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Hair: long, straight hair

Let's get one thing perfectly straight: If you want one of the hottest looks this season you have to get perfectly straight. Hair, that is.

Led by Reese Witherspoon (who also sported tamed tresses for the Golden Globes), the recent Oscar-night red carpet proved to be a showcase for the hair trend for shimmering straight locks. Witherspoon was hardly alone in the straight race. Nicole Kidman, Beyonce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett-Smith all looked great in straight hair.

It's a trend that clearly has legs after the red-carpet season, well into summer and even fall. Fashion runway looks from the spring/summer collections announced straight hair months ago, but there were also plenty of examples of straight hair in the recent collections in New York for this fall and winter. Major design houses are on board with print campaigns featuring straight hair, including advertisements for Valentino, Fendi, Hermes, Burberry, Prada, Versace, DKNY, Calvin Klein, Chanel and Gucci.

"It's a recycle, but it's definitely happening," celebrity hair stylist Oscar Blandi said. "Straight is coming back strongly. It's straight, but it's a different straight."


It has body. Unlike the trend about six or seven years ago for stick-straight hair (a trend that brought with it all kinds of expensive hair-straightening systems and products), this season's straight has body, movement and shine.

"The key thing is that the hair is phenomenally shiny. It is very glossy, shiny hair," Redken stylist Kaz Amor said. "If you look at Gwyneth (at the Oscars), the hair was moving. It was not stiff, straight-down hair."

Blandi said the previous straight hair trend dictated almost no movement.

"It's not spaghetti. Before, the hair was almost attached to the skull," he said. "Now, it's got a silky texture. It's not flat. There's much more body. This is a trend that's going to carry on for a while."

Instead of parting in the middle, today's straight styles are parted on the side and pulled away from the face, said Tim Rogers, stylist and spokesman for Charles Worthington hair products and salons. "There's a strong side part and a lot of motion and movement in the hair," Rogers said. "It's a clean, sleek, smooth look."

The new style of straight hair might also suggest a knowingness of the more serious world we live in today, some hair experts said. "If you look at what's happening in Hollywood, there's a lot of social events, fundraising and human involvement. ... There's less self-indulgence. There's less over-the-top gowns and jewelry. Straight hair lends itself to the times," said Amor, a partner in the Warren-Tricomi salon in Los Angeles. "You can't go to these events in a '40s gown and hair. It's about simplicity and clean lines."

Gerard Scarpaci, spokesman for Aveda, agrees that styles can reflect the times but disagrees that straight hair speaks for what's happening now.

"Straight hair is where we've been. The two trends now are shorter hair — women are going back to individual interpretations of a bob — and working with your natural wave and texture." Straight hair, Scarpaci said, has been done. "It's already been around for the past five or six years. The trend is moving away from that," he said. "Everyone's ready for a change in society right now. They want to move away from demure, non-statement hair. There's more freedom, looseness. It's a reflection of change."

Because fashion and beauty help dictate hair trends, however, the time seems ripe for straight hair styles. "Straight hair helps play down some of the bigger shapes we've seen in the clothes for fall," Rogers said.

"There's a lot of color for spring," Amor said. "Whenever you have a lot of color, the hair tends to be simpler. Right now the hair needs to be simple."

Blandi agrees: "A lot of the designers had in mind emphasizing bone structure, and straight goes with that because it's beautiful," he said. "The straight hair look is very sexy. And it's an easy accessory. Don't forget that hair is one of your most important accessories."

Hair: long, straight hair