The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Little Red Riding Vogue: An introduction to the wig theory

Photo Credit: Indigo Baloch

As someone who’s interested in fashion, I can’t overlook all of the different possibilities for fashion—all of the places where I can perfect my look. If I’m really trying to put something together, every detail matters. If I’m invested in a look, my accessories, hair, and makeup will communicate the look as well.

In high school I discovered the wonders of hair dye. My hair has been brown, black, a natural red, orange, fire-engine red, black with blond on the bottom, black with blue on the bottom, magenta, hot pink, blond, purple. And with every color I found a new piece of myself. It was like finishing a paint-by-number puzzle. As you get the puzzle together and paint the pieces, you can see more clearly what the picture is.

I developed what I called “The Wig Theory”—the idea that if I changed my hair, I could be someone else, the way and actress becomes a different character with different hair and makeup styling. It was so freeing and exhilarating. And as someone who changes their mind constantly, I found myself changing my hair on a monthly basis—if not weekly.

Unfortunately, as many of my fellow hair dye junkies can attest, there is a breaking point. If you dye and bleach your hair too much, you’ll kill it. When I had it blond, I had bleached it too quickly—leaving my hair falling out in chunks at the end. It felt like straw and it had to go.

I went back to a salon for the first time in about four years and got my hair trimmed into a short bob. I had it dyed back to my natural dark brown and got extensions. And I waited for it to grow back strong and healthy.

Fast forward a year and my hair had grown long enough that I could cut off the ends and have completely healthy virgin hair. It was so soft I could hardly believe it was my hair—the hair I’d grown used to being so rough and ugly. I never wanted to dye it again.

But soon, I found temptation nagging me and giving my bangs a trim wasn’t quite enough. I was losing my mind when I stumbled upon a fashion blog on Tumblr. The blogger wore different colored contacts and wigs every day to make each outfit unique. The incomprehensible amount of combinations knocked me off my feet. I was in love.

So I started doing research. I found places to get good, but cheap, colored contacts and circle lenses. I ordered a few high quality wigs and a bulk of cheap ones. When I posted a picture of myself suddenly having long auburn hair and blue eyes, no one even questioned it—they just all loved my new look. I felt empowered and excited.

I started changing it up more often—blond with green eyes, black and white hair with blue eyes, silver hair with brown eyes. Some people would ask about the thought process behind it all, but I never encountered anyone judging me to my face.

And my morning routine was so quick! I never had to worry about having a bad hair day! I would pull together an outfit, decide which color hair would look best with that color scheme, and coordinate my contacts with my makeup.

I was just starting out at Chatham, and no doubt I was confusing people during orientation, but people thought it was fun. They’d ask to see my wigs and try them on. And eventually, my natural hair grew longer and that was enough for me. I packed up my wigs and contacts and settled for brown hair and brown eyes. I was becoming more of a professional and it felt like a more professional look. Eventually I tried a subtle ombré and loved that as well.

But I was started to feel stuffy and boring—and getting a septum piercing just wasn’t enough. My tattoo artist told me her hair stylist was a wizard with color and I started looking up colorful hair. I settled on a red ombré and had it done over Spring Break.

Now here’s the deal. I’m sure people might look at the color of my hair and think I’m less professional than I really am. I have piercings, tattoos, and bright red hair. In some people’s minds, that means I’m not a professional. But I’ll never understand that. I would never judge someone’s skills by the color of their skin—so why would someone judge me by the color of my hair?

To be fair, no one has approached me about my hair yet, but this isn’t just about me. As the last print version of this column this year, I’m asking that we all look at the people around us and appreciate the way they look. Let us love each other’s scars and blemishes. Let us not judge people for their weight or their height. Let us not judge a book by its cover. I promise not to judge you if you can return the favor.

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