Ok yes fine, I got a haircut: on ditching your signature style

By on Mar 4th



After I off-handedly changed my Gravatar over the weekend, several Offbeat Empire commenters asked if and why I cut off the pink-tips off my hair recently. As one commenter said, "HAVE YOU CUT THE PINK OFF YOUR HAIR!!!?!?!?!?!?????? What!? When!? Why!?"

These days, I mostly keep my personal life private, but heck: I guess it's sort of a big deal to cut off the pink tips that have defined my head for the last seven years, so fine… I'll talk about it.

I went pink in 2006, when I was working hard to establish a personal brand around being an author and media commentator. It felt important to prioritize being easily recognizable. Seven years later, my authority in my industry is well-established. The Offbeat Empire business brand is completely separate from me as a person — to the point where I'm genuinely baffled that any offbeat readers noticed. Not only is there no need for me to be any sort of recognizable personal brand, but I actually get a little uncomfortable when I get spotted out 'n' about. Priorities have shifted, and that's cool.

Last year my geighbor (who works in the fashion industry) gave me a pivotal piece of advice when he told me, "With a personality as loud as yours, loud hair is redundant." I definitely feel less urgency to prove myself in terms of how I look. I mean, personal style is still a form of expression that I really enjoy (and will likely always be a priority for me), but I'm happy to take a little break from having hair that strangers on the street want to talk to me about. I can let my loud-mouth and my career do the talking for me — the pink hair cherry on top may indeed be redundant. I cut it off in part to test if that feels true.

(Also, have you ever noticed how many wedding bloggers have pink hair? If the pink was once a personal brand differentiator, it isn't any more.)

We ran a post a while back about the concept of age-appropriate style, and I don't think I'd ever say that the pink hair is age inappropriate. Hells, the bright rainbow color dyes stick the best to grey hair — have you fucking seen Helen Mirren recently?! For me, getting rid of the pink is less about aging and more about my priorities shifting. For some people, age can have an impact on priorities… but I think if I were in the process of establishing a personal brand today, I would probably go for something equally as bold as the pink hair.

All that said, I did have a sad moment when my family and I crossed paths with this adorable hippie/punk couple on the sidewalk a couple weeks ago, and I wanted to be like YEAH FIST BUMP YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME, and I had this moment of stepping outside myself and thinking, "we're just the boring brown-haired middle class white couple in our late-30s pushing a toddler in a stroller." ACK! Easily-recognizable subcultural identifier, I miss you!

hair historyMy hair was pink-tipped for the longest it's been anything ever — over the years it's been short, long, brown, blond, dreaded, extension-ed, rainbow colored, red, blue, purple, etc. x 500 bajillion. When I cut off the dreads that I had from '99 – '01, I would go out to parties and have people not recognize me. It was half disappointing (no one saw ME, they only saw the hair!), and half exhilarating (clean slate, bitches!). As I did back in 2001, I may grow my hair right back out (and may end up with pink tips again, for all I know), but stagnation freaks me out, so it was definitely time for a shift.

Let's hear from other Homies who've ditched their signature styles — did it mess with your sense of self? Did you regret it? Was it exhilarating?