Exacting but versatile. Sophisticated but youthful. All business but alluring. Were we asking too much? We hoped not. Today’s working woman has every one of these characteristics. Why shouldn’t her hair?

A woman’s hairstyle is, like her clothing choices, a first-glance insight to her professional demeanor. Is she laid-back and fancy-free or is she precise and commanding? Either way, her appearance will tell the whole truth in a matter of seconds. But getting those tresses in top shape can turn into a series of unfortunate–and cringe-worthy–looks. And so, in an effort to find the perfect minimal-fuss, maximum-impact style, we turned to Mark DeVincenzo, a stylist at Frédéric Fekkai in the Mark Hotel in New York.

DeVincenzo didn’t blink at our seemingly contradictory list of requirements when we asked him to create the ultimate executive haircut. Instead, he got right to work on our model, Sabina, who was eager to update her look from generic to grown-up and chic. She wanted something individual and stylish, though she was reluctant to cut her hair short.


Many women are, says DeVincenzo, because they think they’ll look matronly. “A lot of women say they don’t want a ‘Soccer Mom’ haircut,” he explains. “But the modern-day Soccer Mom style is long hair in a ponytail.” His recommendation: the new bob.

Traditionally straight, jaw-length and blunt cut, the bob has been a working-woman’s staple for decades. At the moment it’s enjoying a renaissance as stylists modify it to flatter nearly every age, face shape and hair type. It can be sleek, curly or wavy, with bangs, face-framing layers or both. It can be styled for day or evening. It can also be longer (a true bob, however, still ends above the shoulders). Most of all, innovative cutting techniques have done away with the style’s main downfall: that stodgy, curled-under, bubble shape.

DeVincenzo cut the back of Sabina’s hair to just above the point where her neck meets her shoulders (to cut any lower, he says, would visually shorten her neck and make her shoulders look hunched and thick). He gradually angled the sides forward so that the front pieces hung about an inch longer than the back did. “Otherwise the cut looks round and ordinary,” he explains.


Then, to keep the bob from widening at the bottom–definitely passé–he cut hidden layers underneath the hair, to thin the bulk near the ends. Finally, he added long, side-swept bangs.

The new style fell into place after a quick blow-dry (oh-so-simple), yet was full of movement and body (très sexy and chic). As for Sabina’s reaction? She left the salon all smiles.

The Tress-essment

Sabina’s long, layered hair was pretty but lacked individuality. After assessing Sabina’s bone structure and hair texture, stylist Mark DeVincenzo got to work.

Getting Started

DeVincenzo began the new style but cutting the back of Sabina’s hair just at the base of her neck, and angled forward so that the front pieces hung roughly an inch longer around her face.

Laying in the Details

In order to avoid a rounded “soccer-mom” cut, our stylist snipped in hidden “thinning” layers along the bottom of the cut. This eliminates a bulky ‘do and keeps the look chic and updated. DeVincenzo used his scissors to perfect every strand of Sabina’s new long-bob.


A Sleek Blow-Out

An assistant finished with a quick blow-dry with a round, natural-bristle brush to smooth Sabina’s strands and finished with a spritz of Fekkai Sheer Hold hairspray ($23; fekkai.com) for staying power.

The Final Product

Sabina’s modern bob is polished and professional but not at all stiff–just what we asked for. Her look is authoritative but approachable, and a style that women from cubicle to C-suite can wear with confidence.

A Bold Variation

For an evening variation, DeVincenzo asked his assistant to blow-dry Sabina’s hair stick-straight. Then he combed a pea-size dab of styling wax (he chose Fekkai Coiff Nonchalant Piecing & Forming Wax, $23; fekkai.com) through her hair to separate it and make it “piecey.” He finished with a light spritz of hair spray.

Hair color: Kim Ruszczyk; Assistant: Nicole Calta

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