Often known simply as a ‘regular cut’, the short back and sides needs no introduction. But for those among you who have recently horse-and-carted it out of your old life in an Amish community, it’s the classic male haircut and has been for over a century. When a barber asks what you want, if the most descriptive answer you can muster is ‘a haircut please’, in 99.9% of cases they will give you a variation on the theme of short back and sides.
To risk stating the obvious, getting a short back and sides cut involves cutting hair short at the back and sides of the head, while leaving it longer on top. This can be done with scissors, clippers, or, as in most cases, a combination of both. Simple enough so far.
Such a diverse and popular haircut, however, naturally includes a range of lengths, styling methods, and cutting techniques under its umbrella. So, to cover the full breadth of the cut, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide.
This haircut is one step up from the buzz cut, with the lowest degree of contrast between the top and sides. The look will typically be achieved with clippers used at different grades. Coming with all the same advantages as a buzz cut, it highlights lean, angular features, but offers more versatility than its standoffish cousin. The look will suit a greater variety of face shapes, as well as being marginally more acceptable at formal occasions and in the workplace. With longer crew cuts, it will also be possible to style the hair on top, although this will be limited.
As with the buzz cut, a crew cut can work fantastically with a beard. It helps to be conscious of the beard-to-hair ratio as well, however. Fading your beard somewhere around the level of your ear is advisable, as is ensuring there is a noticeable contrast between the lengths of your beard and head hair in order to avoid resembling a tennis ball.
One of the major plusses to the crew cut is it’s easily maintained from home. Make sure you invest in a good set of clippers if you’re intending to do this.