The Perfect Bob Hairstyles

Emily Browning's messy-yet-polished bob at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival premiere of

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

When summer beckons, you might think about chopping off those pesky inches of hair to give your neck some much-needed breeze. Enter: the bob. The bob hairstyle, which tends to end anywhere from right below the ears to somewhere around your chin (unless it's the modern "longer bob"), can serve practical purposes in hotter weather, but it's definitely fashionable all year-round. During the summer the bob shows off decolletage and toned shoulders, while in winter, it stays out of the way when wearing chunky turtlenecks and heavy-collared coats. Whatever the season, the bob is the perfect option for anyone who wants to add a dose of built-in chic to any ensemble.

The Fringe Bob

An incredibly sleek option, the fringe bob looks especially great on heart-shaped faces. Take a cue from the adorable and sophisticated Katie Holmes at the "Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy" Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City back in 2008. Her bob is boldly short, curling in to frame her face just about an inch above her chin. Her longish fringe bangs look just as polished and glossy and stop bluntly at her brow line -- resulting in a demure, pee-a-boo appearance that completely draws all focus to her luminous eyes.

The Side-Swept Bob

Go neat and classic with the side-swept bob, demonstrated by actress Kirsten Dunst at the 2005 Academy Awards. The wispy ends of her bob end right at her chin, and while Dunst tucks in the swept side behind her right ear, she lets the other side fall forward just slightly, resulting in a sultry look that's anything but boring. Her bob instead looks multi-dimensional and versatile -- not to mention, her very fair skin and very blonde hair give her a completely unique, otherworldly aura.

The Retro Curly Bob

Perfect for more formal affairs and completely fitting with an elegant, floor-sweeping dress, the retro curly bob was worn beautifully by Charlize Theron at the premiere of "Monster" in Hollywood in 2003. Slightly volumized in front, and styled with loose but tucked curls all the way around, Theron channeled old Hollywood glamour with this look. If you want to go for something more informal, don't curl your hair quite so much, and instead make it look more beachy casual with messier waves; just keep some hair creme on hand to tame the frizzies.

The Tapered Bob

Leave it to style icon Gwyneth Paltrow to opt for a hairstyle that's incredibly sophisticated and incredibly edgy at the same time (and pull it off)! At the 2008 Cannes Film Festival premiere of "Two Lovers," Paltrow showed off a super-straightened bob that was slightly longer in the front, and shortened subtly toward the back. Her slightly darkened roots don't even matter with a bob this chic! If you have no time to straighten, simply blow dry and tuck the wispy ends behind your ears, like actress Emily Browning did so well at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival premiere of "Sleeping Beauty."

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