Part Five of a Five-Part Series – Glam Shaming Hair

When it rains, I like to wear a hat. I have a “cowboy” hat I tuck my hair into and the brim is wide enough to keep the rain off my face and neck when I’m dressing for work. I was meeting a business acquaintance at Caribou Coffee on East Blvd one rainy day. When I got to the table, I removed my hat and my hair must’ve come flowing down like a commercial or something…since the woman I was meeting said, “wow, your hair is so glamorous.” I don’t know exactly why this comment bothered me so much. I’m sure she meant it as a compliment and I didn’t take it negatively (from her) at all. It just hit me the wrong way and if I’m being honest, kinda’ like a ton of bricks. My mind was going a mile a minute:

  • I wasn’t going for glamorous (yikes)! Does she think I got dressed for a Miss America pageant or for a date?
  • Does it look like I spent too much time on it?
  • Does it take away from my ability to communicate, is it distracting?
  • Or was it just the act of removing the hat that was glamorous-like or distracting?
  • Do I have too much hairspray on?
  • Should I only wear it straight (no messy waves or curls)?
  • Is my hair too long?
  • Should I consider always wearing my hair up when dressing for work?
  • Is it too sexy looking?
  • It’s not hanging in my face at all or bothering me – I’m not touching it or moving it?

In my mind, the glamorous description did NOT communicate a serious business attitude or provide a serious business setting for our meeting. Of course, that’s total BS, I know. You can be glamorous and a badass c-level executive at the same time. It’s just for me, well, I am already fighting a soft voice, soft-looking features, a fun and carefree vibe…I don’t need to add glamorous to this already non-traditional CEO “girl-next-door” package. I need to balance it out with a stronger, more serious look and feel. Ugh, now I have to think more about my damn hair…will this dressing for work thing ever get easier?

dressing for work - glam shaming hairHence the fifth question I ask myself when dressing for work:

#5. Could anyone describe my hair as glamorous today?

I still curl my hair, I still wear it down when I want…I just pay attention to a few other details.

  1. BALANCE. This is they key for me. If my work outfit is softer or traditionally feminine in some obvious ways, then my hair can’t be too sexy or flowing I guess. This still ticks me off a little as a write about it now. I mean, I want to do my hair how it best suits me and my personality, am I right? F*ck “them” – “those people” who get distracted by it. WTF. Oh well, thank God I don’t work in a stuffy office right now. F*ck me for writing this and giving you this BS advice! Do what you want. I just personally hated the “glamorous” descriptor and I don’t ever want to hear that again in a business meeting.
  2. HANGING CHADS. When I have hair hanging in my eyes, getting stuck in my lipstick, or itching me somewhere, I’m not comfortable. When I’m not comfortable, I’m not at my best. And as a boss, you always need to be at your best. I’m guessing it’s probably a little distracting for the other person as well.
  3. OVERLY DONE. This one leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Where I’m coming from here is not how long it took you or how perfectly “done” it is or how overly processed it might be. It’s more about an overall feeling of comfort for both you and me. If you’re not moving your head because something might fall out or if your hair doesn’t appear clean and relatively healthy, one or both of us is going to be uncomfortable. And that discomfort doesn’t help us listen to each other and be heard.

Writing this just makes me want to shave my head in protest right now. When are we going to get over this petty sh*t and see and hear people for what they really are on the inside and what they really want to communicate? Why does a hairstyle have to give us a first impression? Pisses me off. Sorry I’m going back and forth on this one. I know my hair can give others a certain impression of me. I prefer that impression be positive and match my overall vibe. Sometimes I purposefully create a more serious, business-like hairstyle when I need to. But I prefer to use my work fashion to balance out my vibe. I can change my clothing a lot easier than I can change my hair.

I know this one has a lot to do with industry as well. At the bank, you’re not going to be taken seriously if you’ve got a pink and purple Mohawk. At a creative art studio, you might not be taken seriously if you don’t have an interesting style, viewpoint or perspective that also comes out in your personal style…including your hair (if you have hair – bald is beautiful too).

Full confession: During interviews and negotiating meetings in my 30s and early 40s, I used to part my hair where the most grays would show through prominently. When the people I met with thought I was younger, they also thought they could get the upper hand in our negotiating relationship. I noticed how numbers would start out highly skewed when the other party thinks you’re not experienced, “soft” or weak.  #ageism is real – both ways!

What do you think about hairstyles for the office? Let us know in the comment section below.

To recap the full series, here are the five questions I ask myself daily when I’m dressing for work:

#1. What percentage of my outfit is girlie?

#2. Can I lean over a table or computer keyboard, squat to pick something up, sit down in an open back chair and reach over my head without unintentional skin or undergarments showing?

#3. Do these shoes read, “I’m the boss?”

#4. Did I forget jewelry?

#5. Could anyone describe my hair as glamorous today?

Taking these thoughts into consideration help me balance out a perceived gap in my overall executive presence that only exists purely because of my gender and the traditional views of what a boss looks like. As a realist, I eat this sh*t daily. As a purist, a feminist, an equal pay advocate, an equal rights advocate, I abhor it. #someday

ICYMI, be sure to check out the rest of the series. Start with Part One – Pink Ruffles at Work?

%d bloggers like this: