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Short Hair Styles for Dressing Up: 5 Simple Styles That Anyone Can Do

Updated on April 18, 2012

A few months ago, I made a life changing decision. Cue the dramatic music now.

I got my hair cut.

Now please, don't think that this is a dramatic overstatement of the case. Alright, maybe it is just a little bit. I'll give that much to you. But you must realize that from the time I was about three years old my hair has been long, and for a long time it was practically down to my waist. And coming from a tall girl that means very, very long. A couple of years ago I thought I went radical and got it cut to about an inch past my shoulders, but that was partially an accident and it kept growing and growing until one day about three months ago when I went to get it "trimmed" again.

I have a dear friend who very kindly cuts my hair for me. And her mother is a professionally trained cosmetologist, so she can get us out of any trouble we might get ourselves into in the hair department. But a dangerous question was asked "What do you want me to do with it?" And I, being the adventurous type, said, "Oh, let's go short. Definitely. With lots of layers."

When she had finished, lo and behold, my hair was indeed short. Very, very short.

Just for a point of reference, about mid neck equals short in my book. And then I had to figure out the next step because I was used to at least a foot of hair to play with and style however I chose. So I went seeking inspiration for how to dress my tresses, and found it aplenty on the internet.

Curly Girl

As long as you have the right size of curling iron barrel, you can go as tightly or loosely curled as you like. Just be careful not to get it too tight-- you might end up with a fro, if you have enough layers!

Depending on what kinds of products and how you do it, this can be more of a messy look, or a very organized, deliberate style. Just make sure to find a way to keep the hair from falling in your eyes constantly!

Curls that are carefree and fun...
Curls that are carefree and fun...
... or a more sophisticated, glamorous way of styling curls.
... or a more sophisticated, glamorous way of styling curls.

Straight and Sweet

It's definitely a lot quicker than curling and can still give off the image of class, sass, or whatever you like. Just do it with confidence!

You can use a straightener, or if your hair is short enough a 1.5 inch curling iron should take out any frizz and make all of the ends go the same direction. Again, a styling mousse or spray should help it stay put, and a quick touch of hairspray makes it last for hours.

A full crown with an accent is charming for straight hair.
A full crown with an accent is charming for straight hair.
Very modern and chic, and extremely low maintenance.
Very modern and chic, and extremely low maintenance.

Updos for Uptown

Who said short hair meant you had to say goodbye to updos? It make take a few more hairpins (and hairspray!) than it did when it was longer, but you can still have it all piled up.

You should realize that you probably will have little bits of hair that won't go up, no matter how hard you try. Just love it, and make them part of the look. Soft curls or straight strands can be beautiful, and add interest to the style. So have fun with it!

A simple, pretty knot of curls.
A simple, pretty knot of curls.
A rather free-spirited updo, without any curling.
A rather free-spirited updo, without any curling.
Lots of volume helps hide where shorter strands of hair have been pinned back.
Lots of volume helps hide where shorter strands of hair have been pinned back.

Go Retro!

Short hair was rarely heard of before the Roaring Twenties, and became more popular throughout the following decades due to rationing at home during World War II and then fashion trends in the '50s.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love all things retro, and the hair is no exception. So claim that style and make it your own! And most of all, have fun with it.

Below, top: Though it looks like a typical '40s updo, Bette Davis' hair is short in this still from "Now, Voyager." The bangs are poufed in the front and pinned back, and the sides are combed back and held in place with combs. With a modern twist it would hold it's own for it's unique look and strong statement.


Below, center: The queen of style, Audrey Hepburn, has a short do here, with lots of teasing at the crown of the head and smooth side swept bangs. Very chic and feminine.


Below, bottom: Myrna Loy owns those curls, and you can to. A modern curling iron or classic pin curls should give you the very pretty head of curls often associated with the glamorous stars of the past.

Bette Davis
Bette Davis
Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn
Myrna Loy
Myrna Loy

Half Up, Half Down

These styles are extremely versatile, giving you straight or curled options, lots of volume or not. They also give you ability to keep your hair away from your face without taking all the extra time that and updo does. Take your pick, and have fun with all the different things you can do!

Though this isn't a particularly short hairstyle, it show how just taking up a small section of hair gives you an opportunity to change your look completely.
Though this isn't a particularly short hairstyle, it show how just taking up a small section of hair gives you an opportunity to change your look completely.
This one is sleek with lots of volume on top.  It's minimalist and understated.
This one is sleek with lots of volume on top. It's minimalist and understated.
One of my favorites is to pull back just one side and accessorize with a statement piece like a flower or a fancy barette.
One of my favorites is to pull back just one side and accessorize with a statement piece like a flower or a fancy barette.

How do you do your 'Do?

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