Thursday, February 13, 2014

'Embrace your natural' whatever

There are now clip-on bangs one can use to try out the various options. Amazing, really, that there'd be a market for this, in an era of ubiquitous tattoos. Are bangs really such a commitment? True, there can be awkward moments when growing them out, but nothing a carefully placed bobby pin or a new part or something can't fix. Yes, after cutting my own bangs in 7th grade, I grew them out with the help of really unfortunate-looking toddler hair clips (as was the trend, but not for as long as I wore them), but that approach is avoidable.

I went ahead and got bangs earlier this week, without the aid of clip-on trial bangs, although I did browse through old photos of myself with every possible variation of bangs, which is probably as effective. The real danger, with any hairstyle, is in relying exclusively on photos of beautiful people with the style you're considering. Anna Karina with bangs? Fabulous. Me with bangs? Still not Anna Karina. So any approach that involves considering how you'd look is always going to be better.

Or is it? What is "better"? Who ends up looking better - the woman who goes for an aesthetic that appeals to her, but doesn't really work on her, or the one who consults objective outside observers (Stacy London, someone at the department store makeover counter) or matches her features to charts in magazines to figure out the correct way to make the most of what she's got? Even if you're going for a relatively conventional look, what the world sees as prettiest on you is rarely going to match up precisely with what you see as prettiest on yourself.

Which brings me, once again, to 'natural' beauty. To 'embrace your natural' whatever it is - build, hair texture, etc. - often ends up amounting to still more rigid style rules. Is a woman with an hourglass shape who goes for gamine rather than "Mad Men" exhibiting voluptuousness-self-hatred, or merely rebelling against the rule that says a big chest means one must wear restrictive, mid-century-inspired garments? It's the same with hair - one can easily overshoot the mark, in a quest for self-hatred-avoidance, and end up choosing 'natural' (which, in turn, often ends up being lots of work) over some form of artifice that's not about conformity or self-hatred or who knows, but rather conforming to one's own personal style. I can't say for sure if wearing a cat-eye with black liquid liner, say, is what best enhances what I've got, but I like it, so on it quite often goes.

No comments: