That warm-weather gauntlet of May to September is loaded with knot-tying ceremonies, which means it's time to dig out that lightweight suit and begrudgingly clean up your mane to match. For summer weddings, a good ‘do needs to check two boxes: Sharp and tie-worthy, but still easy enough that it works with the rest of your summertime laid-back lifestyle. A haircut that says style, not fad.
Lucky for you, there is such a thing, says Paul Langevin, a master barber at Blind Barber in Brooklyn. “Across the board, whether the guy is a summer wedding guest or even the groom, a version of the classic side part is the way to go,” Langevin says. “If there’s one look that works for every face shape, this is it. And it’s timeless, so you will pull out the wedding photos five or 10 years from now and you’ll still look good!”
Here’s how to get the perfect summer cut.
Shorter Sides, Looser Top
The key to a classic side part is to keep the sides nice and neat, so you can add a little more volume on top without the cut looking sloppy. “I suggest tapering any sideburns up to the ear area, then moving into a tidy length on either side on the head,” Langevin says. “As you get up to the top, I like to throw a bit of texture in, which means leaving a little extra length to play with.” He suggests 2 to 4 inches on the upper deck, which gives you more styling options depending on the occasion. “There’s nothing wrong with more of a military cut,” Langevin notes. “But since you’re already dressing sharp for the wedding, sometimes it’s nice to contrast that with a looser hairstyle.”
Note the Nape
Another important detail in pulling off this look: a strong neckline. “The neckline should always be tapered,” Langevin says. “A lot of people today do a rounded or square back, but I think that’s a shortcut. You want a classic neck taper, especially when you're wearing a suit jacket. The taper plays against the collar and really fine-tunes your look.”
Perfect the Part
There are variations to a side part, including exactly where to locate it. For wedding styles, Langevin recommends the classic JFK look — a part around 10 or 2 o’clock (if your head were a dial), but you can go for a more aggressive part as well, especially if you’ve left longer layers on top. To figure out your optimal part line, look for the spot on your head where the hairline begins to curve from front to back. “Every guy has a different natural part, but this area — called the line of recession — is where you want to put it,” Langevin says. Once you find it, comb hair away from the line on either side. What you don’t want: A part too close to your centerline. “The middle part is not an updated look,” he says. “Let’s just call it very ’80s!”
“For any formal occasion, I suggest a pomade of some kind,” Langevin says. (Blind Barber makes ones called 90 Proof Hair Pomade for $18.) A strong hold will work best since you need it to last several hours. Whether you go for shine or matte finish is a personal preference. But rule of thumb: Matte often works better for a midday wedding, while the glossy Gatsby-esque shine looks slick at night.