Scott Schuman and his short back and sides. Photo: NY Times
As an ex-hairdressing apprentice, I think a lot about men's haircuts. I worked in salons for four years before moving onto menswear retail at the age of 20, but the way that guys wear their hair is something I often look at before travelling south to their clothing. Since the age of nine, I've gone through every possible incarnation and style – shaved, long, dreadlocks (albeit bad ones), straightened, coloured (blonde, black, chocolate brown, red, purple, blue), the mullet, the mul-hawk, the flat top and finally the classic short back and sides modelled on Edmund Hillary's overgrown version immortalised on the New Zealand five dollar bill. I first got the short back and sides in 2006 and have deviated from it only once since (with dire consequences). They say that guys reach a certain age and are forever fixed in a particular style, and as far as haircuts go, I'm there.
What's interesting to me is that every guy you see walking around town seems to have a variation of the short back and sides. Sure they might style it differently, have it faded up, long and curly on top, or dead straight and parted on the side, but it's the same classic cut that gentlemen have been wearing for decades. I'm not sure if it's the influence of Mad Men or a trickle-up effect of the return to tailored dressing, but it's a good looking non-trend trend that I hope will continue indefinitely.
A couple of days ago the New York Times ran a piece about a variation on the short back and sides that's being worn by everyone from Cole Mohr to Scott Schuman – buzzed on the sides and back, long on top, slicked with a dab of pomade. But here's the problem – it's apparently being referred to as the 'Hitler Youth' by distasteful clients. A great looking haircut with a God-awful name.
I have a politically correct solution that involves a change of just three letters: Ask for the 'Hillary'. Surely wearing a haircut in homage to the first man to climb Mt Everest is more palatable than the other option. The fact that he was a New Zealander is merely icing on the cake.
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