June 13, 2008

Looking for inspiration in Rachel Bilson

Rachel Bilson is always, to me, a beacon of effortless style. In Lucky or Lanvin, she always looks youthful, pulled-together and just plain pretty.

Another reason I have this girl-crush is her hair. Remember that Friends episode in which Joey finds his identical hand twin? Well, if there were identical hair twins, Rachel Bilson and I would be it. Them. Whatever.

My hair is my favorite feature. Thick, chestnut brown, never highlighted, and 100% healthy 90% of the time. The one hair sin I commit is taking too long between cuts, but considering I got my first split end at 19, I think I do OK. Rachel Bilson, too, is a brunette with shiny, thick hair and a similar face shape to mine. She is tinier of frame - blame the years of sailing and volleyball for muscular shoulders and height - but from the neck up, we're more similar. Granted her hair almost always looks ten times better than mine, but Summer Roberts can do no wrong.

Anyway, as I am leaving for Europe in 10 days and have summer ahead, my hair needs a cut. I love the comforting weight of my hair in fall and winter, but in summer, it starts to feel like a wool blanket. So I've been perusing In Style, Glamour, Elle and Vogue for ideas. Here's what I've learned so far... In Style: great for ideas, but most are too formal. Glamour: not enough close-up pictures of hair. Elle: too fashion-forward. Vogue: ditto, times ten.

So taking inspiration from Miz Bilson, I am scouring the interwebs for pictures of her haircuts to see what I might try this time. My criteria include: side parts only (can't pull off center parts like she does), no shorter than the collarbone, and no blunt-cut bangs (too much commitment). Here are some of the better ideas I found:

Banged and pin-straight
Pros: high angles are versatile, side part can be changed and I love straight.
Cons: those bangs could pouf in humidity, and I wonder if they're dated at this point.

Layered and wavy
Pros: volume and sex appeal like whoa
Cons: time with a curling iron? Hmm...

Smooth waves and nouveau feathers
Pros: chic, new, flattering, has great motion
Cons: could be tough to blow-dry, and this does have a center part, though that could be altered I suppose.

Often I feel like I should go for a bigger change in my hair. But the last time I ventured too far away from medium/long and angled/one length was in 8th grade. I went to my mother's "beauty parlor," and walked out with a chin-length curled-under bob, straight, high bangs, and a side part with major height in the front. Add turquoise glasses and a turtleneck... and you could see why that was my awkward phase. And why I haven't taken much of a hair plunge since.

But I have always heard from stylish women, magazines, books, stylists and celebrities with style that you should find what works for you, and stick with it.

Just like halter tops, Converse and cropped pants, for some reason, short hair was not in the cards for me. But a few things that have worked in the past that I've stuck with are violet eyeliner, bootcut jeans, fitted polos, pointy-toe shoes, car coats, and simple, long haircuts.

In stalking Rachel Bilson, I have realized that she never strays far from familiar, trustworthy products and pieces. Check out the pictures below. Her hair always includes some sort of angle or layer, or both, and is always long and some shade of medium to dark brown. And her face is done with three consistent ideas: navy liner to make her brown eyes pop, pink cheeks, and superlong lashes. Her lips never compete with the rest of her face, and she always looks fresh and current.

No one can argue the presence of prettiness, consistency and signature style here. Rachel knows her best features (eyes, hair, smile, great skin), and doesn't waste time experimenting when she knows this is how she looks best. This is a comfort to me in my reticence to make a big change with my hair, because while I don't think I've yet found my signature style, this chick definitely has. I feel most confident, beautiful and carefree with long, soft hair, so why make a big fuss to change it drastically?

Have you made a big change in your appearance lately? How did it feel? Do you think you have found your Old Faithful hair or makeup routine?

Cheers to not fixin' what ain't broke,


Europafox said...

Like your commentary on US magazines - you'll have to compare with Euro magazines when you head over here - in descending order of being way way way too fashion forward (or possibly downright odd in the case of Italian Vogue) - Italian Vogue, French Vogue, followed by UK - which can sometimes be fabulous and other times a slave to edginess and 'British eccentricity' - see what you think! BTW - think the 'smooth waves' look is the best!

Hayley said...

Yes, I can't wait to pick up the Vogues in France and the UK. Maybe I can learn from French Vogue how to say "How much does this purse cost?"

Thanks for the hair op! That's my favorite too!

Europafox said...

La porte monnaie - c'est combien?

Hayley said...