I’ve had a fringe for over 10 years (the only part of that ‘interesting’ Ann Widdecombe-esque bowl cut that I got from a student hairdresser which still remains) and although it took me a while to get used to it, it eventually became a core part of my ‘look’.
It may seem hard to believe now, but in the early noughties having a fringe was a statement - visual shorthand for being ‘a bit indie'. It had a retro feel, reminiscent of '50s pin-ups like Bettie Page, or a cool, weird ‘80s vibe like Kate Bush. After spending so many years feeling ‘different’, I finally found a way to be comfortable with my outsider status – even embrace it – and my fringe was a symbol of that.
Then indie/retro/alt style became something the mainstream wanted a piece of and instead of being an oddball, my look was acceptable. You could buy 'vintage style' sundresses and brogues and satchels in Topshop, and celebrities were getting in on the act, adopting a kooky, ‘geek girl’ look for extra cool points. And they got fringes. And I got mad, in a “get off my lawn, stop copying my hair!” childish kind of way.
Pop stars and actresses seem to think that a fringe is a shortcut to edginess - it's as if they turned to a quaking hair stylist and barked "I wanna look indie, gimme bangs!" I don’t know if I’m reading too much into this (er, probably? definitely?) but I’m just not buying it – it seems so calculated.
A good fringe can be shaggy, sexy, rock 'n' roll, falling into the eyes in choppy pieces, or glamorous and flicked out at the sides like a Roxy Music heroine. It can be short and sweet, gamine above bold brows, whispy and ethereal, or crisp with a precise edge. But it has to look like a natural part of you.
These late adopters never look entirely comfortable with their shiny, glossy, lash-skimming bangs – they know they haven’t earned the right! Also, they'd look just as hot without fringes (and they know it), so they should leave them to those of us who need them. Huff.
Here is my list of celebrities who wear fringes ‘authentically’ and those who are fringe arrivistes, in my not-remotely-irrational opinion:
Bang To Rights (were probably born with a fringe):Zooey Deschanel (she’s practically built her career on being the ‘kooky girl with bangs’ and I’m not going to argue with her), Alexa Chung, Chrissie Hinde, Liv Tyler, Daisy Lowe, Patty Smith, and the queens of the micro-fringe, Audrey Tautou and Audrey Hepburn.
Fringe Frauds (too heavy, too blunt, bit like a fringe-wig):
Jessica Biel, Cheryl Cole, Katy Perry, Rachel Bilson, Katie Holmes, Heidi Klum, Kim Kardashian, Rose Byrne. See how sheepish they look?
There are some women who get a fringe cut in and look totally amazing - I am thinking specifically of Michelle Obama and Gywneth Paltrow. I'm letting them in the club (I'm sure they'll be delighted). The jury's still out on Taylor Swift but I think I'll probably let her in too 'cos she's so awesome.
Last year, sick of every woman and her dog now sporting the same hairstyle as me, I grew out my fringe in a grand gesture that was essentially cutting off my nose to spite my face. I missed it so much and didn’t feel like ‘me’, so I cut it back in and the relief was enormous.
I guess my sense of identity really is that tied up with my hair and I can’t help feeling wary of those who seem to be encroaching on my style turf. Which is silly, I know, but there it is – I suppose it’s like feeling irritated when everyone gets into a band you’ve loved for ages and you don’t get any credit. Give me credit! That’s all I’m asking for – recognition!
Ok, rant over. Now tell me, am I bonkers for feeling possessive over fringes - you can't trademark a haircut, right? Also, do you have a signature style and if so, have you felt annoyed if it’s become popular?