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Are Men’s Hairstyles Edgier Today Than The 80s and 90s?

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Men’s hairstyles have somewhat taken a back seat compared to women’s, usually favouring classic styles over the outlandish, or at least that’s what the modern fashion industry would have you believe. The truth is, men have had just as interesting a follicular history as their female counterparts.

We’re all pretty familiar with the punk trend of the 1970s and 80s, which gave rise to the mohawk, which was often shaved at the sides, carefully constructed into long, upstanding points and dyed in outlandish colours, among both men and women, as well as spiky home-bleached and primary-coloured styles. These somewhat shocking hairstyles were worn proudly with ripped and pinned clothes as an anarchistic statement against the establishment by such bands as The Sex Pistols and designers like Vivienne Westwood. For those more inclined to hit the disco, the Afro reigned supreme.

hairstyle 1

The mid-to-late 80s leaned more towards softer, longer, more androgynous styles for men, channelling pop stars such as Phil Oakey of The Human League and Adam Ant, as well as pop star Boy George. For those of a tamer disposition, the feathered style of George Michael seemed to lead the pack, as well as Morrissey of The Smith’s more untamed style quiff.

hairstyle 2

In the 90s, boybands ruled the roost, with curtain fringes and mid-length styles inspired by bands like the Backstreet Boys and new rising football celebrities like David Beckham and Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp. Compared with the shocking styles of the past, it seems men were leaning more towards boyish, younger styles.

hairstyle 3

Compared to these for-better-or-for-worse iconic styles, are men’s hairstyles edgier today than they were in the 80s and 90s? Perhaps we’ve just evolved sartorially into a more classic style? As expected, musicians and bands are still leading the way with the definitive hairstyle of the moment being shaved sides and a long top like Dan Smith from indie band Bastille, which harks back to Morrissey’s quiff of the 80s. Indie bands also fell heavily into the style frame, favouring classic, well-groomed looks like Ricky Wilson from Leeds band The Kaiser Chiefs.

Emo was a big trend in the early 2000s, with male and female fans copying Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy’s soft, jet black, eye-covering fringe, which was always to be teamed with lashes of black eyeliner.

This was also a defining hairstyle of actor\rockstar Jared Leto for a while at around the same time.

hairstyle 4

It seems like we’ve been seeing less and less definitive trends. Are hairstyles edgier today than the 80s and 90s? In short, no. After going through a bit of a rebellious ‘teenage’ phase of being as shocking as possible for a few decades, it seems like men are now going for a more stylish, polished groomed look.

* This article was produced by Catherine Wiggins on behalf of Rock Pamper Scissors.

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Paul McGregor
Paul McGregor

Founder of MFM, and short course lecturer at The London College of Fashion teaching all things marketing. Read my personal blog here.


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