Throughout high school and college, my number one hair goal was to have slick straight hair like Gwyneth Paltrow (do you remember that magical pink dress and the sleek bun she wore when she won the Oscar for Shakespeare in Love?). I have hair that’s considered “naturally straight,” so a hair dryer and/or a flat iron offer precision. I still remain pretty loyal to this style regularly, especially if I’m rushing, since I know the process so well.
Regardless, when I do wash and wear my hair at work, sans blow dryer or any products, I feel I have less authority. My authority becomes more reliant on my voice or demeanor and less on my overall appearance. In other words, I must exercise the authority rather than simply project it. My natural tendency is to wash my hair then go about my day keeping it out of my face. Now, I have had to adapt to this new requirement. Am I the only one who feels this pressure? Is it all in my mind?
Well, according to studies, I am not imagining a hair conspiracy. There sort of is one. No matter how many times I have heard my teachers and the TV say to me, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” I still innately know that books are judged by covers, and even more harshly, people are judged by their appearance particularly in the professional realm. In the matter of hair, it’s even tougher than I realized with not only healthy hair being a requirement, but hairdos being more positively noted. Jenna Goudreau from Forbes.com confirms this professional perception in her article, “The Seven Ways your Boss is Judging Your Appearance”:
According to the research, good grooming habits—looking “polished” or “pulled together”—is a professional’s most important physical asset. Women are judged more harshly here. While 83% of senior executives said “unkempt attire” (including wrinkled or too-tight clothing and visible lingerie) detracts from a woman’s executive presence, a slightly smaller percentage (76%) said it undermines a man’s. Moreover, women’s professional polish includes tasteful accessories, manicured nails and a hairstyle versus a haircut. Whereas, a man’s polished look is based on clean nails, shiny shoes, a clean shave and manicured facial hair, according to the report. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2012/11/30/the-seven-ways-your-boss-is-judging-your-appearance/
What exactly does the term, “hairstyle” refer to? And how styled must I be? Not to mention how much extra work and time “styling” my hair takes. My straight hair, while it holds the capacity for Gwyneth grace, also tends to be flat, like a frozen lake. Although I’m a surfer, I can honestly say my hair lacks waves.
I have tried curling irons and root lift products, but inevitably, my hair goes back to its natural self, flat, sometimes even worse after the miracle volume stuff dies out and just looks greasy.
Here’s one thing I’ve discovered as a miracle lift: good old fashion hair curlers. Yes, you have to sleep in them, and look like your grandma, but in the morning, vavavoom. Also, good old hairspray functions as well now as it did in the fifties. Think of Marilyn Monroe. How did she get her hair so fabulous and stable without all the technology that has developed in the beauty industry? The answer: curlers!
Though my grandmother made sure to wear her curlers when I my grandpa was at work so he wouldn’t see the process of creation, today, rocking curlers gives off a retro, fun-loving, traditional femininity. So while, taking the time to do a hairstyle may seem “high-maintenance,” it can also allude to a retro flirtatious ladylikeness. Who doesn’t smile at pink curlers?
Please share your at work hair styles with me and fellow readers. (I would love some easy do, but lovely looking style ideas!)