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Friday
Sep182009

Bad beauty trends: escapism or just poor taste?

Crimped hair has been rearing its ugly, geometric head for the past few months. I have tried to ignore it, glazing over when I come to fashion spreads in my glossies (ahem, September Marie Claire and French Vogue) but it's clear the beauty-industrial complex or its hairstylists or whoever is really pushing for this one to make it back into the mainstream (have we not tired of the 1980s already?). I can ignore it no longer... Sure, it's less offensive than the penultimate look du jour (eyebrow-less as in 'I have a crack habit and have shaven off my eyebrows' eyebrow-less... who thought that was a good idea and why do all junkies seem to be missing their eyebrows?) or the pre-penultimate one (purple lips a la cadaver)... but it Will. Never. Work. In. Real. Life. At least in its pure form. I mean, if you're in The Noisettes, sure you can rock a half-crimped, half-slicked back style. But try walking into any office block wearing your neat little pant suit and... crimped hair!? Not working. On top of the fact that it's probably about as welcome in most work place as a face full of piercings, it's not exactly all that flattering.

We strive relentlessly for soft, wavy, touchable, voluminous 'dos, at least that's what I'm led to believe if I look back at the ads in these same glossies. Soft hairstyles gently cradle the face. Maybe we're pushed to wear such styles because they are more feminine and as the proud owners of 2 X chromosomes, we're supposed to want that? I like a bit of edge sometimes (actually, most of the time) but the crimped look does not provide the good sort of edge. It gives the sort of edge that the mean girl at the mall (the ringleader who holds said position due simply to her large frame and aggressive disposition) sported... crimped hair, body of a Fijian wrestler, concrete wall of vertical fringe (bangs), blue eyeliner and pink gloss. That's the sort of girl who sported crimped hair. Fast forward to now and couple the crimped hair with the not-so-new new penchant for black makeup and... well, you can imagine it. Get yourself a gimp suit and you could easily and convincingly have your own dominatrix business.

But, thinking about it, maybe all this stuff we see on the runway and in the magazines is simply meant to stay there. These imaginary worlds are just that - imaginary, escapes for us from the hard-and-fast (at times) beauty rules by which we live our lives... and if you don't think you live by them, just look in your purse. Nude lip liner, powder, black mascara. Just as we wear uniforms to work, we also wear a sort of facial uniform. Sometimes we step out of line with a slash of red on the lips or a haze of charcoal around the eyes, but never to the point where we become grafittied caricatures of ourselves. 

What led me down this train of thought? My compilation of best beauty looks from New York Fashion Week for S/S 2010. A slideshow with my favourite looks will be posted shortly. In the meantime, have a long, hard think before you plonk down the dosh for that new crimper... and if you are absolutely compelled to crimp your coif, at least do the following: brush it out so it's a less severe crimp and then pull it back into a low chingon. There's some iota of style and dignity in that look (as seen above at Narciso Rodriguez courtesy of Style.com).