I AM NOT MY HAIR
My identity crisis started in a Topshop change room. I was trying on a collection of boxy tunics, wide-legged cropped trousers and belted waistcoats and something felt off. My straight, long and centre-parted dark hair—the style I’d worn my whole life—was all wrong: It felt nondescript and boring against the new silhouettes. For the first time in 30 years, I suddenly wanted my hair to say something.
I didn’t have to look far for inspiration—my desktop is cluttered with images of stylish women with great hair. And since I’d just landed a job at ELLE Canada, I felt I deserved my very own “hair moment.” (A fashion magazine will do this to you.) I found a photo of Australian blogger Carmen Hamilton sporting an ombré chop and demanded the same from my stylist. Afterwards, I walked out feeling victorious. My hair was distinct, loud and full of personality. But I soon realized that although my hair was certainly saying something, it was speaking the language of the Aussie I had stolen it from.
It didn’t matter that everyone else was into my hair—friends, co-workers and even strangers gave me compliments—to me, it felt foreign. My understated style had always let me fly under the radar, and the amount of attention I was getting (I have new respect for my blond friends) was jarring. Plus, there was an ungodly amount of upkeep to having that “perfectly tousled” look day in, day out.
After three months of trying, I went back to my stylist and tweaked the colour and cut; I’m growing it out now. Do I have regrets? Not at all. Sometimes it takes a moment of looking—and feeling—like a completely different person to realize you already know exactly who you are. And for me, that’s a classic-loving minimalist whose style doesn’t have to shout to be heard. n
Style blogger Carmen
Hamilton (near right) inspired features editor Aliyah Shamsher’s haircut.