First lady's new 'do is making waves


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Michelle Obama’s hair has perhaps eclipsed her arms as her most fashionable physical attribute.

The First Lady debuted a new haircut Monday — a soft, textured bob with a fringe of bangs. It was a more polished version of the cut that Vogue magazine earlier this month dubbed “the chop,” predicting it would be as big as beachy waves were last year, as big as “the Rachel” (named for Jennifer Aniston’s “Friends” character) was 15 years ago.

Obama’s hair made “The Daily Show” and Conan O’Brien’s talk show. It drew much reaction (mostly positive) on Twitter.

And it drew the attention of stylists everywhere, including Omaha.

“When I saw it I was like, ‘Oh, my god, yes,’” said Matthew Feerhusen, a stylist at Bungalow 8 Salon near 105th and Pacific Streets. The bangs flatter Obama’s face, he said, and such an of-the-moment style is extra-appropriate given Michelle Obama’s reputation as a trend-setter.

“It’s perfect because it’s so popular,” he said. “It’s a great haircut.”

Feerhusen said he’s been seeing a lot more requests in the past six months for big heavy bangs like Obama’s, most often from women with longer hair. He credits Lady Gaga with starting the trend of the “modern bang,” in which stylists cut a heavy fringe straight across the forehead, without too much texture or blending.

Gaga’s bangs were severe — short, angular, high fashion and not something just anyone could pull off. Other stars — Zooey Deschanel and Taylor Swift among them — adopted softer, more accessible incarnations of the modern bang, and women everywhere followed suit.

Victoria’s Secret model Karlie Kloss, though, was among the first high-profile women to pair the modern bang with shorter, tousled hair. It was her cut that Vogue christened “the chop” and the cut they predicted would inspire knockoffs everywhere.

Mykel Revord, lead stylist at Fringes Salon near 158th Street and West Dodge Road, said she thought Kloss’s style didn’t quite translate to the average woman.

A short, tousled do paired with heavy bangs is fine if you’re willing to really step up your makeup — or if you’re naturally stunningly beautiful (like Kloss), Revord said.

Otherwise, she said, the cut runs the risk of looking messy.

“It’s the soccer mom haircut people come in wanting fixed,” she said.

Obama’s more polished version of the look — less severe than a classic bob but more put together than Kloss’s do — is more office or cocktail party appropriate, Revord said. After all, Obama’s hair looked perfectly in place at both the inauguration and the subsequent inaugural balls.

And if it’s good enough for a ball, it’s probably good enough for the average woman, said Revord, who expects to see a lot of imitators.

Feerhusen does too. Hair is cyclical, he said, and the bang-short hair combo was due for a comeback.

“It was right on time,” he said.

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