Reader Request: Hairstyles that Match Personal Styles

How to pick a hairstyle that works with your personal style

Lovely reader Anne had this hairy query:

I’m in the midst of trying to find a hairstyle that suits me and it occurs to me that this might be a great topic for your blog. The relationship between hair and clothing. I don’t know about you, but I find that if my hair doesn’t look it’s best, or it is a ponytail vs. wear-long day it will affect how I dress. I think that’s why I have been having so much trouble finding a hairstyle I love since I feel like it has to go with my wardrobe.

So, I guess my question is: Do you think hairstyle is a major fashion consideration? And following that – any hairstyle blogs you could point a girl with long, lanky, straight boring-ass hair for some inspiration/ ideas?

First off, many hairstyle blogs are really specific. (Emo hair, anyone?) But Fashionising has a GREAT section on styles. Some are a little out-there, but many could be customized to fit normal-gal life. And if you’re interested in updos, you can check out the Braid Wednesdays group on Flickr. There’s also the InStyle Hollywood Hair Virtual Makeover tool – a very fun way to try out a few different looks without affecting your actual locks. I keep a Pinterest board of hair inspiration, and also just stash styles I think are gorgeous in there.

Now, on to the meat of the question: Is hairstyle a factor in personal style? Let’s use me as an example.

I love my hair, but have always been pretty lazy about it. It’s unruly and difficult to style, so I tend to pick low-maintenance cuts. Until recently I focused on whether or not a style was easy to deal with and paid less attention to how it aligned with my dressing preferences. But now I tune in a bit more. So do I think hairstyle is a major fashion consideration? Absolutely. I think the world’s most gorgeous, stylish, well-turned woman can completely ruin her look with a bad ‘do. I wore my hair in a style that didn’t suit my face-shape for YEARS before I got my current, more flattering cut. And I know that finding the right style is no mean feat.

Here’s what I’d say if you’re searching for a hairstyle that suits your fashion sense:

  • Identify other women – celebrity or otherwise – who have hairstyles you adore. What about those styles appeals? Would they suit your personal style? Your hair type? Your daily time allotment for hair styling? Your face shape?
  • Identify other women – celebrity or otherwise – who have personal styles you adore. What hairstyles have they chosen? Do the two seem to mesh? Could they for you?
  • Make a list of things you want your hairstyle to do for you. I, for instance, want it to balance my square jawline and forehead, be long enough to show my natural curls, and gel with my edgy personal style. What does your hair need to do to make you feel awesome?
  • Make a list of things about your hair that make it challenging. Is it limp, overly curly, difficult to straighten? Does it dry slowly, get static-y easily, not play well with product?
  • Make a list of adjectives that describe your personal style, your wardrobe, your personality.
  • Do some salon research. Mostly this will mean talking to as many women as possible – preferably ten or more – about their hair stylists. Find out who takes direction well, who can be trusted with color, etc. And when you think you’ve found someone who could work, get that person on the phone and make sure you connect on a personal level. This needs to be someone you can trust and someone who GETS you. When you find that stylist, book ’em.
  • Warn the salon in advance that you need some consult time tacked on to the appointment and are willing to pay for it. Bring ALL your notes with you. You could even bring some photos of yourself – full-length outfit shots – to illustrate your style. Spend as long as you need discussing your desires with the stylist, and get input and advice. This person is an expert and should have loads of opinions. And if it seems like the stylist doesn’t know or doesn’t care? Ask if you can pay a partial fee and walk out. Socially awkward, yes. Worth it, also yes. You’re in a vulnerable spot and need someone who is going to help you, not brush you off and give you a cut you hate.
  • Be sure to talk to the stylist about … well, styling, too. A great cut only gets you so far, if you can’t re-create it yourself outside the salon. So make sure you touch on your ability to commit to styling time and effort BEFORE the stylist starts snipping.
  • For more input from an actual stylist, check out this interview with my long-time stylist Jaimie Stevenson! She gives you the scoop on how to discuss cuts that will truly work for you and your hair style.

Hopefully this combination of research and hunting down a trusted stylist will result in a ‘do that suits you and your wardrobe!

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52 Responses to “Reader Request: Hairstyles that Match Personal Styles”

  1. Stephanie

    How timely for me. I decided to grow mine out to donate this year so it is currently long and without style. Once I get around to making an appointment it will be short again so I will def enjoy those links.

  2. Rosie Unknown

    I think my hairstyle says more about my personality than my style, but it definitely says a lot about who I am and helps me feel myself. When my hair isn't curly, volumous and bouncy, I don't feel as happy.

  3. Casey

    I think for myself, my hair tends to be one of those things I keep neutral so I can style it a variety of ways. I've had pretty much the same layered cut (just varying in length) for the past 5 years, which allows me to wear it about a million different ways. One day I feel super romantic, so I put it in a loose updo; on another day I'll let it wave and go wild! Basically, it has to cater to my whims. 😉 Which is probably why I've never done a really specific style cut (say a pageboy or pixie for instance), because I have style ADD. I have to say though, one thing I always stress when I get my hair cut is that I'm a wash and go girl, and that I let my hair air dry and naturally wave 80% of the time. Stylists hate me for some reason (they always try and blow it dry!), but why get a style in the salon that I won't keep up with at home?

    ♥ Casey
    blog |

  4. fashionflirt

    I'm really lucky, my hair stylist was my brother's first girlfriend (he's 12 years alder than I am) and has been cutting my hair since I was 7. The only times I've had bad styles were the times I would try and find a new stylist (usually because I'd moved away).

    I never asked her about how to style my hair the way she did because I liked the way I styled my hair. I didn't feel it was necessary. Until one day she did the most amazing style, and we booked an appointment for ehr to teach me how to do a few different styles on my own.

    Stylists want you to look awesome, and will totally go the extra mile to give you a cut that looks fantastic, but to also teach you how to keep it looking awesome. You aren't going to get anyone complimenting you on your hair if you always pull it back into a ponytail, and referals are a stylist's lifeblood.

  5. Charlie

    my hairstyle says a lot about me, at least that´s what I think. I love my red hair, but last time I dyes it it didn´t turn out as red as it should have (I was naive enough to expect that red dyes in red hair would turn out RED, but no) and right now I´m sitting here with my hair dye in just waiting to wash it off. Back to really red it is. I love my layers as my hair is straight without them, but miss the length. It´s just never good enough, is it? I colour and cut it myself, since every time I was at salons they never really got me. So now I can only blame myself if something turns out other than expected 🙂

  6. eek

    I absolutely believe your hair is almost more important that what you wear! I decided years ago (especially when my then bf who is now the hubs loved it) that short hair suits my personality so much better than long hair. I also found a stylist and colorist, both of whom I adore. They cost me a pretty penny but are worth every cent!

  7. Almost 40

    Here's what I've found sweet Sal – I've only had long (shoulder-length) hair once in my life. When it gets too long – like, chin-length, I find that it starts to become sort of an armor. I tend to hide behind it and feel less confident because I've become too attached to it. My whole life I've had short hair and for a while now, I've been rockin' an asymmetrical 'do and I think it kind of works for my quirky personality and style. It's hard to imagine me having a radically different style than what I have now.

    I'm not so attached to my hair – especially the color. I generally let my stylist choose what we're doing. There's a lot of trust there and it always turns out great.

    Yep, it's absolutely an important part of my style.

  8. Anonymous

    Sal, I think your hair is gorgeous and the style really suits you.

    From a fellow curly girl.

  9. Sal

    Almost 40: Oooh, good point! Hair is such an emotional aspect of appearance, and it can totally be used as armor or a curtain.

  10. diane

    Only in the last few years have I really embraced my curly hair. Its fine, messy, and never the same way twice. I experiment a little with color, but for the most part let it be (with styling products and flattering layers of course).

    I think it's a control issue – or lack of – that a lot of women obsess over perfectly coiffed hair. I work with a few high strung flat-ironed-to-death ladies. I just want to give them a Xanax and a hug.

    When I look at old pictures, I can see what I was struggling with at the time because I took it out on my hair – trying to make it something it's not.

    Hate to say it, but when life is good, my hair is CRAZY. And that's OK.

    PS – I LOVE your blog and read it every day!

  11. Scholar Style Guide

    Oh, thanks for these pointers! If I were this thoughtful concerning my hairstyles, I probably wouldn't impulsively chop off my hair every 6 months. I'm so happy to see other curly-haired women embracing their locks! Your cut suits you!

    – Anne-Marie

  12. Cynthia

    I have thick, fine, stick straight hair, and I can basically do one of two styles. Chin length bob, or longish with layers, as it is now because my stylist got bored cutting the bob and convinced me to grow it out. I looked at my morning outfit photo today and decided to call my stylist posthaste and get a couple of inches chopped off. But there's really nothing super-different I can do with it without lots of effort and chemicals. It is what it is, and I refuse to invest lots of time trying to make it what it is not. My personal style (such as it is) doesn't seem to conflict with the hair. Or I guess I think of the hair as not part of the "outfit". It's my hair. It's like my face.

    I do color, because currently my hair is sort of a mousy dark brown with substantial gray at the front (not a good look) so we make it warm dark brown with no gray.

  13. Sidewalk Chalk

    What a fabulous list of advice, Sal. I've gotten more than my fair share of bad haircuts over the years, mainly because I'd see something in a magazine and wouldn't factor in my own personal texture, style and time for maintenance with it. I'll definitely have to print this list out soon when I get my next one.

  14. Moni

    I both do and don't consider my hair to be a major component of my personal style. After over a decade of chemically straightening my hair, I chopped it off and let it grow out natural two years ago. It's now shoulder length (when curly) and has a variety of textures. I think it suits me far more than straight hair ever did. I like to joke that I have big hair to match my big head! 🙂 I think it suits my style because I love to wear bright colors, which often causes me to stand out from the crowd, so my hair just adds to that effect. I also feel like I'm being true to myself by wearing my natural texture. I don't think that there is anything special about the message that my hair sends, compared to anyone else's hair.
    However, I know that some people make assumptions about me simply because I choose to wear my hair naturally, from militant (See Michelle Obama NYer cover) to creative/artsy. If the personal is political, then it's definitely so when it comes to my natural hair.

  15. EvaNadine

    i had super-long hair for the entire first half of my life, because i never found short hair feminine or attractive — i wanted hair that swept the floor. then, after a trim-gone-awry, i ended up with shorter hair — that progressively got shorter and shorter with every cut.
    nowadays, im a true convert. short hair frames my face and enhances my features better than my long hair ever did. once i found the cut that suited me, it all just fell into place.
    i still like to play around with the details of the cut and the styles i wear it in, and im lucky to have found an amazing stylist who knows my hair, my personality, and my features very well. she will flat out refuse to do a certain cut if she knows my hair wont hold it well, if it wont flatter my face, or frankly, if she knows im too lazy to style it properly. or she will work with me to alter it to something that will work for me.
    just like knowing what clothing flatters you and suits your personality, its the same thing with your hair!

  16. K.Line

    I've always considered my hair to be a looks weak-link but I have to say I get a lot of compliments since I died it mega-blond and got an edgy haircut. It's always been short – it suits my face size and shape and mitigates the hair flatness issue I have.

    I've never been happier with my hair than I am right now.

  17. Carolina on My Mind

    I have completely transformed my style over the last two years or so, but my hairstyle has stayed the same. For variety I grow it a little longer or get it cut a little shorter, but the basic cut has been the same for several years now, and I haven’t had any desire to shake things up. (My cut and color are similar to yours, Sally, although my hair is much straighter than yours.) I’ve never really thought about this before now, but maybe keeping my hair the same has been a way to maintain some continuity when everything else about me has changed.

    I think having a hairstyle that suits your style and makes you feel good about yourself is really important, and I think your tips are excellent. And I’m intrigued by what you said about wanting your own hair to have some volume to balance your hips. I’ve always focused on flattering my face shape; it never occurred to me that hair could play a role in balancing out one’s figure.

  18. Melissa Blake

    You look so beautiful. And thanks for the awesome links!

  19. Cecilia

    I feel that a hairstyle should go with your style. I have been in a rut for years. These links have come in at a great time for me. Thanks!

  20. Valerie

    how funny, I just got a major haircut and restyle last night. I have a great hair artist, who is also part psychologist– over the course of about six years, she took me from waist length hair to my current short, pixie-ish do. She is superbly skilled, and spends time showing me how to style my hair and use the appropriate product. She's worth ten times what she charges.

    I just remember the old saying, "Nothing lasts as long as a bad haircut."

    Great suggestions!

  21. La Historiadora de Moda

    I cannot stress how important it is to have a stylist who actually listens to you as a client. I have had several bad cuts and color jobs that would not have happened if the stylist had not just decided to do what they damned well pleased with my hair instead of what I requested.

    I do find myself wanting to dress a little quirkier and more whimsically with my new pixie cut, but I don't think that any of the hairstyles I have had over the past year clash with my eclectic style of dress.

  22. angie

    I'd add to the list that you shouldn't feel obligated to stick to your hair stylist if you aren't happy with them. They might be nice to yak to but having your hair done is expensive and you deserve the best end result. Shop around.

  23. Mrs.M in MI

    Over the course of my 20's I have experimented with the length of my hair in an effort to appear older than I normally look, because I already look really young (when I was 22 and had very long blunt-cut hair people would always ask if I could drive yet).

    Long or medium-length bobs make me look older than long hair. Short bobs are just unflattering.

    Right now I have long hair with bangs and while I know it makes me look young as long as I keep my hair long my husband keeps his beard, which I think is so hot.

  24. Taylor Sterling

    My hair really determines how I feel each day! I must say your hair is beautiful! Great dress too!

  25. Anonymous

    Ha! I also have "lanky, straight boring-ass hair". After suffering through so many spiral perms in the 80's and early 90's I was relieved when straight hair seemed to become quasi-fashionable. My hair grows really fast, so I switch between bobs and layered shag-like cuts about quarterly. I also invest in color, which gives it body. Other than that, I've lived product, hair-dryer and curling/straightening iron free for years now and life is good.

  26. Ms. M

    I could never decide if I wanted my hair short or long– until I got on Facebook. Friends & family started posting old photos of me through the years and it became VERY obvious that long,curly, and free is the best look for me. Short, styled hair makes me look sad and repressed or uptight. Which I'm not. So yes, hair is definitely a huge factor in my self image and the way I think others might perceive my personality.

  27. tinyjunco

    i'd re-iterate: really think about how much time/money you want to put into your hairstyle. there's a lot of awesome styles that take a huge amount of upkeep, which is worth it for a lot of women. but if you don't want to go that route, make it clear to yourself and your stylist.

    if you're going more natural, focus to begin with on What Your Particular Hair Will Do. that last point is going to really limit your options, so if you start there's you'll save a lot of time.

    hair is a huge part of personal style, if you get a style you like and keep it up it will imprint your personal style on every outfit you put together.

    i too gave up and started cutting my own hair a few months ago. it's shoulder length, wavy & curly in the 'land of the Jennifer Aniston Cut, Dye, and Blow-Out'. you can watch other people cut hair to learn how, and there's some good books and videos at the library.

    the emotional aspect – oy! i'll just say consider others' input, but stay true to your own desires. how many people have told me to cut my hair, it's more 'practical' (two hours and $80 every 6-8 weeks is more practical than a couple hours free whenever it's convenient?)

    there's a lot of projection out there about hair. good luck!! steph

  28. Laura Elaine

    Great discussion catalyst Sal. Hair is definitely tied to personal style, but probably not as much as one might think. I think most women *most* just want to feel pretty and feminine with their hairstyle. Once they find that, they will stick with it.

    I had the typical long-with-side-bangs style for years, but it was far too bland for my personal style, which is quirky and admittedly, a bit hipster 😉 I've recently chopped my hair, to the horror of some, and I loooove my hair now.

    I wear it mostly curled or wavy, with some longer pieces in front for a little edge (think Alexa Chung with more body). It suits my style much better, and makes me feel even more stylish because of it.

  29. Anonymous

    Yet another great post Sal! I definitely think hair is an important part of my personal style. I have long thick hair that is a little bit wavy. When I was a little girl it was strawberry blond but of course its darkened to a sort of reddish light brown. I find the natural color sort of boring so I've dyed it since I was about 18. I've been blond, really blond, red, auburn and now I've found the perfect blend of blond, red and brown that looks super natural. I love my hair and wear it down most of the time.

    One thing my mom taught me: Never get a cheap haircut. You have to wear your hair everyday so its worth spending money on 🙂

    ~ Sarah

  30. bootsbeatsandeats

    I love this post. A women's hair is essential in expressing who they are.

  31. lisa

    My hair gets pulled back in a ponytail A LOT. As a little girl, my mom used to put my hair up for me and now I'm not used to the feeling of having it down and around my face. (It also doesn't help that my hair is thick enough to make me feel as though my vision is being obstructed when it's down!) I've been growing it out so I can try the side braid that's so trendy this summer, but I've discovered that it's too thick for a soft pliant single braid. Now I'm tempted to cut it all off.

  32. rb

    I have good hair. It's one of my only attriubtes I'm comfortable saying that about, mainly because what makes it good hair how it grows out of my head, not anything I do to it. It's thick, with very little gray (i'm 45), a good non-mousy dark brown, and straight but not so straight it won't take a curl.

    All that said, I still have to have a good cut and I still have to style it in order for it to continue to be good hair. I can wash and wear, but it's a much better day if I dry it and smooth it out a bit with a round brush.

    Just like everything else appearance-related, what you get out of it is what you put into it.

  33. A-Dubs

    A very helpful post – thanks for the advice and for the pre-Friday lovely links.

    Thanks, too, for yesterday's close-up of the zipper necklace. I'm enthralled. EnTHRALLED.

  34. Megan

    Hair is probably a bigger deal to the average person than clothes. I spent literal YEARS trying to find what really fit me. I had to chop off my locks due to too many dyeing episodes and once it grew out I couldn't bear to part with it.

    I took the plunge a couple months back and got it cut super short. I'm really thrilled with it. It does everything I want and more for my style. I feel so much more put together. It just took the courage to let go of my long lank locks.

  35. storiteller

    I know I get quite frustrated with my hair because it seems like there's very little I can do with it. I have extremely fine ("It's like a baby's!" the stylist said last time I went), rather thin, no-volume stick straight hair. The fineness makes it so that any product that goes in it falls in a matter of hours and then looks really greasy. A lot of the updoes are difficult because I just don't have that much hair. For length, it's just beyond shoulder length now. I'd consider cutting it short, except for two factors. One, I have a small head and broad shoulders, so it would just exaggerate that difference. Two, my mom has a very short haircut and everyone says we look exactly alike, so it would be very weird.

    Despite this complaining, I'm actually pretty happy with it right now – it's a good length and I got it cut only a couple of weeks ago. I was going to do something radical with it in July, but I haven't decided if I really want to or not.


    What a great topic! You should contact Harpo and see if you could fill Oprah's spot! Seriously!

    Anyhoo, I have long, very straight, fine hair and am 46. Yet, I hardly EVER wear it down!

    The reason I keep it:
    1. It allows for a multitude of variety.
    2. It grows very fast, and I am on a budget!
    3. I FEEL great in it, as my style is very bohemian.
    4. Though, other's tell me I look younger with short hair ( a bob,etc.), I FEEL older with short hair.
    5. My features are very masculine and longer hair plays up my femininity more.

    The "perfect" hair (for me) would be loose curly layers, but Perms are horrible to maintain.A small barrel iron give this effect. I also counter the length with BANGS.

    Bangs are a great starting point for someone who just wants a "change".

    An article I read stated that the most flattering style all across the board, is shoulder-length layers, like Heidi Klum's.

    Hair is very personal. I have ruined my hair Many times on the advice of other's. I suppose it depends on how "adventurous" one is as to how extreme they cut it.
    Many "professionals" have made me FEEL utterly hideous with a bad style!

  37. Kelly

    I think hair does factor in to personal style. Sometimes it's frustrating because a style I would *like* to have or one that I think would express me best just isn't one I can get out of my fine, semi-wavy hair. But then, I guess that's just like clothes. There are outfits that really appeal to me that would *never* work on my body.

    I would also say an important thing to do when going to a new stylist is to dress in a way that you feel expresses you best. Once you get to know your stylist it won't be as important, but for those first impressions you want to portray your best self. Your outfit when you first meet this stylist is all she'll really have to go on regarding your personal style.

    Oh, and there are definitely outfits that I feel like I can't wear on "ponytail days" and when my hair is looking particularly majestic, I feel like I have to dress up to do it justice. ha!

  38. Rebecca

    I think hair is an important part of personal style.

    I didn't like my hair until I found my current stylist, but she does such a good job that it has changed my outlook.

    I grew my hair out recently, after years of having short hair. I've definitely noticed a change in the way people treat me now that my hair is so different.

  39. Rebekah

    I loved my buzz cut, but it never looked right with ANY of my clothes— possibly because we see so few bald women that they rarely look 'right' to our eyes, no matter how they dress.

    I've been growing out my messy/curly fine hair for a year or two, and it feels PAINFULLY boring. I avoid taking outfit photos because of my dumb hair.

  40. Make Do Style

    A good haircut goes a long way to projecting personal style. I've got really bonkers surfie hair. A sort of wavey bed head look which I wish was more groomed. It used to be very long and very groomed but that required effort.

    I think it depends how much money and effort one wants to spend on hair and hair care xx

  41. Esti

    Great post, Sal! As someone who more or less grew up in a hair salon, I can attest to the fact that everything you mentioned is something hairdressers consider important when choosing a style, and they're very happy when a client has done some imagining and researching before she comes in for a totally new 'do.

    Getting to know your hairdresser is key… the more you trust each other, the better the result every single time. I've had a handful of different stylists over the years (I often end up going to whoever the new person is at the salon my mom owns, so I can then advertise them and also because my appointments always get bumped for real clients), but every single one has been totally willing to talk at length and make sure a client gets exactly the hair do that works best.

    My latest and most beloved stylist and I had an awesome moment a year ago where we'd both independently chosen the same photo as a suggestion for my new color. Best hair moment ever.

  42. Clare

    Ah, I love this post!! To me, my hairstyle plays a HUGE part in my personal style, in a kind of weird way. I can't change my hairstyle, ever, on any given day, since it's so short. Which means that no matter what I'm wearing, my hair is making some kind of statement. I can change huge chunks of what I wear, but my personal style still gets communicated, at least a little bit, from my hairstyle. And I kind of love that. It's nice to know that no matter what I do or wear, a piece of me will come through.

  43. Rad_in_Broolyn

    I love your hair. I am amazed that it looks so good with such little effort.
    I think hair is really important but I usually don't put that much effort into mine. I like that my hair grows very fast (from ear length bob to shoulder length in 7 months, including 2 hair cuts and I've got a long neck) so I often do drastic things, knowing that it will grow back soon. I like easy hair cuts, though. For a long time, however, I was afraid of edgier hair cuts because my clothing was so boring, but I've been trying to address that problem.

  44. WendyB

    I always recommend that people with straight/wavy hair get some kind of layered hairstyle. I don't know why people are so frightened of layers!

  45. Audi

    I am constantly changing my hair, both the color and the shape. But the one thing that ties the ever-changing kaleidoscope of styles together is that they are all short. Short legths are me because they're not too fussy, and since my straight, slippery hair doesn't hold a complicated style anyway, spending half an hour messing with curling irons and hair products is a complete waste of time. My best hair innovation was finding a great stylist who knows how to cut my hair so that it naturally wants to conform to the shape I want. All the products in the world cannot equal the magic of a great stylist.

  46. akabini

    I've undergone a hair transformation in the last few months that was just the last element in a major self- and style-overhaul.

    It wasn't until I did a 'vision board' collage of style last year that I realized something: I was a brunette trapped in a blonde body! So my stylist and I worked on morphing me into a russety-auburn (a few notches up from the ebony-tressed vixens on my board), and now I'm growing it long, to boot!

    It's so liberating to think that you can re-invent yourself. Now, I'm a more accurate reflection of how I feel inside – Me, only the most fabulous version!

  47. Bubu

    So timely – I'd read a previous post of yours about re-assessing your hairdo every so often and I realized that the couple of times i've really loved it it's been shorter than i've been wearing it recently. I went last saturday and told my haidresser i wanted to go shorter, significantly. She was uncertain, but we were both loving it as she went. I'm so happy with it – easy to style, cool in summer, and somehow seems to lengthen my short neck and enhance bone structure. It's amazing what an extra inch off can do…

  48. The Raisin Girl

    Ugh! You've hit me right where I live.

    In high school, I took tons of time to make sure my hair and makeup were perfect before leaving the house. Since I started college, however, I've come into contact with realities such as the concept of sleep as a need, difficult homework, and courses that actually require effort and attention to pass. So I've gotten pretty low-maintenance by necessity. This is fine on some fronts. I don't really need makeup, but if I'm having an especially splotchy day I can usually just powder my face, throw on lip gloss and be done. I'm pretty good at throwing on clothes that work together, and I'm getting better at adding accessories. But hair? No way.

    I don't even own a hair dryer. For the last three years, I've had hair so short I didn't need one. I could literally SHAKE my head and my hair would fall right into place. But now I'm trying to grow it out, and it's really lank and heavy, and I don't know what to do with it. I can't cut it yet, because I need to get it all past my shoulders before a stylist can do much, but in the meantime, how do I match a pretty together sense of style with hair that belongs on a hippy who just crawled out of bed?

  49. Rubiatonta

    Hair is a huge part of style, and a huger part of identity. And just as it's important to learn what your dress style is, it's also important to learn what your hair style is. (Not as in "hairstyle," note.)

    I've got thick, curly hair. I spent a lot of time when I was younger not wanting to deal with it. So I grew it about a mile long, brushed it fanatically, and wore it pulled back. But I also had it bobbed when I lived in France, and in a flat-top buzz when I first moved to Spain. Various versions of "I'm ignoring this mess."

    It wasn't until about twelve years ago that my hairstylist convinced me that I should just let my curly hair be… curly. And then eight years ago, I stopped using shampoo. (Don't be grossed out, it works wonders on curly hair.) Lo and behold, masses of nicely-shaped, well-behaved curls.

    I've had it all kinds of lengths since then, which has been fun, but I've come to love my curls, rather than hoping if I stopped paying attention they'd resolve into a smooth waterfall of hair. That's been the real win for me.

  50. Ruby

    What a great post and very timely as I just got my hair cut very short. I'd worn it as a bob variation (never shorter than chin length, never longer than shoulder) with and without fringe (mostly with fringe–the cheapest forehead wrinkle solution there is!) for 10 years. I had a very short pixie about 15 years ago and decided to go short. It's not super short this time around, just so I don't feel like I'm retreading old ground. My stylist was reticent, worrying I'd freak out by taking off so much length, but I wasn't worried because my hair looks best in a style that can't really be modified anyway (too short for pony tails and I have fine straight hair that doesn't hold a curl and I'm too lazy to try to curl it), so a short do wouldn't be a sacrifice in terms of versatility. Like others here, my hair is tied to emotions more than style. I'm embarking on a new phase in my life (downgraded career, new marriage) and wanted a new look. I didn't really worry about how it would go with my clothes. My husband loves it and earrings and lipstick are a lot more fun now, so I am rediscovering and venturing into new style. I think, that with all the fashion recycling and ecclecticism that unless you're striving for a very particular look, hair doesn't detract unless it's frumpy.

  51. sisty

    Sal, you do have gorgeous hair, but I've said it before and I'll say it again — you go from pretty to sublime when you pull your hair back. It just lifts you to the stratosphere.

    As an aside, I am living proof the old adage that you want what you don't/can't have — I've got pretty straight hair, same color as yours, but I've always longed for waves. Go figure.