Monday, October 21, 2013

How to Pick A Cute Work Hairstyle

I apologize that I missed last Monday's post. I'm going to try post two times this week to make up for it (insert gasps and cheers from all 20 people that read this blog regularly and never comment). This week I decided to go with a less substantial topic that still impacts engineers: hairstyles.

In an all male environment, it's hard to find inspiration for ways to spice up boring hair days. Something about wearing your hair completely down and having it look nice by the end of the day is a concept that completely evades me. Perhaps it is because of the hardhat I have to occasionally don, perhaps it is my hair's natural proclivity for knots,  or perhaps I just fidget too much. Any way you slice it,  I need a hairstyle that is cute while still being durable enough to deal with a full day of work.

Everyone has a day like this sometimes...

While I considered posting pictures and instructions for the different styles I like, I realized this is a solved problem and that there are in fact dozens (if not hundreds) of videos that show how to make every hairstyle I feel like I've invented. To that end, I scoured YouTube for engineer-proof hair tutorials, and have come up with the following:

Hair Tied Ponytail 

The simplest of these hairstyles is a sleek way to spice up the average ponytail. Hair wrapped ponytails hide your neon hair elastics, and make the hairstyle look office appropriate.

Rave reviews from one coworker say, "But...  Where does your hair end? "

French Braid Side Ponytail

This is a slightly more complex variation on the side ponytail. It only takes 10 minutes or less to do in the morning, so it won't cut back on your much needed sleep.

What my coworkers have to say about it: "Vanessa,  your hair confuses me."
"You must have magic to make hair do that."

Braided Bun

The braided bun is a great way to get a sleek look quick, when your hair is not cooperating. Cons are it isn't necessarily good for a hard hat, and it uses an ass-ton of bobby pins (which is relevant for workplaces which regulate the amount of metal you have). 

One day,  when I was wearing my hair in a Braided bun,  my coworker found a bobby pin on the ground. While I was minding my own business typing an email,  he slipped it into my hair and said, " I believe this belongs to you." Truth is, he was probably right because I was the only one wearing my hair up, but it was VERY uncomfortable anyways.

Side Bun

I'd love to say that I wear side buns instead of regular buns because they are more fashionable. But the truth is, my preference for side buns over regular buns is a result of the fact that regular buns make driving in a car quite literally a pain in the neck. There is nowhere to put your head that isn't super uncomfortable. I would venture to guess that the longer a commute a woman has, the less likely she is to wear a huge bun protruding from the back of her head.

So if you love buns, and hate neck-aches, here is a tutorial for how to make a quick side bun:

Standard fair. Poorly done you look like an angry librarian. Well done,  you look like you mean business.


Especially if you have shorter hair,  this is the easiest way to look like you tried with minimal effort. I recommend doing a side part,  or letting your bangs fall normally (if you have them)  so your bangs don't look like somebody out of an 80s work out video.

If you don't know how to use a hairband yet... than here is 5 ways to do so:

I go through prolonged hairband phases, and they usually involve solid colored hairbands. Although, I will admit that I was involved in the blinged out butterfly and flower hairband phase and am not entirely over it even though I am aware it is socially unacceptable.

That's all for now. Variety is the spice of life, so try a new hairstyle tomorrow!




  1. I enjoyed reading this post, but are there supposed to be pictures? I don't see any for some reason.

    1. There should have been videos, I'll see if I can fix it. Thanks for the tip!

  2. I laughed so hard at your descriptions of your co-workers' reactions to the various hairstyles! Btw, for the braided bun, try using Goody Spin Pins. I have unmanageable, previously un-bunnable (is that a word? well, it is now) straight Asian hair and those pins work magic, I tell you. Might need a few more bobby pins for the strays, but not nearly as much without them.

    This blog is going onto my Newsblur as a regular read - I'm a brand new female engineer starting her first job on Monday. This will be considered research and prep for the job. ;)

    1. I've been eyeing those pins for a while, but I couldn't tell if they actually worked or if I was just going to end up with another hair product to fill up my odds and ends drawer. I'll definitely go out and try them now!

      And I'm glad you've enjoyed the blog so far! Congratulations on your new job- I hope our random experiences help make the transition from school to the "real world" an easy transition. :)

    2. Haha, please let me know how it goes!

      The job has been great so far. No incidents yet, but I'm well aware things will happen. Is there anywhere I could email you or the blog owners in general? I'm hesitant to put my info here for the same reason you guys don't freely disclose your names and such.

    3. Sure! you can reach us at: pocketprotectorandheels at gmail dot com. Very original, right?

  3. Oh my goodness! Thank you! As the only (and first) full time, female engineer at my plant I appreciate your insights! I have no one who's 'been there' to talk to.

    Btw-the guys were completely befuddled by my very simple French braid. It's all magic to the crew-cut crowd!

    1. Glad we could help! Good luck at your plant!

      And yeah, isn't it funny how fascinated they are by the most simplistic hairstyles?


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