7 Old School Haircuts With a Modern Twist For an Updated Look

These haircuts are barber- and dad-approved.

The local barbershop revival has been alive and kicking in the past few years, with different barbers setting up their own spaces in Manila and in other cities as they cater to men for their haircut woes.

No longer relegated to your grandfather’s fading photos of days gone by, the new wave of barbers has long brought back the rockabilly haircuts and other 20th-century styles into swing—albeit with a few slight updates. The best thing about these haircuts? They’re great for personal style, as well as the office. Here, a round-up of vintage yet modern men’s cuts to request from your local barber—we're sure he'd be happy to oblige.

High Fade Buzz Cut

Straightforward, utilitarian, and no-frills: the military buzz cut has long been a favorite style by practical, no-nonsense men who would rather keep the extra inches away from their mug and liberate themselves from all the fussy grooming routines other cuts may impose. Still, it’s hard to deny its rogue appeal, with style stars like Justin Timberlake, David Beckham, and Kanye West getting their mops clipped. This cropped style is kept short with a bald fade and an all-around taper. Instead of just indiscriminately shaving off your scalp, ask your barber to put some emphasis on the edging. Make sure he has a steady hand, too: Neat and uniform shaping around the hairline is what makes the buzz cut look deliberately stylish instead of passing as an army recruit.

Pompadour Fade

Ask any barber today, and he would tell you that one of the most highly requested haircuts on the barber chair is the classic pompadour. The pomp is arguably the poster child of rockabilly hairstyles that have made a comeback, and with good reason: it’s a flashy ‘do that denotes a superior sense of style and grooming. Featuring a high and heavy top portion with clipped sides, the relatively high upkeep isn’t a matter for true vintage grooming fans. Bring on the pomade.


Textured Quiff

Back in the day, this was the haircut seen on the heads of certified cool guys, such as Elvis Presley and James Dean. The quiff is similar to the pompadour, mixed with a few elements of the undercut. Like the pomp, it features lots of volume on top that is brushed back and upwards, with faded sides that emphasize the top part. While the pomp is slicked back, the quiff has a more laid-back look, allowing the bed of hair to just fall back slightly, a nod to its rebellious roots.

French Crop

The French crop is a modern successor of the utilitarian Caesar cut: a short and uniform haircut that has the same length on top, at the back, and on its sides. Given its name, the Caesar cut has been around for millennia. Meanwhile, the French crop is a newer update, giving it a more stylish taste while maintaining its low-maintenance spirit: a more tapered ‘do with the top part slightly longer than the rest by just a few inches. This haircut has a timeless appeal while keeping on-trend, and is a great choice for men who want to conceal their thinning hairlines or for schoolboys adhering to a dress code.

Defined Side Part

Easy and classic, the side part is one of the most popular haircuts men end up sporting as they leave the barbershop. It’s timeless, gentlemanly, and professional, reminiscent of early 20th-century Wall Street bankers and other cosmopolitan men. It’s pretty straightforward: a side part is created when a man's hair is parted to one side of his head. Barbers with deft hands may choose to emphasize this part by running a blade along the line, adding more definition and a sharper look to the hairstyle. A hard part also accentuates the longer hair on top. To achieve this cut, ask your barber to taper the sides, and leave a short to medium length on top, which you can sweep back and hold in place with some pomade or putty.

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Slicked Back Undercut

Sleek, classic, and just a little bit old-school: Back in the day when men were more often seen wearing hats than without one in public, it made sense to have a haircut that stayed in place instead of getting mussed. In the 1920s, hats were a status symbol and indicated an upper-class background, so well-to-do and influential men hardly stepped out without one. Since then, the slick back has always been associated with affluence and power, a classic hairstyle for the upper crust.

While the slick back look can suit practically any face shape, some caution is to be taken by those with receding hairlines, as it could further emphasize the recession. Straight hair would do best in achieving the sleek look, since curls are more stubborn and could fight against styling. Think Brad Pitt in Fury. The slick back also requires some degree of maintenance: to style accordingly, blow-dry your hair back, and then comb through with a water pomade to achieve that traditional sheen.

Cropped Ivy League

If the hairstyle looks collegiate, then that’s because it very much is. The signature haircut of preppy old boys in the 20th century, the Ivy League haircut is a smarter and sartorially sharper variation of the crew cut. Aside from defining high cheekbones and a strong jaw, the haircut belies one’s background and indicates sophistication: no less than John F. Kennedy, a certified WASP prep, sported the haircut.

The Ivy League continues to be a classic and practical look that has never gone out of style throughout the decades, because of its effortlessly polished and professional look. School administrators approved of this cut, and so have many HR officers. Even today’s Hollywood stars are seen sporting the hairstyle, counting Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Ryan Reynolds, and Jim Parsons as just some of its many fans. To cop the look, you will need at least 1.5 inches of hair at the top, and then request just a slight taper around the sides.


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Sam Beltran
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