What to Wear with Bad Hair?

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Let’s get this fact out of the way right off the bat. My hair looks god-awful. It does. No reflection on my talented and wonderful hair stylist… at all. Especially since it’s down to Carmen that I have at least some shape left. But I’m three months overdo for professional attention to my “do” and it’s beginning to show. Big time. And you know what? I’m okay with that. I’m having fun experimenting with how to style it, not always successfully. That’s why it’s called experimenting. Ha. So yeah, hair and what to do with it is one thing. And now the big question becomes “what to wear with bad hair?”

8:00 A.M. My Challenge Today:

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10:00 A.M. The Process:

So duly caffeinated, coiffed, and made-up I commenced to put together outfits. I swapped white tops for black tops for yellow tops. Pink ones, pink and white striped, navy and white striped, cream and gold striped. Blouses, shirts, tee shirts, tank tops, sweaters, you name it. I reviewed every top that was in my dresser drawers or hanging in my closet. A few were simply held up to my face and discarded. Most made it onto my body. Of those some were quickly removed and placed into the “not now” pile. Others warranted at least an upper body trial shot. A couple I didn’t try because I’ve worn and liked them lately. A couple even made it into outfit shots.

White Theory Eco-crunch jacket, white Vince tee, earrings and bracelet Kate Spade, sandals Towne Shoes, shorts cut-offs from Hudson white jeans.
White Theory blazer (similar), Vince tee, DIY shorts.

The weather was bright, at times sunny, at others cloudy, and very humid. This made for odd looking photos. Over-exposed and under-detailed. The humidity and the occasional breeze meant that my hair was ever-changing. Going big, falling flat, curling here and there, and generally doing what it damn well pleased. Ha.

My outfit shots revolved around the white DIY shorts that I made last summer from an old pair of Hudson jeans. And my black shorts from Theory which I’ve had for years. If I ever get to go anywhere this summer, I am definitely going to wear these Theory shorts as part of a suit. The shorts suit was one of the few trends for spring-summer 2020 that interested me. And I definitely like my white Theory jacket and my old black Helmut Lang blazer as part of a shorts suit. Shopping my closet pays off, yet again.

Black Helmut Lang jacket, black Rag and Bone silk tank, black Theory shorts, Stan Smith Adidas
Rag & Bone tank (similar), Helmut Lang jacket (similar), Theory shorts

These are the tops, below, that didn’t make the cut. I will wear them again eventually because they still fit and I like them. Just not with my current hair situation.

Part of the result of asking myself the question "What to wear with bad hair?"
A few of the “not now” tops.

Around noon. I changed back into my sweatshirt and shorts. Carefully refolded and rehung all my clothes. Keeping the things I will wear with my evolving hair to the front of the closet or the top of the drawer. Now, to assess the day.

1:00 P.M. So What Have I Learned?

So yeah. I tried a lot of tops today. And I learned some lessons. Time and hair stand still for no woman. There’s so sense trying to pretend that I look the same now as I did three months ago. Or even a month ago. I’m playing the hand I’ve been dealt.

As I said in the video, dealing with my hair as it is… is a bit like shopping my closet. What do I have, and what can I do with it? And now that I’ve shopped my closet for tops that work with my changing hair colour, I’ve come to the realization that I have very few tees that I like, which work with my hair, and which I can wear at home. So many old Gap tees that are pulled out of shape, or which look dreadful on me at the moment. My black and white Vince tees are still too good to wear at home, and my lovely pink Everlane tee is too pale for me now, I think.

To that end I’m going to order for myself a couple of decent tee shirts in a rich colour. The tees I took to Croatia last year were from Talbots, and I found them to be inexpensive and a good weight. I’m thinking about ordering one of these long sleeve tees, maybe in the blue or the bright yellow. They come in a ton of colours. Or I might try the box-cut Everlane tee in a brighter colour. I love the weight and shape of their tee shirts. Or maybe even that bright yellow Vince tee.

I am trying very hard to be patient, with my hair, with myself, and generally with the whole pandemic thing. We’ve just learned here that our re-opening will be slower than we thought. Hair salons will probably not open until well into the summer according to Carmen. I think that’s one big thing we’ve all learned from this pandemic… patience. At least I hope we’ve learned it.

Maybe a couple of new tee shirts will help me be more patient with the face in the mirror each morning. Help make the decision of what to wear with bad hair a bit easier. Of course it can’t change how old I am. I am sixty-four and three days. Four days by the time you read this. But who’s counting? I have more white hair than I’d like, a few extra rolls around the middle, and at least two extra chins. But like I said… who’s counting, eh? I play the hand I’m dealt.

Now it’s your turn, my friends. What are you wearing or not wearing now… during this trying season?

P.S. We play the hand we’re dealt. And, while I’ve been faffing about (to quote Alyson Walsh) with my hair and my outfits, lots of other folks are dealing with the devastating hands they’ve been dealt. I am not American, so I don’t feel competent to comment on what is happening there now. But my friend Lisa, who is American, has. You can read her post here.

P.P.S. There are affiliate links in this post. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission.

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36 thoughts on “What to Wear with Bad Hair?”

  1. Wendy in York

    You’re very good at blithering . My hair colour is so similar to yours at the moment – quite blonde but mine has more dark going back . I do miss the dark , shiny hair of my youth . You might think your thick hair is a pain but as you get older it really is a blessing . My hair is much thinner than it used to be & needs work & products to look decent . As it gets longer it is less shaped , giving a softer more natural look which I quite like . I’m so undecided about the colour though . I’ve not done your wardrobe test but I should . I gave up strong stripes & patterns some time ago as they were washing me out but I’m ok with softer stripes & patterns . Emerald green was a good colour for me as a teenager & still seems to be flattering . Ditto strong white & my long time love , navy . Don’t know about black . It seems to make me feel sad so I avoid it . Off for a Zoom quiz now so better get tidied – from the waist up anyway .

    1. Ah, thanks, Wendy. I recall that we had no trouble blithering together that day in Bakewell. Wasn’t it funny to meet each other for the first time, and yet not for the first time? My hair seems to have reached the point of no return this week. There is no pretending I can style it the old way. I am up for some more experimenting soon since Carmen won’t be open before the middle of summer she says. Ackk. I may be a whole new person by then.

  2. I wonder if this is a case of being your own harshest critic? To me your hair looks quite soft and airy, but of course you are right there with it! It would be nice if we all learned patience from this experience, a little kindness and better judgement would not be amiss either. It would be easy to despair of my country at this point.

    ceci

    1. It’s quite soft, and I can’t use my old styling products because it’s too long for the sticky stuff that is so useful for very short hair. I agree, I think kindness and judgement are needed in so many places these days.

  3. I’m just curious whether you’ve ever had your colors done and been assigned a “season.” I had mine done back in the 80s with Color Me Beautiful when it was all the rage. (Color analysis seems to be making a comeback!) I’m definitely a “Winter.” I’m fair with dark eyes and used to have dark brown hair—at least before the pandemic when the silvers sprouted unattended and I decided to keep them! Perhaps if you had some guidance on whether you are warm or cool, you might more easily find those colors that are most flattering with your eyes and skin tone, regardless of the color of your hair. I agree that when we look better, we feel better, even in shorts and a t-shirt around the house. And I think you’ve done a good job working with your current hair situation. I also have thick hair that succumbs to the humidity, so I feel your pain!

    1. Yes, I have had my colours done, not officially but by my hairdresser years and years ago. I definitely have cool undertones. But the contrast between my hair and my skin is now so much less that it does make a difference. As I said to Hubby, I wouldn’t mind the colour as much if I had a cut. At least my roots are coming in a cool silver which is good. Since I was a strawberry blonde when I was young, I was afraid that I would go grey like my red-headed grandmother.

      1. Yes, I was able to get a haircut on Monday, and it made a world of difference, although now I look much more “multi-colored” since the longer layers covered some of the gray roots! The remaining color is getting very brassy. Hopefully it will take only two more cuts to get rid of most of the dyed color. It makes sense that you have a cool skin tone since the black is very attractive with your lighter hair!

  4. The Talbots long and short sleeved, crew necked, solid color t shirts are great. Good quality. I wish they had even more colours.

  5. You’re the one living with your hair …. but I think it looks great longer and softer. You might find that by mid-summer you might like it too. As for products a good conditioning mask, Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer or Olaplex 3 are both great for helping manageability issues and there are so many products available online.

    I can’t wait to get back to the hairdresser and that could be in the next couple of weeks in the UK, slightly sooner than forecast.

    1. I think I will look for a really good conditioner to get me through this frizzy stage. I may keep the top longer when I go back to Carmen. I’ve been keeping a Pinterest board of possible longer styles.

  6. I really like your softer hair and the colour. It reflects your lifestyle. Your former style was very tailored and controlled. That was was necessary as a teacher and role model.
    Be kind to yourself. You are still a role model, just to a different demographic, yes, one with greying hair.
    Ali

    1. That’s a good way to look at the hair situation, Ali. Maybe I need to back off. I’ve been telling myself to let my hair do as it pleases for a couple of years… but I still like it under control. Like an exuberant grade nine class, I only give it so much leeway. Ha.

  7. Many redheads (or those who were in their youth) have sensitive skin that blushes easily. That pinkness may mistakenly lead you to think you’re a summer. I think you are a spring. I don’t think white and red, or black, flatter you as much as warm colors would, regardless of where your hair is at in these pandemic times. I suspect a professional color analysis would surprise you. I think you would look wonderful in the colors Susan of Une Femme has moved to. Not that you have to buy in to color analysis. You like what you like. With all the extra time on our hands, it’s a good opportunity to experiment. Thanks for your blog, I enjoy it immensely.

    1. I think what has happened is that over the years my reddish skin has made people think I should wear warm colours when it’s the opposite. Sue at Une Femme’s new look is beautiful, isn’t it?

  8. It has been 4 months since my last cut and color. I was supposed to be in a show from 2/29-3/22 and it was going to be under a wig most of the time, so I thought, I can wait. I had an appointment scheduled for 3/27, which was two days before I was doing a cabaret show, and I figured that way I could deduct it as show prep. On 3/13, they cancelled my 3 remaining performances. On 3/24, the hair salon shut down (and the cabaret show was cancelled as well). So I lost my hair appointment, and a whole bunch of money (since my church job also stopped, RIGHT BEFORE HOLY WEEK).

    But honestly, right now, after a month of it looking like HELL, it looks okay right now. I attribute that to having a really good cut in January, plus it was very short to begin with. My hairdresser opens June 3, but I’m going to wait till July.

    Even the color isn’t so bad (it also helps that I moved my piano away from under direct lighting, so I look okay during Zoom lessons). I think it’s because it’s so curly that the gray is in there but hidden.

    1. Oh my… you fell through the cracks with your dates, that’s for sure. My March haircut was scheduled just days after the shutdown as well. But it has not affected me income-wise as it has you, Christine.

  9. Hair appointment Thursday (picture me skipping-not pretty at my age, but hey). A page with images of cropped, pixie cuts in my bag, ready for my stylist (salon in separate entrance/location of her home-one client at a time). My hair is very similar to yours in style and length at the moment, though I’ve only taken scissors to the front sides, so bangs are almost at tip of nose. Top is flat. Way too heavy. However, my color is completely silver–never been coloured, but it seems even more silvery than three months ago. Like you, tried on different tops yesterday (just received a couple I ordered on sale due to significant weight loss) and was stunned when I put on a pale aqua shirt. The colour was just so right. Same thing happened with a shirt colour called india ink–not navy, not royal blue–but again, it just livened up my face. As a result, I went through the rest of my tops and culled the herd.

  10. I agree with Lesley above. I will go out on a limb and say that I like your hair even better, now that it’s longer and softer in style and even color. I love your outfits that made the cut. You are an example to all of us who need to figure out how to choose or create outfits that suit us as we change. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, Cynthia. It was a good exercise to look critically at all my tops. And put away those that made me look ill. Instead of blaming my hair. 🙂

  11. LA salons are opening this week, and I’ve been texting with my hairdresser about when I’ll be going in (she has a lot of clients to juggle!). She’s a single-seat salon, so I feel comfortable going to her, and I know she’ll be great about protocols, as she’s always been super-good about cleanliness and disinfecting.
    What I’ve learned about my current-natural hair color (brown with tons of grey in it) is that I’m nowhere near ready to go natural. It’s just not a pretty color yet. I went blonde(r) years and years and years ago when I realized my very pretty brown just deadened my skintone, and it appears that those undertones still won’t work for me.
    I’ve been doing so much yardwork, garage-clearing and the like that I haven’t cared much about what I’ve been wearing, but this post made me realize I ought to care a little more about what I wear when the work is done. I do put on a nice top for video calls, but maybe I should do so just for me!

    1. Yesterday I unearthed a couple of tees that I took to Croatia last year and which I tucked away to save for travel. But since we won’t be travelling anywhere soon, I’m going to wear them around the house. It cheered me right up to be able to put them on yesterday, like having a new top.

  12. Jo in Chicago

    I think your thick and wavy hair is beautiful and I have never understood why you think it to be a problem. The new length is attractive, and the lighter, brighter (whiter?) color is very flattering to your skin tone. My advice is to keep this new, more natural, and (imo) more sophisticated look.

    1. Thanks, Jo. I’m going to continue to experiment with the style. See if I can come up with something that lasts more than the current half hour before going all wild again.

  13. By the time you see Carmen, you will have got through the awful growing out process. You could ask for a cut that keeps only your true bright silver hair. You have a wonderful opportunity to try it while shopping and styling your closet. You may be be delighted at the lift it gives!

  14. I have never colored my hair – too lazy. So I am salt and pepper with a few silver steaks (wish there were more). I have cut my own hair twice since the pandemic and I am liking it okay for now. It is a fairly short bob (after cutting off at least five inches). I enjoyed your post and it is nice to know we are all in the same boat when it comes to our hair. My sister in Maine got to get a cut and perm and is ecstatic!
    I am no where as organized about clothing as you. But, I have been going through my tees and tops and have decided to wear a different one every day and if it does not “spark joy,” it is out! I need to be more mindful about wearing and purchasing clothing. Years ago, before it was popular, I went a whole year without purchasing any new clothes. I think it is time to do it again. I think you look great in just about anything Sue! And, can’t wait to see what style and color you choose when you can get back with Carmen.

    1. Thanks so much, Liz. I found it a really good exercise to try on all my tops. Some surprised me. Now I feel better about how I look even when I’m just hanging around the house… and let’s face it, I’m usually just hanging around the house. 🙂

  15. With the weather the past 3 weeks here in southern Ontario just up and down and strange, my hair has a mind of it’s own. I find that a bit of hair mask or conditioner left in is a big help with the curls and every week use a purple shampoo to keep it bright with the hard water that adds a yellow cast occasionally. If you are on a well system, you might like the results. I think the bright white blazer looks amazing on you, and that is best with a cool bright colouring. I started to wear eye liner every day, even if just working outside, as the face in the mirror seems much happier with that and eyebrows no matter what the hair colour is becoming. Thanks for the chat on the deck, so reassuring to feel normal.

    1. Thanks, Diane. I wasn’t sure that very many people were listening to the videos. We are on a well, so I may seek out the shampoo you mention. Thanks for the suggestion. 🙂

  16. Hi Sue, first of all, I’m really enjoying your videos! They’re such a positive addition to your blog … you’re so natural and relaxed in them, that it feels like seeing you ( again!) in person.
    I also like your hair slightly longer, although I emphasise with the “fluffy and puffy” I think it’s going a beautiful shade of silver.
    I find it interesting how certain outfits work or don’t, depending on the length/style of my hair. Good to hear your perspective on this.
    I was due a hair appointment as lockdown started, so like you, my hairs a lot longer than usual. My fringe/bangs made it to below my nose! 😂 … and worked reasonably well, swept to one side but eventually it felt ageing. Probably psychological, but I was starting to feel unhappy about the way I looked, so I decided to cut my fringe. Which was not the snip, snip, easy, easy the You Tube videos let me to believe 😂. Anyway it worked out reasonably ok and I instantly felt better. Consequently I’m not worrying about the detail, just how it looks overall. I’m really lucky that my greys are mainly around my hairline , with a few creeping in on top, so don’t show too much.
    Clothes wise, around the house , very boring! Black stretchy style bottoms or more colourful PJ:”/ lounge style bottoms and grey, black or white boxy tees … or the occasional kaftan style tunic/dress if it’s very warm. Then I change and make more of an effort for our walks and recently, the occasional take out coffee.
    We would have been flying over to the US and Canada today but I’m trying to focus on the good things that are attainable at the moment and I’m certainly enjoying the slower pace of life … even with all the cooking! 😂
    Take Care xxx

    1. I’ve decided not to cut my bangs again to see if they can be swept back off my face and look okay. It’s a work in progress that’s for sure. Yesterday I did hair and make-up to walk into the bookstore (suitable masked) and pick up a book I ordered in February! Then to make it even more special I stopped in town to check our mailbox and even picked up a takeout coffee. We have to take life’s excitements where we can find them. I’m sorry about your trip and fear that our Africa trip in October will go the same way. We are resigned to it. Over here is not where you want to be at the moment anyway. We watch the news in astonishment, cheer on the protesters, and curse at the antics of leaders.

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