A day in San Francisco + average to long hair – something to reign it in = a bad hair day.
San Francisco is a wonderful city to live in, but the wind, oh the wind! To avoid looking like a wild woman, I’ve gotten into the habit of twisting my just-past-shoulder-length hair into a messy top knot anytime I know I’ll be outside for more than say, five minutes. It’s easy, it’s quick, and … it’s boring. I need an alternative.
I’m not so talented with the hairdryer—I can braid my hair and just about blow dry it straight, but that’s the extent of my styling skills—so I recently decided to try and mix things up with hair accessories.
Pretty As a Print
I like the idea of a headscarf, but have always feared that wearing one will make me look like an eighty-year-old Russian grandmother. Twenty minutes in front of a mirror at Saks, and I’m so over that fear. I’ve discovered that the key to looking more Jackie O and less Granny-o is to find a scarf with a funky print and/or bright, bold, or unusual colors. I love, love, love Pucci’s silk scarf in orange, yellow, bronze, gold, and white. “I could wear it as a neck scarf, a headscarf, and even a belt,” I rationalize with my reflection, but my budget-conscious half in the mirror insists that I drop it and move on to less expensive versions.
Luckily for me, less expensive funky print options abound. Vintage stores are a great scarf resource as are my local consignment stores. Stores like JCrew, Banana Republic, and Anthropologie all boast fun affordable scarf prints, as do most major department stores. If after checking my main street options, I find that I can’t release that image of me in a Pucci print, then I’ll do one last check at both eBay and Craigslist before heading back to Saks.
The great thing about headscarves is that they are a very flexible hair accessory so you can play around with different ways to tie them. The options may be limited, of course, depending on the size and shape of the scarf, but in general, there are three ways: tied at the back of the neck, underneath the chin, or wound around the neck. Tied under my chin with my large, white-framed sunglasses and a simple tan tank, that Pucci scarf would look amazing. Sigh …
Making the Band
This is certainly the summer of the headband. They’re everywhere from Walgreens to the Gap to Neiman Marcus. Anthropologie has some very pretty options in crinkled silk, open-knit, and embroidered cotton. Target has almost fifty different headband choices in a variety of widths, colors, prints, and patterns. There are stripes, polka dots, paisleys, and ginghams, some on fabric, some not. I am now the proud owner of a cute blue plastic headband with white polka dots, as well as a thin metal triple headband that makes me feel like a Spartan warrior’s wife. Neither band cost more than $20, proving my philosophy that the best things in life often come with small price tags (excepting the Pucci scarf of course!)
Even with all of the choices available in headbands, there are more options still. My friend Nannette turned me onto the homemade headband/headscarf hybrid. I’ve certainly found that when I have a basic headscarf tied behind my neck, the knot has to be tightened and the scarf readjusted periodically. The beauty of the hybrid is that you get the look of the headscarf with the security of the headband—no more tightening and adjusting.
They’re fairly easy to make. You cover an ordinary plastic headband with the fabric of your choice, securing it with glue and leaving a length of fabric dangling off either end. Depending on the type of fabric you’re using and also how fussy you are about raw edges and finished looks, you may need to use a needle and thread or some more glue to fix up those dangling ties.
Of course, if the idea of DIY makes your hair stand on end, you can easily buy the hybrid scarf/band at the standard go-to’s for accessories: Forever 21, Gap, Target, Anthropologie, as well as all major department stores.
With three new hair ornaments, my stylish side is happy, but my practical side is thoroughly unsatisfied. As cute as the headbands and hybrid are, I need a reserve for the days I can’t even be bothered—I need a hat.
Safari, surfer, sunbather, and socialite … most hats up for offer this season seem to fall into one of these categories. I tried on a taupe safari-style number and had to quickly rip it off before I saw myself. Crocodile wrestling is not on my summer agenda. The kowabunga look—yes this is a look—won’t work either, nor will the straw or floral print options, both of which would be right at home in a retro Frankie and Annette beach movie.
I quite like some of the sunbathing-style hats. Some are made with straw, others fabric, and they all have big, wide, floppy brims. One white straw hat in particular makes me want to head for Cancun or St. Lucia. Unfortunately, I’m not beach-bound, don’t plan to be anytime soon, and I’m not sure I can carry this off in a crowded city.
The socialite styles have a certain appeal. They come in a wide range of colors and many of them have exquisite detail achieved with beading, feathers, ribbons, or faux flowers. In particular, I like the cloche-shaped ones. Like the sun hats though, these hats are definitely occasion hats. If someone I knew was having an outdoor wedding, I’d probably use that as an excuse to buy one, but alas, no invitations.
A few days into my hat hunt, I popped into Anthropologie and there I found the hat that tops all hats. If I had to file it into one of my hat groups, it would belong with the sunbathing styles because of the floppy brim, but the brim is shorter, which makes it less conspicuous. And while the sunbathing hats are largely solid white, cream, or natural, this hat has an adorable floral print. It won’t go with everything of course, but it looks entirely appropriate on me when I’m in jeans or something else casual and solid-colored.
I cannot deny the fact that I’m still doing the messy top knot most of the time, but some days I’m jazzing it up with a pretty head band, camouflaging it with my Pucci headscarf(!), or hiding my hair altogether under my new city hat. I feel like I’m cheating and getting some serious hair style without having to actually style my hair.
Now, a day in San Francisco + average to long hair + my hair accessories = a happy hair day.
Related Story: At-Home Hair Color: Do You Dare?