Nearly every day, one of my clients will make a comment like, “I’m a lawyer. Is a trendy haircut appropriate for my office?” Of course, just you can know for sure if you can pull off a fresh haircut at work. Here are several tips for determining if your style is right for your office:
- Take a look around. What are your coworkers wearing? If the style you desire is too far from the office norm, you may not be able to pull it off — unless, of course, you’re specifically looking to stand out from the pack. Take this approach carefully as you may cause your coworkers to become uncomfortable if you stray too far.
- Ask the boss. If you’re considering a dramatic change of style like shaving your head or doing an extreme design, ask your boss if he or she thinks it would be appropriate. If the boss says it’s okay, you’re good to go. It’s always better to ask permission first than to deal with the negative consequences later.
- Consider your clients. If you work in the type of job that requires you to see clients or interact with the public, consider how your choice of style will be perceived by them. For example, a pharmaceutical representative who calls on a conservative set of doctors may not be able to pull off long hair.
- Be mindful of your age. While a youthful hairstyle will almost always give you a younger look and help you maintain your edge, it is important to consider whether the style will make you look like you’re trying too hard to be young. A faux hawk may look good for a guy who is 25, but will likely look ridiculous on a man who is 50.
Now that you’ve considered the angles, there are still ways to pull off a trendy or “out of the norm” style in the office. Here’s how:
- Dress it up. Want to wear long hair or a buzzcut in a conservative office? Pair your hairstyle with the right suit and you complete the package. Your hair is simply only one part of your look, so if you dress up the rest of your total look, you provide balance. Following basic fashion, rules are key to completing a great look.
- Keep your options open. If you don’t feel the haircut you want is appropriate for the office, get a cut that will allow you a few styling options. For example, a short layer cut can be combed neatly for the office and worn with a bit of gel or pomade in a variety of cool styles outside the office.
While there are ways you can pull of a trendy or aggressive haircut at the office, make sure to consider all of the angles before you take the plunge. A really cool haircut won’t do much for you in the unemployment line.