The Sartorial Considerations You Have to Make After a Big Hair Change

What do you mean I can't wear three prints and four colors anymore?

Product, Sleeve, Collar, Pattern, Textile, White, Style, Fashion, Neck, Costume design,
(Image credit: Getty, design by Betsy Farrell)

As an appendix to the Should-You-Make-a-Really-Big-Hair-Change Checklist™ (spoiler: you should if you can be a grown-ass woman about it), here is the bit where we discuss all the different and significant ways a dramatic dye or scissor job can affect your wardrobe. But before we dive in, a caveat: Know that this is the one and only aspect of The Big Hair Change in which winging it won't necessarily result in disaster and/or enough tears to send a 2016 Dodge Ram 3500 hydroplaning. You can get it wrong—because, TBH, you've probably been getting it wrong before (but less and less wrong), so a BHC just keeps you (sartorially) on your toes. Like sudoku!

How have your proportions changed?

Joan Juliet Buck wrote that "when you cut your hair, you lose a nose and gain a neck," both great things. But you could also gain a pair of ears or lose your built-in chest minimizers, both outwardly not-so-great things. If you're reading this, it's too late anyway, so Fix Your Life with Clothes: The Chelsea Peng Story. Ears now too perpendicular to your head? Embrace the sticky-outty-ness and put statement earrings on them! Boobs suddenly too visible? Get thee a better bra. And don't listen to them when they say "Long hair for tall girls, short for short girls." Have you SEEN Shrimps designer Hannah Weiland? Void.

What about your coloring?

Before I had green hair, the world was my oyster. Now, oftentimes, with my low-rent Gucci method of dressing, it is simply Too Much, something this diehard maximalist would have never thought possible. Even if a BHC to you is getting some blonde-ish balayage, this could still change how the light hits your face, therefore changing what shades work with your complexion and eye color. Like beauty editor Lauren Valenti, who made the rounds this Fashion Week in a white bodysuit and jeans to complement her peach sorbet curls, I've found that I have to resort to much simpler pieces (A black T-shirt and GRLFRND Helenas? Moi?)—less Leandra Medine on acid, more Phoebe Philo (on a slightly lower dose of acid).

Vibe check?

Though you could call my temperament saturnine, nobody could ever accuse my *aesthetic* of being too goth—until now. The jet-beaded, strong-shouldered Saint Laurent-ish dress I'd planned to wear on my birthday? Now a bit too Elvira. Depending on the clothes you pair with them, a blunt bob could be too severe, and an orange dye job too futuristic-Fifth Element. But the fix? Think opposites—and accessories, as always. With modish white boots and perhaps a Pat MacGrath-ian glitter lip, for example, my vintage birthday outfit goes from sepulcher to Marc Jacobs.

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Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at Marie Claire. She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.