Ask Belle: The Hair Apparent
Jun 4, 2012
I recently started work in a professional business setting after three years at a non-profit with a very casual dress code. I’m fine to make the transition, but I’m struggling with professional ways to style my long (past my bra strap) fine-yet-wavy and flyaway-prone hair. I took the “wash and wear” approach with my hair at my last job, and that was sufficient for the environment. But none of my female colleagues in my new workplace have hair longer than shoulder-length, and I feel like my hair does not look professional compared to theirs. Should I chop my hair shorter, or is it possibly for long hair to look business-like?
Over the years, I think I have received every version of this question you can imagine. Is my short/long hair professional? Is curly hair professional? Is dyed hair (ombre, highlights, etc.) professional?
There is no doubt that some hairstyles are unprofessional. I wouldn’t recommend a hot pink mohawk or braided pigtails. I’d caution against jawclips and scrunchies. I’d ask that you never walk through the door of my office with wet or dirty hair. And I’d advise against platinum-dyed Barbie hair or wearing your hair as long as Crystal Gayle.
But whatever the length or texture of your hair, if it’s clean and you’ve taken the time to style it so that it’s “put together,” I think it will be considered professional.
From your description of your hair, I think you just need to get comfortable styling it in the morning for work. I have hair that falls to my shoulder blades, and I’ve found that jumbo-sized hot rollers really simplify my morning routine. You might want to visit a stylist to get some ideas for how to style your longer hair, but I don’t think you need to chop it into a bob in order to be seen as a professional.