|I’d know that bob anywhere. Anna at Milan Fashion Week, March 2015. Photo by YoungJun Koo.|
I am reading a book right now called Women, Work & The Art of Savoir Faire: Business Sense & Sensibility by Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat. I came across an interesting passage that caught my attention:
“Remember the main character in the feel-good movie Working Girl (1988)? Secretary and executive-in-the-making Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) opines, ‘If you want to get ahead in business…you’ve got to have serious hair.’ Well, she’s right. In French Women Don’t Get Fat, I wrote, ‘French women know one can go far with a great haircut, a bottle of Champagne, and a divine perfume.’ I believe it.
“Bad hair is a branding catastrophe for women. If I could give women one ‘beauty and branding tip,’ it would be to get a great haircut and invest in regular blow-dries. I am a bit embarrassed by the time and money I have had to spend on my hair over my professional life, but, though it bothers me, it was simply essential. I had to be and wanted to be presentable at all times.
“The harsh reality is that women in the workplace are judged on their looks a lot more than men. Say it’s not fair, but it is a silent reality. Face it. Women do not have to be gorgeous to succeed; indeed, there’s the argument that being too good-looking can work against a woman in many professions. A woman, however, needs to be well groomed and presentable, let’s call it soignée. Period.”
|Rachel Zoe’s signature hairstyle. Photo from Streetstrut.com|
I didn’t want to think Mireille was right but you know what? She’s probably right. I don’t think I’m particularly hair-obsessed but I certainly want mine to look neat and flattering, though on any given day, depending on the weather mostly, that is a supreme challenge, requiring mousse, a blow-dryer, a flat iron or curling brush, patience, and hairspray. And even then, it doesn’t always work! I like a bob of course, it suits both my face and personality as well as my job of mom/blogger/freelance writer.
|Love this look on myself but the hair is not easy to achieve! Photo by G. Keresty.|
Mireille’s writing on the subject made me think that ladies (and gentlemen) need to not only have serious hair, they also need appropriate hair. A Manhattan lawyer I once worked for one day commented to me on another lawyer’s hair, “I wish she’d cut that hair. It’s not professional looking.”
The comment came from a partner in his late sixties whose name was on the front door. The lawyer he was referring to was young, female, new to both the profession and the practice, and in her twenties. I could see his point—she had long flowing hair that reached halfway down her back. She never wore it up. It often could have used a comb. It was gorgeous hair, hair you might see on a supermodel, but if it’s your law firm, do you want long, flowing, romantic hair on a woman representing both your firm and your client during legal proceedings in a New York City courtroom or during a deposition? Maybe not! (Of course, since it was his law firm I assume he had a hand in hiring her so I have to wonder, did he think she’d cut her hair when he brought her on board? But that is a subject for a different post.)
I’m including some pictures of people I think have good (and serious, and appropriate) hair for their job title. Anna’s severe bob (that I love)? Ideal for the top editrix at the most famous magazine in the world. Rachel Zoe’s wavy golden tresses? Perfect for a stylist. Diane von Furstenburg’s big bouncy curls? Sublime for an iconic fashion designer and champion of women.
|The divine DVF at FIT in 2012 for the exhibit IMPACT: 50 Years of the CFDA.|
I find Christine Lagarde’s slightly boyish cut both modern and chic and a great choice for the first woman Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.
|Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF. Photo by Getty Images.|
As for Linda Fargo’s silver perfection, I can’t imagine any other hair on the senior vice president of the fashion office at Bergdorf Goodman, can you?
|Such great hair on Linda Fargo of Bergdorf Goodman. Photo by Mr. Newton.|
I would love to read your take on this subject, whether you are a lady or a gentleman!