One of the most questionable aspects of the workplace environment is appearance.
Most corporate companies even go as far as having a handbook outlining the do’s and don’t in terms of clothes, shoes, hair, etc.
If we closely monitor our surroundings, what is the one thing that sticks out that all your co-workers seem to view first? YOUR HAIR! It’s the funniest (and sometimes strangest) thing.
I can always tell when one of the managers in my department went and gotten himself a haircut. Now imagine if he got it colored purple? Mmmm…
Auketria Manor weighs in on this topic – check it out…
How many gorgeous ladies have experienced that moment when you come across a picture showcasing a hair-style that gives you that “wow” factor while gasping for air and suddenly you send the picture to your stylist because you want to try it?
But, then, just as suddenly, you wonder if it will be suitable for work because your profession is in a corporate setting and you don’t want to seem unprofessional while sticking out like a sore thumb.
On the contrary, sticking out can be a compliment to your individuality so let’s not shy completely away from that.
SUBTLE DOWN FOLKS, IT’S ONLY A MOHAWK!
Now years ago when I worked as a shampoo tech during high school, I recall a particular client who was being serviced sporting what I thought was the cutest Mohawk.
This was the late 90’s, this style was certainly trending and our client worked for a global company that provided auditing, tax and consulting services to businesses.
I distinctly remember her saying, “try to keep it subtle”. She elaborated on where she worked and didn’t want to seem “non-corporate” being a dot in the board room and all (I hope you know what a dot is because I don’t want to explain it here since this post is about hair…LOL).
Well, let me just refer to it like most of us believe it may be viewed: ethnic, urban, maybe even ghetto, and the like.
Not that I can picture a subtle Mohawk on a woman, but I did understand her concern.
One day, I visited a local braid shop with one of my sisters to get a portion of my hair braided upward with the front portion out so that I could twist it out. I opted not to add any hair. The style came out perfectly and I received many compliments both at work and away from work. Not once did I second guess the professionalism or lack thereof of my hairstyle. However, a co-worker complimented my hair and expressed her interest in trying it out but would give it a go on an off day to make sure it looked professional on her. No offense to me, everyone has to be comfortable with their appearance whether or not it is for work or leisure.
REVEALING THE NEW “LOOK”
Surely there is a dress code policy in any workplace that gives guidelines on professional appearance and there is a section that spells out grooming standards. But does this mean that a twist-out, Marley braids, colored hair or an Afro puff are unprofessional?
Are the styles really unprofessional or is there apprehension present because of concern of what our colleagues may think about a hair choice that may not be mainstream?
I will admit, when I first moved to what can be called the executive corner of the central office at my job after spending roughly 10 years in a more casual department, I personally hesitated to wear a twist-out.
I am in an area where board members pass through often as well as other executive level personnel, one of whom is my immediate boss. After giving it some thought, I decided I would be who I am which happens to include my hair style preferences.
Not that I expected to hear a peep about the style on its departmental debut, I did.
When my chief finally came to my work station to discuss business for the day, he did a double take and said, “oh wow, I really like that, how did you do that?” And there you have it, he was not freaked out or giving me strange gazes while I sported a big curly mane. Might I add that one of his direct reports constantly compliments my hair choices with,“I just love how your hair is so versatile, it’s always so pretty”. Every now and then she, too, will ask how I managed to achieve a certain style.
So do others really care about our styles ladies or is it that we secretly care that they may not approve?
Let it not be the latter, please.
THE COLOR PURPLE (NO, NOT THE MOVIE) HA!
Some time ago, there was a fuss on social media about images of black women’s hairstyles populating when googling, “unprofessional hairstyles in the workplace” or something similar to that.
My response to that is, “so what?!”
How often do we see our culture being adopted by others because it’s adorned…after it has been criticized? A couple of styles that I’ve worn came up in that google search but guess who will still wear said style when that particular one is up in the hair rotation? You guessed correctly.
I think decorum regarding hair in the workplace should apply to being clean and combed not a particular style choice.
I mean I see a lady of another culture with purple spiky hair on the elevator twice per week. Apparently it’s a go because each time I see her it is still purple. It’s combed, but it’s purple.
So, as far as I am concerned, my puff, twist-out or braids are all harmless groomed styles of my choosing that do not compromise the integrity or quality of my work.
Below you can check out some style choices that I have worn to work without a second thought.
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It’s time to #XpressYourself! How do you feel about “corporate friendly” hair? What are your hair choices for work? Share your “xpressions” below!
Thanks for stopping by and happy styling!