Sartorially Self-Inclined: Professionalism Through Hair

It's so long!

It’s so long!

So, when I “graduated” a second time from CSU a year ago I told myself that I wouldn’t cut my hair until I got a professional job. It was me, my and my hippie look against the world. I had always wanted to grow my hair out and see what it would look like. I usually kept  a short look, but had always been prone to like the longer hair aesthetic. My ladyfriend and I both agreed on longer hair for me because of a few reasons.

  • The Italians, Spanish, and other European men have a slightly longer look which itself makes me look more foreign 
  • Having longer, well groomed hair gives you an air of confidence and defiance to the traditional professional world
  • Curly hair when slightly longer really helps to accentuate my jawline and makes me feel like I am a little bit older
  • My ladyfriend is totally into it

Having longer hair gave me an opportunity to feel more free and what I thought give me a little time to really start to identify myself and what I wanted in life. You know, a big stick it to the man and a time for me to be free wheelin’ and easy rider. Unfortunately that did not work out for me at all. My hair was always in the way, knotted, and just plain greasy. I quit my job, felt no real direction, and am now living in my parents basement. If this is what Kerouac  the guys from Easy Rider, and Spanish nomads had in mind when they grew their hair out they definitely made it sound more romantic in their stories.

So much oil!

So much oil!

Anyways, coinciding with the hipster movement and appreciation of the 1890’s I saw that the counter culture movement really focused on shorter more well groomed hair. Men were putting more grease in their hair and mustaches  clean shaving and really watching their hair to be as smooth as their style. I was really feeling out of place. Not because I wanted to be part of the Hipster movement, which I could go on and on about the negativeness of it, but because i felt alone in my yearnings and desire to find myself. I had no one to relate to because while I was growing my hair out everyone else was cutting it short. Sometimes when finding yourself you need some sort of stabling directional force to look upwards and onwards to.

Fortunately, a little show known as White Collar has come to my saving grace. In the show con artist Neal Caffrey works as an FBI consultant for the White Collar Division in New York. What I like about the show and what i like about the Neal character is this sense of confidence and exuberance that he portrays. He is always looking at the different angles and always seems to be in control. His actions, his movements all have intention. My question is, where does all this confidence come from?

Well simply put it is in his hair, where most men’s Mojo comes from. If you look at the two main characters, Neal and his FBI handler, Peter Burke, Neal has this sway that more people are attracted to than Peter’s rough around the edges look. Neal has nice fitting clothes, blue eys, and a general swagger and sense of comfort in his own self whereas Peter is rough, his clothes slightly unflattering, and short hair. Now I am not saying causation/correlation in the two but the hair plays a dominant part. It does so because it follows a very specific grooming style but is slightly longer than expected for a place like the FBI. It says, I am a professional, but I am not bound by the specific normal expectations of the professional world.

Oddly enough, I am still intimidated at the short hair more!

I don’t know why it kind of clicked for me but I think I finally came to understand my desire for longer hair, I wanted to go against the norm. But in doing so, I felt really alone. So what was it that I wanted? Well I wanted to be like Neal! I wanted to be able to have this aura of professionalism but also express a playfulness and pushing against professional norms. Make people constantly question me. Not because I looked like a vagabond or another office drone but because I was playing this line of artistic and professional. What I realized through my long hair experiment was that for my hair to work for me, I couldn’t follow the trends of short hair hipster-dom but couldn’t really accept the romanticism of the long hair beatnik aesthetic that was getting me nowhere. What I finally fell on is that I have to be able to own my hair. I want to be a little free and against the fold, but I also want to look approachable by all people. Thus the well groomed shag aesthetic!

So Contemplative and cool

So Contemplative and cool

I know this sounds weird to put so much thought into your hair, but you have to remember, there are two things that people look at when they first meet you. Your hair and your shoes. Your shoes dictate how much importance you put into your look and your hair shows you what kind of person you are. Lazy and slobbish or professional and well kept. By now learning to play this line I have found a way to constantly keep people on their toes wondering who I am and what makes me interesting. Make sure that you really think about your hair and your appearance. Trust me, it will make you feel like a new man.

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