Ivy League Haircut: History, Styling, Variations and More

Ivy League Haircut: History, Styling, Variations and More

In our never-ending search for the best men haircuts out there we remembered about a hairstyle which is considered old but timeless: the Ivy League haircut. Not so long ago we focused on contemporary and bold men hairdos like the fade haircut – a modern approach to the classic undercut offering dozens of different hairstyles. Today, however, we take a look at a cut that is still fashionable and loved by men all over the world. An Ivy League haircut is forever fashionable because it is masculine and stylish, conservative and versatile, all at the same time.

George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bradley Cooper, Daniel Craig or Jensen Ackles – these are just a few celebrities sporting an Ivy League haircut in movies or everyday life. You don’t need to look over many photos to realize this hairstyle is neat, tidy and elegant, suitable for all men of all ages. We will take a step forward and analyze this type of haircut in detail, telling you a bit about its history, its main features, its styling secrets and its power of seduction.

Ivy League Haircut History

ivy league haircut history
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Just as its name says, the Ivy League haircut has its origin in the Ivy League schools. While the haircut itself never went out of fashion, there is still a good deal of debate regarding its true origin. This hairstyle is popularly known as a “Harvard Clip” or a “Princeton”, but we still have to find out which of these schools set the style first. No matter its origin, though, the cut became extremely popular in the 60s, across all universities in the country. Yale, Penn Varsity, and Cornell archives proudly present Ivy League students sporting different styles of this cut.

Understanding the Ivy League Haircut and Its Special Features

An Ivy League haircut is commonly considered a longer form of a classic crew cut – which is a military haircut. Moreover, this haircut is often mistaken for an undercut or a 2 step undercut. The main difference between a crew cut and an Ivy League haircut is that the latter leaves enough top hair to be side parted. The main difference between an Ivy League style and a classic side-swept cut is that the former includes the taper of the head top, not only the sides and the back. Let’s see the main features of this elegant hairstyle:

  • This is a tapered hairstyle
  • The taper should be done gradually
  • The haircut ends in a straight line across your neck; the cut allows, however, other types of neckline tapering
  • The Ivy League always shows smoothly tapered sides, back and top with no visible sharp or jagged edges
  • The top hair, while longer in length, is always worn short (2 inches tops)
  • The extra length in the front can be brushed up to form a pompadour
  • The hair on the back and sides can be tapered at a length of your choice
  • The haircut conforms to the shape of your head, hair density and texture

The Main Advantages of Getting an Ivy League Haircut

ivy league haircut advantages
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As we said, this is an evergreen men short haircut which is clean, neat and very masculine. It goes great for men of all ages and suits all possible outfits. Moreover, it is considered a professional, conservative haircut, even if it allows plenty of styling. Some of its main advantages are:

  • It is very low maintenance
  • It is very easy to style
  • It gives the face a defined appearance
  • It works best for men with a prominent jaw line or strong cheekbones
  • It allows the taming of a stubborn cowlick as it keeps the hair short and tidy
  • It needs little hairstyling products to be kept in shape – casual styling wax is probably going to be your only investment

How to Style a Classic Ivy League Haircut

ivy league haircut styling
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Since the hair is short and the only thing you have to deal with is the rather longer front, your styling efforts should be focused on that part. The traditional Ivy League haircut is side-parted. However, modern looks also include a few styling variations we will talk about a bit later. If you are into the classic, conservative Ivy League look, this is how you should style your do:

  • Part the hair on the side with the line starting at either of your temples
  • Style your front for volume by crossing your fingers through the hair
  • You don’t want to flatten your front, so keep away from the comb; you can use it only to give your hair the correct direction, but finish the styling with your fingers
  • You can let a small fringe loose to hover over your forehead for a wilder look
  • Usually, a classic Ivy League cut is not spiked or brushed, but contemporary versions also include such styling
  • Use styling wax, hair gel or pomade to finish your freshly finger-combed hair

Other Ivy League Haircut Variations You Might Like

ivy league haircut variations
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As we said, this is a rather versatile hairdo, even if it looks straightforward and simple at first. We will show you four different Ivy League haircuts so you know what you ask your barber for next time you visit him.

1. The Longer Ivy League Haircut Style

ivy league haircut long
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Just as you see in the picture above, the top length might actually be considered short to medium. The hair is left longer than traditionally agreed and the side part enhances the look. As you can see, the hair texture is very well defined. While this is a rather wilder look, it doesn’t look messy, but modern and very stylish.

2. The Ivy League with a Quiff

ivy league haircut with quiff
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Back in the 50s and 60s, the quiff wouldn’t have been the obvious choice of Ivy League students, but today the versatility of the cut allows some interesting styling. Among modern men’s haircuts, this is probably the most popular. It works with a neatly trimmed beard, turning any guy into a veritable magazine front-cover model.

3. The Ivy League with Spikes

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A good barber with a classic approach to an Ivy League do won’t probably suggest a spiked version, but you can show him some pictures and tell him exactly what you want. This spiky version is, in fact, a styling trick, as strands and bangs are well defined with the help of wax and styling gel. Your barber should know how you want to style the haircut, so he can give you a proper scissor trimming. A messier Ivy League will give you a more masculine, aggressive look – Daniel Craig style.

4. The Classic Caesar Ivy League Haircut

ivy league haircut caesar
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If you want to pull off a “Caesar” simply brush forward your top hair to stay flat. A lighter styling product is recommended for this type of styling – a matte paste should be enough to achieve a casual finish.

Choosing a Barber or a Stylist for an Ivy League Haircut

ivy league haircut stylist
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If you want a faux hawk or a modern undercut, go to a hairstylist. However, if you want a veritable Ivy League haircut, specialists recommend you choose a barber. This is a very old fashioned, sophisticated cut and younger stylists might mistake it for something else. However, the first thing you should do is pick a set of pictures to show to your barber. No matter how seasoned he is, he also might not know exactly what you look for, so it’s best to speak the same language and to set the rules together.

An Ivy League haircut is the ultimate choice for elegant men who want to look professional, serious, and forever in fashion. Before deciding you want to style your hair this way, take a look at different styles for short or medium lengths or for neat versus messy variations. Read a few styling tutorials and enjoy one of the classiest and smartest haircuts for men and young boys alike!

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

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David Williams

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  • John Marks

    Perfectly written article but the picture selection for ivy league haircut is little bit poor as the hairstyles of George Clooney and Matt Damon are not relevant for the post. I have recently visited a hairstyle webpage having best men hairstyles 2017 collection on it. Check the post structure, you will love their methods.

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