarnation – and let’s just say they’re hit-and-miss on ‘classic’ lists. But, her lobbed just-above-shoulder-length golden mane is certainly our favourite. From side-flicked to fringed to fiercely permed (circa Grease) she demonstrated the versatility of a simple cut. Today, the cleaner, natural version is still high on our hair radar, in no small part because it suits almost all hair types and is a compromise cut for those not yet ready for a full throttle chopped crop.
There isn’t much maintenance required for this hairstyle, except to ensure you’re getting regular trims. The trick is to keep hair as healthy as possible so keep heat styling to a minimum, nourish hair with weekly masks and keep the look easy. Although it is most flattering with a more blunt cut at the ends, there is nothing harsh about this cut – take care of your hair and let it do its natural thing.
Story by Jess Bowman