Compare Layered and Stacked Bob Hairstyles

Victoria Beckham rocks her stacked bob at a Roberto Cavalli event in Paris.

Photo: Julien Hekimian/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

As you take a walk through town or peruse the latest red-carpet celeb looks, you might ask yourself why so many women sport some version of a bob. The answer is that the look is almost universally flattering. For just about every hair type and every face shape, there's a bob to suit. Navigating through these different looks can be challenging, as there's a bevy of terms to describe them. Not to worry though. Once you know the difference between a few types, you'll spot the best one for you.


The stacked bob is characterized by a certain type of layering. It's dramatic, it's bold and it's been a favorite haircut of Victoria Beckham. The sharp lines and angles of this look make it a good choice for women with soft features and round faces. Because of its length, women with prominent chins might want to stay away from this style. Basically it's a short, chin-length bob that's longer in the front than in the back. From a side view, the cut has a steep diagonal line from front to back. What creates the angle of the line is a series of short "stacked" layers that create a lot of volume at the back of your head. The stacked layers are at the crown of your head and taper sharply down to the base of your neck.


Layered bobs can encompass more than just one look. Stacked bobs are a type of layered bob. Layering hair means cutting the top portions of your hair shorter than the bottom. Layering can be subtle by keeping them long and close together, or it can be dramatic by cutting them short or far apart. When you see your stylist and say you want a layered bob, she will most likely ask you how long you want the bob to be and craft a subtly layered look. Layering is one way to get rid of bulk in thick hair and create volume in thin hair. If your hair is thick, go for long layers with tapered ends. If your hair is thin, a shorter bob with shorter layers is your best bet. Unlike a stacked bob, a layered cut will be even all the way around, without any steep lines or angles.

More Bobs

Stacked and layered bobs are by no means the only kind. Though the variations are subtle -- and sometimes the terms are interchangeable -- it helps to know your vocab words with different types of bobs. There's the V-cut bob, which is very similar to a stacked look. An inverted bob specifically refers to tapering the ends, keeping the weight of your hair on top of your head. A concave bob means it's cut close to your head in a way that's meant to keep the ends curved inward toward your face and neck. A blunt bob means the ends are cut straight without any thinning or tapering.

Styling Options

The classic way to wear any bob is to have your locks lean and straight with a slight curve at the bottom. But, they can be more versatile. If you choose a medium shoulder-length bob, you can pull part of it up with braids and twists and wear it wavy or straight. Stacked bobs are more challenging. Because there are so many short layers, you're not going to be able to put it back -- and if you wear it curly or wavy, it could be too voluminous. But if you need to dress it up, don't hesitate to wear a beaded or feathered headband. Decorative hair combs work wonders in short hair. Just slide one in over one ear to pull back your hair for a chic, asymmetrical style.

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