Ivanka Trump was hard at work getting on and off planes this Labor Day Weekend, and she made a change to her wardrobe of revolving shift dresses and power suits. The 37 year-old first daughter has a new hairstyle. What was once long is now short—and it moves.
Trump first sported the short, side-parted bob at an airbase in Maryland on Monday, pairing it with a navy maxi dress belted at the waist. She stared purposefully off into the distance while cameras snapped, as if playing “Come Fly With Me” in her head.
When Ivanka de-boarded in Bogotá, Colombia with Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan at her side, she had changed into a white mini dress with a brash lapel pin.
In a more simple era, back when Ivanka was a mere “Woman Who Works” running her eponymous fashion label, she may have posted about the cut on Instagram tagging some variance of the phrase, “new hair, new me.”
But Ivanka kept things professional on Monday, captioning the photos with, “Thank you Vice President Marta Lucia Ramírez for the warm welcome. Looking forward to a great trip!”
Though Trump-friendly outlets like the Mail Online (often stationed outside Ivanka's actual home to capture what she is wearing that day) and The Daily Caller raved about the look, calling it “sleek” and “terrific,” hairstylists who spoke with The Daily Beast had a more measured response.
“Her bob strikes me as very 2002,” Devin Toth, a stylist at Salon SCK on New York’s Fifth Avenue, told The Daily Beast. He noted that Ivanka may not have gotten a haircut, just taken out longer extensions, as he saw in her bob what looks like the track line that would clip in artificial hair.
“I think that anytime someone does this chop, it gives off a ‘take me more seriously’ vibe,” Toth continued. “You appear more intentional, precise, and discerning. Just think of Anna Wintour.”
Dhiran Mistry, who takes clients at David Mallet’s Soho salon, also said that the cropped cut conjured images of the inimitable Vogue editor-in-chief. “I love bobs, but the look went from being a cool, Vidal Sassoon, Anna Wintour sharp look to the Stepford Wives. It’s one of those guilty-by-association things.”
Stephanie Brown, a master colorist at Soho’s IGK Salon, put it bluntly: “She looks like an anchor from Fox News, and that’s probably the next job she’ll get anyway.”
The jaw-grazing bob has roots as an expression of freedom for women in the 1920s, with flappers like Louise Brooks eschewing the tradition of long hair in favor of a cropped cut.
Though famed British stylist Vidal Sassoon re-popularized the bob in the ’60s, earning ultra-stylish fans like Mia Farrow and Goldie Hawn, the style became a symbol of Boomer resignation in the ’80s and ’90s when female yuppies cut their hair as sharply as possible as statements of professional seriousness.
In the mid-2000s, Victoria Beckham kicked off third-wave bob fever with her asymmetrical chop. Tabloids dubbed Posh’s preferred cut the “Pob,” and women across the America brought her photo to the salon for inspiration, as a sort of mid-aughts version of a “Rachel.”
Which brings us to Ivanka’s bob, which could be an optics ploy to communicate control in a derailed administration. After all, as a colleague noted, this is the efficient hairstyle of a suburb-dwelling, multi-tasking working mother who commands respect at the office, school gate, Starbucks line, yoga class, and Lululemon dressing room.
It is also an echo of the best bob on the best show on TV right now—that belonging to Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) in Succession; a bob that signals intelligence, wit, and brisk ruthlessness.
It is also perhaps a hair-appeal to the type of middle or upper middle-class woman Ivanka desperately hopes to relate to, even if that target demographic dutifully donates to Planned Parenthood every month in protest of her father's proposed abortion restrictions.
Brown believes bobs can look stylish today, just not the one that currently lives on Ivanka's head. “To liven hers up, I would probably make the hair super straight and a bit dirty, or very loose waves, so there’s some movement in it,” she said.
But Ivanka has already had her fun as a New York cool girl and may be content to leave those bedhead days behind. As Refinery29 reported last year, Ivanka has only gone this short once before at the 2005 Met Gala, during the peak of Pob-mania.
Other than that instance, the socialite-turned-whatever-she-is-now has kept her blowouts long and bouncy, like a sorority sister attempting to copy a Kate Middleton Pinterest board. While working in her father's administration, Ivanka has shifted to stick-straight, center-parted, chest-length hair. It may be gone now, but don't cry—the look is only one extension appointment away.
It could also be—you know—just a haircut. Short hair is easier to style, control, and maintain—and bobs, as their time-spanning ubiquity shows, are popular because they can be pretty and practical. The bob does its job, so you can get on with yours.
“She wants to mean business now,” Brown mused. “Since no one is taking her dad seriously.”