To Wrap or Not to Wrap at Work

Black women have had a long history with their hair in the workplace. I personally have had to check my 'do before interviews. I once removed my beloved long twists before an interview at a conservative organization. I didn't want to appear 'too ethnic' or anti-establishment. I wanted to be perceived as able to fit in with the culture, before I had the chance to speak about my skills. I love my hair, both when I was natural and now in its relaxed state, but the outside world determines my worth and skill level, just off my appearance.

I have always desired to wear a head wrap to work but I was afraid of how it would be perceived. I currently work in marketing at an institution of higher learning so my workplace culture is quite different from my past places of employment. Business casual is the attire for most days outside of special events and occasions. I've seen everything from miniskirts and leggings for pants to bow ties and first lady suits, so I tend to stay in the middle.  I recently took out my crochet locs and needed to let my hair rest before getting a relaxer. Normally, I would rock a lace front wig for the transition period, but I was feeling a little bold after viewing Black Panther, last month. So I decided this was the perfect time to rock a head wrap to work.

I consulted my fellow melaninated coworker/sister/friend. We determined that the climate of the office would be accepting of a head wrap and we decided to go full-throttle as a dynamic duo! "Let's do it for the culture!" she said. We were going to do a full week of our heads donned in various fabrics. For me, the first day was the hardest. I could feel the piercing stare of the cleaning lady as I came in to work on Monday! Our 'mature' secretary asked if we planned 'this look.' We coyly said,"Of course, we didn't!" By Wednesday, the cleaning lady told me my 'head scarf' looked nice and the secretary wished she could rock a 'turban' to work. She also explained to me that she rocked a short beaded version of Bo Derek's 10 braids in the 70s. I smiled and nodded. I made it to Friday, still employed. I think I imagined it would be worse than it turned out. I received both compliments and frigid stares. I greeted both reactions with a smile. I did it. I wore a wrap to work. In 2018. What an accomplishment!




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