The Long And The Short Of It

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I spent the bulk of my late 20's and 30's with hair so long I could sit on it.

Initially it was a rebellious move. I was railing against all the years of short, bad, pixie-like haircuts that made me feel like a bigger Spaz than I already was. In high school all the pretty girls had long tresses, some with, some without the iconic Farrah Fawcett feathering that permeated that era. The cool girls could style their coif perfectly with a flick of their wide-toothed comb and proved expert in sporting the perfectly peroxided lightened hair. In junior year of high school I dumped two bottles of peroxide on my chestnut hair and promptly turned it orange. By the time I got to college the mullet, mohawk, and punk locks were the styles of choice. I had a short, bad perm - which was the result of salvaging a long, bleached out, burnt up perm. By the time it had grown out enough to be shaped into a mullet with perfect 80's triangular sideburns I decided from that point forward to swear off beauty salons altogether.

And I did for about four years and nearly 12" of hair growth. It was only about two months before my wedding that I opted for a layered, just-past-the-shoulder cut. After that I experimented with color at home; badly. I dyed my hair all the wrong shades of red and even attempted a do it yourself "frosting". Keep in mind that my fine motor skills suck and you should get the gist of the results. After a while I had moved too many times and ventured too far from anyone I trusted could do anything, so I did nothing. I twisted my hair up and secured it with a giant banana clip at the back of my head. I even slept that way. It looked atrocious, but at that time I hadn't yet reached my epiphany concerning the impact my appearance had on others.

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Fast forward ten years of looking like a Grateful Dead groupie. Then one day someone dear to me commits suicide. I am not surprised, but I am devastated beyond words. In a show of mourning I cut most of my hair off myself. It was a symbol of a time ended that would never return. It looked awful, but I didn't care. Eventually I summoned up the courage to go into a small local salon. Being new to the place I didn't know who to ask for, let alone what to expect.

I really lucked out that day. Turns out I not only got a great haircut, I also made a great friend. In the 12 years since Lani Barrett has cut, highlighted, and dyed my hair a myriad of colors in three different salons. When we met she was not confident enough in her own abilities to give me the style she thought I should have. Today I sport a cut from the Twilight movies - the "Alice" to be exact - and it was entirely her idea. It's the best hairstyle I've ever had (and the worst movie I've ever seen).

Six years ago, out of the blue, she asked, "Want a blue streak in your hair?"

How could I resist? I loved it, hubby loved it. Everyone else hated it, so we switched to purple, which I've been wearing in some capacity ever since. In fact, as I write this I have two foils at either side of my head feeding purple dye onto two bleached out sections of my hair. In case you're wondering I'm not at the salon. Every other week my friend comes over and helps me clean my house. It's more accurate to say I help her because she does the bulk of it. Aside from Mr Spashionista and I Lani also did more to help rebuild this house after the Nashville 2010 flood than anyone else. She even cooked and delivered a surprise 20th anniversary dinner for us that year because, obviously, we weren't able to celebrate otherwise.

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If only she liked to go shopping.  Oh, well; nobody's perfect.

Lani currently works at Cindy's Hair and Tan in Ashland City. If you're lucky enough to live in the area you can make an appointment by calling 615 792-1141.

Do you have any "hair-raising" experiences in the evolution of your style? Are you okay with showing your grey or do you banish it from sight? Do you think it's fun or folly for women over 40 to dye their hair in non-traditional colors?

The Warm Color Palette: Smokin' Hot or Oh-So-Not

I'm going to start with this color group because it is the easiest to explain. If you need to wear Warm colors you are easy to spot and the right colors on you make a very dramatic difference for the better.

Most people who fall into this category have reddish undertones in their hair and muted eye colors. As I said in the "Blank Page" post if the Warm palette is the one for you your skin tends towards golden tones and if your hair has started turning gray that gold cast will also be present in those strands of hair. In other words, your graying hair will look like dirty dishwater instead of silvery white.

In terms of your wardrobe the colors you wear need to be yellow-based and warm. Cold and bright is not for you. Icy blues and pinks make you look like you are coming down with something. Navy blue and black make you look tired and grey makes you sink into the background.

"Yes, yes, but these are all just words." You're probably saying, out loud even. "How about some visuals, please!"

But of course.

Here are the two most important colors in determining whether this is your scene or not.

If you look fab in these then Warm colors are all you. If you look drab then move on immediately.

Here are some more examples that fall into the Warm range of colors.

Notice that browns and burgundys are the neutrals of choice for this group.

I compiled all of these examples using Polyvore.

Are you a Hot Tamale or a Pallid Princess in Warm tones? Do you hate these colors even though they suit you? Do you love them but can't wear them?

Be the Star of Your Own Life; Let Your Style Shine.

I don't care who you are or what your flaws make you - don't let them break you.

You can be dressed from head to toe in Gucci and Chanel, or GoodWill and Target; your attitude is your best accessory. If you can't hold your head up and look other people in the eye, if you are hesitant and look down at the floor, you can be dressed to the nines and it won't matter. How you carry yourself matters because it is an immediate signal to others about how comfortable you are to be you. It lets them know that, despite your imperfections, you are worth talking to. You are worth getting to know.

This is true beauty. Unlike the latest fad it doesn't disappear at the end of the season. It isn't transient and doesn't require constant revamping. The clothes, the hair, the bling, they're all icing on the cake. They help you feel more confident but will never outshine your inner light. Without that you can never be beautiful. With it you can conquer the world.

Confidence + The Right Clothes = Your Style

Let's find it together!

The Good, the Bad, and the Palsy

It would hardly be fair of me to ask you to scrutinize your Outer Spaz and honestly evaluate your apparent flaws without me doing the same. The difference is I'm going to do it here, publicly, for the whole world to see. Or at least the handful of you out there reading this.

So here we go.

Let's start with the non-Palsy related issues. At just 5' tall I am short even by petite standards. I'm also short waisted which means I look heavier than I am and my body type resembles an apple. To call me voluptuous would probably be an understatement.  My hips aren't tiny and I wear a G cup - yes, I said G - and even though I'm an apple I do have some hourglass curves. Unfortunately, I have 150 lbs worth of curves. I'll talk about weight issues later, but I would like to assure everyone that I am healthy insomuch as I don't have hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, or any other weight-related health condition other than guttus enormous, and I'm working on that one. I'm also working on my flabby arms and thighs, but  I gots 'em so I'd better cope with 'em. At the end of my thick ankles I've got really wide, Fred Flintstone feet, too. Oh, and I'm almost 51 so the amount of work required to attempt to keep my body in check, let alone get in better shape, conjures images of Sisyphus.

On the plus side I have a nice, long neck, decent hair, a good smile if I can keep from spazzing, delicate shoulders, and great cleavage. My husband says I have a great behind, too. Unfortunately when I'm in public it's usually planted in a wheelchair so I can't really count it as an asset; pun intended.

These are the body issues that I have to consider when I shop for clothes or put together an outfit. This is the part of my Outer Spaz that I can most effect. But we Palsies and others with physical disabilities have to factor those things into our physical equation.

I think the Palsy deserves it's own post so I'll tackle that next time. In the meantime if you made your list and all you saw were flaws look again. While we're on the subject of your list, since we're in this together, how about sharing it with me? I really, really want to hear from others who undoubtedly have different issues on their list than I do.