Monday, August 13, 2007

Important Meeting Preparations: Iron Shirt, Stuff Packets... Straighten Hair?

This morning, I woke up early to prepare for an in office client meeting. If it sounds official, that's because it was; it was the first big meeting with a new client and it was my first client meeting where I had an actual role, a line item on the agenda. I was to talk about part of our PR plan, sound intelligent and look the part. So naturally, I planned to dress accordingly and straighten my hair.

This morning, I stood in front of the mirror, clad in a terrycloth robe, straighter in hand. My hair was unruly as ever. The curls were frizzy and kinked. There were fly-aways in all directions. Straightening it would make me look neater, I thought.

But really? And then a hodgepodge of thoughts trolled through my mind simultaneously--a neat appearance is confidence inspiring; professionalism is important; accurate, honest interactions are a must in PR; straight hair is more mainstream; mainstream is feels safer... Oh! I was lost in my own self pondering. Not too lost--I managed to straighten my hair and get to the office early to finish the final meeting preparations.

Let's go back to the hair raising issues though (sorry, I couldn't resist)...

Is there something confidence inspiring about straight hair? Does Marsha Brady have one up on me because she was born with easily managed hair?

Why do I associate straightening my hair and make-up with professionalism? It seems to me that these things conceal me, perhaps enhance what's already there, but cover other things that are. Example: foundation erases blemishes, but blots out freckles. My hair falls straighter, but that's not how I identify myself.

Then again, I know people like the way I look with straight hair...

Ladies (and Gents)--tell me what you think!


mdy said...

Hi Sandy!

IMHO, it's not straight hair per se that is perceived as being more professional.

I think someone with curly or wavy hair can look just as professional provided that their curly hair looks like it's been styled into curls on purpose.

In other words, it's all about the image of being in control.

If I show up at a meeting with my hair looking like a mess, a client may end up thinking -- Look at that. She can't manage her time well enough to do something as simple as fixing her hair. I wonder if she's organized and disciplined enough to run this project for me?

In a way, it's sad because so much depends on perception, and perception is influenced heavily by appearance.

Sandy said...

You're absolutely correct. It is a control thing.

Unfortunately, my unruly head of hair never looks intentional when left to it's own devices. But I like my mix of wiry waves and spring curls.

So I can't have professional / controlled curls without curling my hair--which seems like loads of work considering it's already curly! Then I'm back where I started, that hair straightener.

As to your thought on perception, I think straight hair gives off wholly different vibes than curly hair. At first glance, I thought it was an ethnic thing. Perhaps it just seems more controlled?