These looks will never let you down.
By Adam Hurly
You don’t always need to display a new style or even follow the current trends—there are a bunch of time-tested hairstyles out there that look good on pretty much every guy, and many are a good fit even if your hair is on the unruly side, or starting to thin.
So, before you head to the barber or salon for your next cut, consider these four classic styles, and understand what differentiates them from one another. You can also learn how to modify them to fit you.
The Crew Cut
As seen on Marwan Kenzari: This is as utilitarian as a hairstyle can be. That’s because the crew cut can be modified to every kind of hair density and texture, as well as various short lengths: full hairlines, receding hairlines, thick unruly hair, thin (and just starting to thin) hair, buzzed up top, or an inch off the crown… they all work with this style, which blends the sides to crown using clippers or scissors. Typically a crew cut is distinguishable from a high and tight (the next style on our list) in that there’s less of a contrast between the sides and the top. As for really short crew cuts, it’s the fading/blending and alternate lengths that differentiates it from a traditional buzz cut. (You can give yourself a buzz cut, but you cannot give yourself a crew cut.)
The High and Tight
As seen on William Jackson Harper: While similar styles come and go (see the Quaff Phenomenon of 2013), the high and tight is a timeless look. It’s similar to the crew cut in that it blends two different lengths of hair, with much shorter (tighter) sides fading into a longer (higher) top. A good crew cut has a less obvious blend, while a good high and tight shows off the blend. The high and tight is the more classic military cut of the two, and can be altered in a few ways. The most obvious examples we’ve seen are the pompadour, as well as shorter undercut styles. (Some would debate that undercuts are their own breed of high and tight, particularly when disconnected on the sides, or when long and slicked back. Yeah, you can debate that, but I also think you should debate more important things like climate change and fair wages.)
The Side Part
As seen on Leonardo Dicaprio: Calling it “the side part” is a lot more encompassing than calling it “the comb over.” The comb over is certainly a type of side part, but it’s reserved for guys who are covering bald patches or thinning crowns. (No shame in that, but it is good to distinguish.) Side parts can be kept loose and matte, and styled crispy and shiny, depending on your workplace environment or your affinity for the 1960s. You can angle them straight across the crown, slightly back, and you can even define your part if you aren’t blessed with a natural one. However, if it migrates from one side to the middle, it’s now a 90s-era center part (which is coming back in style!), and is a different look altogether.
As seen on Bryce Harper: We could get into dozens of modifications of this one, wherein the sides are clipped and blended, or the waves are in fact, more curly or more straight. But if you want to sport a medium-length style that is great both swept back and worn forward, know that you have plenty of options, so long as you emphasize the texture and movement of the hair. That is to say, use lightweight stylers like creams and sea salt sprays, and blow them dry to keep the hair volumized and touchable.