Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

February 25, 2008

Hair Advice for the Big Girl

Filed under: Absolutely Fabulous,Be Super Fantastic,Fashion,You Asked For It — Francesca @ 8:55 am

Our internet friend Marnie asks a Very Good Question:

It seems like every single big-girl catalog pic I see, the models have long full wavy tresses.  Am I, like, forbidden to have a bob?  Do I need to spend my time worrying about pig face?  Can we talk about flattering hairstyles for the full of face and appled of cheek?  Because honestly, I really don’t feel like spending a year growing out my locks, or dropping major $$$ on some horrible America’s Next Top Model-esque extensions.

Dear Marnie,

The first rule of looking good is feeling good. Nothing, nothing is ever “forbidden,” and you should wear your hair however it looks and feels good for you, yourself.

Why do the plus-size models tend to have long hair?

First, Francesca submits that most models in general have long hair. Some have short hair, but, seriously, most grow their hair because they have great hair. Great hair, great skin, great teeth . . . that is why they are models. And because they are models, they make the time and financial investment to keep their hair primped and pampered and coiffed just so every day, no matter how long it is, and to have a professional stylist make their hair look incredible before they have their photos taken. Because they are models.  If we base our ideas of what looks good from the models, well then, we’d want to be thin, too, you know? Forget about what looks good on the models, even the plus-size models. Let us talk about us, the people who live lives that involve blowing the hair dry in the two minutes between gulping down a glass of Sunny Delight for breakfast and getting the kids into the car at 7:35 a.m.

Indeed for many (but not all) of the larger women, cutting the hair very short CAN (but does not NECESSARILY) emphasize the roundness of face, or the double chin, or could make the head appear proportionately smaller in relation to the bigger body. Many women grow their hair bigger on top to balance out the amazonian proportions down below.

But again, so much depends on you, your body, your hair, and of course your style and your way of life. Do you have thin, curly hair which becomes limper and less curly the longer it gets? Then perhaps a chin-length style which maximizes the volume and curls is best for you. Have your friends been giving you hints that your “big hair” went out of style in the 80’s, and just makes you look “big” all around, and besides you work as a litigator and maybe a shorter, sleeker style would be more professional? Then it is time for a haircut.

Francesca’s hair advice for the big girl is this: Take stock of your hairstyle every few years to make sure it is still working for you; color it at home or professionally if you are not absolutely thrilled with the color; beware of using too much bleach, too much henna, or too much “product”; use low necklines to elongate your face and shoulders if your hair cannot do it for you; and do whatever you can within the limits of your time, budget, and hair realities to make your hair look superfantastic every day. Do not skimp on the cut or forego the blow-drying in the morning if that is what you need to do to look your best. Remember, being fat and superfantastic can be hard, expensive work. Absolutely do the very best you can with what you’ve got!

After that, do not spend any time at all “worrying about pig face” or anything else. You’ve got living to do.



PS Here are plus-size models with short or medium-length hair (and links to their clothes):




Anna Scholz 

Swimsuits for All 


  1. My BFF warned me and warned me not to cut my long, straight hair — she said I was going to look like I’d gained 15lbs in the time it took me to get my hair cut. Well, turns out we have differently shaped faces and short hair made my face look much thinner. I try to reassess every now and then, let my hair get a little longer and see what works, but ultimately I prefer my hair short, it styles better when it’s short, and, best of all, it’s more flattering on me.

    Also, I’m not meaning to criticize, but I’m wondering if maybe that Torrid model doesn’t have longer hair that’s pulled back? I’m also wondering about the swimsuit model. I ask that because when I first got my hair cut short, I brought in a picture of how I wanted it to look — and my stylist pointed out that was exactly what was going on in the picture I had selected.

    Comment by Nemtynakht — February 25, 2008 @ 10:34 am

  2. My freshman year of high school, I had hair that fell almost all the way down my back. I was in JROTC, and I cut it to my chin within a month of starting to wear the uniform every week because it was too much hassle to wrestle into a bun that would fit under my hat every week. Surprisingly, it looked fabulous! Now, my hair’s about an inch past my shoulders, the longest it’s been since then, and I’m cutting it off during spring break next week.

    Comment by Kitty — February 25, 2008 @ 12:00 pm

  3. Two weeks ago, I decided that it was time to cut off my very long, very thick, very lovely hair. I had been keeping it so long because I really felt like it was the one thing that was super sexy about me. But I had been coveting the inverted bob look, with really long front pieces, for a while. Well, I decided to do it after reading the advice for the anon 14 year old over at SP (so what if I am 29??? I need help, too!)

    Anyway, I LOVE it! it only takes 20 minutes to dry instead of close to an hour. It always looks healthy and shiny, and I am not any fatter than I was before I cut it off!

    Comment by kristin — February 25, 2008 @ 12:39 pm

  4. I cut my hair very, very short about a month ago. I have never looked or felt better! I was inspired by a beautiful co-worker who has short-short hair with a full, round face. If you want a bob, get a bob–you’ll think you’re fabulous and that’s all that matters. I wanted short hair for years, and when I finally did it, I couldn’t believe it took me this long to get here!

    Comment by edithmae — February 25, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

  5. I am blessed with very fast growing strong hair. I have decided to use this to others advantage while I can. So I let it grow long, and every three years I chop it off short and donate the length to It gives me the chance to enjoy both long and short hair every now and then. My most recent donation can be seen here, and I am next scheduled for a chop in Nov 2009.

    I realize that this is not for everyone, but long hair isn’t necessarily the most flattering for everyone either. Shorter hair can really help to accentuate eyes and cheekbones, etc. So, I’d recommend that if you are using your long hair as a security blanket, try something new and do some good while you are at it and donate to Locks of Love.

    Comment by Pinkleader — February 25, 2008 @ 2:43 pm

  6. I got my hair cut even shorter than my normally shortish cut, went to a social event and spent the whole evening thanking people for telling me how fab I looked. I think if YOU like it, you will carry yourself in a way that rocks the look. Plus, with short hair my earrings, etc. really stand out.

    I’ll not go back to longer hair.

    Comment by MamaT — February 25, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

  7. I too have worried about my face looking uber-fat if I cut my hair short. But I have very thick locks, and tend to go through a kings’ ransom in conditioner when I try to keep it long (not to mention throwing out my back when I blowdry).

    Two weekends ago, I cut it off in a slightly-long bob (it hits just below the chin in front and is slightly shorter in back). I was terrified at first, especially when the gown came off and I could feel air on the back of my neck. But I love it. It’s super-easy to take care of, much cheaper to clean and condition, and for the same amount of time I spent blow-drying my long hair, I can dry and style my short hair. I wind up looking more put together than id did with the stereotypical long, goddess-like hair.

    Short answer: short hair can be fabulous and sexy. Do what’s right for you. (Or even shorter: what Francesca said!)

    Comment by JadedKitten — February 25, 2008 @ 3:33 pm

  8. I just had my formerly waist-length hair cut to shoulder length on Saturday. The compliments have been pouring in, including “you look younger” despite the fact I have quite a bit of snow on the roof for your average 40-year-old. I love it. My hair has a natural wave that shows itself so much better at this length, and that fills out my hair so I have a more balanced face.

    Comment by Lysana — February 25, 2008 @ 5:33 pm

  9. I’ve had super-short hair most of my life; I’m growing it past my shoulders now just because I want something different. What I’ve found is that the shape of your head, more than the shape of your body, determines how short you should go. My co-worker, who’s a size 20 at least, has hair that’s less than .5 inch long all around, and looks fabulous because her head is perfectly shaped. She also is always very put-together with makeup and accessories. My head is taller than it is wide, so I always have a little volume at the sides even when it’s really short just to balance things out.

    I really think that everyone can wear their hair short or long; it’s just a matter of finding the correct short or long cut.

    Comment by Esther — February 25, 2008 @ 6:14 pm

  10. AS long as you actually CHANGE your hair occasionally! Too many women of a certain size and certain age lock into a style that may have been flattering at some point but now ages and/or dates them dreadfully. I had one aquaintance that was told she looked like Liz Taylor in her youth and now just looks like a crazed country western singer. Update Update Update!!!!!

    Comment by Jennie — February 25, 2008 @ 10:17 pm

  11. I had always worn my hair at least shoulder length, and I colored it from ages 40 to 49. I felt superfantastic, but no one paid much attention. At age 50, health problems caused me to chop it off in a short, spiky cut, and go back to what had become my natural color—almost white. Suddenly, guys in their late fifties and older started to blatantly notice me. It has been fun!!!

    Comment by funoozer — February 26, 2008 @ 11:30 am

  12. I’ve had it all ways – super short, relatively short and long. I’m currently rocking the long wavy curls because I like the way it adds to my overall oversized fabulosity (she says modestly. :b ) I think it’s all in how you rock it (although that said, I find it’s most flattering to have some angles and sometimes layers on the hair cut, instead of a straight-around cut, just to soften it around your face.)

    That said, I’m reminded of a comment my mom made once about herself and prints (and that forever changed my attitude toward wearing them back in the day) – “Girl, I’m already big. It’s not like if I wore black, people would go “Dang, I didn’t know until you wore that Hawaiian print. Man, I thought you were a size 6 or something..” I think the same principle applies here. :)

    Comment by Alyssa — February 26, 2008 @ 3:57 pm

  13. Hmm..should have added – I have big hair. Thick, fluffy, curly hair. And only after I left my 20s in the rear view mirror did I embrace the fabulosity of the big hair that I used to totally hate. :)

    Comment by Alyssa — February 26, 2008 @ 3:59 pm

  14. I’ve had pixie cuts and hair almost down to my waist. I think that any size girl can have awesome looking hair if she actually DOES something with it. Have it in a great style, get regular trims, take good care of it. Walking around with unkempt, split, fried, 3-inches of roots showing hair is equivalent to walking around in Crocs and sweatpants.

    Oh, and if you were curious, the pixie cut was platinum blonde. I was a size 20. I looked pretty damn good. Now, at a size 14, I have mid-back-length red waves — full-blown Cosmo hair. It takes a ton of work, but right now I do have the time for it. I’m sure once I have kiddies, I’ll be going short again.

    Comment by La Petite Acadienne — February 26, 2008 @ 8:31 pm

  15. I’ve always hated my hair…it is baby fine and thin, which just made my head look bigger and emphasized chins I never realized I had. I coveted long hair. Well, I’ve recently been able to afford really good hair extensions and found someone very skilled to do them. And guess what? Long hair didn’t do it for me. So we experimented. I still have extensions (and will always have them now), but I have a sweet inverted bob, with lovely THICK straight bangs. And it works. So, my advice is, experiment. Eventually you’ll find YOUR fabulous style (and remember it either grows back or you can buy more!!)

    Comment by GeekGirl — February 27, 2008 @ 11:52 pm

  16. this site is awesome! i just got a short hairstyle. kind of like that girl in the torrid picture. like a lot of big girls, i thought i’d look even wider-faced with short hair. so i’ve been wearing my hair long my whole life, thinking long hair is the only thing that would make my neck look longer and therefore make me look thinner. well, blow me down! this short cut (chin length in front with whispy bangs, tapered in the back) makes me look adorable. and my neck gets way more attention with this cut. and i’m not relegated to v-necks. i now look cute in scoop necks and slight mandarin collars. go short hair!

    Comment by sarah — February 28, 2008 @ 6:57 pm

  17. I’m uhh a size 20, but I don’t think I have a chubby face, and I have an oval shaped face. I’ve been wanting to get a short cut for quite some time, especially now that it’s getting close to summer, but i’m worried it will look out of proportion with my body.
    When I was in Jr. High, I made the mistake of getting shoulder length hair, and I did not like it! But that was 7 years ago, and I’ve actually learned how to do my hair..Anyways, i’ve had long hair since that incident, and I just am afraid of getting like 6 inches cut at once and then regretting it..
    Not sure what I should do!

    Comment by Erin — April 20, 2008 @ 12:21 am

  18. I have a real love/hate relationship with my hair. It’s brown (with blond streaks and a little snow),wavy (and curls) and frizzes at the first hint of moisture. I keep hoping this is all a nightmare and I will wake up with long, straight blonde hair.

    For me, long hair is actually easier for me to care for. I have tried short hair (thanks to occasional sun damage) but only had one cut that worked. I grew that cut out because I missed my long hair.

    Right now it’s layered and extends about 6 inches past my shoulders. I know what’s been said about pig face but my long hair does minimize it so I. CAN forget about it!

    I guess any length is OK as long as you work with the hair you have!

    Comment by dcsurfergirl — April 20, 2008 @ 11:13 am

  19. I have been a hairstylist for 11 years, and being a plus size also, I’m SO sympathetic to your concern. I’ve noticed the easiest way to start short with a fuller face is to have plenty of height in the crown area, and keep the length either at or just below the chin. I hope this helps!

    Comment by Lizzie — September 21, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

  20. Any other way solving this issue?

    Comment by Anonymous — October 24, 2008 @ 6:49 am

  21. Hey, im 14 years old and a size 12/14- ive always really wanted short hair- but cutting it short will make the rest of my body seem massive – wont it?!

    Comment by Becka — January 17, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

  22. No Becka, possibly just the opposite if you get lots of volume, short hair can really balance out a fuller figure. Just do me a favor and avoid the dreaded “stacked bob” they couldn’t be more over.

    Comment by Plumcake — January 17, 2009 @ 8:16 pm

  23. Hi there
    I am desperate to cut my short…The main reason being I want LOW MAINTANENCE HAIR…..I had a really bad hair cut at the beginning of the year (just as i was getting some length back) and it just seemed to get worse from then on. I have an oval/round face (probably more oval) and was wondering if a p!nk style haicut would suit me. (shorter on the sides and longer on top so it can be spiked up or worn as a fringe.) maybe im dreaming.
    What do you think?


    Comment by May — December 3, 2009 @ 8:45 pm

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