"Create your own style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.”
-- Anna Wintour
In fashion, an industry in which trends come and go, there's something to be said of the signature hairstyle.
If you ask me, it takes guts to wear your hair the same way for your whole life, or at least the majority of it. It's an act of defiance against the consumer cycle of the beauty industry, always trying to sell us the latest hair dyes and accessories, telling us the way we wear our hair (at any given time) is "so last season." At the same time, that's kind of the beauty of the signature hairstyle -- as fashions come and go, the signature hairstyle remains, transcending the cyclical nature of trends until it becomes timeless. Nay, iconic. So iconic, in fact, signature hairstyles become named for the people who wear them (see: "The Rachel").
Signature hairstyles aren't just hairstyles. They're symbols of who we are or who we want to be. They become identifiers -- tell me you don't think of Marilyn Monroe every time you see a short, platinum blond hairstyle with big curls, and I'd say you're lying -- and they tell the world, "I don't care what you think, I'm confident in my 'do and I'm going to rock it as long as I want."
Ever since I was a little kid, I've experimented with different hairstyles. I may have had a phobia of haircuts, but for the most part, I somehow always ended up at the hair salon chopping off inches, adding layers or getting way-too-trendy asymmetrical bangs. As a fashion lover, I also found myself following hair and beauty trends, with varied levels of success.
As a teenager, I became obsessed with letting my hair grow. I wanted "mermaid hair," which is somehow even more of a thing now than it was back then. And since I had experienced so many terrible cuts in my younger years, staying away from the salon was easy. Into university, my long, wavy, brown hair became a security blanket, a symbol of "beauty" in society's eyes, that comforted me even when I didn't feel so beautiful.
Then, as my four years of post-secondary education came to a close, I chopped it off. Said goodbye. Since then, I haven't let my hair grow too far past my shoulders. And I've never felt more like myself.
I often wonder, Is this what it's like to have a signature hairstyle? But then I realize, a) I don't actually style my hair the same way everyday, and b) I couldn't possibly choose one style to wear for the rest of my life. Could I? I mean, I can barely decide what to eat for dinner on any given night, let alone choose a single hairstyle to last my lifetime.
Even if I never settle on one hairstyle, I admire the Anna Wintours of the world who do.
So here's to those who aren't afraid to rock a single hairstyle for the majority of their lives. The Marilyn Monroes, the Ariana Grandes, The Farrah Fawcetts, the Grace Joneses and Grace Coddingtons of the world, who prove there's nothing wrong with staying the same.
(Illustration by Julia Brucculieri)