Even so, not everyone is enamored of the over-40 long-hair trend. Salon AKS co-owner Alain Pinon believes that a shorter haircut is often a better way to go. “Women are in great shape in their 40s,” he says. “Long hair hides your shoulders, your neck and your bone structure—it closes everything up. We’re still attached to the idea that long hair is very feminine and that men like it better that way. But when you go short, everybody steps back and looks at you differently.”
And it goes without saying that one needs to dress appropriately to balance the look. “If you have long hair and you’re wearing age-appropriate clothing, it looks perfect, finished,” says Lauder. “But if you have long hair and very young clothing, it looks bizarre.”
Here, McMillan wouldn’t disagree: “If you’re going to have long hair, keep the outfit simple. A lot of women I see in Malibu, they’re overtanned, their long hair overstreaked. They think they’re twinsies with their daughters, and that’s not appropriate. When you’re in your 40s, you’ve got to keep it chic and simple. Do a long bang that swoops to the side with soft layers around the face, or a low ponytail like Carolyn Bessette. She was the perfect example of chic long hair.”
In fact, Lauder also cites the late Kennedy wife as a long-haired icon of hers. “I used to always rip out pictures of her and wanted to get my hair cut like that,” she confesses. “That’s who inspired me to cut layers.”
Me too. And so on days when my own layers aren’t cooperating, I opt for that low ponytail. Not that I remotely fancy myself resembling Bessette. Okay, maybe from behind.