The idea of reinvention, whether it is for a career, style or otherwise, seems to be a continuous trend in our culture. We thrive on the idea that everyone is capable of changing, improving and altering themselves to better their lives. And such need to change, improve and reinvent can be seen in the American college culture — the idea that for four years, we have the ability to constantly recreate ourselves and become different people to somehow find out our true identity.
When it comes to fashion and change, the two are almost synonymous. Each year, we wait for the latest collections or the newest items in stores, to dictate what, for the next few months, will be in style. But one of the simplest and most economical modes of transformation is the traditional back-to-school haircut.
It seems that we all want to return looking noticeably different — in a good way. We want our appearances to reflect the ideal of a life-altering summer, and many of us do so by taking a trip to the hair salon. After restyling, recoloring or just getting a trim, when we look in the mirror, there is almost an instant boost of confidence — we know that for the next two days, our salon product-filled look will be perfect.
But how can a few inches shorter, or a few shades lighter truly change or rein- vent a person? Take a look at celebrities such as Miley Cyrus or Lady Gaga, who both recently made drastic alterations to their looks — Cyrus opted for a short, edgy platinum cut, while Gaga ditched the blonde wigs and went for a natural, brunette hairstyle. Not only did these looks make headlines, they also marked a moment of change for both artists — new music, new style, the birth of a star different from the one that was previously known. It’s almost as if by seeing the stylistic changes of celebrities, we know that other changes will follow perhaps a new album or a new film. But this thought process can also be applied to anyone.
It seems that through the physically transformative process of adopting a new hairstyle, people seek to change other aspects of their lives as well. Freeing oneself from a hairstyle that has been worn for years shines a new light not only on how one looks in the mirror, but also on how one feels. The literal lightness and rejuvenation one feels after inches are cut away can be described as nothing but refreshing — imagine that just a pair of scissors and a comb can make a true difference in one’s life.
That haircut can be a symbolic first step to change. So go ahead and get the look you’ve always wanted. A new haircut can open doors to a new style and a perhaps even a new mindset.
A version of this article appeared in the Sunday, Aug. 25 print edition. Dana Rezsutek is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.