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First lady Michelle Obama says goodbye to bangs

Stop the presses! First lady Michelle Obama’s bangs are history.

First lady Michelle Obama, left, delivers a commencement speech at Eastern Kentucky University Saturday. The bangs appear swept to the side. (James Crisp/Associated…) First lady Michelle Obama, left, delivers a commencement speech at Eastern Kentucky University Saturday. The bangs appear swept to the side. (James Crisp/Associated…)

The Hill reports that Obama sported a new look during her commencement address at Bowie State University Friday:

Her bangs…were grown out and parted to the side with her hair slightly longer, touching her shoulders.

We should have seen it coming. She told “Entertainment Tonight” in April that she found bangs “irritating” and called them “a day-to-day proposition.” An ABC News fashion blogger reported that daughter Malia “was caught on camera trying to fix her mother’s hair” early that month.

Photos through March and April revealed the bangs growing longer and thicker as pundits speculated on their future; did this mean the first lady was growing them out? When I saw her give a speech on affordable healthy food at a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market Feb. 28, the bangs looked like they could have used a trim.

The bangs made their first appearance on Michelle Obama’s 49th birthday Jan. 17, days before President Obama’s inauguration. The first lady’s new ‘do nearly upstaged the president; it was his second inauguration, after all, but the first time we’d seen Mrs. Obama sporting bangs.

“This is my midlife crisis, the bangs. I couldn’t get a sports car,” the first lady explained to talk show host Rachael Ray. “They won’t let me bungee jump. So instead, I cut my bangs.”

I asked Lori Greenberg, the owner of LA Cuts, a salon in Overland Park, Kan. and the woman who’s taken care of my hair for the last 20 years, what she thought about the issue.

“Bangs are a more youthful look you often associate with teenagers,” Greenberg said. “A more sophisticated style is generally one without bangs.” She agreed they required frequent maintenance. “Every two weeks they’ve grown so they’re in the wrong place and you need them trimmed.”

“Elle” called bangs “the ultimate hair accessory this season” last fall. But that was then, this is now. What effect will the first lady’s decision have on hairstyles? Will we see a trend toward growing out bangs now?

Or, as one of my friends asked, “Can we make this a big enough story to distract from all of the ‘scandals?’ If not, I don’t care.”

Diana Reese is a journalist in Overland Park, Kan. Follow her on Twitter at @dianareese.

Diana Reese is a journalist in Overland Park, Kan. Follow her on Twitter at @dianareese.

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