Dreadlocks: Unprofessional or Unique?
September 26, 2022
When you think of dreadlocks, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? It probably isn’t business-friendly professionalism or career potential, right?
But what if dreadlocks are just another hairstyle? Is there anything wrong with wearing them to the office regularly? Should you avoid your local dreadlock salon or barbershop when you have an important business meeting coming up?
In this edition of Are Dreadlocks Unprofessional? we examine whether dreadlocks make your resume less likely to get picked up by potential employers or clients.
Why dreads are unprofessional
Dreadlocks are not just for the Rastafari but may seem so to those that don’t understand the style. As with any hairstyle, it may be more professional in some fields than others.
Professionals should keep their hair neat and styled appropriately, even when it is long enough to pull into a ponytail or bun. It is inappropriate to wear dreads in a corporate office setting or formal event where an updo could be substituted. Lastly,
most careers require on-site work and those that work up close with clients like hairstylists, barbers, and beauty professionals typically avoid wearing dreads so as not to put off a negative image of their professionalism.
Why dreads are awesome
I think that it’s really unfortunate when people only see dreads as unprofessional. They should be seen as a great fashion statement, sometimes even empowering.
Dreads are not just a hairdo, they’re also a way of life and culture, something that is incredibly personal to the wearer. You should never judge someone by what they wear or how they wear their hair- it can say so much about who they are as an individual and their personality in general.
I feel that anyone wearing dreads should be commended for being confident enough to stand out from the crowd and show off who they are to the world.
I think that dreads are a fantastic form of self-expression, and it’s honestly one of my favorite parts about them. I would never tell someone to take off their dreads if they didn’t want to.
, I’ll probably be sad if that ever happens! Dreads have so much potential and can be worn in so many different ways- they’re not just a statement piece anymore. You can tie, twist, braid, cut, dye, and wax them into literally any shape imaginable, which makes them pretty exciting to have around.
You can dress up dreads just like you would any other hairstyle (think feathers or other accessories), but they also make great casual hair too!
The truth about hair in the workplace
What some may view as unprofessional, others may view as unique. Different ethnicities wear their hair in different ways and for different reasons;
this is the same for dreadlocks. It is important to first figure out what hairstyle you want to gauge its appropriateness at your workplace. Dreads can be worn neatly and dressed up, so they are not always the best option for someone that must conform to a standard look, such as working at a bank.
However, if you work in an artsy office or environment where they could blend well with the culture of your workplace, then by all means rock those locks! The one thing you should keep in mind is that wearing them professionally often comes with more rules about upkeep than other hairstyles.
How dreadlock policies can be improved
I have been reading this conversation and have a few thoughts on how we can resolve these issues. Firstly, I don’t think the dilemma will go away anytime soon.
I’ve never been able to work in a field that’s naturally so rule-heavy. Plus, it’s really hard to enforce these rules when they are inherently subjective (what one person considers unkempt could be someone else’s dreads). To help people who want their hair without the dreadlock policy naturally follow their dreams,
I recommend companies adopt something like Intel did. Intel has a website dedicated to helping employees with questions about all different types of hairstyles and names some popular ones.
People change their hairstyles all of the time, but dreadlocks carry a long history. I think it’s unfortunate that in today’s society, dreadlocks are so strongly associated with Black culture, even though they have roots in all cultures around the world.
It’d be great if corporations were able to give people with dreads and other natural hair choices some opportunities that allow them to show off their talents while using their styles.
People who want to go natural shouldn’t be forced to hide it because others may see it as unprofessional or scary.
Allowing employees with varying hair types is a win-win situation for everyone because it shows that companies embrace different ideas about identity and appearance and help people express themselves freely through fashion.
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