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Classic vs Modern: An Evolution of Men's Hairstyles

Classic vs Modern: An Evolution of Men's Hairstyles

Men's hairstyles have come a long way.

Many people think that men's obsession with hair is a recent trend, thanks to the popularity of styles such as man buns and undercuts, but this is definitely not the case.

In reality, men have been fascinated with their hair for a long time.

From frosted tips to slickbacks, let's see how far men's hair has progressed over time.

Renaissance (1450- 1515)

The hairstyle for males throughout Europe from the Early Renaissance to the beginning of the 16th century was long.

The men shaved their beards and moustaches in solidarity with the Pope, who prohibits facial hair for his clergy.

As usual, royalty set a fashion example for the subjects. Charles VIII of France was a European trendsetter during this period, wearing his shoulder-length hair in a Pageboy style, as it is known today.

Francois 1 (1515 – 1550)

The 16th-century men's style reintroduced beards and significantly reduced haircuts.

According to mythology, King Francis I of France unintentionally burned his beard with a torch, which led to the popularity of his new wreath-shaped beard and short moustache.

King Henry VIII of England also preferred this beard shape. Unsurprisingly, the two kings were close pals and changed their ways almost simultaneously.

Elizabeth era (1550 – 1620)

Beards continued in the second half of the 16th century, becoming more complex and extending up to the lower lip. Grooming and arranging facial hair became socially important during this period.

Hair was usually worn short and combed back from the forehead, but it became longer towards the end of the century before transitioning into an entirely new design.

Cavalier (1620 – 1650)

This marked the beginning of the growing relevance of hair in men's fashion. It is reported that King Louis XIII of France was unable to grow a big beard and thus established a new fashion
guideline for the court nobility, requiring moustaches and a pointed beard or chin tuft.

Longer, curlier men's haircuts became a true craze throughout Europe. When Louis XIII prematurely began to become bald, he introduced the first male wig.

Louis XIV (1650 – 1720)

This was the era of men's most extravagant hairstyles, which had never been seen before and have never reappeared since.

At the start of his reign, King Louis XIV of France, also known as Roi du Soleil (King Sun), declared his passion for a full head of long, curly hair. Like his father, he began to go bald at a young age.

The beard had been on a protracted decline and had now vanished among the higher classes.

Louis XV (1720 – 1790)

The 18th century was the era of elegance in men's hair, a direct reflection of the dominant Rococo style and its central concept of "joie de vivre" (joy of life).

Men in vogue liked short blond wigs or their white powdered hair pulled back into a braid or tail with a black ribbon at the nape. Sometimes, the back hair was wrapped in a black silk purse.

Hairstyles were flat at first but gained volume in backcombing as the vogue declined before the French Revolution.

Romanticism (1790 – 1835)

This early nineteenth-century style was a direct expression of people's ideas during the post- Revolutionary romantic era.

There were no beards or moustaches, wigs, or artificial elements; only natural, short to medium-sized hair with sideburns to reflect the attitude of freedom and ongoing search for new ideals.

A pioneer during this period was the 5th Duke of Bedford, who abandoned wigs in protest of the exorbitant powder tax and began to wear his hair cut short.

His society pals and potential dandies flocked to him with enthusiasm. Unsurprisingly, this 'au naturel' hairdo is still popular today because of its ease.

Victorian age (1835 – 1900)

Victorian-era style continued the trend established in the early nineteenth century, with a dramatic turn to short natural hair.

Facial hair, including moustaches, sideburns, and full beards, came back in style, although the romantic period's clean-shaven face did not return until the end of the century.

The golden age of hairstyles

The appearance of Jazz characters with slicked-back hair affected men's haircuts around 1920. It was thought to be the era of entering the modern age. During that time, the 'Undercut' hairstyle was extremely popular.

Men would shave or closely clip the back and sides of their heads, leaving the top hair longer and slicking it back.

1930 was the height of the Great Depression. Nonetheless, even in terrible times, men desired to appear polished. The 'Side Parting' hairstyle was fashionable at the time and appeared sleek despite being more plain and less elaborate.

Looking at 1940s hairstyles, you can see the influence of military-inspired cuts. The styles were inspired by WWII, with popular haircuts including short sides, long tops, and groomed waves.

Minimalistic hairstyles

In 1990, new barbering styles began to gain popularity. The hairstyles become more effortlessly cool rather than dazzling. Kurt Cobain, for example, popularized the term "bedhead".

Flat Tops were also popular among the black population as a cultural statement. Simpler and more relaxed, the 90s hairstyle emphasized minimalism.

As the world entered the new millennium, globalization introduced many distinct styles. There have been retro-inspired haircuts, contemporary styles, messy spikes, and layered looks.

This was when males began to view grooming as an important aspect of their lives, experimenting with different haircuts.

Modern hairstyles

Men's current haircuts encompass various styles, from traditional to avant-garde. Different salons and barber shops offer a wide range of trendy hairstyles.

Men's hair represents distinct style and self-expression, whether a classic side part, a severe undercut, or a free-flowing man bun.

In these salons, you'll often see men draped in salon capes as they try out these exciting new styles.

Men's hair is now more versatile than ever, thanks to the endless possibilities and emerging new styles.

Parting shot

This was simply an overview of the evolution of men's hairstyles. Within each period, there were various sub-trends. With all of these, we can all agree that the possibilities of hairstyles are
endless, and all we can do is wait and see what the future holds.


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