Blondes apparently have more fun, brunettes are considered more intelligent, redheads have a reputation for being fiery, but what about women with grey hair?
More often than not any description of them goes hand in hand with the words "little old lady".
When the stylists behind the hit film The Devil Wears Prada decided that Meryl Streep would be grey, fashionistas began heralding grey as the new blonde.
But style gurus haven't exactly been queuing up for a blue rinse.
No, unlike greatness, which according to the saying some are born with and others achieve, greyness is, more often than not, thrust upon one.
Personally, I now love having grey hair and revel in my steely helmet.
Perhaps if it was a murkier yellowy grey I would feel less favourably towards it, as indeed was the case when wiry, coarse greys first started appearing through my naturally mousy, always short hair in my early 20s.
Genetically, it was always on the cards. My mum was completely grey by her mid-20s and never dyed her hair. But back then I wasn't ready to accept the change in colour.
It signalled to me that I was growing old before my time and, determined not to give in to nature, I wanted to cover it up, which meant getting sucked into the horrendous world of trying to dye away my grey.
I say horrendous because not only did I try colours that didn't work (you name it, I tried it, from Cilla Black-style auburns to dark browns and hazels), but also the majority of them - as I see when I look back at old photos, drained my complexion completely, making me look years older than I was, ironic given that I was trying to avoid the ageing nature of grey hair.
Making grey matter: Meryl Streep as the beatly Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada
I used to hate going to the hairdresser as I never knew what I would look like when I left.
Unlike today's savvy women, who march into the hairdresser's knowing exactly what they want, I relied on their advice.
But, oh, the times I donned my hat and ran out, barely managing to hide the tears, heading straight home to spend literally hours locked in the bathroom subjecting myself to wash after wash in the hope that the colour would fade.
On the odd occasion when I drummed up the confidence to complain, they did try to correct it, but the chemicals were so strong my hair ended up in such a brittle state that even if the colour second time round was slightly better, the hair's condition was dreadful and my battered confidence meant I was never going to be happy.
I recall one particularly low point in my camouflage career - my sister's wedding, when I was 24 and set to be the chief bridesmaid.
It was bad enough that my hair-dresser's mother tongue was French, meaning my request for something that toned in with my natural locks could potentially have been totally misinterpreted.
But even the language barrier couldn't explain away the fact that everything went completely wrong.
He managed to make a mistake with the mixing of the dreaded pot of chemicals so that all he stripped all the natural pigment and moisture out of my hair.
I looked like a dandelion puffball that you blow to make the seeds scatter!
He was hugely apologetic, claiming he couldn't understand what had gone wrong.
Gracefully grey: Dame Helen Mirren looks stunning with silver hair
He didn't charge me, but it was too late.
I couldn't contain my tears or manage to speak when I got home, only setting foot indoors for ten minutes before going back with my mum to complain, pleading that they "do something!"
Three hair-dye cycles later I still hated it, and would have given anything to have my old hair back.
It almost ruined my enjoyment of the big day and it left me feeling horribly insecure.
I disliked covering my head in all those chemicals, but felt I had no choice. None of the magazines I read ever had models with grey hair.
I can still remember the smell and the slight burning of the dyes on the sensitive skin behind my ears which so often flared up when they were doused with peroxide.
According to my current hairdresser, who has never suggested I dye my hair, allergic reactions to hair dyes are on the increase. Partly because more people are dyeing their hair, and because the trend for henna tattoos has led to increased sensitivity to PPD, the main chemical found in hair dyes.
Lawsuits have been filed by people who have suffered extreme allergic reactions.
I do question the fact that these strong chemical dyes are so readily available in supermarkets.
More than anything, the whole thing about covering up my hair just made me feel old and trapped.
Aside from the expense of dyeing my hair every month - there's no hiding place for roots in short hair - it seemed such an old lady thing to do, as if I were a granny trying to deny my real age, when I was just trying to look my age. But it almost felt as if I was ashamed to let the real Jane out.
The defining moment when I thought "enough is enough" was when I went on holiday to Australia, when I was 28.
I didn't even want to contemplate what my dyed hair would look like in the strong sun and, moreover, didn't really want my hair to be exposed to the double whammy of harsh dyes and the harmful drying effects of the Antipodean heat.
So I took the leap of faith and stopped. I've never looked back.
I felt so liberated by my decision. As the roots grew out, I cut my hair very short so it wasn't as noticeable, and I was so sunkissed that people tended to notice my skin colour more than my hair.
My family were all in favour of it, as they knew how anxious I got around dyeing time and because my mum had always looked so beautiful with her grey hair, they assured me that I would soon look the same.
It might sound odd, but after going grey, I found that more men chatted me up than before.
I think it's because the more confident and at one you are with yourself, the more attractive a man finds it.
Even to this day, men often comment on how they love my grey hair, as they see it suits me and also shows that I'm proud to stand alone and a stand against conventional beauty.
I feel free and empowered as a woman, to be who I am, a woman in her early 40s, with steely grey hair.
I buy plant-based shampoos that enhance the steeliness, as I've found that some shampoos can tint the hair and if I'm not careful it can easily look yellow - Aveda's Blue Malva is one of my favourites for bringing out the best in my hair.
I do find it needs more conditioning now it's grey, but any excuse to put a hair pack on and lie in a bath for 20 minutes is a mother's dream.
Gracefully grey: Dame Helen Mirren looks stunning with silver hair
I've always worn my hair short. If I look at other women who I think carry their grey hair off beautifully, like Dame Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Eve Lom and Isabella Rossellini, I do think short grey hair can look stunning.
I find myself noticing other women with grey hair, too. When I lived in Paris, I caught sight of a young couple, both with great short grey haircuts, strolling through the Jardin du Luxembourg, where I was sitting with a coffee and a book.
Amazingly that evening, in London, I bumped into them in the reception of Claridge's Hotel and discovered that we'd both clocked each other, so we had a laugh about how small this grey-haired world of ours is!
Professionally, too, I think having supposedly older-looking locks has helped me gain a little kudos.
I'm told I have a young-looking face, which can at times be a disadvantage, as I suspect people wonder how I can possibly know what I'm talking about.
So the grey gives me a few gravitas years which help me hold my own.
So how to get the best effect? It's important to have a hairdresser who understands how to cut to make the most of grey hair, as textures and pigments can make a difference to how the hair works on your head.
The coarser texture can mean that it needs cutting regularly to keep it looking sleek, so it's high-maintenance from that point of view.
My mum wears her hair short, too, but my older sister, who has more of my dad's auburn hair colour, has stopped having high and lowlights and has very successfully integrated her greys into her long wavy hair, so that they look in a way sun-kissed (and with her freckles, she looks stunning).
She doesn't miss the world of hair dyes either.
When occasionally a hairdresser has dared to suggest that I may want to put some colour in it, I've shouted them down.
However, Joe, my new hair genius, at The Lounge salon in London's Soho, thankfully immediately supported my desire to be grey and proud.
Sitting in hairdressers' salons alongside other women who are enduring the dyeing process, I've often been met with what appears to be envy.
Many women have told me they love my hair and the confidence that I have in letting it be natural. I think many of them would love to let their hair be what it wants to be, grey, but society views it as a negative.
Things are changing, though: more magazines and advertising campaigns celebrate growing older gracefully, but healthily and elegantly, so I hope more women will feel they can break free from the misery of having to dye their locks to hide the greys.
Having grey hair, though, has meant I've paid more attention to my skin, as I do think sometimes when I wake up in the morning that having such pale skin and grey hair can show the lines and blemishes up more.
And, of course, a woman with wrinkles as well as grey hair is providing society with yet another piece of evidence that she's growing old.
And I'm careful about dressing to suit my hair. I'm very conscious of what shades of grey I can wear, what suits me, and I often wear stronger lip colour to add a Parisian touch and accentuate my eyes with smoky colours so that my features don't get lost.
But I certainly don't feel the need to dress younger to balance my grey - grey hair just feels right for me.