Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Michelle Obama's new bangs a good move, say Tampa Bay stylists

It was a ho-hum week of politics. Something something second inauguration of the nation's first black president on nation's only federal holiday dedicated to a black man.

But then first lady of the United States Michelle Obama dropped a bomb on the universe: She got bangs.

The internet buzzed for days about the look. Praise swept over the land, and they were deemed good by all but a few.

E! Fashion Police host Joan Rivers tweeted: "Today starts President Obama's next four years in the White House. Let's hope the same isn't true about the First Lady's new hairdo."

Tame in comparison to GQ correspondent Ana Marie Cox's reactionary tweet: "I'm sorry, Michelle Obama's bangs, but no. I'm sorry but no."

Local stylists and bang aficionados took the opposite view.

"I love them," said Micheline Barber, 42, owner and lead stylist of Tampa's award-winning M Salon 1. "I think it makes her look more youthful."

A regular customer walked into Posh Salon and Spa in Tampa Wednesday night and specifically requested the Michelle Obama fringe, said stylist Kirsten Ritenbaugh, 22.

"Bangs are really big right now," she said.

Andrea Davis, 38, a spokeswoman for Tampa Police, cut her own bangs two months ago and saluted the First Lady for making the commitment.

"I think it's interesting that bangs are getting so much attention. It's cool that she's part of the trend," Davis said.

Since the start of the year, Ritenbaugh has cut bangs for two clients a week — a trend she think will pick up as celebrities embrace the style.

ABC's Scandal star Kerry Washington wore bangs when she hit red carpets for her film Django Unchained.

"First ladies always have such proper hair and bangs are sort of a trendy thing," Ritenbaugh said.

No one knows how long the trend will last, said Uliana Pakskina, 23, a stylist at Tribeca Salon in Ybor City.

"I would say it started about six months ago and right now 60 percent of my clients have bangs," she said.

The change may be a transition.

"A lot of my clients who are thinking of going short, start with a bang," Barber said. "I think she might be easing the public into a new, short-haired Michelle Obama."

Even if the style is for the short term, its notoriety already has been recorded in history. On Wednesday, Michelle Obama's bangs got their own satirical Twitter account.

The flagship tweet declared: "WE ARE MICHELLE OBAMA'S BANGS. Rejoice."