Let me tell you about a little something called “style.”
Style takes nothing and makes something; style is everything. Style is one of one.
Style makes sweatpants and a baseball cap seem appropriate, regardless of any formal dress code. It can make the once outcast, desirable. It’s what differentiates you and me.
Style can be shared or passed along, but never duplicated. Style is the sum of that which has inspired you.
In my mind, style trumps conventional beauty, every single time. The two distinguish themselves by who controls them, what controls them.
See, society’s standards of beauty won’t always be what you want them to be, but your style will forever be a direct reflection of who you want to be – hopefully, who you are.
You may be able to open up an issue of Vogue and see what’s beautiful this month and aspire toward that look, but – when you have style – you set the trends yourself.
For many, beauty usually comes at the expense of an expensive ticket. Style, on the other hand, is free.
Style comes from within; beauty is typically gauged by the exterior.
Yet still, women worldwide are afraid to “experiment” with their own styles, starting with their own appearance – notably their hair.
They’d rather keep it long, to the textbook and in proportion to the rest of the women they’re in the room with – and I’m not exactly sure why.
If a hairstyle represents a woman’s personality, why are women reluctant to be daring with theirs?
Well, probably because women fear men will be less attracted to avant-garde hairstyles. And they’re somewhat justified in that belief, too.
According to a Daily Mail poll, conducted in 2008 – of all the hairstyles a woman could flaunt – results showed an overwhelming 43 percent of men considered long, wavy locks to be the sexiest.
Conversely, more creative styles like the pixie crop or the long bob comprised only 7 and 6 percent of the vote, respectively.
I can’t really say I’m surprised by these numbers, frankly.
Sure, the majority of dudes reported they prefer long-haired women.
The majority of dudes are f*cking boring – and the women who care to appeal to these boring men are equally as boring, in my mind.
Long hair might be considered more “beautiful,” but that doesn’t make a woman more desirable.
Let's see the case for each.
Side A: Long Hair
Men who prefer long locks on their ladies are clearly students of the old school, conventional style of conceptualizing beauty. For centuries, long hair was the standard of beauty for women.
In a recent blog post for Huffington Post Women, Lucinda Ellery, a hair specialist, expands on the significance of long hair for women throughout the ages.
According to Ellery, “history shows that hair is a symbol of femininity.” She explains how during the Civil War era, when women weren’t allowed to battle, they’d cut off their locks to disguise their identities – and how, since Biblical times, women have viewed their hair as a “crowning glory.”
Ellery notes that the average woman will spend close to $50,000 over the span of her lifetime, solely on hair maintenance.
That said, in her mind, “this is not just because many of us believe that appearances are important, but also because our hair represents our personality, thoughts and beliefs.”
But it also represents more, too. According to an experiment conducted by Hinsz, Matz and Patience; "hair length and quality can act as a cue to a woman's youth and health and, as such, signify reproductive potential."
One blog, Into The Gloss, expressed the idea that men want "something to play with," as support for the "pro-long-hair" case.
I don't know, I've had a number of different girlfriends and I never once asked them to grow out their hair so I could "play with it."
Pull on it, maybe, but play with it? I don't know, I guess whatever works, guys.
Side B: Short Hair
In an article titled, “The Science of Desirability,” Apeles explores the multiple different facets of a woman's being that make her desirable.
Despite all of the different physical features that a woman can boast, Apeles’s friend Laurence feels, “the most desirable women to me are those who are feisty — not wallflowers — who express what they want and go after it.”
Twiggy was f*cking feisty. She was beautiful too, but I’ve always viewed her “f*ck the norm” style as the reason she was so desirable.
She was “a symbol for a new kind of woman with a new kind of streamlined, androgynous sex appeal,” as Susan Cheever wrote for the New York Times in 1996.
Even though her short hairstyle surely would’ve fallen into the minority of women’s hairdos, and -- according to Daily Mail -- only a mere 6 percent of men would’ve called it the sexiest,: Twiggy didn’t give a f*ck.
About what anyone else thought, that is. “My hair has always been important to me and has been a big part of my image throughout the years,” Twiggy said.
"I hope to inspire women to be confident in their personal style and never be afraid of trying something new.”
You see dudes running around with man-buns and top knots, all across Brooklyn's hippest neighbourhoods, without a care – so what are you worried about? Androgyny is the new black these days.
Over the past year and a half we've witnessed the gender boundaries within fashion become increasingly blurred.
Men have ditched the (utterly masculine) "baggy" fits for more tailored, form fitting ones.
In contrast, women have gravitated toward more loose-fitting cuts, like "boyfriend blazers" to layer atop their distressed relaxed fit denim.
If Adreja Pejic can hit the catwalk for Gaultier flaunting both menswear and womenswear, you should not feel any inhibitions when going against the gender grain with regard to your hairstyle.
It will only show men that you give no f*cks about archaic standards of beauty, and that you have no problem taking risks – knowing that you're confident enough to pull them off.
Ultimately, it's about style, baby.
In response to the idea of long hair being feminine, Into The Gloss provides the counter case, quoting Joan Juliet Buck of Vogue.
According to Buck, "short hair removes obvious femininity and replaces it with style."
"Short hair makes other people think you have good bones, determination and an agenda," and the way Buck sees it, "your face is no longer a flatscreen surrounded by a curtain: The world sees you in three dimensions
That’s the type of attitude that will always steal the spotlight, regardless of any hairstyle. Hairstyles, like any type of style, will reflect back on you.
The more daring you are with your cut, the more daring you will make yourself appear in social or dating situations.
At the end of the day, conventional beauty is just that: conventional.
You might appeal to the masses with a regular, classic hairstyle – but you’ll attract other, more interesting people by doing things differently.
Style always recognizes style.