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LongHairLesbian
March 12th, 2014, 11:53 AM
According to this post, "long" hair (meaning shoulder to about BSL) is fine, as long as it is neat and/or kept back, but anything beyond BSL is "overly long", and therefore unacceptable. White-collar LHCers, is there any truth to this? What have your experiences in the corporate world with long hair been? I really hope that it isn't as fascist as this woman is making it out to be. Also, hasn't she ever heard of buns? You can have hair to the floor and as long as you are able to secure it up and off your neck, how can anyone even tell how long your hair is?

http://corporette.com/2011/06/30/can-long-platinum-blonde-hair-be-professional/

hafattack
March 12th, 2014, 11:56 AM
Bcl scientist here, and not alone in my department. I just wear it up.

Madora
March 12th, 2014, 12:00 PM
As long as your hair is neat and well kept, I don't think overly long hair is a problem in the workplace. I worked as a legal secretary for 20 years plus and never encountered any issues with comments about my long hair (which was up and braided 99% of the time).

The trend these days is for shorter hair and most people think you have to trim it at a certain point...which is a lot of horsehockey, if you ask me!

lapushka
March 12th, 2014, 12:02 PM
I agree with "as long as it's kept up". I don't particularly think that loose hanging hair beyond BSL/waist is... well, acceptable.

DweamGoiL
March 12th, 2014, 12:13 PM
It depends how corporate your environment is. I work for a not for profit of about 125 employees and it's a starkly different culture than when I was in a larger more corporate environment. In straight corporate, I had TBL hair, but always wore it in a bun. I don't think a long hanging braid would've flown, but every now and again on days that we could be more casual, I did wear a pony tail or half-up, but those were considered special occasions.

Now, I work in a more humanistic environment and I always wear my hair neatly although for the most part, it is loose. I do wear updo's, but as long as it's neat, there are no issues. However, unless there is an actual dress code that states this, most employers are not allowed to comment on your personal style of dress or coiffure; doing so opens up the door for a harrassment suit. Managers also shy away from addressing this, but it's really up to how you want to be perceived. There are certainly deeply ingrained preconceptions and long hair sparks a lot of age related correlations. If you want to succeed and not be hassled, the best advice is to err on the side of conservative caution.

Anje
March 12th, 2014, 12:16 PM
Hint: If you wear your hair in a bun, something like 90% of people won't realize it's long.

I'm in academia, though. Dress code ranges from business-formal to slovenly, depending on the person and situation. For most of us folks who work in the lab, erring on the sloppy side is preferable, given the decent risk that we'll get something in our clothes that destroys them or requires them to be destroyed.

neko_kawaii
March 12th, 2014, 12:23 PM
In the white collar variant of my profession hair is traditionally worn up so any length past put-up-able is acceptable.

Personally I think strict rules about professional appearance are BS. Behavior is a much better indication of professionalism. However, humans have this need to visually categorize people into their respective tribes and we do this through stylistic elements and that includes hair.

Vanilla
March 12th, 2014, 12:25 PM
The rules for long hair in the workplace, at least by me, are different for men and women.

Generally speaking, it is frowned upon for men to have hair past the collar of their shirt. For women, the hair can be any length, as long as it's neat and not distracting. I rarely wear my hair loose at my office (I'm approaching hip). When I actually do wear my hair loose, it garners a lot more attention than when my hair was shorter. So I mostly keep it up in a bun, sometimes I do a Dutch braid.

breezefaerie
March 12th, 2014, 12:28 PM
I have an office job. My hair is always up.

redredrobin
March 12th, 2014, 12:37 PM
According to this post, "long" hair (meaning shoulder to about BSL) is fine, as long as it is neat and/or kept back, but anything beyond BSL is "overly long", and therefore unacceptable. White-collar LHCers, is there any truth to this? What have your experiences in the corporate world with long hair been? I really hope that it isn't as fascist as this woman is making it out to be. Also, hasn't she ever heard of buns? You can have hair to the floor and as long as you are able to secure it up and off your neck, how can anyone even tell how long your hair is?

http://corporette.com/2011/06/30/can-long-platinum-blonde-hair-be-professional/

That's a fairly common attitude, this article happens to be about hair in the workplace but a lot of people consider longer than BSL to be overly long and unusual, so I'm not surprised they think this.

sumidha
March 12th, 2014, 12:43 PM
Okay, I'm not gonna lie, I didn't actually read the whole article because I'm in no way a white collar worker. But that being said, I do think hair past BSL that is worn down is considered not office appropriate, especially in fancy corporate image conscious offices... That's what Ficcare's are for. :D

ositarosita
March 12th, 2014, 01:42 PM
Tattooed, pierced and when I was WL/HL I NEVER had a problem .. I just kept my hair up loosely (had to cover back of neck tattoos) .. but I find it's just like everything else that's corporate. If they can't see it they can't complain about it or tell you it's unprofessional (Police training .. so extremely strict)

Nightshade
March 12th, 2014, 01:56 PM
I work in the corporate office of a Fortune 500 company and while I think I could wear it down here (and do on rare occasions like Halloween and get lots of compliments), 99.99% of the time I wear it up.

I'm also not customer-facing, but if I was, yes, I guarantee they'd want it up if it was past BSL.

FireFromWithin
March 12th, 2014, 02:10 PM
We have to have our hair completely out of the way no matter how long it is. Even some people with chin length bobs clip it back. But once it's up in my opinion as long as you don't do crazy fantasy hairstyles there's almost no difference between longer and shorter hair. That being said, I feel that hair accessories also have their place and I tend to use a ficcare rather than fancy sticks in my professional environment. If I'm doing reading in the library (I'm a med student, there is always a library at the hospital) sometimes I take my hair down to relax a bit but I'll put it up anywhere I'm interacting professionally.

ichosethis
March 12th, 2014, 02:26 PM
I kept mine up for my office job last year, but that was more for keeping it detangled than for rules. My current job states something along the lines of "longer hair must be kept out of face" (I think they qualify past shoulder but I'd have to find the handbook to know for sure) there's some wording about using clips, hair ties, etc but a lot of people (woman mostly) don't seem to follow it. I keep my hair in a bun all day though, that way it's protected and if they ever do start cracking down on the hair rule they won't have to talk to me about it.

Aderyn
March 12th, 2014, 02:28 PM
Personally, I think long hair would be more professional than shorter hair, especially since you can throw it up in a bun and get it out of the way.

Of course, specific styles (This applies regardless of hair length, mind you) can be unprofessional and varies depending on the job and environment.

ashke50
March 12th, 2014, 03:33 PM
My hair is approaching classic, and I always have it up at work. I think it would look a bit unprofessional if I had it down, because it would get everywhere. It would also make me look younger, which wouldn't help when I'm managing people older than me anyway.
Having said that , the other woman in my office has waist length curly hair, which she usually wears down, and which looks absolutely fine.

heidi w.
March 12th, 2014, 03:38 PM
I've worked all my life, having long hair. It was never a problem. I simply wore it up.
That's all one has to do: just put it up.
heidi w.

truepeacenik
March 12th, 2014, 03:45 PM
I stressed about this in my uni days, too.
Reporter years, I just braided it back for casual days and wore it up for less casual days.
Music venue, up, up up. Safety.

Massage therapist, up up up, cleanliness/sanitation reasons. (I don't want oil or client sweat/fungus) near it.

Depending on your field, there are many reasons to be an updo wizard.

EmmAutumn
March 12th, 2014, 04:00 PM
I think neat buns and other updos are the most professional looking hairstyles - and they tend to look better with more hair. So why should anyone cut it off at BSL to look more professional?

YamaMaya
March 12th, 2014, 04:03 PM
There's a woman at my office with waist length hair and she regularly wears it down. To be honest if someone is that concerned about "overly long" hair, it's easily remedied by keeping it up in a bun. I wear my hair up for work regardless so no one knows how long my hair is.

MissBubble
March 12th, 2014, 04:13 PM
During my internship for my postgraduate studies, I was working at a very strict environment (UN offices) regarding the dress code and appearance.
But they didnīt mind the hair, in terms of the length but of texture. They would accept loose hair that looks unkept and frizzy-curly. It had to be (besides updos) straight or wavy/curly but only the type of loose curls that it is obvious you spent an hour with a curling iron ... They also didn't accept all the colors (mine either, but since I was there just for a few months, they didn't say anything. Not that I had a super crazy color, it was a copperish lighr brown.

LongHairLesbian
March 12th, 2014, 04:31 PM
Seems like a lot of LHCers have no problem with their hair at the office, as long as they keep it back. I think the woman in the article has probably never had hair past BSL, and just assumes that you can't do anything other than leave it down? I don't know, she was recommending buns and updos for "long" hair, why can't hair past BSL be kept back in a similar fashion?

I used to leave my hair down at work all the time, but now that it's longer, it does get in the way. So I usually keep it in a braid or a ponytail. I can't see these styles being an issue at longer lengths, since they are still secure. I also work at an office that is almost all women; for me, this tends to make me feel more comfortable about what I'm wearing, because I feel like my female supervisors aren't distracted by clothes or hair, and they always keep their comments (and gaze) professional. I wonder if I would feel differently if I were working in a mixed gender or male dominated environment. Do any LHCers feel like they have a harder time getting their male coworkers/bosses to take them seriously when they show their long hair? Long hair is somewhat associated with sexuality, beauty, and youthfulness.

BlueMajorelle
March 12th, 2014, 04:32 PM
It depends on your job I guess and what their regulations are. I'm a teacher and they don't care about my hair as long as it's clean and neat. My hair is always up or in a braid though because otherwise it would pick up all sorts of kid germs in the giant petri dish that is our school. ;)

LongHairLesbian
March 12th, 2014, 04:37 PM
During my internship for my postgraduate studies, I was working at a very strict environment (UN offices) regarding the dress code and appearance.
But they didnīt mind the hair, in terms of the length but of texture. They would accept loose hair that looks unkept and frizzy-curly. It had to be (besides updos) straight or wavy/curly but only the type of loose curls that it is obvious you spent an hour with a curling iron ... They also didn't accept all the colors (mine either, but since I was there just for a few months, they didn't say anything. Not that I had a super crazy color, it was a copperish lighr brown.

I think it's ironic that a UN office would craft a wardrobe policy that has that level of coded racism in it. Curls are only okay if they look like straight hair that has been curled with a heat tool? That's awful.

tigereye
March 12th, 2014, 05:42 PM
Personally, I find its fine if you can wear it up. In fact, in my experience of labs (I'm a science student), or places where food is prepared, it is generally preferred to have your hair up if it is possible to do so.
I don't particularly find APL hair professional when down, but that's likely because most of my jobs, plus lab time at school then uni, required it to be put up regardless. It's what I'm used to.
I do find half-ups look more professional to me than loose, likely because it keeps the hair out your face, even if it isn't all safely tucked away.

Saldana
March 12th, 2014, 08:47 PM
White collar office worker here - right now, my hair is just a tiny bit past shoulder length. I usually wear it in a half up, but sometimes I'll try to get it into a full updo. The longer it gets, the more that will happen. Most women my age at my work have shortish hair, although there *are* a few longhairs older than I am! As it gets longer, it will be in a full updo most of the time that I am at work. I just think it looks more professional, less distracting to everybody, and it keeps it out of my way. When it was tailbone length, I almost NEVER wore it down at work. I did sometimes wear it in a long french braid on more casual days.

trolleypup
March 12th, 2014, 09:02 PM
Yes. And thank all the small gods that my employer has the mindset of "We are paying you US$90+K a year to manage the operation of multiple subway/surface rail lines with a combined ridership over 10K/hour, and investigate accidents/incidents involving property damage/injury/death. As long as your hair is safe and not hindering your job, we don't give a damn!" Customer facing as well as interacting with the highest levels of management. If I don't do my job that is an issue, not whether my knee length hair is waving in the wind while I'm running around keeping the trains moving.

But then, I'm not in a company that values image over actual ability...not saying that it is competently run overall, but on this type of issue, actual competence is #1.

I am currently in the training department where we supposedly pay a bit more lip service to looking presentable, but hair isn't part of that. And having the ability to impart skills and knowledge to the students would override looking absolutely spick and span. Now, if I have to go make a presentation to the bosses or regulatory agencies, well, my hair would be neat, but not necessarily up depending on mood or atmosphere...and I'd dig my tie out of my work backpack.

Should hair be a consideration as long as it does not hinder your ability to do the job or impair safety? Nope.

ETA: Blue collar professional...literally, my uniform shirt is light blue.

Aingeal
March 12th, 2014, 09:16 PM
I'm a teacher and I never wear it down to work. I think I've worn my hair down once this school year and that was on the first day. Its now just past bsl curly. In fact, I was at an inservice with other teachers a couple of weeks ago and my bun was bothering me. I took it down and scratched my scalp a bit... and them realized the room had gone silent. All ten of the other teachers had stopped to look at my hair and someone said "shake that hair out! I wanna see it!" lol it was embarrassing.

Marika
March 12th, 2014, 09:37 PM
I work in an office and it's perfectly fine to show your length if you choose to. There are a handful of women with tbl hair and I was once one of them. However, I usually wore buns because my hair tangles so easily.

I have male boss (my "real" boss is on maternity leave) and some co-workers too and I have never had any problems with them. They didn't even notice when I cut my hair from tbl to shoulders. It could be a cultural thing too. I live in a country with high level gender equality. It's more about education, talent and skills than appearances which is obviously great.

HumanBean
March 12th, 2014, 11:39 PM
I work in university admin so it's not corporate and I can wear my hair down, but I put it up most of the time. It looks far more professional now than it ever did when it was shorter and I couldn't ever keep a style going...

Janette17
March 13th, 2014, 02:30 AM
I work in a corporate environment, and although my hair is not particularly long I wear it up 95% of the time, as do the other couple of women who also have long hair. If it's down I tend to fiddle with it (which I think is not particularly professional :confused:)

HoneyDayTripper
March 13th, 2014, 03:05 AM
I think there can easily be a double standard, where, if the woman is gorgeous and the hair is healthy, she can get away with it. If I were an employer, I would hesitate deeply to make a policy-- especially considering how cultural hair is (for example, many Indian women have super long hair.) Reminds me of many accounts by black women who were told at different corporate jobs their natural hair was too "wild" for work.

My hair was waist length at one point, and as a teacher I felt sometimes like it was being viewed by others as too long (aka too young). When I cut it, my students all freaked out and asked me why I chopped my beautiful hair off. Now I'm growing it back and it's almost at its length before. I'll say one thing-- I wouldn't wear it down for an interview-- and I'd maybe wait a month into a new job before I showed my length. Unfortunately, women are judged with harsh standards for their appearance.

MinderMutsig
March 13th, 2014, 04:00 AM
During my internship for my postgraduate studies, I was working at a very strict environment (UN offices) regarding the dress code and appearance.
But they didnīt mind the hair, in terms of the length but of texture. They would accept loose hair that looks unkept and frizzy-curly. It had to be (besides updos) straight or wavy/curly but only the type of loose curls that it is obvious you spent an hour with a curling iron ... They also didn't accept all the colors (mine either, but since I was there just for a few months, they didn't say anything. Not that I had a super crazy color, it was a copperish lighr brown. The UN? That world wide organisation for people of all nationalities and backgrounds?
They dared put racist policy in actual writing and actually enforce it on the work floor and no one has started a **** storm over this?

If this is true I weep for humanity. If the UN can't even get it right the rest of us are doomed.

*off to google UN policies*

torrilin
March 13th, 2014, 07:56 AM
The article starts out Here’s my strongest argument for why long hair is totally fine: Long hair, for some women, is the EASIEST. It’s easiest to pull back into a professional-looking updo (French twist, bun, low neat ponytail), and it’s easiest to maintain in the morning without too much styling.

The author isn't against long hair. She's against wearing your hair loose past about shoulder length. Wear it up for work or don't grow it long. Honestly, most of her hair related advice is very LHC friendly. Ficcares and wear your hair up. Don't fuss with your hair in public, and have your hairstyle be one that is comfortable and doesn't require fussing.

And yes, no one pegs my hair as past waist, not even if they see how long my braid is. The average person reads an updo as short hair.

afu
March 13th, 2014, 08:22 AM
I work in optics and always wear my hair up in an unbraided bun. Most people never even notice my hair is long, especially as my hair is quite fine/thin so my buns are pretty compact. I personally think it is unprofessional to wear hair down if its long enough to put up due tho the clinical environment

MissBubble
March 13th, 2014, 09:33 AM
The UN? That world wide organisation for people of all nationalities and backgrounds?
They dared put racist policy in actual writing and actually enforce it on the work floor and no one has started a **** storm over this?

If this is true I weep for humanity. If the UN can't even get it right the rest of us are doomed.

*off to google UN policies*

They wouldn't accept any hair that looked like washed and then left down randomnly, unless you were lucky and had straight silky hair or nice shaped curls. The rest of us with the "misbehaving" textures, we had to wear it up or style it appropriately.
At least that was happening at the department where I was.

I have also worked at the parliament offices of my country, there were no official rules or dresscodes there but almost evert woman had hair APL and shorter. Except one lady at her 50's with an amazing classic that wore it down half of the times.

Now I work at an academic environment and I teach sometimes at the university. No rules, but I have chosen to wear my hair up because I find that I can be mistaken for a student or that the students wouldn't take me seriously enough if I am dressed and have my hair like them.

~Abi~
March 13th, 2014, 09:40 AM
In the profession I'm training for (commercial aviation/airline pilot) we're held to a pretty strict dress code and level of professionalism. Even in our college classes, we have to wear business casual compared to everyone else on campus. And it was business formal for when we visited one of the airlines. My hair was just past shoulder-length at the time, so all I could do with mine was straighten it and put it in a neat ponytail, but the president of our student club who was leading the trip had close to waist-length hair and left it down. Our professors later relayed to us that the airline recruiters were extremely impressed with how professionally dressed we were....so her hair must not have bothered them!

When I do go for an actual interview, I will probably put my hair up, but once on the job, I may put it in a braid. While leaving it down wouldn't per say be unprofessional in my opinion (especially if it was pulled back, like a half-up), I don't think it would be wise to leave WL hair loose in a cockpit.

chen bao jun
March 13th, 2014, 11:28 AM
Like everyone says, just wear it up, no biggie.
Just for the record, I am black and for about 10 years I wore wild frizzy hair and went to work and also served on prestigious boards where 'corporate' dressing was required. The trick is, you can do what you like when you like when you have skills. I have all kinds of credentials (graduate degree from an Ivy league university, proof that I studied at foreign universities), speak several unusual languages fluently and a bunch of other things. It's rather hard to find people with my qualifications and skills and for a long time now, I get no grief at all about how I look, because they need what I can do (and few others can). That's the position you want to be in by age 50 (and you won't get there by raising a ruckus and rule-breaking when you're younger--that is, at the age when you need to be putting time in and working on those skills to make yourself indispensable later).

Plus, I am always neat and tidy and agreeable and personable, so I can have frizzy hair if I want. I have got rid of it only because I got tired of it.

Valkyriejae
March 13th, 2014, 11:46 AM
I'm in teacher's college and whenever I'm doing teaching placements I wear my hair up - buns get more respect from the students, make me less likely to get mistaken for a student, and are less likely to distract the students (I wore my hair down once and had a heck of time getting them to focus on anything other than "it's so LONG!")

That said, someday when I'm older and clearly not a student (so, 40+) I might wear it down more. Who knows?

Also, there's a lady at my bank who is one of the managers, and has classic-length wavy blond hair that is always loose or in a half-up and it looks SO good. I'd say it's not causing her any major problems in the workplace, since she was a teller when I started banking there 14 years ago, and now is either a top manager or possibly the branch head...

Nightshade
March 13th, 2014, 12:46 PM
The trick is, you can do what you like when you like when you have skills.


I find this to be very true, too. I was unexpectedly pulled into a meeting that lasted an entire morning. In attendance were the company CEO, CFO, about 6 RVPs, the Dean of the college they were meeting with, and several department chairs (and some other people that weren't so high up on the food chain).

Here's me, in brown leggings, a green Shovava hoodie (https://www.etsy.com/transaction/95695876?ref=fb2_tnx_title), knee high heeled brown boots with buckles, copper makeup, and my hair in a messy Ficcare twist. In the land of Older White Dudes in Suits saying I stood out was an understatement.

But I rock at what I do, have a commanding presence, and frankly, you can get away with a lot when you know what you're doing. You get away with more when you're regarded as a "creative person" because they expect you to be a little strange :lol:

see_turtle
March 13th, 2014, 05:04 PM
I work in community mental health (with children) it's an about 95% female environment and there are actually quite a few women with "longer" hair mostly BSL-ish. I almost always wear my hair up but if it was down it wouldn't be a problem.

emilia1992
March 13th, 2014, 05:51 PM
I often wear my hair down where I work- it's a fairly casual environment (e.g. no suits required), and I think that actually, in such a workplace, not looking too formal helps people feel like one is more approachable. It definitely depends not only on the workplace, but on the person's role within it - but to give a shorter answer, long hair can certainly be professional; it just depends on the way the person decides to wear it.

SkyChild
March 13th, 2014, 06:07 PM
I'm one of the serving class, so my hair is usually in a pulled-through bun to keep it out of... (residents' food, drink, blood or body fluids)... my way.

Even when I worked for a big fancy corporation I was still only the coffee-girl so as long as my hair was neat and off my face, they didn't mind.

The CEO of said business actually has at least waist-length hair which she always wore down, but as Nightshade and others have said - she is SO good at her job that she could do anything and they'd turn a blind eye.

Alun
March 13th, 2014, 08:26 PM
I am a professional. I have a professional licence (registered patent agent). That's the only definition of professional that really counts. None of the legal requirements include hair length. IME, people who think that being professional means wearing nice clothes and shearing all their hair off are usually a bit short in the qualifications department, but hold down white collar jobs where the only thing keeping them from having to dig ditches for a living is their appearance.

OK, so that's a bit harsh, but basically true.

That isn't to say that my prospective employers, who are mainly law firms, really love guys with long hair. Welcome to Washington, DC, where "hair style" is a protected class in the DC Human Rights Act. AFAIK this is the only place in the US where I have a cause of action if I want to sue someone for not hiring me just because I have long hair.

I went to a job interview with a well-known law firm in DC where the interviewer asked me why I have long hair, and I was so thrown by it, that I couldn't think how to reply. There's at least a fair chance I could have sued them and won damages, as they didn't give me the job. I was half tempted, not so much for the money (although that's always useful) as to see the looks on their faces. But I didn't. Now, some time later, they are hiring again. At least if I decided to apply again I would have time to think about the question!

Beborani
March 13th, 2014, 08:38 PM
I was in a jury pool for a murder trial--actually post murder--it was already established it was murder--just the degree. Two men stood up to face the jury. One clean cut, shaven. nice suit, professional and another shabby suit, long hair in pony tail-guess who was the lawyer and who the defendant. So much for ' professional'.

truepeacenik
March 13th, 2014, 09:19 PM
The lawyer... Court appointed and can't get time or money together for a trim.
Like a law professor.

EdG
March 13th, 2014, 09:22 PM
I tell people that I'm an engineer, like Dilbert, but not very much like Dilbert. :rollin:
Ed