Your hair is quite curly
"Coarse, curly hair does well when it has some weight," says Monahan. "With length, curls or waves are pulled down slightly, so they look soft and pretty but not too springy. And the weight is an asset during bad weather-curls don’t get so big when they’re longer." So, one might ask, if weight’s a good thing, why not go really
long? Curly hair also tends to be fragile, which makes it hard to keep healthy when it’s long. Some women are willing to do what’s necessary, but it’s work, so bear that in mind. For most, the midrange area makes the most of your hair and is easy to maintain.
Your style is clean and classic
"My clients who are happiest with midlength hair are typically professional women who need a style that’s easy while still looking neat and chic," says Maciques. Sorenson agrees: "If you have any kind of job that requires you to wear a suit, a midlength cut is probably going to make you happiest." And classic style needn’t mean stuffy. Frequently cited celeb cuts in this category: Gwyneth Paltrow’s blunt shoulder-skimming style and Michelle Obama’s simple layered cut.
You’re short but pine for long locks
- Your hair falls flat easily* "To maximize fullness, I recommend a cut that hits at the collarbone or higher," says Monahan. You could go short, but if that’s outside your comfort zone, something midlength will serve you well. "Bobs are great, at chin or shoulder length," says Maciques. And there are ample ways to vary this style, says Joseph. "Look at Heidi Klum’s hair: It’s midlength but heavily layered, with thick bangs."
"Your hair and height should be proportional," says Sorenson. "If you’re under five foot two, truly long hair will take over your body. But shorter women can get a long-hair effect with a cut that falls just below the shoulders."
You have a big frame
"Very short hair or very long hair can accentuate a body that’s big boned or a bit heavy," says Nelson Vercher, a stylist at the Rita Hazan Salon.
You’d like a femininity boost
Even if you’ve looked good in short hair most of your life, you may discover that a crop that once had moxie is now starting to look matronly (or, worse, manly). Your face has changed, your body shape has changed . . . maybe your hair length ought to change, too. "If you suspect that your short hairstyle is detracting from your sex appeal, grow it out an inch or two. You’ll still have the styling ease you had before, but the hair will move when you do, which is inherently sexier," says Sorenson.
Your hair is gray or silver
We said yay-to-gray in the short-hair category, too, but that’s because you, lucky duck, look great at either length. To decide which better suits you, consider the other criteria in each category, like facial features, height, weight, personality and hair texture.