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Golden Oldies: A Man's Guide To Classic Hair

Grooming Hair History
You’re not just imagining it— the reappearance of classic hairstyles for men is indeed happening, and it's possible that some of them never actually left men's heads.
Like most trends, hair experiences the same resurgences that decor, fashion, cocktails and music do, but like any classic, some seem to have better staying power than others.
We can’t say we mind— as a brand born in times past, we’ve always celebrated the legacy of men’s grooming, in all of it's forms and iterations as fashion has marched forward. In an exploration of hairstyles past, The Cut takes us on a journey through the last 100 years of men's hair as shown through model and musician Samuel Orson, see a few of our favourites below.


1910s and 1920s  

The early 20th century favoured a sleek, slicked-down look and favoured a middle part, often complimented by a classic handlebar moustache.
The helmet like appearance of men’s hair produced a few nick names for the style such as “patent leather” hair or “helmet head.” What might be referred to as hat hair today would have been the ideal look during this era, with only minor changes to style taking place during the period.




In the '30s, facial hair transitions into the elegant, wispy moustache popularized by Hollywood legend Clark Gable, whom we can also credit with the rise of close cropped sides and back and a longer top, which has become a men's hair mainstay. This "high and tight" cut is the same that men even today are requesting—in essence a military inspired 'do (except generally more flattering than the simpler buzz-cut).

The part that was formerly front and centre has shifted sideways, giving way to a longer top that is often brushed up and over the head, creating a subtle wave. This is the era in which backcombed hair was born.



The 1940’s marked a key turning point for one of the most popular decades of men’s hairstyles, the 1950s. While subtle, the change was key in the movement toward longer lengths and added volume —something that became even more apparent in the 60's and beyond.

Of course, while the cuts may have grown in length they still featured quite similar sides and backs. One of the more popular choices was the slicked back hairstyle, changed by gentlemen adding waves with product.




While many would later adopt their ways, James Dean and Elvis Presley made the pompadour hairstyle famous, and eventually an era classic. The hair is cut short on the sides and left longer on top. It's then combed forward and flipped up and back in one long wave, creating a voluminous pouf at the front of the hairline. Presley sometimes wore his style with optional thick sideburns.

Then and now

While subtle changes in hair took place from the turn of the century through to the 1950s, a few commonalities have contributed to their ongoing popularity.


One major shared feature of these styles is that the hair was cut with a short to medium taper haircut (around three inches on average), leaving just-enough hair length on the top for combing and styling. The look is almost universally flattering, and quite wearable between professional and leisure life, which could very well be the root of its popularity. The creation of these styles were complimented by classic products — namely pomades and tonic, to achieve the ideal shape and texture of the time. Truefitt & Hill is pleased to offer time-tested hair-care, and a selection of true-to-era picks for crafting classic looks.


However the future changes men's hair, Truefitt & Hill is proud to be part of the tradition of proudly coiffing this generation and those yet to come.



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