If you can look back at your past hairstyles and not cringe once, either you’re lucky, lying, or playing things safer than I have. When it comes to cuts and colours, I’ve tried ‘em all (a season for everything, I think, maybe I'll blog the timeline sometime); each look marked a time in my life that shaped my evolution in both style and outlook. But I’d taken a long break from drastic action and felt like my hair was lacking a personality to match mine. Perhaps you know the feeling of having hair, but not a hairstyle? Anyway, it was time to switch things up, so when a hair modelling opportunity came along, I applied for the casting and was delighted to be picked. Three of the top stylists in North America worked to take my hair from everyday to edgy: my layers were cut blunt, my blonde erased with filler and black dye, and two ribbons of rose gold were added to frame my face. On set with pro make-up the next day, I saw myself on the back of camera and agreed that it was super foxy. But, was it me? The next couple of weeks had me doing double-takes in the mirror. I went to an event and two of my besties walked right by me. I had to buy an eyebrow pencil and new blush because I felt like my features were invisible without makeup. Even my favourite outfits were at odds with my new ‘do. Who would have thought that after being so desperate for a change, I’d lament the loss of my ‘normal’ hair?
It got me thinking about how we as women view our hair. Unlike a pair of shoes or a shade of lipstick, it’s not something that’s easy to change day-to-day and yet it announces our personality to the world; in that way, it’s the most intrinsic part of an overall style. I thought of my friend, Whitney, who has gone through some major hair evolutions in the last few years. Whit had become a mom and was feeling like she’d lost herself in the process—she’d reached out to me about my wardrobe styling services because she wanted to find a semblance of a personality other than ‘mom’, and then an edgy haircut came along and her very tone changed. Here's her take:
"Was it my hair? Was it turning 30? Or was it having two little girls that forced me into this amazingly confident woman I am today? I have no idea, but for the first time in my life, I feel pretty darn good about the way I look. And the best part, I’m really not looking good for anyone but myself. In my twenties I had long, beautiful, wavy hair but it was my security blanket. It hid my big nose, my chubby cheeks, and my forehead acne... I felt like I NEEDED it to be feminine! Not to mention, I’d had the classic 90’s mushroom cut that scarred me from cutting my hair ever since it earned me the nickname ‘Richard’ in grade 7 (no boobs, I looked like a boy). <editor's note: where are the pictures of this?!>
But something happened when I had my babies, or as I got closer to 30: I wanted to take a risk with my hair. My boobs were amazingly large from breastfeeding (no way I’d be called Richard again) so, I DID IT! I FINALLY DID IT! Eleven inches. I would’ve chopped even more but my hair dresser told me this was her ‘first date’ with my hair and she didn’t want to go all the way…. she’s very conservative. I’d say we at least got to second base though. I donated the hair, as did my husband who cut his at the same time, to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.
Short hair is an investment of money and time. It forced me to shower every few days (I know, I’m gross, I needed to be forced), it forced me to take a couple hours for myself and go to the salon, sip coffee, and chat with my amazing stylist who is always doing something inspiring. It forced my husband to watch the kids for ten minutes while I was in the bathroom blow drying and maybe even putting on mascara. I started spending money on clothes to match this sassy haircut. I ACTUALLY HAVE A STYLE NOW. I actually like the clothes in my closet now that look like they go with my personality. I’m finally me!! I never had a ‘look’ and thought it would make me shallow if I did have one, but I’m realizing that was stupid of me.
My life is so far from glamorous. As I write this, I’m sitting on my toilet, just having cleaned out my kid’s potty-training potty, and my other one is eating cheerios out of the bath tub. ) Oh gosh, now the other one is drinking the bath water with a spoon. What the?) But even though I clean a lot of shitty diapers in a day, or fight with my three -year-old to eat her vegetables, or struggle to leave the house amongst screaming kids, I actually feel like myself. Now, that could be because of my age or the therapy I’ve gone through or the people I’ve cut out (and in) to my life but I’m telling you, it seemed to have started with a bad-ass haircut.
The average person has about 25,000 days to live (which when I googled was a generous over-estimate) which means I’m down to 15,840 days so I’ve gotta say fuck it, let’s go for it. I have shitty hair days—a lot of shitty hair days—BUT then I think, “rock it with confidence and you can pull it off.” Fake it ‘till you make it. Most of all, I’m loving the fuck out of myself, and that’s something the 20-something Whitney would never have said."
Thanks, Whit, you hawt mama! And dear readers, if you've been struggling to find yourself, of course, the work starts from within but sometimes it takes an external catalyst and a style overhaul is sometimes the ticket. Do you have a story you'd like to share? I'd love to hear it! Need advice? As a wardrobe stylist, I just might have an answer or two and for local readers, I'm always happy to point friends in the direction of a fantastic hairstylist or makeup artist that can work some magic. 25,000 days might seem like a lot but they fly, so might as well slay each of 'em.