From Long Hair to the Clothes You Wear
Long hair and style run a similar path for men.
While it’s widely accepted your hair is part of your style, never has it been so integral as when you let the long locks ride. Samurais, vikings, artists and rock stars; apart from looking badass, the vibes they exude stem from their flow.
We all know long hair is a journey, and you can’t fake it. You can’t fake the length or the attitude, and you certainly can’t fake the time it takes. The same thing can be said for style.
What you may not have realized is, while growing your hair out, you have also developed the very characteristics of a man with style. Both journeys require dedication, curiosity and confidence, which illustrate the parallels between the two.
Long Hair and Style—for Men in Particular—Don’t Happen Overnight
The journey to long hair is arduous, filled with discomfort and enough awkward looks to put shame to your high school yearbook. Substitute “long hair” with “style” and the description still stands.
My personal style adventure started in college, when the bubble of my teen years popped and I realized the harsh reality that opportunities often teeter on first impressions. Whether we want to admit it or not, our appearance is the first form of communication.
Do you need to nail your ideal style first time around? Absolutely not. In fact, I would argue that it would be more detrimental to the growth of your style if you did.
If you’re like me, the first time you tried tying your hair up could have been the opener of a comedy skit. These mistakes, however, are vital to developing both your long hair and your style.
“Confidence is your best accessory, and when it comes to growing your hair out, the same holds true.”
It’s not just about learning to use a hair tie, or a new color combination. The most valuable experience is learning how to take failures in stride, laugh at yourself, and feel comfortable in your own skin.
These experiences happen over time, but therein lies the value. Through trial and error you develop the confidence required to launch yourself over the hurdle of discomfort that many men face when it comes to long hair and style.
This isn’t calculus, there are no objectively wrong answers. Your willingness to try will guide your decisions and your confidence will be your safety net.
To prove my point, throw on a black leather jacket and I guarantee you will subconsciously start walking with more swagger. James Dean can rock a simple t-shirt and jeans, but carries himself in a manner where guys idolize him and fathers pray he doesn’t show up to dinner with their daughter.
The reason for this is that style starts as an internal spark. Confidence is your best accessory, and when it comes to growing your hair out, the same holds true.
My Hair Changed My Style for the Better
My decision to grow my hair out came as a personal challenge. As a former bartender, I was getting haircuts every two weeks, and my facial hair was just long enough to redden the cheeks of those who employed the awkward European kiss greetings.
My grooming schedule was strict and my fashion followed suit, lacking the organic growth, risk taking and nonchalant vibe that would be essential to my true style.
I grew bored with the 9-5 hairdo that I had consistently rocked for years, and for the first time in my life I put down the razor and deleted my barber’s number.
Growing my hair out became my main focus, but the distraction from what I was going to wear was exactly what I needed for my style to evolve. This hair journey gave me the confidence to dress in a manner that was more suited to me. Here is where I began to see the transition from being simply well dressed…to having style (beat drops).
I’ve never really been a serious guy, but when you’re thrust into an uncomfortable situation such as continuous change, it’s hard not to reach for the comfort of routine. Yes, you are going to have bad hair days, and yes some of your stylistic experiments are going to be a flop.
That said, when you were riding your bike as a kid, falling off in the mud was sometimes just as fun. Embrace the change, enjoy the ride and realize that the much-dreaded awkward stage (both in hair and style) is a breeze to get through when you accept that it’s a necessary step in building a strong foundation.
This Journey Doesn’t Have to be Uphill: Ride the Slide, Flair the Jumps and Have Fun!
Whenever I’m approached for advice on long hair and style for men, first and foremost I always urge guys to have fun in anything they do.
You have to go through that mullet looking catastrophe, and more often than not you have to get dressed for the day. These are facts. Accept the unavoidable and find a way to enjoy whatever it is you’re doing.
We all have dentist appointments to sit through, baby showers to attend, dinner with the in-laws or taxes to file. My point is, there are plenty of things in life that can quickly drain your fun meter. Don’t let the journey of becoming a stylish longhair be one of them.
While you can certainly be serious about style as a hobby, you shouldn’t get hung up on those off-days where your hair falls flat and your tie just won’t sit right. We all have them, but it’s how you handle them that will truly set you apart.
“I implore you to take the blinders off and step outside your comfort zone“
As for your hair, the beauty of growing it out is the creative freedom. If you weren’t loving your style today, tomorrow you can change up your highball, twist up a braid, let it down, add some texture, straighten it, or side part it.
While it’s common to approach both long hair and style cautiously, I implore you to take the blinders off and step outside your comfort zone. The only limitation is your own willingness to try something new.
The Devil is in the Details: People Notice the Little Things
Rarely in life do we have the luxury of being our own limitation. You decide when to cut your hair, and which clothes to wear today. That means the only thing holding you back from taking those risks is you. It wasn’t until I realized this that I began to gain the confidence required to experiment stylistically and let my inner viking shine.
I understand not everyone has the pleasure of aesthetic freedom. Some guys are restricted to a uniform, while others are in a suit five days a week. However, the small details in an outfit carry more weight than you may think.
Next time you’re sitting on the train, keep track of where your eyes wander. Whether you notice those playful socks, the golden cuff links, or the patch someone added to their bag, these are all conscious choices people have made.
Can you extrapolate the full extent of someone’s personality from the watch on their wrist? Not at all! But you can see they have the confidence to take something and make it their own.
I’ve always looked for opportunities to non-verbally communicate this, which is why I was impressed when I got the chance to try out Hair Ties for Guys. My hair accessory drawer used to look like a monochromatic snake den; so adding some personality to it was uncharted territory.
Having long hair is a fun experience, so why not exaggerate that with the accessories you use? Be the one others visually explore on the train, and have a conversation without saying a word.
Learn From the Journey: Long Hair and Style Walk Hand in Hand
Often times we assume style is a destination, but much like growing out your hair, it’s a journey. Our tastes evolve, our influences shift and the styles we choose have the potential to change over time.
The driving force behind the choices you make will always stem from your confidence, your personality and your willingness to take risks.
Do you have what it takes to become the next GQ feature? The fact you’re on the road to becoming a longhair is already a resounding “Yes!” By now you should realize the patience, commitment and acceptance of discomfort while growing your hair are the exact traits you need to be a stylish man.
Let your clothes speak to your maturity, your fun loving side, the job you want or the life you desire; but most importantly, stand behind your decision and have fun with it.
Joe is a 26 year old creative content producer who balances style with exploring the outdoors in the Pacific Northwest. He works as a photographer, creative writer and stylist and enjoys the challenge of collaborating with others to help make their visions come to life.
Look for his next project with Value Village where he will be creating a video guide to thrifting!
Do your locks complement your style? Or vica-versa? Got any questions for Joe?
There’s a comment section below that’s perfect for those conversations.