When Brad Pitt repeatedly turns up at Hollywood events sporting an undercut hairstyle, it’s time to sit up and take notice. Despite his attempts to deflect questions by swearing it’s for a role and not for his personal style, one simply cannot argue with the facts: it looks good. It seems what was old is new again and is making the rounds in all the hottest Hollywood circles. With this undercut, the top is left to be styled in a variety of ways, while the underneath is shaved. Lately, several celebs besides the trendsetting Mr. Pitt have been spotted with the look including Adam Levine, David Beckham, and Justin Timberlake.
So what is this mysterious ‘undercut’ you ask? Basically, it’s the best of both worlds; the ability to have long hair on top with which to style, with the ultra-cool shaved look on the sides and back. The options are limitless and the cut is very versatile, making it a popular choice for many different shaped faces. Whether heart-shaped, oval, or triangular, this style is flattering on everyone. Consider wearing the top with generous amounts of product for a sleek-backed dapper, 1940’s look. Or leave it a little more loose and tousled for a natural, hipster vibe. Or perhaps spike up the top for an alternative rock vibe. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer when styling this look. Feel free to mix in a generous amount of your personal style.
It’s so versatile, that those with a receding hairline can wear it well. Think Jude Law or Johnny Depp. Growing out the top and giving it the ‘I styled it, but didn’t try too hard’ look is a classic. By letting the top remain a little longer, but loose and finger-combed give the scalp some coverage. For those looking for something edgier, shave it close on the sides. Pairing it with a 5 o’clock shadow adds extra drama. First seen in the 1920’s and 30’s, this hairstyle has long been a stable of barbershops. It’s only recently that it’s picked up steam and become a go-to look for designers and models, as well as Hollywood’s leading men.
A key to achieving a dramatic undercut look is to know your hair type. If you have straight hair, then it can be grown out longer and styled in a variety of ways from slicked back to side parted. If your hair is curly or wavy, then cutting the top a bit shorter will work best. Adding styling gel will give it dimension and depth. Coarse and thick hair should be cut on the shorter side and spiked up. This hairstyle never looks out of place, whether paired with a three-piece suit, or jeans and sneakers, it’s always in style.
Of course, now that the secret is out, it seems every man is sporting the undercut. It’s been a standard look for David Beckham for several years, and whether he keeps the top long and slicks it back, or cuts it short and adds styling gel to achieve height, it looks amazing. Several characters from Mad Men sport the vintage 1960’s undercut including Don Draper, with a slightly longer version of the side-shave. Women are getting in on the action too. Rock n’ roll wild child Pink has made it her signature look for the past decade. She adds variety with color, length, and retro styling. Recently shorn Miley Cyrus is now sporting a version of the undercut as well as Rihanna and Willow Smith. Austin in Gardenscapes would look good with an undercut hairstyle too if only he isn’t bald!
No matter how many times celebs decry their famous hairstyle (the “Rachel” anyone?), it can make an actor a household name. Traditionally, this has largely been the domain of women and their famous quaffs, but nowadays, men are starting to treat their hair as they do their bodies or faces. Hair shouldn’t be an afterthought; it should be an expression of personal style. Women change their hairstyle more than 150 times in their lifetime. Men shouldn’t be afraid to mix it up a little and let their personality be expressed through their hair. This style may stick around for a while, or may pass quickly, but whatever the case may be, at least it’s a style with classic elements that helps its wearer look their best.
Ophra loves hollywood as well as the glitz and glamor that goes with it. She is a lifestyle and fashion editor at The Popular.