Fashion writing gets a bad rap. It’s dismissed as frivolous, shallow, and consumerist—despite the fact that it often connects serious issues like identity, culture, and sustainability.
But occasionally fashion writing veers into something called Fashun, wherein advice and trends are espoused to an audience so small and rarefied, a normal person can have one of two reactions: confusion or lolz.
The UK Guardian’s fashion section exhibited the latter recently with a piece about the latest beauty trend: tucking one’s hair behind one’s ear. Yes, you read that right. The desk of a respected national newspaper is extolling the chicness of using a body part for…well…its intended purpose.
Now, if you are anything like me, you might be thinking—”Wait I’ve been doing that approximately 1,242 times per day since I had hair long enough to tuck. Does this mean I’m a trend-setter?!” Sorry, but no. Because you, dear reader, are probably not Fashun. Allow the Fashun people at the Guardian to illustrate the difference:
Tucked-behind-the-ears hair boils down to practicality. Which is precisely why it is in vogue now, at a moment when fashion is more engaged with women’s real lives than it has been for years. Just-stepped-out-of-a-salon bounce is much less on-trend than it was a few years ago. The cool salons report that while ladies who lunch of a certain age still keep their twice-weekly standing blow-out appointments, younger clients are dropping the habit. Tucking hair behind your ears – which would have been sacrilege if you had just paid £30 for someone to wield a hot brush for volume around your hairline – looks right again.
You see, those of us who don’t have the budget for bi-weekly blow dries have been suffering with limp, unkempt hair for ages. What the Guardian fashion team terms “in vogue practicality” is what we call mindlessly tucking our hair behind our ears just before the woosh of air preceding the train blows past, or before we take a bite of a particularly messy sandwich at our desks, or while we’re rinsing our mouths out after brushing our teeth. But for the Fashun set, practicality is not, well, practical; it’s a look.
I would hold less scorn for this display of Fashun if there was at least some ornamentation or aspiration involved. That, after all, is what fashion is all about—right? But save for two vague references to “barrettes” (that’s bobby pins to normal people), there is no actual fashion involved here. This piece tells me nothing I should buy to attain this look. They quote experts who tell us things as blindingly obvious as “I can’t work with hair in my eyes, so that’s how it started.” Disappointingly, I could have told them that.
I suppose I can take solace in the fact that this moment will not last forever, of course. Fashun will move on. My hair, on the other hand, will not. It will remain firmly tucked behind my ear.