I spent so much of my teens and even twenties trying to beat the kink out of my hair — to iron out the crinkles as it were — until one day, bam! I turned a page (or is it an age?), thought fuck it, said “fuck it,” wrote “fuck it” and stopped straightening my hair. It wasn’t liberating, or challenging, or uniquely revelatory — I just didn’t feel like having straight hair anymore.
Back then, I conjectured that no longer wanting straight hair was a function of growing up (you know how it goes when you’re in your late 20’s and paying your own taxes and scheduling your own root canals and injecting your own ass with IVF medications and parting ways with platonic relationships that “no longer serve” you), of not having enough time, of evolving into neater style that required the kind of tension brought on by messy hair. But now I see all of that for what it was: a recognition that this — me — as I came in, and as I am now, is enough. Simply, satisfyingly, enough.
But that thing about my style — that’s true too. I do dress neater. I like to look put together. Not like I’m in a “total look,” but definitely like I didn’t just roll out of bed and pick a shirt up off the floor. This button-down was pressed, I’ll have you know, and then methodically tucked into my high-waist jeans, which were then patted down to remove any errant lint, and the reason the sum of this outfit works is purely a function of my hair: washed last night, and slept on wet, creating the very front squiggles (those little s-shapes that frame my forehead) that I used to erase.
I’m not sure I’d have arrived at this contrast and tension — the done-up clothes with the undone hair — had it not been for a recent spiral down the Chloë Sevigny Getty-image rabbit-hole.
Her fashion style is a combination of Prada and toned legs, Miu Miu and Levi’s jeans, Chanel and great vintage T-shirts and sometimes clogs. It’s the perfect hodgepodge of new and old, crisp and raggedy — the precise substance that makes even the most unattainable (see: the couture dress she wore last September at the Venice Film Festival) seem somehow relatable. But this is not a secret, you know, mixing high and low then tumble drying the result to turn up some solid personal style. Perhaps the lesser-known, more impactful part of her style as a whole, though, has to do with hair. Perhaps, as a matter of fact, the secret to her personal style is imbued with how infrequently she gets, as Harling put it, a “cheesy blowout.”
(Photo by Jacopo Raule/GC Images)
Take this look from the Venice Film Festival — Chanel, by all accounts, down to the pearlized sandal. Would it have been such a feast for the eyes had she not opted to wear her hair in a top knot that truly looked like the kind of bun you come out of a SoulCycle class sporting? It’s a key result of the amount of sweat you expend, humidity you absorb and the natural inclination of your baby hairs to shrivel. In that way, I guess it’s like aging: natural and wondrous and effortless. It just happens to you. Now, if you want to achieve this look sans spin class and have long enough hair (and loose enough curls) to do it, Tiffani Patchett, a hairstylist at Suite Caroline salon in Soho, has a series of tips. This is the dilly:
Take an inch of hair around your hairline and spiral-wrap it in small sections, alternating directions (to create most natural looking curls) with an iron, repeat on other side of hairline. Then! Use a wide-tooth comb with very large spaces between the teeth to brush out the curls. Lightly mist the curls with water. Apply a dry texture spray (she recommends Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray) all over the head and finger rake your hair into a high ponytail like you are giving yourself a scalp massage, then twist into a top knot. For the final trick: Pull out pieces of hair around the hairline and spray with a little more dry texture.
Alternatively, you can drive down a seaside coast in a convertible, top down, but that is not a professional recommendation.
And if you want to achieve your own front squiggles a la:
(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
Take a small section of hair off of either side of the parting from the front of your head and loosely spiral wrap the hair around a curling iron going towards the face, leaving the ends out. Don’t hold on the heat for too long to avoid a corkscrew curl. Once you have a wave, brush or comb through the curls to soften, then shape and set the waves using cover clips to flatten. Lightly mist with hairspray and let it set.
Curly-haired people should dampen the front with a little water and shape the curls with a comb following their natural curl pattern then immediately set with the cover clips and not touch it until it’s completely dry, et voila! Send selfies. If not because you want to, consider that you have to: whether or not you have curly hair, we’re talking about approximating a look that is traditionally perceived as an accident, or a flaw — what happens when you don’t put in the effort, when you “let go.” How cool to flip it on its side and opt to see it as a pillar of genuinely good style.
Feature photo by Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images.