Manic Pixie Dream Cut: Is it time for short hair?

Pixie Cut

Lately, I’ve found myself texting my family pictures from the Prada Fall 2019 Menswear show in Milan and asking, “Should I get a pixie cut?”

The cropped hair on the Prada runway was a trick of the eye — styled to look like a shag from the front but pulled into a pony at the back. But shorter hair is certainly here again. I’ve done it before, and it does make life easier in the mornings. Is it time to go for the chop again?

With that hair?

It’s not a question anyone with Jewish hair asks lightly. We can all relate to Monica from Friends, in the episode when the gang goes to Barbados and the humidity makes her hair puff out, getting gradually bigger and bigger as the episode unfolds. (Incidentally, I can report that for the opposite effect, head for Toronto in November — it might have been 13 degrees below freezing when I visited but it was dry, and my hair has never been so shiny.)

Add the frizz factor to a short haircut, and you stand every chance of ending up looking like a mushroom — a puffy halo of fuzzy hair also known as a “Jew-fro.” When it’s long, at least you can scrape it back into a pony when it misbehaves. I’ve had hairdressers flat out refuse to chop off my hair — “It’s too wavy! It’ll never work!” Sometimes we compromised on a shortish bob instead.

Stars who pulled it off

Still, it is possible to make it work, even if your hair skews curly. Think of Goldie Hawn’s messy crop in the ’60s. Natalie Portman became a pixie poster girl in 2006 as she grew out her V For Vendetta buzz cut, and Winona Ryder all but defined the 1990s with her choppy crop. Scarlett Johansson, meanwhile, has picked up the baton with her current short cut, which makes the most of her heart-shaped face.

And did you know a Jewish hairdresser was responsible for the most iconic pixie cut of all time: Mia Farrow’s elfin crop in Rosemary’s Baby. It was the work of the legendary hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, who defined the 1960s with his signature sharp bob and five-point cut. In 1965, Roman Polanski paid him to cut off Farrow’s hair in front of reporters, and hairdressing history was made.

Decisions, decisions

So, is it time to take the plunge? If you’re looking for some short hair catharsis (and floating out of the salon with your neck newly exposed does feel wonderful), choose your hairdresser wisely, and be prepared to commit to a standing appointment every five to six weeks to keep your crop in shape. As for styling, stock up on texturizing product to keep it looking soft and choppy. Then feel extremely smug as you set your alarm for half an hour later every morning, leaving your sisters to their daily battle with the hair straighteners. 

Susannah Cohen
Susannah Cohen is a fashion journalist, e-commerce editor (specialist subjects: lingerie and diamonds) and Jewish mom. Recently relocated from London to the West Coast, she’s feeling a lot more spiritual these days.