While walking down the hall of my office recently, I was inspired by one of my female co-workers, who had adorned her simple yet sleek and chic ponytail with an adorably fashionable tortoiseshell hair accessory. I was reminded of the fact that accessories play a huge role in our wardrobes, and can not only dress up an outfit, but can completely change the look or style of your ensemble. Plus, accessories can be found for your hair as well, and when paired with a healthy hairstyle, can help build a first-rate professional image.
Hair can be a frustrating thing in relation to your dress code. Most HR experts would suggest that you should attempt to keep it clean, at an appropriate length, color and style for a professional and polished look. However, many people would like to keep their individuality, ethnic style and personal flair, regardless of whether it may or may not be suited for the office.
I have a ton of issues with my hair, and had I the expendable cash to have it blow-dried every morning—smooth, sleek and perfect—I would do it. It’s a nice way of presenting yourself, and always looks polished and professional on me. Between the time commitment and the cost, it’s just not possible. I have to resort to other means of taming the wild and thick mane of hair I have on my head.
So, here are a few suggestions of both the hair accessories and products that can help make you stand out and look great.
Hair Accessories: While Hillary Clinton has been seen bringing back the “scrunchie” lately, I really don’t believe that it will be making a comeback. However, a small, understated hair accessory can be a nice way to play up your individual style, neatly manage your hair, and remain within your corporate dress code.
While I’m not saying you should break out a Royal Wedding hat or fascinator at the office, there are lots of perfect ways to do something a little unusual and special to dress up your hair in a workplace-appropriate manner.
Just remember those big flamboyant looks such as flowery headbands and sequined hair clips are likely not going to fly. They are definitely pretty party wear, but usually just too ostentatious, flashy and distracting for the office environment. While you may love your job, coming to work each day is not a special event, so to play it safe, keep it small and smart.
France Luxe Skinny Headband: While many of the hair accessories I see out there may be considered too big or “bling-y” for the office (remember this is work, not a holiday soiree!), this simple and stylish headband could be used to pull unruly hair out of your face, complement a beautifully twisted chignon, or add a little interest to a lackluster outfit. Another nice thing about this headband is that is comes in a variety of color ways, including my favorites the “Tokyo Tort” and “Onyx” styles. One can also find similar styles at a less expensive price at your local drug store in the hair care aisle. The Goody brand carries a ton of fab styles for creating work-ready hair.
Camila Paris Hair Accessory: I believe tortoiseshell is a simple and classic way to integrate a hair accessory into your world. This color combo is simple enough to match with almost anything you may have in your closet, but also offers a little personality , as does this sweet heart-shaped hair clip. It may appear a little on the young side, but when paired with a sleek black suit or well-fitted dress, this could really complement a more professional looking outfit with a bit of whimsy that totally works in the office.
Ardent Designs Swirls of Swarovski Crystal Hair Clips: I love the small size of these petite little hair clips, as well as the pop of color—a nice bright orange paired with copper—that will look great with other rich fall tones like brown and camel. These hair clips can be used in an updo or simply to pull hair away from your face. They add just the right amount of sparkle and color without being overwhelming.
Hair Products: I took a stab at crowdsourcing on Facebook, and asked my fellow professional women what kinds of products they love for getting their hair looking its best for work. Here are just a few of the great suggestions I found:
My friend Vanessa recommends KMS Moist Repair Revival Creme.
She claims that “this stuff is amazing for processed hair or colored, and it tames, is lightweight and smells amazing.”
My friend Carrie recommends Tigi’s S-Factor’s Smoothing Lusterizer.
She says: “A little goes a long way and it just seems to do the trick for me. Also, it smells like fruit roll-ups… so it’s got that going for it as well!”
She also recommends the Kenra color-safe shampoo/conditioner for color-treated hair.
My friend Colleen recommends Argan Oil, which is natural oil grown organically in Morocco, rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids. You can use this product for your fall and winter dry skin, as it will help hydrate and nourish, and also as a daily moisturizer, and for your hair, for treating spilt ends.
And finally, I recommend CHI Silk Infusion.
CHI Transformation System Silk Infusion helps me tame just recently washed hair, making those fly-aways history, giving me shiny, smooth and incredibly fresh-smelling hair. It’s actually the scent that sold me, after having my hair stylist use it on me over and over again during my visits to the salon. Now every time I use it, it tames my thick wavy hair, giving it a beautiful shine, but also makes me feel like I’ve come right from the salon, with its fresh and calming scent.
Hope these tips help you with your hair, and don’t forget, do not leave the house with wet hair this winter, and throw on a hat to and from the office. While the old myth of wearing a hat to prevent heat loss seems to have been debunked, wearing a hat is a stylish way to dress up your winter wear!
Emily Alexandria Burns is a State University of New York Fashion Institute of Technology graduate and started her career in New York City working for companies including Giorgio Armani Le Collezioni, Christian Dior and Jones Apparel Group. She is now e-marketing communications specialist for Freed Maxick & Battaglia CPAs in Buffalo, N.Y., and recently named the Association for Accounting Marketing's 2011 "Rookie of the Year." Follow her on Twitter @FreedMaxickPR or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.