22 Jun 2012

Age Versus Long Hair: How Long Can We Grow?

linda rodin wears grey hair beautifully, vicki archer

Recently I have been pondering the question of age versus long hair.

Not intentionally… more because I found myself with hair longer than normal. Not because I was growing it… or trying out a new style… but because time got away and I never made it to the hairdresser. I am not talking Rapunzel here… although it was a lot longer than normal… I think I am a bit ‘eccentric’ when it comes to hair…my hair must be some kind of security blanket or perhaps I had a trauma with a short hair cut when I was young… anyway the truth is I don’t ever wear short, short hair… but usually just above the shoulder line. Lately my hair had grown well below and for me, this felt like ‘long hair’… One day I liked it…and the next day when I looked in the mirror… all I could see was the ‘wicked witch’… Once that unattractive image started buzzing around in my head…time stood still until I made an appointment for a cut. I cut it… and… a good bit off… My hairdresser, who has known me for some time, asked if I were sure (he likes it longer)… I mentioned my ‘wicked witch’ and ‘dancing around a cauldron’ images… he promptly found the scissors and an immediate chop followed… Who was he to argue.

The inevitable happened. (When will we girls ever learn to be happy with what we have?) I don’t like my hair this short now… and prefer the extra few inches to play with. We women are never content… It is certainly not the end of the world and this is only a little frivolous chat for a Wednesday but it has made me reflect on the question of ageing and longer hair. Traditionally as women grew older, their hair became shorter… I think this has changed and I believe today we can have our hair as we like it and as it makes us feel comfortable. Obviously the style must flatter and longer hair needs to be well cut, groomed and in top condition. But I believe those are the parameters to long hair… not age.

Coincidentally as I was having a catch up with friends yesterday, one of the women, with great personality and style, announced that she was off to the hairdresser to cut her hair off. This woman, she was in her 50’s, had very pretty silvery hair and it was long… but it worked, it suited her and she looked beautiful. I asked her reasons… explaining that I had just done the same thing and wasn’t sure that I liked my shorter hair. She said it was because so many of her girlfriends had told her to ‘ditch’ the long locks… She went off to the hairdresser, to please her girlfriends. I do believe that this was the only reason because to me, she seemed entirely secure and confident with the length of her hair. I can’t help but feel that she will be unhappy with the result.

I think I am going to take the reverse approach to ageing when it comes to my hair. I am going to wear it longer… it won’t be rivalling Lady Godiva… but it won’t be short either. When I am a doddery ancient old thing I will opt for a French roll or a low slung chignon…. My impression is that longer hair these days is more youthful… softer and feminine. The previous stipulations of middle age no longer exist and in truth, what is middle age? Women are intellectually and physically more active than ever… Professionally, many women are achieving more in their middle decades than they ever did before… How we wear our hair has only one rule… and that is, no rule… Hair… the length of it, the style of it, is an individual decision not a commandment.

Short hair… or long hair… Are you cutting or growing? xv

image, linda rodin

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Heather in Arles

Well, of course I am psycho about my hair, enough to cut it myself rather than risk going to an unknown salon (yes, after a horrible incident in Paris) and know that it is an important part of identity. When I was acting, it was very long and curly as was right for the Shakespearean look I was going for. When I moved to France, I purposefully cut it short to leave that very identifying aspect behind to turn towards new adventures. Now, I just want it to please me and find that shoulder length and just below is what works–especially as I often wear my hair up or back and I am not even a doddery old thing! But I agree whole-heartedly that especially the condition is essential. My curls have turned to utter frizz in my 40s, the texture has changed and the whites are like wire. THAT is more ageing to me than anything else!

PS. I was lucky enough to know one of the above ladies in NYC and what is interesting is that she always dressed in the same manner and has simply stayed true to it.


For frizz I use Bumble+bumble “defrizz” – tiny coin size amount. Then I add Philip Kingsley “Elasticizer” – I use a very small amount as a leave in (not as a pre-shampoo conditioner as directed) It makes my over-40 curls bouncy and shiny. HTH

Heather in Arles

Thank you!! My Sister is coming from the States so I will see if she will at least bring me the B&B, the Philip Kingsley I might be able to get in France, will check it out!

Meaghan Smith

Vicki it’s such a coincidence that you write about this today. I have been pondering the very same thing. My hair has crept a little longer than I normally wear it – for the same reasons as you – and I keep analysing in the mirror, whether I think it looks ok or whether I need to chop it off. My thoughts (& a photo I saw today of Elle MacPherson in tight leather pants) prompted me to write something about this very issue on my Facebook page – asking, Are there certain things, at a particular age, that we should or shouldn’t wear or a particular hair length we should or shouldn’t have. As a personal stylist I get asked regularly “Can I wear that? Or am I too old for it” My answer is always, if you love it, and it’s flattering, it compliments your image and you feel great in it – then go for it.


I have read Advanced Style, I love seeing these women staying true to their own style regardless of age.

It’s funny about the hair, I had mine super short and have been steadily growing it for a couple of years…not sure what to do with it now…haha


My hair has suddenly taken off and is now way past my shoulders.
I worry that I look like a dotty old woman but I can wear it up and tidy at work and then come home and let it down and be a kid again in the privacy of my home.

But in Brittany short hair was the norm for ladies of my age and I was considered eccentric and ‘English’ for my flowing locks.

I think we should suit ourselves and ignore fashion/trends/critics


Lyn web

Totally agree with u fed up with these idiotic rules that tell us we can’t grow our hair or wear what we like because we r a certain age I say do as u damn well please and tell the so called fashion and hair police to go and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine

Sarah B

I don’t think age matters, it’s what we are comfortable with. I have always had long hair and think I always will. I’m sure my friends find it boring that I never change it much, but I don’t care, it’s how I feel like me :)


I am a man and I like women like you, who always have long hair. I can’t understand women that think a hair whose length or color never change is boring. A dyed hair whose color never change is boring for me, but I like women who always have their hair long and never dye their hair.

Veronique Savoye

Great post Vicki, and a good question. For me, the answer has always been obvious: Throughout my 20s and 30s, I have always favored short cuts “à la Jean Seberg.” My hair is too thick to grow very long. Lately, though, I have been going the other way and started growing a short bob about a year ago. I like it. Still, this is keeping it all pretty short, compared to what you are describing! “Whatever feels comfortable and whatever is easier to maintain,” would be my answer to your question. I don’t recall ever getting a haircut or new hairstyle to please my girlfriends, though :-) – Amitiés de Paris. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Something gorgeous

I agree, longer is more youthful. My hair is very thick and curly and I detest it very short because it looks as if I have had perm that should be died purple. The challenge for me is always to keep it thinned enough so that I can have a bit of length . Otherwise it looks very wild! I will do anything to keep a little length. To me longer hair is softer and more feminine. X

Judy Sederof

Hi Vicki,

Thanks for bringing this up , I have toyed with the idea of long grey hair for a while and am constantly questioning whether to cut it all off, it is more feminine,especially when I wear it up.I think I would regret it if I chopped it off. Thanks for the encouragement to leave it as it is.


You are a mind reader. I have fine thin blonde hair and as much as I might long for that low chignon at the nape of my neck or the french twist I sported on my wedding day (25 years ago)- I think a crisp crop or a beautifully cut bob works best for me now. I do admire other women with long locks….and those that are brave enough to go bold and go bald.
I find I always get comments on my hair after a really good cut. It is also easy to wash and wear.

The Enchanted Home

A very good post and funny because I was having a conversastion the other day with a friend of mine who is also in her 50’s and has fairly long hair, she said she gets a lot of flack from her mom to her friends about whens she cutting her hair and that it doesn’t look “right” anymore but she said with pure confidence that it makes her feel great and theres no way shes parting with it. So I think that sums it up….if it makes you feel good, then you owe nothing to anyone but yourself. I say keep the long hair, enjoy it, fling it around, play with it and be thankful you even have the gift of being able to wear long hair………I am 40 something and my hair is pretty long and I have no intention of changing it and thats final! Good post Vicki.

A Gift Wrapped Life

Oh, I cut it Vicki and I love my new style. I think you saw it really short, then it went longer, then I went for a modified Sharon Stone look and it so easy to maintain with cycling all the time. I think it suits me better (so I am told) and makes me feel more chic. I thing the long vs. short question is answered by texture and thickness as we get older (god, I hate writing that!) and what suits your face. Just my opinion but you are longer all the way. Much love XO



I love this….my sister (54) wears her hair very long and it suits her. The only detriment I can see (after just spending 5 days with her) is that she is constantly playing with it as the young girls do. flipping, brushing with her fingers, clasping, unclasping, etc. That part drives me nuts. In any regard, I have tried growing mine longer, as it would suit my cycling lifestyle much better, but I truly don’t look good. Mine is chin length and is quite easy to maintain with almost daily washings and less than 5 minutes with a blow dryer. I feel perkier and not dragged down.
I like what you said about older women not needing to have short hair, long is perfectly acceptable and also as you said if it well cared for, and if it looks well on the person. I am sure you have seen many as I have that definitely need help.
All the best to you!
xx Renae


I’ve always had long hair. I had it cut once, in my late 20’s and hated it. I had to style it and make sure it sat correctly. So I grew it again. At the moment it’s about to my brastrap. If I can be bothered, I will straighten it for going out, but most days for the school run it is twisted into a soft bun. I’m pretty sure I will always have it long.

Vicki Lee Johnston

Ha! You sound just like me – I have started ‘letting it go’ longer .. and I like it. My husband likes it, my Mum doesn’t – but I feel I have always overthought everything and tried to ‘fit’ the appropriate and it’s my tiny way of saying this is what I want. I have a lot of friends with longer hair and they always strike me as vivacious and slightly cheeky .. and I want some of that. I also used to worry about whether it made me look older .. but hey who cares … do it for you Vicki – the wicked witch can take a hike – she’s just the voice in your head always second guessing. I am also wearing brighter colours, lots of beads, and believe me I’m no hippie but I want to feel good for me … let’s face it, we’re getting older and nobody is really going to take a long look at us so we should like what we see. My daughter said she loves older women who put their own stamp on things .. time to break away from all the conservatism and be make yourself smile when you look in the mirror. No critique – just enjoy !!!


I’ll keep mine long:) Up down..you have a choice..I’ll be 60 soon.Well in 1 1/2 yrs.. and have my cauldron ready:)Those girls are adorable.


ooo…I turned 55 last Friday, my hair is to my waist…I am going today to the beauty shop to decide for my baby daughter’s wedding June 30…cut? leave? I cannot decide…thanks for the post!


please don’t cut it,it sounds lovely i’ve been trying to get mine to my waist for years.i have afew friends who keep urging me to cut, saying i will look like a hippie,i don’t mind that, i grew up in the hippie era.i wish i’d have kept it long then by my mother was still the boss.no intention of letting anyone tell me what to do now i’m 58.

Sandi Kelly

oh how I love your meanderings into the mystiques of our fragile egos, lol, I turned 65 this year and for more years than I can remember have worn my hair very very short and spiked, it was just me, then through some life occurances I did not make it to the hairdresser and it grew and grew and grew, in January I too looked in the mirror and had visions of the bag lady, I did get it cut but this time into a bob right at the ear line and I love it, it is easy to care for but still gives me some room to play with it. I believe we all have a little sense of when it is time for change and we should live with that sense not the one dictated by the slicks and fashion industry or the neighbor next door, lol, again, thanks for your postings, I love them, hugs


Hello all. I am 66 years old and have hair down past my bra. I get stopped all the time with compliments. I have no intention of cutting it because I style it every day differently. It is thick, wavy, I roll it (no heat for my hair) and it lasts 3 days. I put it in a pony tail and it looks great either way. I must confess I have been told repeatedly I look 41-45 so maybe that is it.


I personally think that longer hair on older women does bring the wicked witch to mind, especially if it’s gray. It’s almost that Baby Jane thing for me. That said, I think there’s nothing more feminine and gorgeous that the French twist or chignon you mentioned. You my dear, are nowhere near the “cauldron stirring” stage so embrace your beautiful long hair. Moi, well I”m silver now and it’s been just below my ears for lord only knows how long. Now, I’m off on my broom….
Bon mercredi Love,

Cherie Thompson

These Advanced Style icons make my heart skip a beat with their inimitable style. Their audacious, don’t give a rats attitude is empowering to us over 60s who are constantly invisible in every domain here in Australia! Thank You Vicki. xo.


I know some fabulous older women with long hair and it looks stunning. I also know some with shorter. You need to feel great about what works for you and it should be well groomed. Other than that, I think there are no rules.


At 54 I’m aware of what may seem too ‘girlie’ in my appearance. I get compliments all the time that I do not look my age – and I think it is finding the fine line of dressing not too young and not too ‘advanced’. Simple and traditional works.
My hair is below my shoulders now and I too cut it shorter about 8 months ago – and then grew it back. The trick for me to keep it longer and be comfortable with it, is to keep long layers {actually an undercut}, take the time to style it myself, and make hair appointments on a regular basis.
I will never wear my Mother’s bubble-do.

Garden, Home and Party

I think women should wear their hair the way the feel they look best. I personally don’t look great with longer hair, (shoulders or below) but I do like change so I usually allow my hair to grow a bit longer in the winter months and keep it shorter in the summer. I have seen a few “older” women with long hair that maybe (in my opinion) look a little witch-like, but who am I to say…if someone feels comfortable in their own skin with their own look, I say good for them!

Marsha Duncan

I am 60. I have long hair. I have some gray. How much? “Only my hairdresser knows for sure” I keep it my natural color. Brown. Recently I raised the question of what to do when we can’t fight it any more. I didn’t say “CUT”. I said color. She offered a solution. I have been telling myself for 20 years that the long hair was temporary. I still whisper it. Check back with me when I am 70.

the paris apartment

HI Vicky, I’m about to leave and head to your part of the owrld but had to stop for a second and comment first! I had long hair just yesterday. It went to my chest and was a thick long pony tail when pulled back. I asked the hairdresser for an inch off and sat back. I think she may have taken 4 inches off by the time i looked up (on one side anyway) and I was mortified! My hair is just below my shoulders now and I spent the rest of the day in a funk, because suddenly my long locks felt more like a soccer mom do.
My BFF swears that I look fresher, younger, my hair is fuller, with more bounche, swing and shine. I have to admit maybe I was holding on to the long hair, it was definitely my security blanket and i didn’t really care what it looked like as long as it was long!
I have to say this morning, I do look a little more refreshed, and am ok with the cut although i would love to have a couple inches back. Mostly it showed me how much of ourselves is wrapped up in our hair and the way it makes us feel. I’m trying to get my guy to cut his ponytail and now I understand his hesitation a little better. But I’m still going to push that one!

Mary-Jill Bellhouse

Oh Vicki! I am so glad you talked about this. I am soon to be 63 and like to think of myself as still looking ‘youthful’ – of course I often catch a glance in a shop window and wonder who that ‘older’ woman is! I still feel the same as I did at 18, but know full well that my body has severely moved on! But no matter. For the first time in my LIFE I decided to grow my hair, just a bit longer than the ’60’s flight attendant bob’ I’ve worn for the last 20 years (in my real youth I was always colouring, perming, growing, cutting, going round in circles, never happy, but that’s another story). Anyway, only recently, my hair got a bit longer and longer – and although I am very careful to have a trim every 4 weeks and the good old blonde streaks to minimise the grey, so my hair always looks healthy and well cut – I, like you, recently suddenly did exactly the same thing, looked in the mirror and thought it was finally at the ‘witchy’ stage. I promptly had a few inches cut off, but now I think, who cares! I liked it just that bit longer, it actually made me feel good, and as long as it’s well cut and healthy, why shouldn’t I have it that length? It’s all in the ‘mind’ of the beholder – always ourelves – and I for one am making an all out effort now to ignore what was always drummed into me about ‘conforming’! I say go for whatever makes you feel good and whatever makes you feel happy. You can ‘chop and change’ so to speak, as much as you like. I’m going to! Lots of love Mary-Jill

Jeanne McKay Hartmann

Hi Vicki, I’ve had long hair (well past my shoulders) almost all my life – except for a few very unfortunate years in middle school. Now that I’ve crossed into my 40s, the thought has occurred to me that maybe should make a change at some point… but I just don’t think I’d fee like me with shorter hair. Perhaps I’ll take it up to my shoulders in a decade or so, but hopefully the “rules” will relax enough so that I can be relaxed about how I wear my hair – I think the length that feels like “me” will always be the right length, no matter what that is.
And I’m sure your hair looks great – I think it’s just hard to get used to something new and different!

Teresa @ Splendid Sass

Love this post, Vicki! I need a cut myself, but I do love the options you have with longer hair.
I like my hair just to the shoulder, but it has grown about three inches beyond this point. While I like it, it has to be kept perfect to look professional.
I’m with you on age. Doesn’t matter, and I don’t ever style my hair by what others believe I need.
Happy Wednesday.


I have been reading your blog for sometime, but I have yet to comment here. This post prompted me as I, too, have contemplated what I should do with my hair. My hair is also past my shoulders and the times when I have cut it, I have been so disappointed. As an artist, I find being able to pull it back out of my way when I work is a tremendous help, but being able to allow it to flow long is very much my comfort zone. Your encouragement to continue to just be myself and what I am comfortable with is the right answer to my self-imposed question. Thank you so much!


I am 70 and my hair has gone white/ blonde. Fair from being a child.
I have always preferred my hair longer and felt it is me!!
I have now been growing for 8 months and it has just reach shoulder level.
I like to have it in a pony tail so I can put through my golf hat at the back,silly me.
Otherwise I have some nice clips and have it up to be dressy.
The trouble is that, unfortunately, I appear to look my age. You just cannot win. Will never dye my hair again and it is healthy and shiny. I have had just \ONE positive comment from my young next door neighbour who said, quite spontaneously, that I looked dead bonny. Bless her.
I will not be giving in to any pressure and having it cropped again!!!


I lived and played in the 1960’s and I will never be happy with short hair. Recently I stopped layering and love my blunt cut to the shoulders. So versatile and the color? Blonde easing into gray…an adventure!

Gracie's Mom

Hi Tish,

I decided to cut my hair short last November and hated it immediately! I spent the next 7 months growing it out again and just had it shaped last Saturday. I usually have it below my shoulders but no longer than my bra strap in back, long enough to put up but not so long that it takes over. It’s funny but every time I looked in the mirror It looked like an imposter was staring back at me, I think that whatever length it is it should be well groomed and “be you”. By the way I am 49 3/4 and am letting my hair go grey, and I get Tons of compliments on the colour. Little to people know it is grey because it grows so quickly and I am too lazy to maintain colour.

Kit @ Chic Provence

Dear Vicki, just for the record, when I met you in May, I was struck at how beautiful your long hair is; and a bit later, when you met my husband, he later commented that he really liked your beautiful, long hair… its color, its length.. the whole package… not kidding here!

It really suits you, so stay with your strong suit.. not everyone can wear long hair like you, so enjoy!



PS I’d like an iPhone pix of you with shorter hair now, svp? :)


I too wonder if short hair will suit me better, but as I style my hair every morning and see another wrinkle forming around my eyes, I realize the longer the hair, the more I can hold on to my youth. So, I keep it long simply to buy time.

Penelope Brown

Keep true to yourself! I have long (just below shoulder) hair in pure grey and I am well into my 50’s now. It works up or down but an excellent cut is a must. Long hair gives me freedom to be myself with which ever style I choose for that day!Long hair… A MUST!My mother had the same and was the most gracious woman I ever met. Penelope


I, too, have longer hair and for most of my life it has been long. But for most of my life, I have not been happy with it. I don’t have ‘good’ hair, as they say; it is long, but thin and straight. It sometimes looks very good when just washed and conditioned. As the days go by, it looks straggly. But cutting it off is no answer, either. I just cannot seem to be happy with it. I used to wear it in a bob, but as pointed out here, it seems so common and overused.

But I am all for wearing hair the way one is comfortable with it and not worrying about what others think; after all, they do not have to live with it. All the time, more and more I see older women with long hair and it looks just fine; that is, if they have quality hair to begin with.

Peggy Braswell

I have naturally curly(very curly) hair and when it is long it gets BIG(like one of those Japanese sponges) + thus the short hair cut. I have wanted straight blond hair until recently now I love my curls! Wear what you like at any age(as long as hair is well groomed)So there. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com


Great post ~ we ladies do obsess over our hair, don’t we? I follow Advanced Style .. really appreciate the images of the beautiful ladies! At the age of 70, I know what works for my face and body when it comes to hair. I am an original blonde who turned silvery white in the past few years. I go back and forth on the color issue – when I want to be blonde I simply wear a Roux Fanciful Rinse. Other times, I keep it natural. A Meg Ryan hair style, perky and piece-y works best for me today!


All I know is I’ve worn long hair for most of my life and am known for having it. The roots are touched up every 3-4 weeks and the style is layered. My hair is to the middle of my back and still going. 3 grown daughters say to grow it longer and I’m 55 years old. Who can argue? When working, I wear it in a French twist or long pony. It’s just me.


My hair became very thin over the last 10 years, so much that, the only style I could wear was a ponytail. I thought long and hard whether I could be a bald woman or not. I decided I couldn’t. My own hair is growing back now on the top of my head through hair transplants and I can’t wait for it to grow out to the same length as the rest. I am going to let it grow and grow as long as it looks good. I like the long and grey styles. For some women it looks good with their skin tone but for others it really can wash us out. We really just need the self confidence to do what makes us the happiest.

Marsha @ Splenderosa

I really think anything goes now, it is a matter of what makes you happy. Long hair is luxury when it’s perfection. I love being able to pull mine back, like the pic on my blog now, as I really don’t like hair in my face, bothering me, when I’m outdoors or when I’m working. Mine now is sorta the “Anna Wintour” look haircut & it works for me. As long as hair is clean, shiny, groomed I think one should wear it any way we like. And, as Kit said, if your husband likes it that’s the main thing. :)’s

Lisa DeNunzio, La Dolce Villa

When I began working in NYC during my early 20’s I chopped off my waist length hair in a bid to look more professional. Since then I have worn my hair a variety of ways (who hasn’t) but have mainly stuck with a sort of longish modified bob with the essential bangs. Last month I decided to chop it off and so picture in hand paid a visit to my stylist. The result was not at all like the picture and I look more like a 50’s Italian film actress (maybe ‘B’ actress) than the gamin I had hoped for. Well, as I always say, it will grow.

Yes, I agree it is more acceptable now and common for women to keep their longer locks as they age.
But what about opting for silver hair? What are your thoughts on that?

Would love to see a picture of you with your short hair. Best, Lisa

La Contessa

I too have been thinking about that question!And I bought his book already!Love the book!I do like to be able to wear the hair up.If its short it needs to be a good cut for me with my double chin getting bigger well the longer is winning at the moment!But your right we are never happy with what we have and as to the comment from the woman going to cut her hair off I too have a friend who has long hair and thought just two days ago she really needs to cut it!!!!!!!!!!!!So, I share all your same thoughts and ideas!I too am leaning towards the longer version!


I have had long hair and just below the shoulder hair and this year I cut it to a layered chin length bob. I love it! I look so much younger and I feel sexier. The irony of all of this is as a young child my hair was always cut in this style. Guess Mom does knows best.

Gwendolyn Skinner

Vicki – It’s true – I know every time I see someone with a cute short cut I think “Oh, I love that and maybe it will look good on me”! Ha! I have come to the conclusion that as we grow older medium length to longish hair looks best. And even more important, if you’re like me and blonde, you’re hair gets thinner so I get hair extensions and it has worked wonders! My hair is thicker and fuller with extension than it ever was before. P.S. Love the photo and will read the blog today. xoxo Gwendolyn

Sophia Twaddell

Vicki, I am firmly in the long hair camp! Mine, at 60, is ~ 3 inches past my shoulders and I love it. I like to keep it long enough to pull it up in a ponytail when it’s hot out, as it is here in Chicago this week.

I often hear women say that long hair is too much trouble, but I don’t agree. I think long hair is far more feminine, and as we age, there is no reason to look anything but.

My favorite new treatment is keratin. I have fine, naturally wavy hair that gets frizzy in humidity, but the keratin keeps the frizzies in check. All I have to do is blow it dry. I, for one, will never go back!


Mary-Jill of www.giftofmemories.org

Thanks Sophia … I commented above, coming up to 63, and just learning to ‘be me’ at last. I will grow mine just that little bit past the shoulders as I did previously and will no longer let the word ‘witchy’ into my vocabulary. Mary-Jill

Karen in CT

… of course it all depends on what you are comfortable with … but to me it depends on whether one wants to get a face life, or NOT. To me, long hair down the side of jowls is not so attractive to the face. So one has to wrestle with “the face” or “the hair” which do I want to showcase. I usually vote for face, so have kept it various lengths as long as hair is moving somewhere near my jaw to just above shoulder. It would be easier if I would showcase the hair, as wrapping it up in a clip is SO easy. Tough choices, I agree. I’m thankful that I have enough hair to make the choice. Cheers, fun post as usual. Karen in CT


When I read this post this morning, I instantly thought of model Cindy Joseph who began her modelling career at age 48 when she discovered after she decided to stop coloring her hair. She wears her hair long with its natural silver. She makes me actually look forward to silver strands of my own! If you aren’t familiar with her, please do google her name for a photo. Her look is so beautiful, refreshing and real.

Personally, I love long hair & find it slimming. Very interesting post.. I enjoyed it.

Jeanette Locker

Finally, women are realizing the need to be true to themselves. I will be 73 next month, and my hair is shoulder length. I get many compliments on my hair because it is a silvery gray. Now, there is a topic to discuss: to color or let it go gray.

Mary-Jill of www.giftofmemories.org

Hi Jeanette
Thank you for your comments! I will be 63 next month and thanks to this post, have decided to just be me and go with how I feel, growing my hair just past shoulder length. As for colour, for years, previously a dark brunette, I started getting blondish streaks to distract from the grey appearing. Now it’s 95% grey and I have light blonde to silver streaks alternated just over the top half, and it blends in so nicely – I feel blonde, but am happy also being grey. A nice combination. Mry-Jill


After my son’s wedding last year, I decided no more coloring so have just ignored the multi colors as the grey grew in, the light brown color grew out, and the highlights turned to blonde amidst the grey. One friend said I have “nicotine” hair, but I have laughed that off, as going grey after coloring is biting the bullet. My hair is longer too,just touching my shoulders, so although there might be a niggle about the “witchy” look, my husband likes me with longer hair. I enjoy the versatility of putting it up, using a clip or tying it back. The texture is softer too without all those harsh chemicals going on every three weeks. I don’t want to cut my white hair shorter and look like a Q-tip generic oldie. I am 63 years old.

Linda Merrill

One of my best friends was known for her waist length black hair all her life – it was truly her signature. When she was pregnant at 41, it was still that long, but she stopped coloring it while pregnant – and it became quite gray. She started re-coloring shortly after the baby was born. Over the last 8 yrs, it’s gotten shorter, but is still a couple inches beyond shoulder length. Her mother – who was a teenage 60’s hippie when my friend was born – commented to me last week that she thought my friend’s hair was too long for her age (it was her 50th bday). Her Mom, who is 67, has always sported fairly short to now cropped hair since I’ve known her. I don’t agree because long hair has always been her signature, so while it’s not waist length, it’s still “long”.

And historically, women always had long hair, but it was pinned up or braided, depending on age. I don’t think it was till the 20’s that women started cutting it. But I guess the historical precedence was set that women of a certain age kept their hair pinned up – but now a days it’s cut instead of pinned. I think in the end, it’s all about what looks good. I’d LOVE long hair, but my hair simply doesn’t grow long in a nice way and it’s never been terribly flattering to me, even when I was a child.

But I still yearn for the perfect, flattering, long/short haircut. My hairdresser just loves me…

Victoria Athens

Well, the number of readers who have responded to this post settles the question about whether this is a frivolous topic. Apparently, it is one that is very important to many women. For the past four months, I was busy with a major kitchen reno and had to keep canceling my monthly hair cut appointment. So I thought it would be a good time to assess the alternatives. My hair was very long from my teens into my early forties. Then I cut it short and or medium lengths until now (I am 70, gasp). Suddenly I had long hair and no bangs, but when I looked in the mirror, I saw an old woman. I could not wait to get it cut. I feel much better now, and that is — I think — what counts.

I love the photography of Ari Seth Cohen. The women of a certain age that he photographs on the streets of New York City are stunning individualists and I admire them.

All the best,

Mary-Jill of www.giftofmemories.org

Oh Victoria! I loved it when you said ’70 – gasp’ – I am 63 next month and just cannot believe it. As I said in my post above, I still feel 18 in my head, but alas my body is slowly telling me I’m not. You give me hope!! x

Jeanette Locker

Finally, women are realizing the need to be true to themselves. I will be 73 next month, and my hair is shoulder length. I get many compliments on my hair because it is a silvery gray. Now, there is a topic to discuss: to color or let it go gray


I can so relate to this long hair post Vicki. Late 50’s, have always had longish hair and since my hairdresser has been out of commission for a few weeks I decided to let it grow even longer! I love it. Especially in the summer and glamorous up in a bun, high or low.
Great post!! Thanks.


What timing. I have a haircut today and the time got away from me. I have always worn my hair long except for the two times it was cut too short on me. I just can’t wear it short…I love long hair on the right person and I don’t think age matters. The former editor of House and Garden (US) wrote a column about long hair in the NY Times some year ago because she has very long hair. So does Vera Wang.

Got to go, hairstylist is waiting, but only to lop off a few inches as it’s past my shoulders. Wonderful writing Vicki.


Throughout my life I have had my hair both long and short. I have always preferred it a bit longer. It makes me feel and look younger. Recently, I discovered that the shorter I went, I would morph into my grandmother! This is a timely post as I am 54 and have been growing it longer (not quite bra strap length) and I love it. I do color it in my light auburn to keep it fresh looking. Today, it is such a personal choice. I do notice that when someone does cut it shorter, it should be a modern, edgy cut otherwise they are in danger of looking like a mushroom. But it all depends on proportion and features. AND most of all…how you want your hair to look for you and what makes you feel good.

Mary Jo

Vicki, I’m glad you’re keeping your hair long (once it grows out). I truly wish ageism didn’t influence hair decisions. Being a beauty editor and just a bit obsessed with hair in general, I read all the arguments, and there are many on the internet these days. I’m a bit anti-fashion in my beliefs, but I think long hair can work no matter what the age as long as the locks are beautifully kept. I also believe in staving off the gray for as long as possible–but that’s just me and not a very popular stance either. I had dinner with a woman in her 80s a couple of years ago who is married to a very famous artist. She was and is spectacular and sexy and he is so in love with her–I’m convinced it’s her very long beautiful hair that gives her a special glamour. Such a great topic–thank you for this post!

xo Mary Jo

Beth Williams

In my early 50s I went from long hair to short, very short, and then shorter yet. What freedom for me! My hair became wash and wear, no blow dryer, no product, sometimes no brush, only my fingers. My hairdresser of almost 30 years was uneasy, but I found a picture and he quickly got into the spirit of things. Yes, sometimes I miss my long tresses, my hair was pretty, but I don’t miss them enough to let it grow. Well, I do think about regrowing it during the cold months of the year. I never had cold ears and never wore a hat or scarf. That’s okay, in Dallas it doesn’t stay very cold for very long, and it stays hot for forever.
I love your blog, especially the pictures. Are you working on another book? One with more pictures of your home?


I just turned 44 yesterday and my hair is well past my shoulders. I was always forced into the dreaded “Dorothy Hamill aka Pageboy cut” when I was little, I would look with envy at the other girls in my ballet class who had their hair in buns under hairnets. I resorted to putting thick wool tights on my head with a ponytail holder on it when I was alone in my room so I could pretend I had long hair. Every time I asked my mom to let me grow it she would say no, that my hair was too “whispy and thin” for long hair. Ouch!

So now, it’s as long as I can get it…which isn’t very long. My hair grows slowly and breaks easily but I like being able to do things with it. My husband loves my hair longer and gets a panicked look when I mention getting it cut so I trim it myself:)

Great subject!


I will be 55 in 2 months time and I wear my hair longish – midway between the shoulders and elbow. I love my hair that length and will stick with it as long as I have hair. This past year my hair has started growing like crazy and before I knew it, it was nearly down to my waist, which my hairdresser quickly remedied for me.


im nearly 62 my hair has reached waist length took quite a while to get here and im keeping it people can keep their unwanted opinions about me getting it cut to themselves ,I don’t give a fig my hair my choice


Nothing to do with age, wear it how you like it. Long, short, medium, whatever suits you best.


My high school art teacher had beautiful, long, silver hair that she always wore up. Once day I popped into the restroom when she had down and it was stunning. I swore then and there to have long hair when mine turned colors.

There are women who are beautiful and chic in short hair and others who are elegant and beautiful in long hair. Best part is that WE get to choose.

Btw, from the images I’ve seen of you, you would be lovely either way.


Like so many other ladies, I agree with the thought wear as you like it not how others like it. I do find the descriptions of length interesting though. I am in NYC and my friends and I consider anything above the shoulder as short, shoulder length and a bit below medium length and middle of the back and longer as long hair! I think the generalizations of hair is getting longer! Which seems to trend with women wearing their hair longer as they age too!

Laura McGuire

How Funny! I saw the woman in yellow at the Metropolitan Museum in Ny on sunday in this outfit, it must be where she as photographed. The image has made it to France and back already. Too bad her shoes were not shown better, they were fabulous!

xox, Laura McGuire

sharon - my french country home

Great post Vicki, and look how passionate everyone is about their hair! I don’t think there are rules about long or short with age, but a good cut is definitely vital, this is an age where our hairdresser has to be our friend! I keep pretty busy, so I need enough length to tie it up or put it in a chignon.

Something Gorgeous

Such an interesting read. I’m 48 and in the middle of growing my hair because as I told my hairdresser, soon I will be too old to have long hair. Maybe I’m wrong? xT


I am 63 and I just love my hair now! When I was young (the 1960s and 70s) I straighten it. In the 1980’s, I permed it. With every new female I admired, I copied their style–Ali McGraw, Dorothy Hamil, you name the trend, I tried it. Now I do what I think looks best for my hair–wavy, chin length, thick. I feel beautiful and feminine and me. Why did it take me so long to figure it out?

Caroline S

At the age of four I had my haircut so I looked just like my older brothers (can’t believe mum gave in to her only daughter)

At the age of 14 I blow waved my curly mop to resemble the “Farrah Fawcett Look”

At the age of 24 my crazy long curls were all the rage (it was of course the 80’s!)

At the age of 34 (3 baby boys later) I cut it all off and went pixie short for 10 years – easy in a busy life!

At the age of 44 decided to grow it out – time for change – so had 18 months of a not particularly glamourous “do” – lots of bobby pins and hair ties!

And now (4 years on) the length of my hair is on the long side – 3 inches past my shoulder and I am loving it. My natural frizz/curl is defiately not in, so I treat my self to a blow wave for special nights out and use my straightner and a pony tail the rest of the time!

Not ready to go grey just yet but when I do I think the particular colour of that grey will determine how long or short I wear it! I am hoping for the gorgeous silver grey…but time will tell!

Linda McMullan

Vicki, I caught your post only moments after you had published it this morning, and I had an instant reaction to the question. I was all set to post my comment, but then decided I needed to think about why I had such a strong reaction to the subject. I’ve thought about it all day, trying to figure out why long hair on “older women” gets such a negative reaction from me. And finally realized that it is not the longer hair, it is the lack of attention to the potential symbol it brings (like the witch!)that I don’t feel comfortable with. My grandmothers both had long hair that they never cut, but they styled it into chignons and braids coiled on their crowns every day…so classic. I think that on older women, longer hair signifies a wish to be as young as we think we are. But, like cargo pants and crop tops, it is inappropriate unless dealt with in an “age conscious” manner. There is nothing more powerful than a classically coiffed woman who understands the significance of her hair. A length just above the shoulders radiates confidence and power…as long as the ends aren’t fuzzy, and the cut is classic. I just don’t think that you can do “whatever suits you” and present a classic image unless you know that your hair is simply fantastic, at any age. Facing the facts, not all of us have great hair, and that is when to coif it like a shining cap, close to the head. And revel in our other assets!

Karyn Grass

I am 62, almost totally white haired, and my length is to my shoulders. I experimented with shorter styles as my hair grew out after chemo, but I know myself and my facial structure, and shoulder length is perfect. I also love wearing it up and plan to feel very French with a lovely chignon when I am old. Hugs from a big fan ~

Carolyn Bradford

OMG! I can’t believe I am just now seeing this fabulous post! I struggle all the time with this issue but quickly put it to rest when I relive the horrors of a short hair cut gone awry when I was 9 months pregnant with my first child! Who does that!!!!! I was hugely pregnant AND had severely short hair! I know mine is too long for my age now but I just don’t care! It’s easy and I don’t like to have to fool with my hair much! Every time I have an urge to do something different I just make myself remember this! I even go to a fabulous guy that actually does Angelina’s hair among many others….I can tell he wishes I would cut it but I insist on just a trim! I think he’s finally accepted it!

Zaneta Bartosova Tung

How funny is this((: and so typical, I did the same…the most haircuts I had was when I was pregnant with my son!! I don’t know it must be the hormones…or us wanting to look better …when all we see is big belly and think that a hair cut will fix that (((:


Vicki I like mine shoulder length and it is a bit longer right now, so I will get it cut. I do love to be able to pull it back in a ponytail though!

Art by Karena


Dear Vicki,
Another subject very close to my heart. I am now 61 and have had long hair all of my life. It is dead straight and one length and very easy to maintain. My hairdresser says that it is ‘me’ and , with highlights and a regular cut, all of my friends say that it still suits me. I can’t imagine ever having anything but long, straight hair, which is so easy to look after and, after all these years, I can’t imagine ever having to maintain a ‘style’ or layers. I’m keeping my long hair as I am comfortable with it and, if I was to cut it short then I know that I would regret it. I’m very happy in my ‘long hair skin’ !!!! XXXX

Zaneta Bartosova Tung

Love both, long and short, tried it all in the past 8 years, used to have only very long hair till about 33 years old, and realized there is too much fun to be had with shorter fun styles, I am lucky to have a very very good stylist, Italian man, not gay ((: but just a miracle worker. Layers are his specialty. So when I feel like you, like a witch (((: when my hair has grown for a while, it just needs a cut to re shape it …not necessarily to make it short!! But really long beautiful hair is only for women with really lovely full rich strong healthy locks …no matter the age! (I love Sharon’s from Fashion Isha blog.)
Otherwise, shorter styles and layering …and fringes make it just more fun styling it …. don’t you think? It is hard to pick…that is why I love to go back and forth…

xo Z


The fact that you had really pondered this…I love.
I think that longer hair as you age is definetely softer and more feminine, and maybe as your face shows a bit of lifes experiences that is better. When your hair is shorter everything is revealed.
Bottom line who wants to have the old lady stigma of short hair…I say buck the system. I have never been one to go with the grain..if it works for you go with it, you don’t have to please anyone but yourself!


Right you are, Donna! Thanks for a great post. I’m on your side, especially since I’m a 60-something year-old woman with long, very naturally curly hair, that I wear in any way that suits my present mood(s), and I love it!


Speaking as a young witch here, I have had every style and every colour going – down to and including an apple green mohawk :D and I am SO looking forward to going grey properly so that I can be blonde at last !! I’ve been blonde before, but as my hair is naturally dark brown, doing the roots so often made my poor scalp bleed.

I’m a hennaed harpy at the moment, and have been growing my hair for four years now, from a graduated bob. My money is on keeping my hair long as I get older – I’ve quite literally tried everything else and this look suits me best. I’ve learnt loads of different braids and styles from You Tube, and even braiding my hair is quicker and looks better than blow drying and styling it.

Also : HAIR TOYS. I love my clips, bands, twozzly things, barettes and bejewelled butterfly clasps. Definitely less opportunity to use them with short hair.

There is also one last thing about long, luscious hair – its all your own work. Long hair says that you’ve looked after it and pampered it for years. A smart, sharp crop or bob says you have a good hairdresser. Who you visit every month or six weeks and hand over a small fortune to :)

Long hair is a sign of health, and specifically fertility, so when a woman entered her croning years, the idea was for her to crop her hair thus showing that she was no longer fertile/sexually available. These days this is just tosh, of course, but it does seem to linger both in the terminology (looking like an old witch) and in the idea that its somehow “wrong” for an older woman to have long hair.

I’ll be an old witch one day :) I’ll have silky long silver hair, or maybe champagne blonde, or maybe still my beloved henna – bright red (to go with my purple hat)

Fascinating thread to read – thankyou for posting this story !


Helen Tilston

Hi Vicki

Like many of your readers said, one should do whatever one pleases and feels suits them and their lifestyle. For me it is long hair, tied back or worn up.

A wonderful topic and I have enjoyed reading the comments.x


A beautiful space

Currently in France I am studiously observing French style and having been travelling for 8 weeks have found my shoulder length hair much longer. The perfect length for older women who want longer hair is still an ongoing debate for me.I just rushed off to the hairdresser this morning in fear I was resembling witchy poo myself and have returned with most in tact but utterly convinced I am upset when I cut and most happy when I keep a certain length.

I saw a stunning head of grey hair on a lady in her 60s while travelling. It was straight, long and elegant.. It suited her and did not have any hit of “mutton”.

On the other hand I have seen some divine bobs, if only it didn’t take so long to grow again…..

Teri in NJ

I just saw Jane Fonda in her new film “The Summer of Peace, Love, and Understanding” and she had wonderful long flowing wavy locks. As always, she looks fabulous! (And what is she now, 70 something?) As for my 50-something self, who still trudges in to work in NYC on a regular basis, I now don’t let my tresses get much below shoulder length, but I am always open to change if the mood should strike.


My thick curly locks used to frustrates me but mainly have worn it mid-length below my shoulders. If it gets any longer, it becomes heavy. I’ve gone short a few times, and my curls tend to go all over the place if not tamed with hair products, which I don’t really like.

Go with the flow is my opinion…whatever makes you feel better about yourself. Age shouldn’t have anything to do with what length a lady wears her hair. Well groomed at any length, it’s a woman’s crowning glory (especially with a great brain to go with it)…:)


One reason I think women cut their hair as they age is that the hair thins out and starts to look stringy…..shorter hair looks thicker and more healthy.


Hi Stranger,

I love long hair, but not for the “sake of” having long hair”. I have a very pretty girlfriend who has lovely long thick dark hair. She is 51 years young, but her hair, as lovely as it is, drags her face “down” and does make her look older. I think just go with what suits you and what you feel comfortable in rather than what other people think you should have. But things change, so we need to re-assess what looks good – a bit like the “blue eyeshadow” thing. Happy weekend.

Janelle McCulloch

Hi Vicki, I’ve come to this post very late, but it’s so interesting hearing what women have to say.
I do think every woman should do what she wants with her own hair, without feeling the peer pressure from friends. Our individuality is what makes us distinctive.
Personally, I LOVE older women with long hair, and I particularly love elderly ladies (those over 60 or 70) with long hair. It depends on the style of course, and it can’t be too Miss Haversham-esque, but one can always put it up into an elegant chignon.
I’ve had shoulder-length hair for years and don’t mind the length. The problem is, do I go blonder as we get older? (As that old French adage says?) Elle Macpherson once said that’s why she went blonder (her ex was French), but I liked her with darker hair.
Perhaps that should be another post? To blonde, or not to blonde? Then again, knowing how thorough and efficient you are, you’ve probably already done it!
Janelle McCulloch xx


Darling Vickie,
You were right! I say to hell with my well meaning girlfriends who hinted that my hair was just toooooo long and that they liked it better when it was shoulder length. I got to the hairdresser(bless him)after seeing you, and he said “no no no ,you must not cut too much. It is healthy, beautiful, and YOU LOOK GOOD.” So I am happy to report I had a little trim, a few layers around the face, a bit more blonde and I have stayed true to myself! Thank you so much!


This is a marvellous end to the story Betsy… Bravo… you are gorgeous and your hair looked fab… So, so glad you kept it! xv


I made the same mistake of cutting off more than usual at my last appointment and was reminded, as you were, that I like my hair a bit longer.
Longer to me would be short to some, but it’s what pleases me.
I’m letting it go gray, much to the horror of my friends but again, it’s what pleases me.
Thanks for the confirmation…we can do as we please at our age.


Oh the question I have asked myself often and always get the same answer from my little inner voice: Short!
I never had long hair after I was 10! The longest I grew it was shoulder length and it drove me crazy, it has to do also with my face, head shape and nose….I am happy with my short hair! Now my thinking goes more towards gray/silver or permanent coloring??? What tot do?
I am so torn. I like woman with gorgeous gray air, as long there is some sexiness in the look! Gray can be awfully drab!


Wow, quite a discussion going here! I’ve had long here for most of life and on my recent trip stateside, I cut off 3-3.5 inches which may not seem like much but it added so much lightness to my hair. I don’t think I’d go any shorter than shoulder length for myself :)

And I LOVE Ari’s blog, fantastic work.


All these references to older women with long hair being witchy is surprising. As an Australian I con’t remember hearing this unpleasant term used to describe women in this way. Most of my mother’s generation felt they needed to cut their hair shorter when they reached their mid-fifties but I’m sure they never thought of themselves as looking witchy if they didn’t. My mother looked fabulous all her life, until her sad last two years at 86 and 87. Her hair was shortish but coloured lighter than her natural colour and eventually she allowed herself to go grey. But it was never short short and never what is known in Australia as “the pensioner perm”. It always looked stylish and was long enough to be soft around the face. She too had gone through chemo and a long period of time in her fifties when her hair was very slow to grow back. But she was a feisty and spirited woman who very much knew her own style (with the help of her kind hairdresser) and was never bothered by people telling her what she should do to her hair or what she should wear. She would have loved Ari Seth Cohen’s book. Best wishes, Pamela


I love Advanced Style! Such a cool blog.

My Great Grandmother had the longest, white hair. It was lovely. She wore it in a bun on top of her head everyday but when she went to bed, she’d let it out & it reached her waist. I remember it so well. I thought it was so beautiful.

~ Clare x


Crumbs mate, I’ve developed iPad RSI scrolling down these comments, but really enjoyed reading them all. Yep, the just-touching-the-shoulder bob will be with me ’til I shuffle off to Bloggers Heaven. Boring & predictable I know, but the last time I had a short hair moment, I let some strange Hairdresser in Brissie do the deed & I cried every day for 2 months. Agree with Sande though, what’s going on with the texture thing now I’ve hit 56? It’s like an alien has taken over the follicles, not happy. MOTH reckons I’d look like a cauliflower head if ever I was to go short, short. That image alone is deterrent enough!!!
Millie xx

Callie Grayson

I am now growing. After a few years of short hair and failing to make it look nice. I have curly hair. I have had long hair forever and it was who I was, my hair was crazy curly when I wanted when going to rock shows, slicked back professionally when going to work or tamed curls when going out for drinks. I love having curly hair.
Under pressure from a friend, I cut it. I had just moved to chicago and she made several comments. So, I went chop chop! (I did donate it though)
Since then I have tried to tame the crazy hair being short, it’s to much work and I feel more confidant and ME with it long. So, at the moment it is growing at the middle of my back, a few more inches and I will have my hair back.
Now, I am dealing with the white spot above my temple. I have always had lighter hair there since I was young ( my niece at age 6 has the same spot!) I stopped dying it to blend with my hair, another friend has commented that she hates it. But learning from the chopping incident, I don’t care. It is who I am, a bit edgy.
Hair is a personal thing. And I believe age does not determine your hair length. I say do what makes you feel good about yourself.

à la parisienne


I’ve noticed the same trend with age and the shortening of hair. Once after I married, a young man pointed out another trend to me: Women tend to lop their locks right after they marry, (which is something I did.) Perhaps they do it to assert their womanhood and to separate themselves from young girls (That’s probably why I did it). Other than the few short haircuts I’ve had over the last 10 years, I generally prefer long hair, and my husband would mourn if I cut my hair too short.
I know a beautiful woman, in her early 60s, who has long hair and wears it in a loose chignon. In fact, I’ve never seen it any other way. It’s such a graceful look, and I’m considering doing the same…whenever that time comes.


Suzanne de Cornelia

I’ve had the same blunt cut at the shoulders since I was 5 and don’t desire to ever change it. For some hair is an accessory… I just like classic and simple in everything.

One of the most entrancing women I ever met was my grandmother’s French friend Ms. Colburn (her husband was an American diplomat, hence the surname). She always wore pastel cashmere and pearls and had long thick gray hair that she wore in a twist. Adorable, witty personality. At 85 she still seemed girly. I don’t think she gave age or anything other than what she preferred–a thought.

Bette @ Ideezine

Hi Vicki,

I have naturally curly hair and find that layers work best. My hair is just past my shoulders and cut rounded in the back. Once a year I get it cut and slightly trim it myself about every nine weeks the rest of the year. I do feel it gives you more options and hair care products have changed a great deal over the years. Don’t overlook many of the folk suggestions for hair care. Best to rotate products throughout the warmer and cooler months.

Hair like age changes in: coarseness, color, and consistency and when you find a low cost product to use to enhance the quality of your hair use it because your confidence is worth is as is your lovely hair.

Gerri Perkins

For me it’s a question of balancing circumstances, facial features, hair type and just the ” what makes you feel good” ?? So for each of us that configuration will be different. As a 12 year old i was in trouble at school for wearing my pigtail fringe toooo low over one eyebrow, then it was for straightening my hair with an iron, or rather my boarder friend did it very time consuming , so reserved for dances. Then it’s stayed long, ( short when I married a farmer and moved to a property and had restricted water, not fun!,) long again and then I’ve gone blond over the last several years.. I love it, feel so me and simply tell my “gorgeous midgets” that it’s a miracle that Gigis hair used to be dark and now is…. And also why their father has some grey hairs and I don’t .
I joke that My Hair Is My Life, but I think everyone here gets my meaning.
Such a fun interesting blog thanks Vicki

Pamela Terry

Well, I’m guilty of long hair. I used to be resigned to the fact that I would, no doubt, follow suit and cut my hair when I hit my forties because, well, women just do, don’t they? But then my forties came, and I still loved my long hair. So I kept it. I adore the versatility. Sometimes it’s up, sometimes it’s braided. Sometimes it’s wild, sometimes it’s sleek. I honestly think I’ll be one of those ladies who have long hair into old age.

And we are on the same wavelength, for I wrote about Advanced Style this weekend! And by the way, I’m sure you look lovely, short hair or long!!

Amy Kortuem

Interesting conversations! I’m coming in at the end of them as I’ve had a very busy week and weekend working, writing and playing the harp. But I wanted to chime in! I’ve always had long hair. And when I started to play the harp I thought (irrationally, probably), “Now I’ll never be able to have short hair – because harpists always have long hair…”

That was 20+ years ago. I’m no longer a college sophomore. And I got tired of the length, the same-old, same-old styling.

So. A year ago I cut it all off. It’s in a short bob now (my hairstylist now calls my haircut “Bob” and that’s the name she puts in her appointment book, not mine – ha!). It’s shorter in the back (my neck is shaved!) and angled in the front – with the right side several inches longer. I’ve been loving the short, asymmetrical look. I feel hip and sleek. I get compliments every time I play, meet up with people and even from strangers while I’m shopping.

Who says harpists have to have long hair? Not moi! I look and feel younger with my short hair in my early 40s than I did with long hair in my 30s.

(For comparison, you can see the long-haired version of me on my website photos: http://www.amykortuem.com and some photos of me with “Bob” here: http://amykortuem.blogspot.com/2012/04/new-harp-photos.html)


I am behind in reading your wonderful posts due to an illness in the family. Just had to comment on this very timely post in my life. I too had visions of myself with long, witchy hair…usually when I simply needed a trim and shape up. I have worn my hair fairly long for some years with occasions of cutting above the shoulder line a few times and being uncomfortable with the way my thick, wavy hair responded to such cuts.

A few months ago I felt with the length of my hair and the sweltering heat here in Texas, I seriously needed a much shorter cut. Made an appointment with my hairstylist and he would only cut 1/2 inch! I could not believe it. I was rather disappointed. So I waited another month and made another appointment and asked him to please cut at least three inches. He consulted with me further and asked me why I wanted to cut so much at this time. He said that he felt my hair was such a part of who I am and that I wouldn’t be happy and asked what else was going on in my life. Can you believe I have a psychologist for a hairdresser? To my amazement, I realized that I was having issues with another area — my recent weight gain.

My very wise stylist and hair colorist both did a little number on me without cutting more than another inch and shaping it a little differently and with bangs and I am in love with my hair again and working on the weight issue instead of cutting off my nice mane. And even though I am at the age where most of us women feel we should cut it off and be done with it, I am rethinking it myself. I have always looked better and been able to style my hair better when it is longer. And I continually garner compliments even from many young women on the health and sheen of my hair. I continue to surround myself with photos of beautiful women my age and older who have lovely longer locks and are very stylish and do not look as though they are standing in front of a cauldron. The heat here in Texas is another issue. But when my hair length is longer, I can always easily style it up.

Enjoy your longer locks when they grow back. That’s the best thing when we decide to cut it. It always grows back.


I like my jeans and long blonde hair, and I’m 53. It hasn’t occurred to me that it would be inappropriate. I guess I’ll keep wearing it that way until it occurs to me. It’s a very personal and unique issue for everyone


I suppose your height, build, size and shape of your face has much to do with how flattering long hair is on a middle-aged woman. I have a 59 year old neighbor who wears her hair waist length and frankly I believe it draws more attention to her age than she would prefer. I seem to believe it is her personal mid-life crisis. She is otherwise very attractive, very thin and active, but the hair just seems so out of place on her short and small frame. Taller women definitely have an edge when it comes to wearing long hair after 40.


After having my hair long for about a year and wearing it up most of the time, I cut it really short. I love it. I think I look younger and uplifted with my short bob. It sure is a lot less work as I have curly hair so that I simply wash and go. I think hair length has nothing to do with age. It is simply what looks best on someone.


If short haircuts are preferable for women in their 40’s, 50’s and beyond, why do the women who wear flowing locks always look so ravishing? I’ve seen a few women in the past year trade in their luscious lengths for more “appropriate” short styles, and I don’t care how many women complimented them, the new cuts don’t do them justice. I’ll say no more. This “witchy” thing is propaganda. Combs HAVE been invented! lol

Sink or Swim!

At the end of the day, do what pleases you.

If my opinion has any merit: I think that older women (i.e. mid – late 40’s), look much better with shorter, to perhaps shoulder length hair. Beyond that, it looks ridiculous and really highlights the age in your face. Long hair just doesn’t match an aging woman and really accentuates her aging face/body.

Once again, whatever floats your boat. Opinions are a dime a dozen and I just paid in spades ;)


Frankly, I’ve given up caring about the societal dictations (or, to be more exact, I never really cared about them in the first place!), and, with afew rare exceptions, I’ve always worn my long, thick, extremely naturally curly hair long, and, as a woman in her early 60’s, still continues to do so. Sure, there may be people who consider me rather anti-social, but the people who inflict their uptightness and rigidity about how certain types of hair should or should not be worn on other people are the ones who’re anti-social, not the ones like me who do whatever they please with their hair, regardless of what others think. (You may all be interested to know that I haven’t been hassled about keeping my extremely naturally curly, thick hair long for years, because people are tired of my insulting responses to them!).


Hello Vicky, Have returned recently from a trip to France and noticed that most women my age and older had longer hair either wearing it casually down or back in a bun. Although most of these styles are best with straighter hair, my hair is so curly and thick it needs to be layered. Finally after twenty or so years wearing it short for convenience, which can look younger, I have decided to let it grow out to a length below my chin. I have tired in the past but because my hair is so think and curly it would eventually come to a football-helmet-look and I would give up and cut it off again. My new hairdresser does textures and thins out my hair and hopefully I will be able to make it through the next six months or so in letting it grow out. I just recently watched the Advanced Style blogger movie clip and have the book, as well. What courage and confidence these women have! Taking inspiration from them and Onward !!!


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