10 Things To Stop Doing With Your Hair By Age 30

It seems like just yesterday we presented our response to those “30 Things You Need To Stop Wearing By Age 30” articles (our take: it’s time to stop wearing 1/2 of an old locket you were given at birth before being sent to an orphanage). Just when I thought the whole issue was settled, I came across this article helping all us old gals figure out what we have to stop doing with our hair. Ladies, it’s serious. We can’t have braids anymore. Worse yet, I wore one just this week —  looking like a 29-year-old floozy instead of the sedate 31-year-old that I am — because nobody even told me that we can’t have braids anymore. I’d never leave my faithful internet friends in that position, so here it is: 10 things to stop doing with your hair if you’re three decades old.

Hair That You Style Yourself

Are you old enough to remember watching Full House in prime time? That’s totally fine, but you’re going to have to get a puffy roller set once a week that you get re-done every Friday afternoon with all the other Ethels.

An Elaborate Powdered Wig

Good God almighty, Megan, someone’s going to think it’s actually white.

Your Natural Hair Color

When you hit a certain age – and make no mistake, that age is 29 years 364 days – you should probably start dying your hair.

But Also, Unnatural Hair Colors

Okay, you should probably start dying your hair but also you are too old to pull off anything that strays more than one swatch from your natural shade on that hair board your hairdresser has. You might ask why you should bother dying your hair if you’re still using your natural color, but how about you don’t.

Your Own Mom’s Hair Cut, Whatever That Is

Now that you’re old, nobody will be able to tell you apart.

Short Hair

Short hair is for old ladies, so if you have it then everybody will forget to look at your face and assume that you’re old.

But Also, Long Hair

You’re a big woman now, Amy.

Long hair is for young ladies, so if you have it everybody will think you’re trying to look young. The looking young part is great but the trying part is ew. Now that you’re 30 you may have a blunt-cut bob or a blunt-cut lob.

A Tight Bun

We know you have wrinkles, Carly. A tight bun is just going to make you look like that grandma from the Tweety cartoons. Remember Tweety? Of course you do, ya geezer. You watched him at the picture-show after the newsreels.

Any Of Tonya’s Hairstyles In I, Tonya

Even T.Hard has changed her bangs by now.

A Big Bow Like An Edwardian Girl

“Jo Jo Bows” – big floppy bows last seen in photo-essays of mill girls in 1904, then inexplicably popularized by Dance Moms kid Jojo Siwa – are huge with the younger set, AKA actual children. But if you’re an over-30 trying to evoke an Edwardian throwback thing for whatever reason, think more Ruth Dewitt Bukater and less Little Cora. And yes, we threw that reference in for you ol’ sea hags who can remember Titanic’s theatrical release.

 

 

 

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Celebrating The Rachel, On The 20th Anniversary Of Its Death

The Rachel is dead.

Long live The Rachel.

Jennifer Aniston’s choppy shag – the biggest boon to the round brush industry to date – met its end by Season 3 of Friends. That means that right now, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Rachel’s death.

I think that to avoid looking too dated or silly, you should avoid any haircut with a first name (unless that name is bob. Pretty classic). But in 1996, America couldn’t resist the curled-under layers of Jennifer Aniston’s bouncy ‘do.

In the years since The Rachel died, Aniston has been pretty vocal about the cut:

Like anyone who has tried to curl their ends with a blowdryer while twirling a brush with the other hand, Jennifer hated styling her haircut. In 2011, she went so far as to call it “the ugliest haircut I have ever seen.”  My favorite part: stylist Chris McMillan was (allegedly) high when he created the style. “Stoned out of his mind,” Aniston said.

Okay, but was the Rachel really that bad? Let’s take a look-see.

I mean. Highlights have come a long way, and at the time those frosty pieces read more “sun-kissed” and less chunky. But NOBODY’S hair curls in towards their face like that, and that was the Rachel’s biggest downfall. Add in some cowlicks or waves and this thing is toast; try it on stick-straight hair, and it’ll just hang straight down with layers that look like they were cut with kitchen scissors.

Here’s the thing to remember, two decades on. It wasn’t just that people liked Rachel Green’s hairdo. It’s that the haircut spread across the nation like nothing I’ve seen before or since. (Closest match: Kate Gosselin’s I Want To Talk To The Manager haircut; that heavily inverted bob that looked cool for about a month and now just looks like a short haircut with two long puppy ears in the front.) It started with the moms. It moved on to the 20-somethings. I was 9, and my mom joked that I should get The Rachel.

Don’t think that just because The Rachel crawled off Jennifer Aniston’s head and died in 1996, it was gone for good. That baby multiplied and infested heads worldwide. In the early 2000s, you could still see a Rachel in the wild. Legend has it that a few dozen Rachels still exist in the natural world, but even if not, the echoes of the Rachel can be heard.  Every time your stylist asks if you want “a little face-frame,” the Rachel lives on. When a hairdresser suggests “some piece-y layers for texture,” you can hear the wind whisper “Rachel.” And whenever a thick highlight is pulled through a latex cap, the faint sound of Chris McMillan’s hairstyling shears floats into the room.

 

Beauty Advice For My Goddaughter

Someday, my goddaughter is going to move mountains, I’m sure of it. But today, she turns 7. Seven! People born in 2009 are seven years old. After meeting her at the hospital, I took the train back to Philadelphia and watched President Obama’s inauguration on tv. Seven years.

I take my godmother job very seriously, and for a very good reason. M’s mother died last month. My brother is an amazing dad, but there are things he won’t know to tell her.

Beauty advice is one of those things that isn’t too hard to think about right now — because it isn’t important. I don’t care if my niece wears sweatpants and a ponytail if that’s what she wants, but she’s artistic and colorful and gets real joy out of beautiful things – and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Here’s some of my essential information for Miss M., when she’s ready for it:

  • Sometimes, one of your friends will get really evangelical about a hair or skin care product that they think is the best thing ever. There’s a good chance that it won’t work on you, but it’s okay to try it anyway.
  • There will come a time when you want bangs. You have curly hair. It might never look good. Getting into a years-long cycle of cutting bangs then growing them out again is totally acceptable and is actually how I spent my teens and 20s. It’s like a casual hobby.
  • If you have a hair tie, bobby pin or safety pin in your purse, and somebody else needs it, it is now community property. 
  • Always buy clothes that fit. Odds are you’re going to stay small-boned and skinny (but it’s fine if you don’t) and when clothes hang off of you, you will look like a Dickensian beggar.
  • Dickensian beggar is an OK look for weekends but probably not job interviews.
  • If you aren’t totally sure about a tattoo, don’t. Even if you fall out of love with something later on, it will be more okay if you at least were certain when you got it.
  • If it’s too itchy, get rid of it.
  • There are two kinds of people: people who take off their makeup every night, and people who wake up with smudgy faces and smudgier pillowcases. You know what kind of person to be.
  • Hang up or neatly fold your clothes. They will last longer.
  • Sunscreen. Every day. Forever. Because your lineage is half Puerto Rican, half snowman.
  • There’s a 5-8 year window when the things you wore in high school will be really embarrassing to you. Don’t throw away photos of those outfits – someday you’ll love looking at them.
  • Never tell anybody that what they’re wearing is “flattering.” That’s lowkey insulting.
  • Never listen to anybody who tells you that what you’re wearing is “flattering,” either. You look good, not the clothes.
  • You asked your dad to save all of your mom’s clothes for you, which was amazingly forward-thinking for a six-year-old because your mom had great style. Take good care of them, but if something gets ruined, remember that your mom would have wanted you to wear things and enjoy them, not keep them locked away. You will give them life again.
  • Try not to be too jealous that your brother’s hair gets more compliments than yours. There’s an excellent chance that he will be bald one day. Let him have this moment.
  • If you ever go to a school where you have a uniform, rejoice! I know some parts of it aren’t great but your mornings will be so much easier.
  • While we’re at it: you can try to make a school uniform or your ballet tights and leotard look cool, but chances are it’s just going to call attention to how uncool they are.
  • Your favorite bit with your dad (though you pretend to hate it) is when he “yells” at you for being too pretty. But seriously, you are really pretty. That is only one thing about you and it’s not why any of us love you.
  • Always be yourself. When you were chatting with your baby cousin last month and we asked what you were teaching her, you answered “just always be yourself.” So kiddo, this isn’t a lesson you need, but in case you ever forget.
  • ‘Highlighting’ is where you paint white stripes on the parts of your face you want people to look at. It will probably be very out of style by the time you’re wearing makeup, but if you go to a 2010s-themed party in college you should totally do it.
  • A few days before Christmas, I let you splash too much in the bath, brushed your hair into two shiny black pigtails, and got you dressed in a white dress that your other aunt bought. It seemed so wrong that we were going to your mother’s memorial. But there will be other white dresses for happier days – your quince, your graduation, maybe a wedding – and I’ll be there to help you then, too, if you want it. And probably if you don’t, because you are never, ever getting rid of me.
  • Until your mid-20s, cheap moisturizer is fine.
  • Every once in a while, a rumor goes around that you can use hemorrhoid cream on puffy under-eyes. Maybe that works for some people, but personally: it makes your puffy skin extra-shiny AND it makes your face smell like a butt. An ailing butt.
  • The first time something you wore in your youth comes back into style, you’re going to feel terrible. Get used to it, because once it starts it doesn’t stop. Chances are when you are 80 all of the young kids will be wearing the spacesuits or whatever that were popular in your 30s.
  • If you’re afraid of overdressing or underdressing for an event, just wear something simple but make sure your hair and makeup is on point.
  • If you ever, ever, ever find yourself saying that you can’t cut your hair because your significant other will hate it, either that person is garbage OR you really don’t want to cut it and feel better hanging that on someone else. Take a minute and figure out which it is, okay?
  • It’s better to be a tween with braces, if you need them, than to be an adult trying to figure out if your insurance will cover orthodontia. You will probably look back on the years of 11-15 as awkward ones anyway, and the braces are an investment in the future.
  • Assuming selfies are still a thing when you get older, try to take 3 unnecessary cat pictures for every 1 unnecessary selfie. Not because there’s anything wrong with taking pictures of yourself, but because it’s been scientifically (not at all) proven (by me) that excessive photos of pets in your social media accounts will keep out the wrong element. (Plus every girl needs that one Weird Cat Aunt, and I’m yours.)
  • You will not become prettier or healthier by “flushing” “toxins” from your system. M, this fact will appear on several of your lists.
  • You will not become prettier or healthier by “flushing” “toxins” from your system BUT you will be prettiest if you drink enough water, eat enough fruits and vegetables, move a lot, and live a life that makes you happy.
  • Here are my favorite things about you: during the last week I spent with you, you called 4 days “the best day of my life.” You believe in all of the best things, like unicorns and mermaids. You ask good questions even though they’re hard for us to answer. You dance instead of walk. You are unfailingly patient and helpful with your baby cousins and none of us are really joking when we say we’d let you babysit them. You know your mind better than anyone I know. None of those things have anything to do with what you look like, but they are what make you one of the most beautiful people I ever could have imagined.

Pocahontas: ’90s Fashion Goes 17th Century

Can you believe that tomorrow it will have been 20 years since Pocahontas? Pocahontas the movie, that is: Pocahontas the human died in like 1617. It has been two whole decades since Disney released its historically fuzzy account of a spirited Powhatan girl who gets White Man’s Burdened by a dude in that one haircut all the cute boys had in the mid-90s. Disney does a ton of research for each of their movies, but ultimately chose a ’90s-friendly interpretation of 17th Century style. So how do the 1600s look through a ’90s lens?

John Smith’s ‘Cute Boy In The ’90s’ Haircut

In 1994, all of the cute boys called a secret meeting and vowed to get That One Haircut. If you were a Tiger Beat reader or cherished your J.T.T. is H-O-T issue of Nickelodeon Magazine, you know exactly which one I’m talking about. It was center parted and layered back on the sides, so that all of the cute boys could brush it out of their eyes all of the time. Which was the haircut’s fatal flaw, I’d wager. It was always in the way. And it was in the way of EVERYONE, from Rider Strong to Christian Bale to… well, to John  Smith, who must have painstakingly layered his locks in his berth below deck of that old-fashioned wooden boat. Smith has the longer, more mulletty version of the cut, favored by your more outdoorsy Cute Boys In The ’90s.

Nakoma’s Sassy Bangs

In 1995, those late ’80s/early ’90s mall bangs were fading into history. Instead, your bangs were probably either a blunt-cut fringe or wispy and curled under with a round brush. I think my right forearm is still slightly more muscular than the left because of all that time I spent scrupulously curling my bangs under into a see-through hair dome. The curled-under bangs were innocent and girly, but the blunt Betty Page fringe was the trademark of a true sass factory. That’s why Disney gave them to the movie’s requisite Sassy Best Friend.

Pocahontas’s Ink

Remember “tribal tattoos?” And how if the only tribe you were in was the National Association Of College Bros, you probably shouldn’t have gotten one? There was a time when the tribal armband circled the bicep of every college dude in the land – it was the undercut haircut and waistcoat of 1995. Now those armbands are sported by 40-something dad types who only reunite with the “tribe” on alumni weekend.

By the way, those of us who were eight years old in 1995 had the Poor Man’s Tribal Tattoo, the stretchy band from Claire’s Boutique that always ended up on your wrist if you had skinny arms.

Pocahontas and Nakoma’s Girl Band Outfits

I get that buckskin was the only fabric option or whatever. But I still love how Pocahontas and her girl Nakoma have coordinating outfits. It’s like TLC or En Vogue or Salt n Pepa, where they’d each have a slightly different outfit but made of the same material. And at least one girl always had the crop top version. We’ve established that Nakoma was the resident sassafras, so naturally it was her.

Pocahontas’s Cher Horowitz Hair Flip

 

The crispy permed look was dead or dying in the mid-90s. Instead, everyone wanted the perfect voluminous blowout. It was several years before we all started flat-ironing our hair into brittle sheets, and health and movement were the hair goals. Pocahontas had, hands down, the best blow-out of the era, rivaled only by Cher Horowitz herself. I know Pocahontas didn’t have an animated blowdryer or anything, but I feel like she was always standing in the wind on a cliff with multicolored leaves swirling around her and stuff, so I guess that did the trick.

That Turquoise Necklace

Here’s where Disney was phoning it in (on a land line or one of those brick cell phones, because again, 1995). They were just like “oh, Native Americans LOVE turquoise!” because that whole Southwestern decorating thing was going on. But the key there is Southwest, I mean how would Pocahontas have ended up with it in Virginia? However, teal and turquoise were oddly popular at the time, so I think it was more a matter of picking a look that would help sell licensed Halloween costumes that year.

Thomas’s Center-Parted Bowl Cut

I think if you weren’t cute enough for the Cute Boy In The 90s Haircut, they made you get the center-parted bowl cut instead.

How Normcore Are You?

Normcore is the movement or trend or – thing, I guess? – rejecting hipsterishness and “opt[ing] into sameness” (thanks, Wikipedia!). Yeah. But what does that really MEAN? I read the NY Mag piece about it, but that didn’t help much.

  • Is it still hipsters liking things ironically, but now it’s ironic fleeces and sneakers instead of trilbys and mustaches? Mustaches HAVE been coopted by the Pinterest Industrial Complex, after all…
  • Is it because all of the cool 70s – 90s clothes have been cleared out of thrift stores, leaving Gap hoodies and Adidas windpants for the too-cool masses?
  • Is it a more realistic version of 90s nostalgia? It is basically the stuff that adults wore from 1996 – 1998. The style of Seinfeld, if you will.
  • Is it a non-sexist version of “Basic Bitch”?
  • Is it just regular people wearing normal clothes, turned into a “movement” because a journalist had an early Monday deadline for a trend piece?

I’ll be damned if I know. As we said about “ratchet,” normcore cannot be seen or heard, but must be felt with the heart (™ Helen Keller). Here’s the best Am I Normcore self-test I can come up with.


 Do you own khakis?

KHAKIS!

No: 0 points
Yes: Do you need them for work?

If yes: 1 point

If no: 2 points


Do you own a fleece?

No: 0 points

 Yes: Is it necessary for outdoor activities, e.g. hiking?

If Yes: Hiking? That’s pretty normcore. 2 points.

If No: Do you refer to your fleece as “my North Face” or possibly “the Columbia?”

If Yes: 1 point. You are possibly a college girl in a windy climate, or were in the near past.

If No: 2 points. Normie.


You are walking around the city all day. What is on your feet?

Heels: 0 points

Men’s Dress Shoes (I identify as a man): 1 point

Men’s Dress Shoes (I identify as a woman): 0 points

Women’s Flats (I identify as a woman): 1 point

Women’s Flats (I identify as a man): 0 points (strictly because I’m pretty sure the gender binary is normcore)

Canvas sneakers, converse, old-timey high tops, etc: 1 point

Sneakers (the cushiony kind, with ankle support) in color: 2 points

Sneakers (the cushiony kind, with ankle support) in black or white: 5 points (Are they Reeboks? Give yourself another point, Norm-an Bates!)


Betsy or Tacy?

Betsy: 0 points

Tacy: 1 point

… Huh?: You’re dead to me.

You know what? Tib, actually: 2 points


Pick an Olsen Sister:

Two Of A Kind: Definitely the Olsen’s normcore phase. Or was 1998 just the world’s normcore phase?

Mary-Kate: 2 points

Ashley: 3 points

Elizabeth: 0 points

Nellie: Zero points, but let’s hang out.


Pick a type of bagel

 

 

…. Are you doing it?

 

 

….Do you have it yet?

 

Any kind of bagel: 2 points. Bagels are so NORMCORE.

Donuts: Cute. That’s cute. You get 1 point. On one hand, donuts are more normcore than bagels. I guess. On the other, you lose normcore cred because a real normal person would have answered the question.

I don’t know: 0 points. Also you couldn’t come up with a SINGLE kind of bagel? You’ll never be normcore if you insist on being this weird!


You’re getting married! What would be a really good wedding song?

At Last: 1 point. You are basically more normal than normcore.

First Day Of My Life: 0 points. You are clearly normal, maybe trying to seem slightly less normal.

You Make My Dreams Come True: 3 points. What says “I like ordinary things?” better than carefully-selected Hall & Oates tunes?

You probably wouldn’t have heard of it: 0 points. You passed normcore and went straight to hipster. Congrats?


Let’s talk about your cake topper:

Traditional man/woman, man/man, or woman/woman cake topper: 2 points. Nobody has those anymore unless they are specifically trying to choose middle of the road-y things.

Lady dragging husband down the aisle, reeling in husband, chaining ball to his foot, etc: 0 points. Let’s all try to be better than this. But you probably aren’t normcore, just misguided.

Well, I saw this thing on Pinterest…: 1 point. You might be normcore, but you’re probably just normal.


Bangs Or No Bangs:

Bangs: 0 points

No Bangs: 1 point

Do you mean like on me, or just sort of generally?: I don’t know. Have a point.


You have a cat. Where did you get the cat?

From a shelter: 2 points

It was outside: 1 point

I knew someone getting rid of the cat: 3 points

A way that was super on-purpose (breeder, e.g.): 4 points. Anyone who tries to get a cat is almost putting effort into seeming normal. And isn’t that what normcore is all about?


Congrats, you have a baby! You got married and adopted a cat, what did you really think would be next? Name that baby! (It’s a girl):

Something like Emma or Sophia or Isabella: 0 points. Normal, not normcore.

Something like Louisa or Harriet or Jane: 3 points. You intentionally choose the standard over the non-standard — even when the “standard” may also be less popular.

Something like Dorothy or Edith or Mabel: 2 points. Picking an old-lady name says “hey, I’m being a bit different here!”, but picking one that everyone has heard says “… but let’s not go crazy, now.”

Something like Morningflower or Thessalonia: 1 point. The names aren’t normcore, but they’re so different that I could see you getting real into, you know, cultural movements.


Okay, add ’em up, everybody! Ready:

20 – 30 points: You’re not normcore. You’re just normal.

10 – 20 points: You might be normcore – there are some indications that you aren’t all the way normal. But you might just be a little bit normal, a little bit not. Consult a doctor you trust for further evaluation.

0- 10 points: You’re not normcore. But you might be a hipster. Maybe.

90s Fashion Myths vs. Realities

** A lot of the pictures have broken since we first wrote this, and we see you, and we’ll be fixing it ASAP. **

Listen, young ladies on tumblr. You’re all into the 90s look, and that’s great, I suppose. I mean, from my perspective it’s the very definition of not great, because it means that I am now old enough to have worn a “vintage” trend the first time around, but bully for you.

Here’s the deal, though. You’re getting it wrong. Your romanticized version of the 90s is super cute, but that’s not how it was. It was awkward, frumpy, and all around unfortunate. Our shirts were too wide and short by a good stretch. Our jeans made us look ice cream cone-shaped. Regardless of season or latitude, everyone was dressed for a Seattle winter. Inspired by our live blog of Hocus Pocus, I present a fashion companion to all you tumblr girls who were born after the early 90s: You Weren’t There, You Wouldn’t Understand

Jeans

Myth:

Everyone wore distressed, slouchy “boyfriend” pants or sleek, high-waisted, taper-legged denim.

Reality:

Yeah. Our waists were high all right. But do you know what lay between the high waist and the tapered ankle? A foot-long butt. While the modern iteration of these pants has a slim fit, there was no “skinny’ in 90s jeans. Rather, there was a ton of fabric, so that your frame would blossom out after your waist, only to end in a vice grip around your ankles. We all looked like gorgeous ice cream cones.

In terms of denim, the acid wash and stone wash we wore had NOTHING in common with today’s distressed denim. It looked almost like the cover of a marble composition notebook. We didn’t do subtlety very well back then. And if you weren’t wearing that – and this never shows up on your tumblrs – you were wearing super-bright, almost indigo blue denim.

Flannel

Myth:

We all wore big, cozy flannel shirts a la Kurt Cobain or – let’s be real – Angela Chase.

Reality:

Well, we did… kind of. I remember being so excited in second grade to get a slouchy flannel for Christmas – so I could look like Cory Matthews. So, I want you to think less Nirvana and more TGIF. Most of us didn’t look like angsty grunge musicians, we looked like honor roll kids from nice families who were trying to stay comfy.

Leggings

Myth:

Underneath our Seattle flannels or stylish tunic tops, we showed off our toned, aerobicized legs in leggings, topped off with Doc Martins.

Reality:

Every kind of pants in the 90s made you look like you were wearing diapers. I think leggings had a little less elastic then, plus most of the ones we had were stirrup leggings. Yeah. In the 90s, stirrups weren’t just for horseback riding and your gyno’s office. So, pants were well secured at the waist and ankles, and kind of saggy and sad in between. On our feet? Keds.

Hair

Myth:

Our hair fell in long, devil-may-care waves and curls, kind of like Lorde.

Reality:

Those big 80s bangs didn’t really die until the mid-90s. We didn’t wear loose waves, we wore spiral perms. If you wanted to look really polished, you probably had The Rachel, and if you wanted to look really professional, you had Princess Diana’s haircut. In the late 90s, we didn’t wear long, subtle side bangs like all of you kids. We had light fringes that we painstakingly curled under with round brushes, so your forehead was under a protective hair-dome. There was a lot of half-up, half-down happening. Lots of claw clips. Scrunchies. Seasonal scrunchies, classy scrunchies, denim scrunchies. One of the first times I remember getting a big laugh in a crowded room, I was about 5 and was making up a commercial for scrunchies at Thanksgiving with my extended fam. “Scrunchies! Because real bracelets are for snobs! Scrunchies! Because you could put it in your hair later, maybe!” (See, the whole thing with scrunchies was that they just ended up on everyone’s wrists).

Businesswear

Myth:

The woman of the 90s wore a lot of power pieces – be it menswear-inspired suspenders, or tiny suits a la Ally McBeal.

Reality:

The woman of the 90s wore a lot of shoulder pads – it wasn’t just the 80s. She’s also responsible for that thing where you wear big, ugly sneakers with business clothes in order to go power walking. 90s women wore a ton of horrible flat-front khakis. The Adult Jumper was going strong, and not just for teachers.

Neon

Myth:

Totally radical!

Reality:

Totally dopey.

Riot Grrl

Myth:

We wore baby doll dresses as a subtle critique of the infatilization of adult women – ditto for those baby barrettes. These were paired with heavy, down-to-business boots. Zines as far as the eye can see.

Reality:

Sure. We all wore baby doll dresses with baby barrettes and boots — because Stephanie Tanner did. I’m sure it was different if you were in high school or college, but if you were a kid in the 90s you probably weren’t wearing these fashions to fight the patriarchy with Kathleen Hanna and Courtney Love. You just wanted to look like people on TV.

Music

Myth:

While we wore our sweet tumblr-y fashions, we listened to the latest indie tunes from mix tapes that we ordered from the back of a zine.

Reality:

Celine Dion. Natalie Merchant. A lot of pseudo-intellectualism: “tell me all your thoughts on God,” e.g. Harmonicas without irony. Actually, everything without irony. That’s what separates real 90s style from the (admittedly better) 2010s revival, and the best thing about the decade: we really, earnestly meant all of this.

Signature Hairstyles: The Mark Of A Bad Bitch

There was a time when I thought I was doing everything right to be a competent, professional lady. College? A breeze. Law school? Magna Cum Laude, like a boss (well, okay, I missed summa. But I said boss, not CEO.) Real job? Take that, tough economic times. I even have a shelter dog.

But something was missing. I was tripping on my way up the corporate ladder. I aimed my slingshot at the glass ceiling, only to find it loaded with Nerf pellets. What gives?

Well, there was one power move I seriously overlooked: the signature hairstyle. Throughout history, every lady who has done anything important has had a signature ‘do. It kills me that I’ve wasted 2 years of my career with my hair any-which-length. Learn from my mistakes, and take a cue from these distinctively-coiffed ladies:

Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour, when Princess Diana was alive.

Anna Wintour, hair unchanged 16 years after Princess Diana’s death even though we all swore we’d never be the same again after that.

Anna Wintour’s bob is as precise and razor-sharp as the steel wire that encases the empty place in her chest where her heart used to be (Because hearts are for fat people. Why do you think those heart-shaped boxes are filled with chocolate candy? To make you fatter. What can happen when you get fat, whether externally or with inner fatness? Your heart ATTACKS you. All ties together).

Cher

1966 – just before shit started to get real weird out there.

Well, this is depressing.

Cher’s crazy rich. She’s absurdly famous. And she’s had the same hairdo since the mid-60s. I think she owes her success, in part, to the signature ‘do. Do you think she’d have the same panache with a nice shoulder-length cut with some bangs? You know all that hair can’t be real. At this point she should just start a hair extension company, name it Gypsies, Tramps and Weaves, and be done with it.

Little Edie Beale

I know the theme of the list is successful ladies who have signature ‘dos, and I’d say that Edie fits the bill. If slowly decaying inside of a decrepit mansion surrounded by lots of cats doesn’t sound like your idea of “making it,” just remember that Edie was such a staunch character that she carried a documentary and inspired a telefilm and a musical. Plus, she looked oddly beautiful doing it. So you know what? I think this WOULD be the best costume for the day.

Susan B. Anthony

The B stands for “Badass.” Or possibly “Bun,” because she wore one every day – ending with when she died and starting, I picture, with birth. Suze here reminds us that when you’re really committed to a cause, maybe the best thing is to pick a hairstyle and then never waste your energy thinking about it again. Also that if you work really hard for something, and commit 40 or so years to it, then maybe a few decades after you die it’ll happen!

(Screw that; I’m not even patient enough to ever let my microwave timer run all the way down.)

Diana RossTo paraphrase Mean Girls, we all know why Diana Ross’s hair is so big – it’s full of secrets. As in, the secrets to success. If you look at old pictures of Ms. Ross, it almost seems like every year her hair gets bigger and bigger. It’s like it absorbs the love of her supporters and the scorn of her detractors, so that none of it gets to Diana.

Mary, Mother Of God

Look. I’m not trying to get into one of those “mommy wars” where we debate whether raising children is a job. I don’t need to. When, for 33 years, your full-time business was raising God – changing God’s diapers, sitting through God’s Little League banquets, silently judging God’s date to the Freshman Formal – I’m calling it: it’s a job. Mary is also the only person on our list whose ‘do is actually iconic. Like, in the literal sense: she appears on a bunch of religious icons. While not a “hair” do in the traditional sense, always styling your hair underneath the same long veil is a hair statement, and the gal never wavered.

Barbara Walters

Babs, 1975

Babs, present day.

Think of a classic wardrobe staple – let’s say, a blue blazer. In any time in recent history, you could have worn a blue blazer and looked legit. Sure, in the 70s the lapel would have been bigger, and in the 90s it would have been a boxier cut, but it’s still a blue blazer.

That’s Barbara Walters’ hair. There have been some variations on the theme through the decades, but if you scalped Barbara Walters and put her hair on a mannequin -whether in 1975 or 1992 or 2013 – you’d see it and say “yep, someone scalped Barbara Walters, I guess. And this is her hair.”

Sarah Palin

Hair as tall, shining and majestic as the peaks of Denali.

I don’t care what your politics are, you have to admit that this is some power hair. The biggest boon to Palin’s run for national office -and, possibly, the biggest drawback – was hair so distinctive that you could dress as her for Halloween without really trying very hard.

Whoopi Goldberg

If we have two panel members from The View on this list, it’s only because getting paid to sit in a semi-circle and talk over people is the true meaning of “having it all.” The last time I sat around every morning with my peers talking about the events of the day, I was in kindergarten, and I wasn’t getting paid for it. It was called Circle Time. Anyway, Goldberg is so known by her unwavering, tidy dreadlocks that when you see her with straightened, loose hair in Sister Act, it’s kind of unnerving.

Marie Antoinette

Ya know … maybe if people are about to behead you you shouldn’t make your head look so damn showy.

While I painstakingly catalog every premature gray on my head, Marie Antoinette was powdering her entire enormous wig. She knew what the rest of us haven’t figured out: Gray hair has gravitas. It has dignity. It has flair. It… will not keep the proletariat from chopping your head off. So remember, while you’re cultivating your signature ‘do, don’t neglect the little people – or the little people might kill you.

Louise Brooks (Counter-Example)

Louise Brooks, in her heyday.

Louise Brooks, in her dotage.

Louise Brooks had THE iconic bob in the 20s. She was also the toast of Hollywood. Then in old age, she grew her hair long and ditched the bangs. Result? She died in our hometown of Rochester, NY. See, that’s what happens when grow out your signature hairstyle. You become a reverse Samson, losing your power because you stop cutting your hair.

Tips for Fox’s Reboot of The Swan: 2004 Hot vs. 2013 Hot

If you haven’t been up on your reality show gossip, you might have missed some big news — Fox is bringing back The Swan! In case you’ve forgotten, in the early 2000s there was a brief trend on reality t.v. where unfortunate-looking people got their faces did. Surgically, I mean. Those shows were the Swan and Extreme Makeover (the real Extreme Makeover, before it was about bringing joy to selfless people and making you cry).

The thing was, this format seems like it was part of a moment in time. Think back to 2004 or so. We followed every step of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Lindsay Lohan was a hot damn mess, but still a kind of adorable, age-appropriate mess. Britney Spears was a party girl with nary a Jayden James nor Sean Preston in sight. This photo really captures the zeitgeist of the time:

Never Forget. Also, what context put these 3 girls in the presence of wood paneling? It looks like my late grandparents’ house in Appalachian NY.

It was a really, really awesome time for boring or unimaginative girls. You could be cut- and-paste hot so, so easily. Heavy fake tan? Check. Get crazy skinny? Check. Nasty ratty weave that looks like you scalped a blonde Barbie Styling Head? Yep, that too. Fake boobs, denim mini skirt, plain tank top? Check, check, check. If it was daytime, you could wear a terrible velour sweatsuit. If you wanted the word “juicy” printed across your ass, then the word “juicy” was printed across your ass.  You had to buy a pricey bag to carry your dog around in, then if you were out of money for a dog, you could just get a rat or mole from nature and say it was a chihuahua mix. Then you just topped it off with a really boring or bored attitude – see, eg, the Paris Hilton “that’s hot” vocal fry/drawl.

It was probably not the best era for those of us who were more goofy and pale, but it was good business for makeover shows. Cut-and-paste hot really lent itself to The Swan’s format. Once you cleared off any iffy facial features (hook nose, giant gums, hairy warts, what have you), you just had to add the right elements and, at the end of the hour, you had turned an ugly duckling into a sort of skanky-looking swan.

The thing is, this isn’t really the look these days. There’s a whole different thing happening in 2013. I don’t even know what to call it. Quirky-hot? Anyway. With that in mind, I think these are the elements that the new Swan should incorporate:

1) Surgical Facial Quirking

If the subject has a boring face, then the staff plastic surgeons need to make it interesting. But like, the right kind of interesting. We’re not going to go all the way to ugly, more like adorable …  in a way where it’s still believable when the subject says that the cool girls used to pick on her in junior high.

Some options: The Bambi (eyelash lengthening and eye-widening surgery).  Permanent light freckling (not like freckle-freckles. About ten adorable ones, across the bridge of the nose). Colored contacts to add flecks of gold so that the subject’s eyes are so pretty that she can claim to be self-conscious about it. Infinitesimal tooth gapping. Nose upturning.

2) Ukulele lessons 

Accompanied with “how to sing like you’re from the ‘30s” voice lessons. The end project is a YouTube channel.

3) Shopping

The subject learns to shop from small online outlets, so that when people ask where she got something, she can say “oh, I don’t know, I think it’s vintage?”

4) Diet

Whomever the subject is, if she wants to be the ideal 2013 lady she can probably benefit from more recipes from Pinterest . I suggest cooking classes and recipes that involve quinoa, kale, or cake pops.

5) Manic Pixie Dream Quiz Show

The subject has to provide the correct answers to the following questions: What is your favorite music? (Answer: Anything on vinyl). Do you like kittens? (Answer: No. I LOVE kittens.) What was the best decade? (Answer: Any anything from the 1920s through the 1990s is  acceptable, but probably not the ’70s or ’80s, which were objectively speaking the least adorable decades of the 20th century).

6) Hobbies:

I don’t know, probably a blog.

Honestly, I feel bad for all of the boring or unimaginative ladies in our modern times. In 2004 all you had to do was look sort of tan and uninterested. These days, there are so many Etsy shops to monitor and so much individualistic nail art to create and so damn many hair braid configurations. It’s got to be exhausting.

But despite all that, rebooting the Swan for 2013 has to be one of the best ideas Fox has had, because watching all of this transpire is going to make for some great t.v.

Editor’s note: If you’re reading this, and this sounds like you and your friends, it’s all in good fun. This sounds an awful lot like me, too – I  can’t help it if music sounds better on vinyl and I want to go online shopping with Daisy Buchanan. I also have a cat named Mabel who used to be an adorable kitten. I win at Swan: 2013!

DIY: Hair Chalk

If you spend hours like me in the dark hole that is Pinterest/and or Instagram, you’ve seen girls with long hair don’t care flaunting their hair chalked manes. It’s basically a quick, easy, temporary way to add some color to your hair without going all out. My friends and I recently went in on some chalk and did it for the first time. Here are the results!

Step 1: Purchase a box of chalk – aka soft pastels. If you can’t find it at your local Sally Hansen or beauty store, head over to Michaels and grab a box of pastel chalk. Works just the same.

Step 2: Select the piece of your hair you’d like to color and wet it. A lot of internet hair “experts” say to spritz the strand with a water bottle, but wetting it over your bathroom sink works just as well.

high class operation we run here

Step 3: Take the chalk of your choice and color the strand in an up and down motion using the long side of the chalk. If it seems like the chalk isn’t sticking to the hair like you want, try wetting the chalk. Make sure all of the hair is completely covered. This part might get a little messy, so use caution.

the red hair chalk looked like i was bleeding out from my skin. cute.

Step 4: Use a straightener or hair curler to set the color in. We used a wet to dry straightener that worked perfectly. And it seems self explanatory, but the chalk will get on your straightener. It’s easy to wash off, but you might end up with a multi colored flat iron when you’re all finished!

Step 5: Take selfies in the bathroom

Tool Tally: 1 (Caitlin helped with the photo taking too!)

Step 6: Show off your new ‘do! Like I said, chalking is only temporary, but should stay in until the next time you wash your hair. How do you do your chalk?!

Eva pulls off her best Kelly Osbourne impression. She chose white chalk to use on her red hair, and we think it kind of turned out a fab light purple!

My red came out awesome too – except I had to wash my hair the next day, so it lasted approx 8 hours. Til next time!

Pretty Like It’s 1999: Late 90s Tween Fashions — And Their 2013 Adult Equivalents

Are you a lady in your mid- to late- twenties? If so, congratulations! You were also a tween or young teen in the late ‘90s and early 2000s! Half your life ago you were part of a tween cohort in its golden age. The society that produced the Lost Generation may have been the perfect environment for budding artists and poets, but the tween renaissance of 1997-ish was a cultural tempest, too. There were just more sparkles, is all, and instead of Ernest Hemingway, it produced Lalaine and Aaron Carter. Here are some of the greatest fashion staples of that magnificent era– and a modern adult equivalent that you could actually get away with wearing today.

glitter eyes

1999 tween style: Body glitter. Like so many wholesome children’s and teen’s fashions of the late ‘90s, this was borne of rave culture. But you don’t need to be on ecstasy to enjoy a little sparkle! Body glitter was popular with tweens because it was like makeup for people whose parents wouldn’t let them wear makeup yet. I used to roll glitter across my cheekbones and sweep it over my eyelids, I guess so that people would look at my face more. If you read YM  or Seventeen, you might have learned to apply glitter to your collarbone, to draw the eye to where you hoped your cleavage would eventually come in.

Gold Leaf Eye Makeup

2013 adult style: Metallic eyeshadow. Like roll-on body glitter, this is a fun and glitzy look. Unlike roll-on body glitter, if done properly it will not make you look like you store hallucinogenic drugs in your pacifier necklace. I like the heavy gold-leaf look, but let’s be serious, I cannot figure out how to do it myself. Best to take your advice from YouTube makeup gurus.

Maddy's jeans - front leg

1999 tween style: Embroidered jeans. When I bought these (from Limited Too, naturally), my aunt told me that I should save them because my kids would get a kick out of them someday. Even at 13 I took this as a not-so-subtle suggestion that I looked completely ridiculous.

green pants

2013 adult style: Colored jeans and cords. Listen, I love my colored jeans. I think they’re great. But I also acknowledge that while bright pants can add interest to an outfit, I’ll eventually feel like they looked really stupid. Luckily, I still have plenty of older relatives who will remind me to save my magenta skinny jeans for posterity.

Example of baggy "JNCOs"

1999 tween style: Enormous JNCOs. These were probably your pants of choice if you were really into Korn and Marilyn Manson, or at least were not terrified of them like I was. These were a unisex style: I had a huge crush on a boy in my tween acting/improv classes who wore JNCOs and had a mushroom cut, which is the hairstyle that all of the cute boys voted to adopt by secret ballot in 1995. I never would have worn JNCOs myself, but they probably were really useful because they had pockets, and also if a friend’s pants ripped or were lost, they could climb in one leg and you could climb in the other, and you could share.

j brand cargo pants+cargos

2013 adult style: Skinny cargo pants. With giant pockets and a slim fit, these pants are entirely useless (except in that they cover the fact that you’re naked under your clothes). Like JNCOs, I do not wear these — not because I’m afraid of Marilyn Manson this time, but because an enormous pocket bulging from the hip area is not awesome on me. If you don’t mind adding a couple inches to your legs, width-wise, these are actually pretty cute though.

Sixteen.

1999 tween style: Butterfly clips. These were the best. You would twist back rows of hair from your face, creating a butterfly meadow on the top of your head – the effect was a little more special than a headband and just barely less special than a freakin’ tiara. Of course, you would coordinate your butterfly clips with your outfit, and they were usually a little bit glittery. Theoretically, you could use even more butterfly clips to secure a bun into a fancy updo, if you were into that sort of thing or if you had a mom who did your hair.

Woodland crown-boho headpiece

2013 adult style: Fun hair accessories that don’t look like insects. I wish that I could be more specific, but the fact is, there are a lot of great hair accessories on the market right now. If you were a butterfly clip afficianado because you found it to be a fun and feminine style, you might like a hair flower,[1] especially if your hair is long and wavy. If you admired butterfly clips for their sheer functionality in getting hair out of your face, headbands have been back in for several years and are, in my experience, less painful and less poofy than they used to be.  You can even find them in semi-fascinator styles, thanks I’m sure to Beatrice and Eugenie. If you were one of those girls who created over the top, eye catching styles with your butterfly clips, try a headwrap like this or, because you’re probably pretty good with accessories, a turban. You probably won’t screw it up the way those of us who could barely manage a butterfly-headband would.

1. But if you have a baby, or know some babies socially, please rethink the obligatory baby girl giant head-flower thing. I was a super-bald baby and my mom used to try to make me wear those baby head garters that they sold in the 80s, and I ripped it off every time. I like to think this is because I developed an early sense of when things look absolutely damn foolish.  BACK TO POST