4 Aug 2017

Grey Locks: How Long Is Too Long?

Grey Locks: How Long Is Too Long on vickiarcher.com


How long is too long when it comes to grey locks?

Let me set the scene here.

Last night I am getting ready to go out to dinner. I was a little under the weather with a scratchy throat and aching limbs, plus I am carrying Italian holiday excess around my middle. I don’t feel in peak condition but it’s nothing serious so I am not worried about that. Let’s just say I’m not 10 out of 10 in the self-confidence stakes.

The first style challenge when I feel under par is the grey hair and the second, the length of it.

My grey is long now, past my shoulders. Last night it definitely felt on the too long side; long grey locks require a massive amount of aplomb to wear well. I used all the tricks to make it work, a smoothing with the hairdryer and a ton of volume on the top. My favourite extra long drop earrings came out to save the day, but still I felt undecided. Normally, I am never undecided.

Do I blame the cold symptoms or have I good reason to rush to my hairdresser for a chop?

One thing I have learned is to take my time and think it through. All I have wanted for the last six months is to grow the grey locks like Manon Crespi, in these photographs and now when they are about right my impetuous nature wants to cut. I am fickle, through and through.

Past experience tells me to hold on and wait until I feel perkier.

Yes, have I made some serious mistakes when it comes to hair through lack of thought. Nothing earth shattering in real terms but rash decisions have lead to tears and an ugly few months of recovery. It is laughable now, like the Christmas I dyed my hair a plum red and spent all holidays trying to change it. It was never going to be possible. I learned to be patient. Nowadays I would have the confidence to laugh about it and understand it’s lack of importance, back then it felt like the end of the world.

Today I will tie it up, wait until I feel fighting fit and mull it over on the weekend. If I still feel in the same frame of mind next week, a couple of inches will be lopped off.

Or, I could grow it a little longer. See what I mean, very fickle.

Grey Locks: How Long Is Too Long on vickiarcher.com

The grey locks may cause some indecision but never, ever the grey clothes. They just work for me right now as an accessory or as a whole look.

I use the mid-year sales to re-stock my grey wardrobe essentials. The deals are getting harder to find as sizes disappear and new season’s merchandise takes front of house.

These are well worth a click. xv

Go Grey, Go Quickly

skinny army pants  ||  cropped pants ||  cashmere ribbed turtleneck  ||  marocain silk blouse  || silk pj’s

image manon crespi for modelwerk agency


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For me, I’ve discovered the longer hair just pulls me down, the face looks less full, more saggy. So, with my daughter’s assistance, WE went to the salon and my hair was cut SHORT in the back, layered and left longer in front & on the sides so I can do many different things with it. Vicki, I LOVE it ! Everyone tells me it look great, even my neighbors who don’t often see me. It’s just so much easier to manage also. Wash, gel the wet hair, blow dry, and if I’m in a super hurry the hair can stand on it’s own without any roller brushing, etc. The look is certainly better when I take the 15-20 minutes to “do” it, but, just saying, I’m loving it ! Now, my hair will never be gray, it’s gonna be blonde forever. :)’s


Manon Crespi is one gorgeous woman! Just had to say that. I’m glad someone who looks like her lives in the world.

But back to real life …. I think you’re smart to deliberate carefully ANY hair decision you’re considering — not to avoid making a decision, but to carefully recall and inspect your true wishes and goals. This is why hairdressing salons and wine bars should never, ever share lodgings. ;)


Try on some wigs in a shorter style…it gives you a “visual.” I luv my short in the back, long on the sides and choppy side swept bangs. Honestly, I get compliments all the time on my hair (THANK YOU SUZANNE!!!) and I’m 73 years young! franki


Franki, that’s 2 votes for short back long sides -and I’m 73, too. So would love to see some pix of this. Possible, Vicki?

Mimi Gregor

Make that 3 votes for short back, longer sides. It’s called a “reverse long-angled bob”, or sometimes a “lob”. I used Google to look for pictures of what I wanted, but it was finally when watching Downton Abbey that I saw the very style I wanted — when Lady Mary got her hair bobbed! I downloaded a picture of that to take to my stylist, but as a fan of the show, she knew exactly what I was talking about. I love it because it provides the feminine touch of slightly longer hair in the front, but it is short enough that it takes very little time to style. I used to have very short hair when I was younger, and I had to wash it every morning. What a time-consuming process at the very time of day when I need more time! Now I can wash my hair in the evening (which I find more convenient) and sleeping on it doesn’t ruin the style because it is not overly short. (In fact, sleeping on it makes it look sleeker.)

Anne Eccles

We all look at models in photographs and are convinced by them. I found myself walking down a Stockholm Street behind a famous Swedish model with long, long white hair. I had been inspired to stop dying and go white, looking at photos of her. But in real life, even well-dressed, not standing in front of a fan in fabulous lighting, she looked dowdy and dare I say it, a little witch-like. She’s a beautiful woman, but her hair, even with an obvious inserted ‘puff’ at the top, was dragging and not complimentary. I had my long silver hair cut to clear my shoulders, always my favorite length, right after seeing her. Suddenly my entire look lifted, not just my hair. It swings and moves. Short-short, you lose the drama of gray/white, but long-long is, in real life, a downer.


She is gorgeous and younger, so she can pull off the long grey hair. I believe on older ladies it is aging, unless in an upsweep. A good friend of mine wears her long hair up ala Katherine Hepburn style. She always looks put together and elegant. A mid length bob is very becoming to most of us. I’ve been growing mine out from very short to mid length and liking it.

Sue Malizia

I love the look of stylish, longer grey hair, if it’s healthy and conditioned. I’m in the process (8 months in) of going grey and currently my length is a bit shorter than I like…hoping to let it grow longer…if I can just keep the scissors out of my reach! Whenever I seem to get in a funk about my hair…I start trimming it and then end up calling to make an appointment. Be stronger (than me) and wait a day before doing anything. =)


I just measured my this morning ! Not with a tape measure but according to the bra strap, shoulder blades etc.
It is about even with the strap .. I am an old woman with long grey hair and 3 cats … I don’t know what to say ~


My hair is really white, not grey if that makes any difference. I never had grey hair. It went straight to white making the blonde just look more blonde, so I am not complaining about my hair color. Some people think I bleach it lol


Mine is also completely white – but short – almost like a Kim Novak style – I get compliments from all range of ages as the colour is so natural – but am asked how I “get it so almost silver” which is the rage at the moment – I smile and enjoy the flattery as I was mortified once how “white” I am????


Take your time and think it through, remember how long it takes to grow it back! That being said, it’s always important to get a good cut, regardless the length. Mine is nearly elbow length and I finally worked up the nerve to make a haircut appointment yesterday… it is a big decision!

Mimi Gregor

Never, EVER, make such a decision when you are feeling bad, whether due to a cold or some malaise. Only when you are feeling on top of the world already. Okay? You’ll avoid a world of hurtin’ this way.


My hairdresser bleached out all my dyed brown hair, added in some foils of caramel and I left the salon with grey hair and a stunning short bob. Never had so many compliment’s. 5 years later it’s in a slightly longer bob just below my ears, and all natural quite white hair. Never felt better and still getting compliments on the colour and the style.


I’m 56, mostly blonde, as my grandmother likes to say, silver threads among the gold. I’ve let my hair grow long, about 2 inches above my bra strap, but lately it’s bringing me down. Sometimes I think I look younger but not always, so there’s the rub. I’m now considering cutting it just below my collarbones with a few layers. The nice thing about hair is that it grows but the right thing to do is always on my mind…


Vicki, I’ve not got grey hair (yet!) but I’m now in the condundum as to whether I should have it cut shorter even though it is not long. I am currently on holiday in St Remy and if you are here also you will know we have temperatures of 38-40 degrees!! I’ve not had really short hair since I was in my teens and now seriously considering visiting a hairdressers in town and asking for a shorter cut!! I figure it will grow soon and will, hopefully, make me feel cooler and less stressed about what the weather is making me feel. A change is aa good as a rest, so they say!! If you can recommend a good hairdressers in town, please email me!!’


Oh Vicki, I soooo agree with Mimi – don’t do anything until you feel perkier! Our skin never looks its best when we are feeling a bit dowdy and there is nothing worse than a cold or jet lag to do that.
For what its worth, I think you ‘carry’ your grey beautifully and the length suits you. DON’T do anything.

Allison Stanbury

My mother always said, “If in doubt do nought!”
Truly, never ever make decisions when you’re unwell. As a yoyo expert in life majoring in hair length and weight oscillation, my advice is leave it. You are nearly at the length you desire. Get there and enjoy it and if you’re still not convinced…cut it and do it with conviction!
I think the long grey hair works if there is eyebrow definition. You need that to add drama.
Hang in there.

Jenny Barton

Born with basic British mousy hair, I started going grey in my thirties, hated it, so went honey blonde and stayed that way, with the classic jaw length bob, until I retired at sixty. Then I moved to Provence, and spent a couple of years growing it so I could put it up in the summer, but saw my grandmother every time I looked in the mirror. Finally, two years ago, I cut it short. Very short, Judi Dench short. I love it. I get up, get in the shower, run my hands through it, scrub in some wax or gel, and that’s that. No styling, just healthy grey hair and a fabulous cut. If I say so myself, I look 10 years younger. BUT I agree with everyone else in that never, never, never, do you take a decision to change when you’re in a negative frame of mind. Love the idea of trying on wigs, though.

Anita Rivera

Good morning Vicki! I am finding myself at your page a day late….

I so understand the dilemma with allowing my hair to grow. I gave it a try many times in the last 4 years, to let it grow. And for some odd reason, right when you are at mid-length, that impulse hits you and suddenly, you want to go get it all chopped off, which was the result of my episode a while back. I am however, pleased with the pixie cut I have now and will probably keep it. As a busy teacher, I think this is the best cut for me now. But now looking at Manon (my goodness, where do all these gorgeous French women come from!), I’m wondering about allowing my hair to grow, again!

I think confidence, the greatest thing that we can gain from these moments, grows just like anything else. I find that I “cut off” my confidence when I feel frightened when I look at my almost 60 year old self with long hair. The inner growth that takes place and is rewarded by an unwavering confidence is the real beauty issue here, and that will take a life time to grow.

mona turner

I’m agree with Mimi and Sue! What advice did you get from your daughters?

Cathy C

Hi Vicki,
I am a little late to the conversation but I think you should 1) go get a relaxing Swedish massage for your achy limbs, then 2) go get a professional shampoo and blow out. Sometimes we just need some professional help that doesn’t include scissors! Bon weekend!

Deborah Peterson Milne

I am jealous of your long gray locks. Wear it long as ‘long’ as you can. xx


I live in a mostly retirement city…….and most of the women look exactly alike which then makes them invisible. It’s like the “uniform”. Once in a while an “older” woman will make you do a double take because she did not succumb to weight gain, or lucked out with genetics, believe me I know how hard it is to keep the stomach area from expanding. It’s not that she’s trying to look young, its just that she has classic, ageless,timeless clothing on, and hair that she knows suits her, not cut in a way that says it’s what she’s supposed to do at her age. Money has nothing to do with it. You either have class and style and or you don’t. You either take care of yourself or you don’t and no haircut long or short can hide that. Nothing wrong with capris, it’s just that they have to be the right style and length for your body type, not just a long baggy short to hide aging legs. . You have to resist what society says you should be wearing at your age. And a precision cut with every hair in place is not automatically going to make you look younger or classier. A little messy, a little unkempt, a little wind blown is usually a better look. Just my opinion..


Ooooh Lulu, you have nailed it with these comments – thank you! I wear my hairr long but well maintained by regular visits to the hairdresser and often question whether I should cut it all off and then I realise my hair gives me confidence, makes me part of who I am. I am not a conformist, never have been, and whilst I don’t enjoy the ‘spotlight’ particularly, nor do I want to just blend. Sometimes it’s hard not to let those little self-doubts creep up on us and reading your comments, has and will continue to keep that upright posture in line and a bounce in my step for a while longer. Oh yes!! One of the best comments I have ever seen on a blog.


Thanks sue, I have the same length and color hair of the pic above. I get compliments all the time, but it doesn’t mean I dont have self doubt that hits me every now and then and I get the “oh geez, I need to cut my hair anxiety” but then I wash it blow dry it, or just let it go natural, and I think, hell no, I’m not cutting, this is glorious!

Esther Mangione

I feel that gray hair has to be shiny to look good, regardless of the length. The glossiness is what makes it, and you, look young and vibrant. If it’s dull and coarse it looks “old” regardless of the length.

Adrienne Bedington

I am 61 and had my white hair ( missed out on the grey) long for many years! One day my hairdresser asked if I had ever considered a perm! I looked at her in horror! I have time now, she said and proceeded to perm my hair. The results were amazing – bouncy, soft curls. I absolutely loved it! I still have the curls (2years later) but have taken them shorter, just below my chin, and scrunch them to make my hair fuller as it has always been very fine and thin.
I have people stopping me in the street, saying how much they love my hair. I have so much more confidence now as for 59 years no one mentioned my hair at all!!
Embrace the grey girls!


I’m new to this blog but this post caught my eye. I have silver white hair. Love the color . I wear it in what once was called a ‘neckline’ style. Old fashioned I know but what I can’t stand about long hair is hair all over the floor! Hair in the shower, hair in the sink, long hair on the floor, hair everywhere! I know it happens with short hair , too, but it’s so much easier to clean up. Guess I’m more of a clean freak than I thought. Love your blog. Love all things French, too, but being 68, short hair is a necessity for me.

Pheb Botha

There is no limits to long grey hair ! Keep it clean and styled and forever young – that is 100% most Beautiful


I’ll 60 in May this year and my hair is the longest it’s ever been (past my shoulders). I’m only starting to go grey and I love it. I think you are beautiful and very elegant with your long grey hair. I sincerely hope you don’t cut it. Love, Joan.

Deirdre Capell

Crowning glory and don’t cut. HV hd waist length hair all my life am 63 and it works for me. French rolls, buns, braids …every day can be different.


You look gorgeous with your long grey locks and it helps hugely that you dress like you do. Makes all the difference when you are stylish and adventurous and on trend clothing and makeup wise. Trim it but don’t cut it short!


Truly, I believe it is the way you wear the whole look ….. Long hair on an older woman only works if you have serious style. Bohemian Chic or Sophisticated Elegance work well. All the women who wear clothing too young for them, too casual, too scruffy …. It just draws attention to an older face. And it is very important to wear colours which accentuate your skin as grey (in my case silver white) hair draws the colour out of your face …. And the more there is of the hair then the more important adding clothing colour is! In my case, one of my best purchases? Silk Scarves in my best colours – bright lavender, cerise pink, and cornflakes blue.


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