The Article: Guidance for Short-Haired Girls

Posted in Daily Outfits, Writing.

I’m fond of a blog post series – I now run quite a few on A Little Bird, including Sunday Smile, The Blog Issue, As Inspired By… and Outfit Archives. There’s always room for another, though! The Article: series is my chance to write more journalistic pieces about fashion, beauty, life, love… you get the idea.


Two years ago, I was sitting in a swanky salon – all leather seats, minimal decor and glossy magazines – staring at my reflection ruefully. An hour before I had shoulder length tresses, but now I was flashing some serious neck. I’d had the snip, and at first it was just as painful as its surgical namesake (probably).

There’s just something about short hair. People refer to you as ‘edgy’ and ‘directional’. You become an elfin girl with a pixie cut. And you’re brave too – short hair is a sign of courage, apparently. Something about having ‘nothing to hide behind’, like all our long-haired sisters are peering out from behind a hair curtain, Cousin It-style.

After a two year relationship with less-than-long locks, I can happily proclaim my undying love for the crop. No straighteners. No paddle brushes. No clips or curlers or instruments of tortu… erm, Bumpits. However, there are some rules us short haired girls should live by, to avoid muddles over gender or The Bald Effect (TM). And if there’s one thing I’ve learned during my years of neck exposure, it’s this…

Be very, very careful with ‘boyfriend clothing’. 

The general premise behind ‘boyfriend clothing’ is that you’re a toned, tanned, tumble-haired beauty who’s slipped on her man’s jeans/shirt/tee/tie (that last one’s maybe a bit Ellen DeGeneres) after a night of Hollywood-standard passion. You’re so in love that wearing his clothes makes you feel closer to him, or maybe you wear them because you can’t be bothered ironing your pencil skirt after leaving it in a crumpled heap on his bedroom floor. Whichever, it’s sexy, it’s adorable and with all that bed-head hair, it’s feminine too.

Wearing your boyfriend’s clothes without that hair, however, is dangerous. Because from behind (and sometimes from the front if you’re hungover/out of blusher), you look like your actual boyfriend. Case in point – I have a lumberjack shirt in my wardrobe, oversized enough to be officially titled ‘the boyfriend shirt’. It’s designed to be worn loose and open with skintight jeans and a simple white tee. The epitome of boyfriend-borrowed style. But with short hair? I look like Zac Efron in High School Musical – wholesome yet rugged with subtly defined lashes.

I learned the hard way (being called ‘Sir’ while buying a calculator in Argos was a particular low point), but you, my dear short haired friends, can avoid any confusion over your physical composition AND wear your boyfriend’s shirt when you’re too lazy to do your washing, by following these simple tips.



Primark shirt, Topshop jeans, H&M tee, Primark brogues, Topshop ring

  • Give an oversized shirt shape by knotting it at the bottom or adding a belt around the waist
  • Team baggy pieces with form fitting ones – a loose shirt should be balanced with tight jeans
  • Dainty jewellery (like my Topshop bird ring and vintage watch) adds femininity
  • If in doubt, paint your nails and wear lipstick. Even Zac Efron doesn’t go that far!



Love it! I have had short hair on and off since I was 15 (as in I grow it out, get sick of it, hack it off and wonder why I ever grew it, only to try it again a year later!), however due to my ample size 24 figure, I’ve never been accused of being a man when wearing my androgynous clothing. Pregnant – yes, a butch dyke (my mother’s friend expressing that little gem within my earshot!)- yes, looking like my brother – yes…actually maybe that is the same as being accused of being a man?! Although one look of your lovely figure whoever called you sir was obviously blind!

Gem Fatale

Haha Jen I feel your pain! Since getting the snip about 4 or 5 years ago, I have had a few tricky moments. Some chavs were walking past me and Alex taking a romantic stroll along the seafront in our old town (at night, I hasten to add) and muttered ‘Queers’ at us!!
I find I have to overcompensate with makeup to stop looking overly boyish. It’s different now I’ve got a long fringe, though. If I’m wearing wearing something a bit androgynous, I’ll still add some fake lashes, or as you suggested, lippy, just to balance it out a bit.
I love your shorter hair, it looks perfect! It has made me have serious nostalgic pangs for my ‘pixie’ days!


WOW What a fab post! This is something that has bee really close to my heart – I am a short-haired girly and I have suffered countless derogatory comments about looking like a boy etc etc… even though I actually loved my short hair…. I am in the process of growing the short hair out, altho reading this and seeing your gorgeous hair is half tempting me to cut it short again…. decisions decisions.


I can’t believe you got called sir! That is some case of moobs. 🙂

I love short hair, it really doesn’t suit me any shorter than chin length, and I’m growing mine not so much for security but for wanting gorgeous long tresses. Well long tresses.



I miss my short hair so much!! Mine was once even shorter than yours…I have no fear of the scissors 🙂

I used to use it as the focus of my outfits and went for quite a gamine, sixties style. I also think you can get away with dressing super feminine as the short hair offsets the girliness just enough.

I definitely agree with the ‘boyfriend’ dressing issue though – now my hair is longer I am able to get away with wearing big baggy shirts and brogues without feeling too boyish. Yet when I put on my ‘short hair’ dresses I can sometimes feel a bit OTT.

So it works both ways! But I say make the most of short hair…it is fabulous, and not everyone can pull it off 🙂 xx

Little Scribbler

Well I haven’t been called ‘sir’ yet! Shame on them and their obvious partial blindness!
Wear the plaid shirt with pride. I tend to pair mine with dresses that are too short for me and necklaces only a girl would wear. Love it! x

pip a la chic

I haven’t been called ‘sir’ yet either. I’ve been asked if I was a boy though! I was so shocked… I had to stop myself from cursing at the poor little boy. With my pixie do I can now feel comfrotable wearing more girly outfits. But now dressing down is a challenge.
your hair looks great!!!


I think lumberjack shirts are difficult even when you’ve got long hair. I always feel quite mannish in mine so am contemplating putting on some extremely high heels next time I wear it as a contrast.

I really love your writing style Jen 🙂


Short hair is not something I would ever consider for myself, purely because I am far too shy. I must admit I think it’s a difficult one to pull off, but you always look fabulous and I think it really does make an impact on the way you dress. I know for one you look sophisticated and stylish, this hairstyle suits you perfectly.

The article series sounds intriguing; I will always enjoy reading what you write Jen, looking forward to more x

Pearl Westwood

What a great post Jen, also you should add heels to the list, even with hair longer than cousin It I need a heel to pull off anything boyfriend. I have never had a crop but when I was 14 I had my never-been-cut-before-hair cut into a jaw length bob, I hated it – so I have no idea why I then proceeded to shave the back of it off!! Anyway my high school years were spent growing out said cut with variations of colour along the way. My problem I think was that I looked very much like my little brother. Although my older brother has long golden locks (like the elf in lord of the rings) and was called a lesbian as he sat smooching his girl frind on the tram LOL x


Great post Jen, made me laugh. I had a crop some years ago and loved it until I was called Sir one too many times – once even when I was wearing a skirt! I’ve gone long again now but often swoon over cute crops…


These are great tips! I’ve always paired short hairdo’s with courage. Everyone, including yourself (and Emma Watson), look amazing with that haircut.

Also love your outfit. The shoes are definitely amazing.


Thanks for this – I’ve had short hair for all of about three months and I love it – got called a boy just once by an angry German person at college 😛
I’m quite glad of it though – it gives me the excuse to wear more makeup without looking trashy. My main problem is hats – all my old favourites suddenly make me look like a bald man :/


Oh dear, this reminds me of a mortifying day as a shy teenage shop assistant when I glanced at a customer and called her a gentleman. In my defence, she did have an actual skinhead and was very butch – not a dainty bird ring in sight!

I love short hair but sadly have a bit of a funny face so it doesn’t suit me!

Lavender hearts

this is wonderful advice – I too have short hair and love it, but some fashions don’t work as well and I find others do, especially the ones that celebrate the elfin look. 🙂

Little Scribbler

I know I’ve commented already bit I had to note that I nearly did myself a mischief reading the rest of these comments! GO SHORT HAIRED GIRLS! And long haired ones too!


I’ve been a short haired girl since I was 17! I don’t know what came over me then… but I love having short hair and couldn’t have long hair! Partly because I have the thickest hair ever, with the world’s smallest face… so it’s not a good look!!

Great post!


I LOVE this post, mainly because I had the chop about a month ago (and had it shaped around my ear only 2 weeks ago) and the days after were spent asking my dad if I looked like a male, to which he responded: “no, why? do you want to?” NO I DON’T!
I do adore my hair shorter though, I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner. I purchased my very first lipstick the other day to add a more feminine look to my make-up and to me in general and it was a definite good move!
Thanks for the tips though, I will be sure to keep them in mind 🙂

vint junky

Shorn haired girls rock!
I think it’s a very liberating thing, not to use your hair to define your feminity. I had mine cropped when i was 17, and disregarding one attempt at a long bob, it’s been short ever since. There are times i’d love long locks for just one day, and i have found myself staring wistfully at some girls glorious mane but it just doesn’t work with my peahead.
I’ve got the ‘guy’ thing too, just last week actually…and i was wearing lipstick and heels…not sure what he muist have thought of me!


Loved this article!

I have had short hair off and on since I was 15. (with the exception of very long hair during uni when I didn’t have enough money to keep paying for it to get cut so grew it instead!)

Anyway just had to share this story with you: went to a rehearsal for a show last night and couldn’t be bothered to brave the cold looking girly so threw on jeans and a hoody with a not-very-feminine hat. When I got there I heard one of the actors on the other side of the room (who knows me!) ask who the young boy was and what part was he playing!!


I absolutely know what you’re talking about!

I had short hair for the past 5 years (very, very short – we’re talking clippers here) and it was definitely a bravery thing. I was tired of being shy and taking a backseat socially, so I chopped off all my hair to create a new me.

I pretty much can’t ever do boyfriend clothes, as I’m a pronounced enough hourglass to look like a sack of potatoes in anything baggy (which is a shame, because my boyfriend has excellent taste in clothes!) and I used to have to be very careful as winter approached – heels became my uniform.

I’m growing my hair out now (it’s almost at my shoulders, excitingly!) and my much-loved form-fitting clothes look completely different in the context of a more feminine hairstyle. I only wanted to have long hair again when I actually wanted long hair, and now I do, I don’t mind the brushing so much.

Have you found that cutting your hair short makes it appear several shades darker? I thought I’d lost my blondeness over the years, but the longer my hair gets, the fairer it looks. There is probably some sort of Science behind this.


I LOVE this post a lot.
I’ve run into a lot of the same problems since going for the chop in May and this post made me laugh out loud in places!
THANK YOU very much for writing this piece. X


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