Fashion ruts are easy to get into, and for most people the logical remedy when faced with one is to throw out their entire wardrobe and create a completely new style.
I don’t believe in that: not only due to the fact that its extreme and expensive, but because our style is a living, breathing creature that has been changing and growing with us our entire lives, starting from the very moment your mother first let you pick you what you wanted to wear to school.
I know this because I tried it. I believed my transition into first year of college warranted a completely new look, a completely new me. I had no desire to bring the small sense of personal style stunted by my having to wear a uniform in secondary school into what I believed to be the beginning of my independence, and the rest of my life. My style had evolved as a teenager from badly done Kurt Cobain to Hollister clone, and for university I had made the executive decision to be the type of girl who wore fashionable flannel in autumn, no matter how cold. Truth be told, I am closer to a bad Kurt Cobain rip off than a varsity girl, and the very end of my first year of college had left me in the biggest fashion rut of my life.
So one day I wondered, why not cut my hair? As soon as the thought came to my mind, I had gone to the salon and just like after a bad break up, I cut all of my hair off.
This was by no means a small task. I had transitioned from hair that fell halfway down my back to hair that barely reached my shoulders, and I did not shed a single tear. I had transformed, and suddenly everything I wore looked chic. My dresses stopped looking girlish and started looking executive, my poor wardrobe malformed by my previously rushed redo suddenly looked good – like Courtney Love as the girl-next-door. I had breathed new life into my clothes, and my animated sense of style had finally caught up with my life as a (semi) independent adult. I even went back at the end of the summer and got it cut shorter.
I discovered that I didn’t need my long hair – that I had, in fact, outgrown it.
Here’s the revolutionary part: it didn’t just change the clothes I had, it changed how I would buy new clothes. I picked up pieces I would never have looked at before. I made a personal style Pinterest board filled with clothes I would never have had the confidence to pin, let alone to buy; but here I was, picking out bodysuits from River Island and disco pants from New Look.
I traded in old pop brand jumpers for my mum’s vintage shirts. I rebranded myself. I restyled my life. Rather than murder the style I had been growing, I gave birth to a new one. Suddenly the weight I had on my hips and my man shoulders didn’t matter anymore, because my hair had made me stylish. Picking out clothes was no longer a fashion show level of outfit changing. I could now look how I had always wanted to look, just with short hair. I began to have wild notions, following fashion bloggers and, at one point, considering joining UCC Fashion Soc (side note: I didn’t).
So I’m making 2016 the year of changing styles by starting with a fashion piece people rarely think of: your hair. Cut it, dye it, change it, even look up a thousand ways to make it look different without having to do anything semi-permanent. If you’re looking for a sign, this is it.