"Age Inappropriate" Hair: What do You Think?
By Roger on 11 June 2009
Do you think that when you're a certain age you shouldn't have a particular hairstyle? Maybe you're worried people will criticize you, saying you're trying to look too old or too young? Roger Dawkins investigates, lifting the lid on some hairstyles people commonly think are "age inappropriate." See what you think...
Like it or not, lots of people out there think some hairstyles aren't a good idea for certain age groups. If you're like me, then the gibe "mutton dressed as lamb" is something you really don't want aimed in your direction. And it's not just older people on the receiving end of these kinds of criticisms either; I mean surely you've heard Miley Cyrus being accused of having a hairstyle way too sexy for her (teen) age group...
I did some research and put together a list of hairstyles people out there commonly think are "age inappropriate." Please note: by writing this list I am not trying to establish what is and isn't age appropriate. I'm writing this list hoping that you, dear reader, will tell me what you think. Do you agree or disagree? Here's your chance to get your opinion out there by writing your comments below.
Age: Tweens and Teens
Age Inappropriate Hairstyle: Too Sexy Too Soon
If you're in your tweens or teens, or maybe you've got kids in this age group, then the word on the street is this: kids are growing up too fast. If want to see an example, check out the tweeney beauty pageant scene in the movie Little Miss Sunshine. If you think it's a scary part of the movie, then you'll probably agree that inappropriate hairstyles for tweens and teens are ones that are "dramatic" and "sexy"- effects created by accentuating the lips, neck and drawing attention to the body. And you probably won't like Miley Cyrus for the very same reasons.
Age Inappropriate Hairstyle: Not Sexy Enough (Too Conservative)
This year, Katie Holmes was both celebrated and derided. She was celebrated for bringing back the bob and proving once again its sexiness and timelessness; she was derided for her post-bob hairstyle: her short page boy crop. Fashionistas and "notable" media types seemed to think that it was a hairstyle far too conservative for a young woman in her late-20s, and that it made her look like someone's mother (but isn't she anyhow?). What do you think? Was poor Katie's hair too conservative and not fashionable enough for her age group?
Age Inappropriate Hairstyle: Act Your Age Not Your Shoe Size
I used to work with a woman who got a hard time because she was in her mid-30s but dressed like she was in her 20s. Her hair was super fashionable- it was the exact hairstyle all the popular kids had at the time (medium length, shorter and spiky at the back and flat at the front). When we worked together, I sensed this criticism against my colleague's fashion sense, but I didn't really care because I was in my 20s myself (and I didn't really care about anything). But now I'm the same age she was and I'm all of a sudden wondering if it's true: should people in their 30s act their age and subscribe to slightly more mature hairstyle fashions?
Age: 40s and 50s
Age Inappropriate Hairstyle: You're No Spring Chicken
"Don't try and look more youthful and young than you actually are!" That seems to be the biggest piece of advice do-gooders out there like to give people in their 40s and 50s. The opinion seems to be that people in this age group should avoid the kinds of hairstyles that obviously younger people would wear; for example, bleached platinum blonde hair like Pink's, or a 20-year-old hipster's long hairstyle (maybe like Meryl Streep in Mama Mia?). I guess if I imagine my mother- who's in her late 50s- with long blonde hair like Jennifer Aniston's, then I could probably agree. Do you?
Age: 60s, 70s and Beyond
Age Inappropriate Hairstyle: Same Old Same Old
Picture this: Your grandmother comes over for a Sunday roast and a game of Scrabble. She's grown her hair since the last time, and now it's a deep chestnut brown color- just like when she was in her 30s. Or, your grandfather comes over to look after the kids, and you notice he's still got those Elvis side burns that were pretty cool in the 50s, as well as that greasy slicked-back look- complete with a duck's-back at the nape. They've both got the same old same old look. Do you agree that once you hit the 60s and beyond you should leave the hairstyles of your youth behind and aim for something "softer" and more conservative? Do it: imagine your grandparents how I just suggested and see what you think.
There you have it: a list of commonly held opinions about the kinds of hairstyles you should and shouldn't have when you're of a certain age. Tell me, what age are you and what's your hair like? And, do you agree or disagree with anything in the list?