Wednesday, October 2, 2013


The Middle Part Is Having Its Moment, Again, Somehow

We (I)'ve been talking about the band Haim's perfect middle parts for a while now, in part because they are very talented and in part because what adult woman can pull off a middle part in 2013, actually? How does the universe even allow it? My middle part reverts me to age 13, all awkward limbs and braces and white eyeliner. Rachel Syme has scooped us on the more tactical how (no extensions!) in the New York Times today:

...[Stylist Candice] Birns said that a good deal of work is required to achieve this casual look, which Este said was partly inspired by Jane Birkin and Chrissie Hynde. “It takes me hours to do the Haim hair,” she said. “They all have a very specific layering system that works on their own heads. Alana has thick, beaded strands. Este has an omber look, which tends to thin you out, so we have to bulk up her layers. And Danielle gets a cut called transient length, which is more of a shag so that the hair will move when she does. Because that girl loves to bang her head.”

Another key to the look, Ms. Birns said, is an arsenal of products. She has the Haim girls on a strict regimen: Davines shampoos and conditioners, an Oribe dry texturizing spray to add grit and volume, and Rene Furterer Naturia Dry Shampoo for the days between shows.

The Haim middle part has also inspired Vulture's collection of the greatest middle parts in music, which thankfully omits your middle school band photo next to the xylophone. [NYT, Vulture]

45 Comments / Post A Comment


So I spent most of the time reading this wondering what part of the song the 'middle part' was. Like the middle eight?
Fellow British people: they are talking about centre partings. In hair. I also use Rene Furterer and Davines products! So I know what I'm talking about, obviously!

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@disco_clone Fun coincidence: When I first saw Haim, I thought they were British because of their centre parts, as you say. "There's no way Americans could do that with their hair. They must be British."


Can't Waitttttt ♥♥♥@v


Well, I've been rocking the middle part ever since my hairstylist heard "side-swept bangs" and interpreted it to mean "symmetrical chin-length layers" (???), so hopefully I count as "an adult woman pulling it off in 2013?" Maybe? At least wearing it, whether or not I pull it off. I'm sure there are ways to sophisticatedly style my hair, but I have never bothered to learn. Thank you Haim for giving me an excuse for my total hair laziness!


@Lurkasaurus Depending on what my hair is doing* when I wake up in the morning, I often have a middle part too, and I'm in my early 40s.

*its natural state seems to be a wee bit to the left of center (as if I tried to do a middle part and failed), but it can easily get off track at even the slightest provocation.

a piece of pie

Man, it had never even occurred to me to feel weird about my middle part. It just kind of seemed to be the default, right? No? Okay. ):


@a piece of pie Me too!


@a piece of pie This post hurt my feelings for what I see as no good reason. Guess I'll go find some other universe where it's okay. You guys can come too if you want. EVERYONE IS INVITED!

Miss Maszkerádi

@anabel.smith me too. My hair naturally just slumps boringly down into a middle part, and now I think I'm even uglier and less fashionable than I already did. Thanks, new Hairpin! :(

Emma Carmichael

@Miss Maszkerádi What?? Really? I love your middle parts. Aw man. Just trying to give proper respect to these new, highly publicized middle parts.

Miss Maszkerádi

@Emma - ...mine, personally? Have we met IRL and I've somehow blanked on it? Or is it four in the morning and my brain is misbehaving?

Emma Carmichael

@Miss Maszkerádi I love all middle parts equally, is all that I am trying to say.


My brother had a pretty sweet middle part until he cut his long hair off a couple years ago. Now he's going for more of a George-Harrison-slash-Charles-Manson look.

jane lane

A girl I knew in college who always had cute haircuts switched to a middle part a couple years ago. It's not really working for her and as someone who took almost 19 years to realize that she could make her hair part to the side, it's baffling.


Middle parts are excellent when my hair is perfectly straight and horrific when my hair is curly. Long straight hair parted in the middle is very seventies in a way that I like.


@supernovice Me too, all of this (says the woman in a vintage '70s red-suede, front-snapping miniskirt at this very moment).

Chareth Cutestory

The day I started parting my hair on the side on a suggestion in YM magazine was the day I became a woman.


@Chareth Cutestory I'm still trying to cajole my hair into a side-part after 25 years of middle-parts.


@Amphora the trick, I think, is to not go too far from the centre. Find where your hair WANTS to be parted.

Faintly Macabre

@iceberg Seconded. My hair will part pretty much anywhere reasonable on one side of my head, and not at all on the other (it just hangs straight down in my face).

I went from an adorable cloud of curly blonde hair as a little kid to a weird side-part mullet braid things for most of my childhood, then an awful center part until right after high school, when I went to a decent hairstylist for the first time in my life.


@iceberg Yes, this. I have a cowlick at the back, top, side of my head (if that makes any sense? On top of my head, but at the back, away from my face. On my crown? Is that it? And to one side, not in the middle...). When I was about 18 I figured out that parting my hair a bit to that side, instead of in the middle, made my hair (and by extension, me) much happier.

she came in through the bathroom window

@VerityStandingStill Yes, I have that exact same thing and reached the same conclusion! Luckily, parting on that side also showcases my "good eyebrow," and obscures the "ran-into-the-coffee-table-as-a-toddler eyebrow."

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@Faintly Macabre Same here! I got my first side part right as I finished high school, from a hairstylist who'd spent five years giving the exact same haircuts and styles. Then, I got a haircut shortly before my graduation ceremony, and my hair looked beautiful and it was parted to the side, and I was an adult.

Then she never gave me a side part again and I stopped going to her.

Faintly Macabre

@Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that) My mom has long, straight, fine hair that she has my dad cut straight across every couple months. It's sort of her trademark. Meanwhile, my sister and I have a ton of very curly hair. Because my mom's hair is so easy and she thinks spending money on appearance stuff is frivolous, we always went to Hair Cuttery. My hair was so incorrectly maintained that in middle school, they once unearthed a hairband from the middle of the hair I'd just spent an hour brushing.

On the plus side, people I don't like from high school have trouble recognizing me!


@Faintly Macabre AAAH! I bobby pin fell out of mine the other morning and I had to retrace my steps to figure out when the hell I even used a bobby pin!

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@Faintly Macabre aahhh! I'm a wacky curly-haired child of straight-haired people, too! (My mom's hair MIGHT have a bit of a wave to it, but you'd never know because she brushes it.) Her approach to my hair in high school was about the same, too!


I parted my hair in the middle until I was working at my first real job and the hairdresser was like, let's just move your part over like a half-inch or so" - LIFE-CHANGING. I've never gone back.

Hot Doom

@iceberg it is! My friends had an actual middle-part intervention for me in my 2nd year of college and it was revelatory.

Pound of Salt

Had side part all my life, switched to middle part three years ago, never going back! I've switched friends over too! Very cult chic

Elitist and Dull

@Pound of Salt SECRET CULT HANDSHAKE! I've recently converted as well, after decades of parting on the right. It does wonders to minimize my big dumb widow's peak and my bigger dumber forehead. Sometimes I do a zigzaggy version and I bet it's even more annoying!


ok guys i formed a middle-part theory on tuesday night at the bar with a couple girl friends:

1) the less round your face is, the more likely you can pull off a middle part without looking like a pumpkin wearing a wig (that's what i look like; i have a round face)

2) the longer your hair is, the more likely you can pull off a middle part

3) the more your hair reaches the uncanny valley between straight and anything else, the more likely you can pull off a middle part


@j-i-a let it be known that i think emma fits all these criteria and should just dox herself immediately with a slew of middle part pics


@j-i-a I like this theory! I think it is accurate.

Emma Carmichael

@j-i-a Sad to report that all of my cameras are broken, as is my heart, thanks to this dox.


@j-i-a PUMPKIN WITH A WIG. Yes, exactly. (By which I mean this is why I stopped middle-parting my hair in high school.)


@anachronistique Seriously. Fellow round-face here. When I got to college I got sweepy bangs and started parting my hair slightly off-center, and I've never looked back!


@j-i-a I pretty much fulfill all these criteria so I'm going to choose to believe I'm "pulling it off." But really, my hair just violently, stringily rebels when I try to part it any other way.

Elitist and Dull

@j-i-a OK, I need to know about the rules for centred zigzags (low- and high-frequency) and heartshaped heads. I am presently combining these things. Do I need to go to jail?


Oh god someone tell me what I should be doing with my hair then.


I do a middle part sometimes, but I think I reach all of jia's criteria above (although I still do the middle part when my hair is curly, at times? But I style it so the top is straighter) It looks fine, I think. But I also have different associations with the middle part, because as a child my haircutter would always do a side part & I felt very, very silly. Finally I started asking for a middle part, & THAT'S when I became a woman ;)

Story #2

I dunno, I think pretty much every single woman in India is pulling it off pretty well...

Grosses bises

Every time I see the youngest (tallest) Kardashian's face I wish she would part her hair on the side!

Catherine-Rose Gregory Wendt@facebook

Middle part here. I've been catching up on eleventy billion fabulous Hairpin articles via my RSS reader after an accidental hiatus and holy mother of Bob y'all spend a lot of time pointing out middle parts. I can't tell if it's weird condescension and I should feel self-conscious, or if this is a sign the bangs fad brought in by Nicole Richie and perpetuated by Zooey Deschanel will fade at least a little. It's hard working around a widow's peak, YOU GUYS.

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