Fat, forty and...fetching?
September 10, 2022 12:16 AM   Subscribe

I'm a fat lady in my early forties, in search of a new haircut. I have straight, fine, not very voluminous hair. It's currently a bit past my shoulders and well overdue for a trim and recolour, but I'm feeling uninspired, and a colleague's recent transformation with a short haircut makes me wonder if that is what I'm seeking. Can you help?

My hair is straight, fine, thinnish. I'm 5'2" and about a US size 20-22. My face is wide and round, and quite square at the jaw. I have a double chin and I'm headed towards some jowls I think. I know this is not a flattering picture I'm painting, but trying to search for haircuts for square or round faces leads to lots of pictures of Angelina Jolie and Ginnifer Goodwin etc etc, and that's not the slightest bit of help in finding a haircut that will work for an average looking fat lady in her forties. My dream haircut would be easy to maintain, at least somewhat feminine, and possible to modify from being serious-business-for-work to relaxed/interesting with a straightforward application of a commonly available (in Australia) product.

What I would love is:
  • Links to pictures, or insta handles or whatever, that feature actual funky haircuts on plus size older women. (I'm in my forties but I'd be happy to see pics of funky fat women in their fifties and sixties too).
  • Names of styles that might be worth exploring.
  • If the shorter haircut of my dreams is not going to be wash-and-wear, advice about how properly style it (youtube links? product or device recommendations?)
  • Real talk about stylists - I've been going to the same lovely hairdresser for the last 15+ years, because she was across the road from where I used to live. Do I need to find someone more edgy if I'm making this big of a change?
Thanks for any and all answers!
posted by Cheese Monster to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I forgot to say - lots of haircuts I've seen online seem to rely on creating an illusion of length in the face by basically having a side-part and hair draped artfully across the face, completely obscuring one eye. I definitely need both my eyes so that is right out. I'm probably not going to go for a perm (too much faff), or a serious fringe, but let me know if you really want to argue me on the fringe and I might be persuaded.
posted by Cheese Monster at 12:21 AM on September 10, 2022 [2 favorites]

We sound pretty similar! I have a short hairstyle that is also curly - it’s stick straight when I brush it but I can get a curl with the right products. Here’s a bunch of videos of me so you can see the style which is sometimes more simple and sometimes properly curly and asymmetrical - I absolutely love this style, it’s easy to maintain but also can be fancied up!
posted by ukdanae at 12:53 AM on September 10, 2022 [6 favorites]

I have Judi Dench's haircut and I love it. Wash, towel dry, put a little hair oil in to keep it "piece-y" and done.

I always ask the stylist to keep the bits in front of the ears (sideburns?) fairly long, that makes it read more femme. I also wear dangle earrings usually.
posted by jebs at 2:32 AM on September 10, 2022

I did this a few years ago (late 50s at the time), going from shoulder-length to short. My hair is fine - it's the only thing about me that is 'naturally thin' - and it was starting to look a bit stringy, so I needed a re-style. I also have a round face, double chin and square-ish jaw.

I had it cut with longer layers on top, a fringe, and 'sideburns'. The photo I showed my stylist was of Lisa Rinna, and this is how it turned out (I don't have thick enough hair to get the volume she's got in the pic). I've kept it like this, and it's really easy to maintain. I use a little bit of styling cream on it - a tiny dab no bigger than an Aussie 20 cent piece - and I direct the hairdryer upwards at the back to give volume and those flicky bits on the ends. Takes me about 30 seconds to dry it.
posted by essexjan at 3:26 AM on September 10, 2022 [6 favorites]

I am fat and in my early 40s with a round face and have short hair in a pixie cut. I have the draped across the face / asymmetric style, but it's cut so that the angle sweeps across my face slightly above and to the side of my eyebrow. My hair doesn't get in my eyes at all. It requires a good cut which must work with my hair's natural tendencies and it has to come close to my hairline on one side to have enough room to sweep down on the other side. It is wash and wear pretty much. For improved styling, I take wax/paste rub it through the top and mess it up a bit. This requires no thought either when I do it, or a hairdresser does. It is not a very femme cut, but my overall style is pretty conventional and I slightly amp up the femme accessories to get the look I prefer, compared to how I dressed when I had shoulder length hair.

If you go for a properly short cut like me, you need to live how your jaw looks, as you won't have any softening there. On the other hand, it does mean that the interest is created close to your eyes, which IMO are a great feature to highlight on basically everyone.
posted by plonkee at 5:50 AM on September 10, 2022 [2 favorites]

Mariska Hargitay has a very round and square face and has had 25 years of practical lady haircuts of varying length on SVU. She's had a number of short styles, some more flattering than others. A search for mariska hargitay short hair will give you an idea of how different shapes and lengths fall around a round square face.
posted by phunniemee at 9:23 AM on September 10, 2022 [4 favorites]

I am a fat 46 year old lady with thin, fine, straight short hair. I've had it in about a bajillion different flavors of short (and a wild variety of colors--though I'm currently enjoying the natural color before it goes). I don't know if this will help but here I am with several variations of short haircuts (and a couple in-between grow-out shots) I usually get . I don't do much to it. I comb it wet and then maybe use a little dry shampoo paste for when it dries. My hairdresser would tell you that you can have a lot of fine with short hair when your hair is fine and straight because all the small, incidental details show up.

I absolutely adore having short hair. I grew it back out to a lob during lockdown and never felt better than when I cut it all off again.
posted by thivaia at 11:31 AM on September 10, 2022 [3 favorites]

I am fat and 54 and have fine hair. I cut mine off in 1996 and have never looked back. The last time I went to my stylist I told her to model my cut after Rebecca Hall's current do. This is what I got and I'm very happy.

I also wear long earrings when I can though I haven't been able to do that with masks since COVID started. I do wear 3 earrings on one side and 2 on the other though. For hair styling I use Bumble & Bumble's Don't Blow It (Fine) when I get out of the shower, comb it and finger wave it a little, then brush it with a Tangle Teezer when it's dry. I use a little styling cream/paste to zhuzh it up for special occasions on top of that.

I don't care if short hair is "not traditionally flattering" to me or not what dudes like. It makes me feel great and I recommend it highly to anyone curious about it. But you do really need a good hairdresser who knows how to cut short, fine hair to make it work.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 12:58 PM on September 10, 2022 [4 favorites]

i'm fat (us size 26/28/30) and 42 and have had a pixie or shorter since 2003. it is so much more flattering than my long fine hair ever was. and now that my hair is thinning i suspect long hair would look even worse on me. memail me your email if you want and i can send you a few pics.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:02 AM on September 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

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