Don Draper Hair Style: How To Get This Timeless Look

Mj 618_348_how to look like don draper a beginners guide
Michael Yarish/AMC

With the final season of Mad Men in full swing, many fans are already mourning the end of living vicariously through the Sterling Cooper three-martini lunches and office romances. We all knew the end was imminent — even Don Draper himself. But in true Mad Men style, he proved that an ending doesn’t have to be the end when he said, “I have a life and it only goes in one direction: forward.” What better way to pay homage to the philosophy and debonair ways of Don Draper than harnessing his timeless look yourself? The styles of the Mad Men cast are classic enough to pull off in any decade, so we spoke with the barber behind the show’s perfectly coiffed characters, Theraesa Rivers, to get her tips and tricks.

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“The great thing about the styles from the show is that you can get them at any barber shop,” Rivers, who teamed with Birchbox on a collection of Mad Men-inspired grooming essentials, says. “They were classics before the show, but now you can walk in and ask for the ‘Don Draper.'” The Don Draper consists of a cut that is shorter on the sides and longer on the top — and it never requires a clipper, so make sure your barber only uses scissors to create the cut, Rivers advises. The sides and back should be cut about an inch long and blend into the top, which should be kept 3-4 inches long.

The great thing about having a classic cut is that there are multiple ways to style it depending on how you want to look. “You can make this cut look distinguished and polished, or more casual and cool — it’s so versatile,” Rivers says.

To create Draper’s polished look:
1. After washing, blow-dry your hair in the direction that you want it to fall: up and back.
2. When almost dry, comb pomade evenly through your hair. (Rivers recommends Murray’s)
3. Comb the sides back and down towards the nape of your neck with a fine-tooth comb.
4. Create a far side-part over the temple of whichever side your natural part falls on.
5. Push the front slightly back to create that bit of volume over your forehead.
Bonus Tip: If you are going out for a night on the town, create a pompadour for a more distinguished look, Rivers suggests. To do this, style as directed above. Then, place your hand on top of your head and slightly push your hair forward while brushing it directly upward and back above your forehead. Tame the sides and lightly direct any misplaced hairs. Secure with a little hairspray, such as Crew’s Classic.

For Draper’s casual look:
1. Starting with clean, damp hair, take putty, such as Uppercut’s Matte Clay and run it through the top of your hair with your fingers.
2. Allow your hair to air-dry.
3. Use your fingers to create a natural part.
4. If necessary, tousle your hair a bit more and add a little extra putty where needed.

RELATED: John Slattery Says Goodbye to Mad Men and Roger Sterling

If Don’s cut isn’t your style, take notes from some of the other Mad Men. For something a little less severe, look to Harry Crane. It’s the same cut, but ditch the pomade when you style and simply comb the top of your hair over to the side and let it swoop across your forehead. Just don’t part it over further than the middle of your eyebrow, in chances of looking too much like a member of the Beatles. Stan Rizzo’s looser, longer look works well if you like a little more hair around your face. Just keep the top and sides a few inches longer than “the Draper,” part your hair on the side while it’s damp, let it air dry and fall where it may.

Whatever you choose, picking a timeless look is better than staying on trend. “Man buns may be ‘in’ right now, but longer styles aren’t flattering on everyone,” Rivers says. “This look works on everyone regardless of hair thickness or certain issues, such as a receding hairline, because shorter, layered hair disguises problem areas.” Now go grab some pomade and comb your hair in the opposite way of Don’s life direction.

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