Wherever you go, your hair speaks in volumes. Have you ever wondered how your hair might be affecting your image in the workplace? With new emerging fashion styles and trends that are a bit far off from what was once perceived as conventional, one could only help but wonder: what do my colleagues and employer think about me?
Policies revolving around hair in the workplace have relaxed over the years, but certain hair styles can still radiate a level of professionalism. We did a bit of digging to see what perceptions revolve around your hair and what it might be saying about you.
Blondes vs Brunettes
The idea of the “blonde bombshell” was first popularised in the 1950s with the rise of Marilyn Monroe as the sex symbol icon. Since then, blondes have known to be more “fun” and approachable. Brunettes have been traditionally viewed as being more intelligent and self-sufficient, therefore making them appear more professional. More famous faces of today are slowly starting to change the blonde stereotype, such as powerful women like Hilary Clinton and the rise of empowering and feminist comedian Amy Schumer. Although blondes still cop flak with the thrown around “dumb blonde” joke, blondes are making their way up in reputation and are being taken as seriously as brunettes.
Red hair seems to be an ongoing fashion trend, blazing runways and revived fiercer each time. In the workplace, those with fiery red hair are seen as strong, passionate and goal-oriented individuals. Those who dye their hair fiery red have a desire for adventure and rediscovery of the artistic.
Grey/Purple/Any other vibrant colour
These bold and bright colours no longer hold the “too radical” stigma they once held as Intagrammers and fashion bloggers of yore have popularised the trend. If anything, the world of fashion now encourages more individuals to embrace their colours. Now evading the scrutiny of being too alternative in some work environments, people with unnatural bright hair colours are seen to be more edgy and willing to take a risk. They are self-confident and bursting with energy, making them more sociable characters and enjoyable to be around. The only risk is not being taken as seriously. The same can also be said of less conventional haircuts such as the undercut and shaved patterns.
Short vs long hair
Women with longer hair are seen to be more feminine, while women with shorter hair are seen as less feminine and flirty. However, what shorter hair lacks in demure-ness, it makes up for by conveying a greater sense of confidence. Girls with shorter hair are seen as outgoing, brave, independent and self-assured!
Straight hair vs curly hair
Girls with straight hair are seen as serious and professional while girls with curly hair are seen to be more carefree and approachable, so perhaps consider plugging in your GHD and straighten before stepping out for a job interview. However, be careful to not be too straight as it can appear too harsh and blunt, and leave in a few kinks.
Bangs and parting
Blunt bangs can be seen as trendy and bold, especially with darker hair, which is great for more creative workplaces. Side parts are better suited to conservative work environments as they are softer and less blunt than bangs or a middle part. The middle part is also a strong look like bangs, but can be made less harsh by styling into waves or softer layers.
Side parts appear less severe, though interestingly enough, the direction of your part can also say a lot about you. Siblings John and Catherine Walter write in their 1999 “Hair Part Theory” that they find the left hair part draws unconscious attention to activities controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain; i.e. logic, problem-solving, linear thinking, etc. The Hair Part Theory suggests that unconscious attention is drawn to activities controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain in the right hair part; i.e. visual, artistic, and musical skills, nonlinear thinking, etc. “The best writers, eggheads, and artists tend to part their hair on the right,” wrote Washington Post writer Henry Mitchell in 1979, who hypothesised that Jimmy Carter, a president plagued by unpopularity, switched from a right to left part midterm in hopes of separating himself from this elite and regaining a “populist image.”
We say who hairs? No matter how others, society, and employers perceive your hair, do what feels right and comfortable to you.
It is recommended you try to tailor your hairstyle to your office atmosphere but do so without compromising your own sense of identity. Do what is right within your comfort zone, and just do you, girl!