Leading men like Michael Pitt, George Clooney, and Channing Tatum as well as menswear super powers like Nick Wooster and Thom Browne have all adopted markedly similar do’s inspired by the close cuts and sharp side parts of the Eisenhower era. Yes, your shaggy boy band mop should already be on your barber’s floor, but if not here’s how to make the tight fade on the back and sides, anything but tight on top, cut work for every lifestyle and head of hair.
The Beckham (or I’ve got a better head of hair than several ex-Spices):
Per usual Sir David leads the haircut charge with the most peacocking variation on this cut. Michael Pitt offers a slightly more office friendly variation that still captures all the 50’s mug shot attitude with a little less of the cockscomb. Either way if you’ve still got a robust hairline there is no better way to show it off. Notice that both gentleman have kept it short, but not too short, on the back and sides to counterbalance the substantial length they’ve left on top. Tell your barber he should use a number 2 fade and for god’s sake leave the top alone.
The Clooney (or “Why yes, I have been told I’ve got a Clark Gable thing going on”):
If The Beckham lives on the rebel fringes The Clooney sips champagne when it’s thirstaaay. This is a faithful recreation of every leading man’s coif from 1920 to 1965. Nick Wooster adds a little personal flair by going extra short on the back and sides (using a 1 or even a “skin” fade) and adding a little extra elevation to the front. Besides being equally well suited for a loan application or an extra long night at the club, this cut is also great for anyone starting to lose their hair in the front. By keeping the back and sides extra short and the top within moderation this is the way to thin out in style.
The Thom Browne (or how to take the crew cut back to the streets):
Favored by marines and dudes that want you to think they’re marines, this short of a cut can make it look like you’re training to be an ultimate fighter or building underground bunkers if you’re not careful. The key to making it work is to keep some length on top, just a lot less of it than more its dandyish cousins The Clooney and Beckham. Notice that both Mr. Browne and Tatum have left 1 to 2 inches on top while still embracing the extra close skin fade on the back and sides. Not only very low maintenance, cropped do’s like this are also perfect for anyone who’s hairline ain’t what it used to be.
Now that you’ve gotten your heads straight gentlemen remember to keep those side parts crisp and your pomade close at hand.
Evan Widhu is a men’s wear buyer in New York. He has selective amnesia about the side swept bangs he sported for several years of art school.