Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Wordy Post: Purple Hair (Oh, and a Dress)

I had the following question from good friend Ally of Shybiker - we've been friends since around 2010, at least. She asked:

“I’m really curious about people’s reaction to your hair. You mention they talk about it but you didn’t say what was expressed. If you’re ever inclined to discuss the subject further, I’d be very interested. I think all of us – especially people like me – wonder about taking an extreme step like this in our appearance. What you do takes real courage.”
So this is my post discussing this further. Feel free to weigh in!

  • Dress - Desigual; last seen here in September 2014 with orange shoes (otherwise, same outfit)
  • Floofy underskirt - Noa Noa; I don't track it
  • Shoes - Half Truth Veda, Fluevog; got 'em in the mail here yesterday! 

I love this dress so much
How people have reacted to my hair…
Most people smile, grin and are expressive in a happy way about it. They like the colour, and the variation of colour (as it starts to fade out, the ends are getting a bit pink-ish).

Some people don’t say anything at all. I wonder what they think; whether that means that they disapprove or dislike it, and are just being polite. Maybe they really don’t see it. I know that people aren’t always looking at me (it’s really not all about me, ha!), or are more introspective than I realize they are. Maybe they see it, dismiss it and pretend it doesn’t exist. Hard to tell. I work with a lot of non-socially-adept people (I work in IT), who are often not good at expressing their thoughts out loud.

Some women say about my hair the same things they say about my clothes: “I could never do/wear that!” I know that speaks more to their own insecurities, projecting their own reactions to dressing/looking like me. That can be interpreted as a negative or positive – I usually interpret it to mean that they lack the self-confidence but wish they could. 
The floofy underskirt rode up all day, though
I feel more judgment about my hair when I’m outside walking around. I am a superficially confident person (as in, I’m not confident, but I pretend to be – “fake it till you feel it” is my motto!), but I don’t like interacting with people in the real world very much. I prefer to have my headphones in and not make eye contact – I don’t have a desire to initiate conversation with people. My job (being reception/front desk for a big office) means I’m constantly interacting with people in a service-oriented and helping way – which I love, don’t get me wrong – but I’m paid to do that (and I do it really well). In my real life, I am an introvert.

I notice people’s gazes sliding over me when I’m out and about. Yesterday, a woman on the street shouted, “I have to tell you how much I love your outfit!” but not a word about the hair. A deliberate omission? I don’t know. I catch people giving me the “side-eye”, checking me out when they think I’m not looking. I wonder if they are thinking things like, “She’s too old to do that” or “Who does she think she is?” or “Mutton dressed as lamb” or “Trying too hard!” I’m sure some of them are – I always assume the negative, probably as a remnant of my own low self-confidence (carried over from years of that when I was younger). I find myself waiting for the person who gives me “the truth”, where I expect the truth to be harsh condemnation.

The first time I went out with my hair done purple, with my matching glasses and lipstick, I asked my husband, “Do I look like a caricature of myself?” I fear looking silly, or looking like a cartoon. I don’t want to be a parody of myself. But that fear is there. I don’t see it as courageous – I see it as saying “F**k you” to all those fears, those things that hold me back from doing what I want and being who I want.
Oh yeah, this is the stuff - the shoes were awesome all day
So why dye my hair a bright attention-getting colour in the first place? Despite my deep-down insecurities, I am actually okay with who I am. I’m in a good place in my life, and I want to show that. I’m also an artistic spirit and like to express that through my clothes and appearance.

Until the past year, I’ve never been able to find a haircut that has really felt like me. Discovering the “pompadour” up-do recently was enlightening – after trying blonde hair, every shade of red hair, and playing with all kinds of hairstyles for decades, it’s like my style found me! I love my bright purple-pink hair and I’m glad that I did it. I don’t know how long it will stay like this – I’ve never kept one hair style for very long, much less one colour.

For now, this is me. For now, this is my hair.

If you love it, that’s awesome – so do I! If you like it, that’s cool – it’s a fun thing to do, and I encourage you to try it. If you don’t like it/hate it – that’s also cool. To each her own! And remember…life is short, so why not have fun?
And that's the bling:

  • Cuff - St. Paul's Cathedral gift shop
  • Bangle - local
  • Lapis lazuli ring and Fulvia Ring - Wendy Brandes

Would you ever dye your hair a bright colour? How would you react if you saw me as a stranger on the street?


  1. I have bright orange red hair naturally and after many years I love it!!! It is very bright and very noticeable and I love to wear bright colors. My friends tell me I love like a parrot in the nicest store of why. SO yes I love your purple hair. The only time in my life I fit in with a crowd with in Scotland where they are lots of us "gingers".
    I love your blog (and your shoes) so much. Your blog is my treat to myself ever week and there are no calories involved at all!!!

  2. I had to post this on my Facebook page I loved what you wrote so much!

    I'm wondering with your hair change if you are finding that half of your wardrobe no longer works. That's what I found when I had blue and purple hair.


  3. I would think that sometimes when people see you they just think, wow!, they love your vibe, and throw out the easiest compliment, e.g., I like your outfit, when in fact they like everything. If I were to see you on the street for the first time, I like to think I'd stop you and chat, maybe go out for coffee.
    Right now I'm sticking to my grey and playing with styling. I have some great colouful wigs and am thinking of styling them to match my real hair a bit more so I could substitute day by day.
    I'm glad you've found your happy style place for now. And it shows!! I love that Desigual dress too. Great post.

  4. If you're feeling self-conscious about your hair or anything else, you should be reading Advanced Style. You're never too old! Personally, I can't wait for my hair to turn white so I can color the ends blue. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it's happening any time soon.

  5. I love your haircut and color! As a matter of fact it was your hair that made me start following your blog, then of course, your style really pulled me in! I wear my hair very short and color it lighter than my natural dark brown but one of these days I'm going to have the courage to go platinum, just for the heck of it. I'm in my early fifties and I'm having more fun now with my style than I had when I was younger. And that's what I love about your style - you're having fun, your fearless and if the only person you please is yourself, then brava, you're doing all right!

  6. Well I've always said I'd love to meet you someday - I would definitely go back and look at you twice if I saw you in the street. Most of the time you are wearing something colourful or an outstanding accessory, or a marvellous pair of shoes. You don't look like anyone I know.
    I think that you colouring your hair is cool, I have tried it but only on my ends. It was blue and since I have really bad hair problems I don't dare do much to the roots.
    I am really glad to hear that you have finally found a way to wear your hair the way you like it and in case i have not said it before, I think that short hair does not look good on everyone - but you totally own it.

  7. "I feel more judgement when I'm walking around outside"

    This made me think of something I was mulling over today. I really super love my clothes, I feel so happy when I'm wearing them, except for going to work. My boss doesn't care what I wear, and my co-worker knows better than to say anything if she did, and I feel okay on the bus, but the ten seconds it takes me to walk from outside to inside the hospital is torture because I know I look less professional than the other girls working in the hospital. Even when no one is looking, I feel stared at or something, and I hate that I'm 1. projecting my insecurities onto other people (No one is staring, Meghan!) but also 2. letting that sort of thing get to me. I don't know. I don't really have a 'comment' other than that really resonated with me today.

  8. Thank you, Sheila. Your answer fascinates me. Like you, I'm an introvert and don't often engage the public, but I toy with being bold and am curious about your experiences because they affect my own choices. This post gives us an honest, insightful explanation. Good job!

  9. What an interesting post, Sheila. The motivations and thoughts behind what people do - or don't do - with their personal appearance are fascinating. I think I am probably quite similar to you in that I have been dogged by insecurities about my looks in the past, and have very deliberately put those aside and dress to please myself now, not to fit anyone else's idea of appropriateness or convention. Clothing and hair choices do say something about us, and while I don't particularly subscribe to the view that it takes great bravery to look different from the norm, I know the best way to deal with attention, whether positive or negative, is with a head held high. I wonder whether all of us who have struggled with low self-esteem at any stage continue to carry some residual fear of negative judgment from others? Shaking free from that is liberating indeed! And your hair looks AWESOME! xxx

  10. There is something about being outside that makes you question yourself more isn't there? I find myself thinking things like that as I step on the bus of all places, suddenly worried about what I'm wearing/how I look. I'm an introvert too, and I hate being the centre of attention. Just thinking of people singing happy birthday to me for example gives me heart palpitations...for the longest time I've been avoiding working on my birthday in case anyone would try to make a big deal about it!

    Fashion for me has been a way to 'fit in' and blend in with the crowd, more than being my own innate sense of style. That's why I admire people like yourself who have fun with fashion, try things on, and look great and learn as they do it. I'm trying to be more open to trying different things..like you said, life is short, so why not have fun?

    Having a wardrobe detox/personal stylist session and the blog is so interesting, as the outfits that you love don't always resonate with others, and those things you aren't sure about are often 'hits'. So I'm learning as I go and trying to be a bit more confident and figure out my style as I do so. It's a fun journey to be on, even if I do have niggling doubts now and then.

    And to end this novel of a comment (sorry!) I always make a point to give a big grin to people I see with bright non-standard hair, even if I don't get the chance to personally compliment them on it. I admire their confidence and the majority of the time, they look fantastic!

  11. I have been following your blog for a while. I love your style & I adore your purple hair. I had every color of hair imaginable in my teens back in the 80s, but seeing your fun hair makes me want to do it again. While I have had my hair every color, I've never mixed colors...I may have to try that.


  12. You already know how I feel about bold-coloured hair! Nice colour change for you, and I'm glad you're enjoying experimenting with the Pompadour/hair swirl. I've been colouring my hair since I was in my late 20's, and the colours started to get more vibrant and less "natural" when I was in my 40's. I get lots of compliments on it, many of them of the sort "I wish I had the courage to do that". I don't see it as courage, it's more like you said, it's that I just don't give a fuck whether other people don't like it, think it's weird, or I'm too old for it. I did have an elderly native man stop me on the street, point at my head and say, "That's for young people, not for you!" I recently coloured the long section of my hair magenta, instead of the orange and pink, and I do find it does affect my choice of outfits - I was much more drawn to the colour orange when my hair was that colour.

    Anyway, if I saw you on the street, I would assume you were a kindred spirit, and compliment you on your hair.


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