Gray Hair: An Open Thread

Gray Hair Care: An Open Thread | CorporetteWe’ve talked about gray hair before (as well as aging gracefully in general), but not in a long while, so I thought we’d revisit — ladies, do you dye your hair?  (One friend told me she went blonder to help hide the grays!)  Do you rock the gray — and if so, do you care for it with special products?  I’ve noticed Amazon has a ton of products to brighten gray hair and keep the yellow out, which I’ve been told is important.

For my $.02, I haven’t ever dyed my hair (not counting some experiments as a teenager with “wash out red dye” (it was a thing) and, briefly in college, experimenting with blue hair dye), but I’m starting to wonder whether I should!  I first started seeing gray hair at age 26 (thank you, bar exam!) and it’s definitely growing.  If I had darker hair I would LOVE to rock the salt and pepper look — one of my old editors had hair like that, and I always thought it was so chic and cool.  If I were to go all gray I would equally love to rock the silver hair look — one of the partners I used to work for had a super stylish silver bob.  (I even like the silver streak look, like Stacy London!) But now, where it’s brown hair mixed with about 1-2% gray hairs throughout… I’m less of a fan, and have been trying to make an effort to tweeze about 5 silver strands each night.  (Which apparently is the worst thing to do, whoops!) I suspect I’ll hold off dyeing it until the percentage of gray grows to 5-10%, but that’s me.

(And just in case this is in question: I don’t think there’s anything professional or unprofessional about gray hair — I think it’s totally a matter of personal choice.  In my situation I have noticed that my gray hair tends to be a different consistency than the rest of my hair, which sometimes requires extra attention to smoothing so I don’t get a frizzy, frazzled look — the halo of gray! — but maybe that’s me.)

So let’s hear it ladies — do you have gray hair(s)? How do you feel about them? How do you care (or cover) them? 

Further reading:

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Are Heels a Must for Interviews?

Can You Interview in Flats? | CorporetteWhen, if ever, must you wear heels?  Must you wear heels for interviews — or can you interview in flats? Must you wear heels for law firm jobs? Reader L wonders:

I’m starting law school in August, and I’ve heard that heels (3-4″) are a MUST for interviewing and working at a law firm. However, I am a 6′ tall female. I never wear heels, since when I do, I tend to tower over everyone. Would it be appropriate to wear a nice pair of flats in my case?

Great question! We’ve talked about how to build a stylish, professional wardrobe with flats, how to wear heels (if you’re used to flats), and whether flats are professional enough for court.  As far as shoe questions go, this is important, so even though we’ve talked about it a lot, I want to stress it again: you don’t need to wear heels to look professional.  There are a number of reasons why you wouldn’t want to wear heels — from feeling too tall (although hey, I say rock it out if you have the height!), to having foot injuries or issues, to just I-don’t-wanna-itis. A few things that I would note about wearing flats for big events like interviews:

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Your Personal Style: What Just Isn’t “You”?

Your personal style is made up of many preferences and habits — your work style vs. your off-the-clock style, how conservative or edgy your wardrobe is, the accessories you choose to complement your look, your opinions on what’s office-friendly and what isn’t, and the styles/colors/trends that you’ve decided you just don’t wear, ever.

Many moons ago, I had a purple t-shirt with a teensy flower stuck on it, right at the base of the jewel neck. I was in college — and wearing primarily black — and one of my new best friends (ah, freshman year) took one look at me in the shirt and said, “WHAT ARE YOU WEARING? YOU DON’T WEAR FLOWERS!” At the time, the comment really irked me — I hated that it was such a blanket statement, and I hated feeling pigeon-holed. Like I was giving up my right to wear flowers simply because I primarily wore something else all the time.

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Professional Image, Outfit “Compliments,” and Confidence at Any Size

Self-Confidence | CorporetteWhen you get an unexpected comment on an outfit, does it make you question bigger things, like your judgment? Do plus-sized women need to be particularly wary of such office outfit comments? We’ve talked about when you can tell interns their outfits are inappropriate, and how to react when your male boss tells you you “dress too well,” but we haven’t really talked about a casual comment from a friendly coworker. A big welcome back to today’s guest poster, my old friend Kathryn Rubino, who’s written previously about the perfect plus-sized blazer and DIY options for gaping blouses. – Kat. (And I’m sure she looked FABULOUS in the blouse she’s talking about.)

“What a great top — I mean, I could never wear it, but it looks great on you!”

I heard those words and my blood ran cold, and I stuck a smile on my face and mumbled my thanks. Was this a genuine compliment or was I the victim of workplace shade?  Disturbing though it may be, most professional women have dealt with this sort of thing (Kat has even written about the back-handed compliment phenomenon before). But it is such a ubiquitous problem that for my guest post I wanted to discuss that moment that has you questioning every fashion decision you’ve ever made.

First, a little background  this is a workplace where jeans are appropriate on more than just Fridays. The general guidance is that you shouldn’t look “sloppy” but there is quite a range that is considered perfectly acceptable office wear.

Second, I felt great in the outfit. You know how some looks just put a little bounce in your step? That was this outfit. Yes, the shirt was a bold pattern (shades of taupe mixed with a bright yellow and pink), but I had it paired with a dark rinse jean, a reliable black stretch blazer, and nude wedges. So there wasn’t a lot of the pattern showing, just enough to make me feel like spring had really sprung after this interminable winter.

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Are Messenger Bags Unprofessional?

messenger bags unprofessionalMessenger bags: unprofessional, or just fine for the office? Reader H wonders:

Hello! I love Corporette, and had a question about messenger bags. I read through some of the blog’s archives re: work bags, and found plenty of negative comments about carrying messenger bags to work. I always wore them in school, and recently impulse-bought a men’s messenger bag on sale (this one to be specific), because it was so gorgeous in the store. Going through the comments made me wonder — would this be appropriate to bring to the office and wear to a meeting? The leather is just such great quality, and I love the simple, understated lines. For the record, very, very new at NYC BigLaw, and I only wear these sorts of bags on one shoulder, not across the body.

Interesting question, Reader H! (Pictured: Bleecker Commuter in Leather, $598 at Coach.) We’ve talked about backpacks for commuting (including walking to work), women’s briefcases, and interview totes, and for Coffee Breaks I’ve often suggested briefcases primarily marketed to men, but I’ve never thought about the messenger bag question — so I’m curious to hear what the readers say.

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Summer Associate Style: What to Wear For Your Internship

Summer Associate Series: What to Wear For Your Internship | CorporetteWhat should you wear for your internship or summer associateship?  Welcome to the first installment of our Summer Associate Series! Name aside, we hope this series will be helpful to ANY intern, whether you’re a law student or another woman interning in a conservative office for the summer. First up in our series: WHAT TO WEAR? How can you build your wardrobe without going bust?  What’s the best way to look professional on a budget?

Finally, you may want to check out some of our guides, which are updated regularly (unlike posts) –

Finally, that’s a lot to unpack, but you don’t have to worry about EVERYTHING: there is such a thing as overthinking what’s professional, like the person who wondered whether a water bottle could be unprofessional. Oh yes, and you may want to check out our guide to how to have a great first day on the job.

Readers, what advice would you give summer associates and other interns on what to wear, what not to wear? Readers who ARE interns or summer associates, what are the biggest areas of confusion for you? (Any posts from above that we should revisit more in depth, or give a more current take on?)
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