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Long Hair at 50

Who says you have to cut your hair short after a certain age? One woman revels in defying the rules

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  • The author; photo by Nevio Raggazini

    Like hemlines, hair lengths say a lot about an era—and the women who are part of it. My paternal grandmother, a spirited young WASP in the '20s, bobbed her long, strawberry-blond hair against the wishes of her prim, bun-wearing mother. My maternal grandmother, on the other hand, was an Armenian immigrant who had escaped the Turkish massacres and wore a long, black braid down her back into her 80s. My own mother cropped her hair à la Audrey Hepburn in the 1950s and wears it short to this day. She raised three daughters, myself included, whose hair she shorn as short as a boy's until we were old enough to rebel. Today, my sisters and I—ages 44, 48 and 50, respectively—all choose to wear our hair long.

    But back to hemlines. Why is it that, as we get older, society expects our skirts to get longer and our hair shorter? The general rule is that, after a certain age, women should opt for longer skirts and shorter hair. But how good a miniskirt or long past-your-shoulder-hair looks doesn't necessarily depend on age. What it comes down to, quite simply, is good health and the proper attitude. Whether or not 50 really is the new 40, things certainly aren't what they were just half a century ago.

Long Hair at 50
Who says you have to cut your hair short after a certain age? One woman revels in defying the rules
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