You're probably long overdue for a trip to the barber, and chances are, if you're one of the millions who helped the David Ayer-directed Fury become No. 1 at the box office this weekend, you might even be taking some inspiration for a new look from Brad Pitt. After all he's been helping guys pick out everything from hairstyles to leather jackets, six-pack abs, and bad accents since he first appeared on screen — even though we usually fail due to the simple fact that we are not (nor will we ever be or look like) Mr. Pitt.
But before you commit, take a second to talk it out with your barber about the World War II-era cut that has become the envy of hipsters everywhere.
"This cut is normally referred to as the 'undercut,' which can date back to the mid-1800s," says Blind Barber's Robert McMillen, adding that the style's origin isn't completely clear. But if you want a cut that’s fit for the Greatest Generation, McMillen explains that Pitt's hair might not be exactly what you should ask for the next time you sit down in the chair. "It wouldn't be the most accurate representation of a WWII-era haircut," he says. "Tapered looks were popular at the time, but they were much more uniform and didn’t have such a disconnect from the sides to the top."
So why exactly are you seeing this cut more often lately? McMillen says the cut's recent popularity can be traced to a few key names, from David Bowie in the 1970s to David Bechkam who has worn it since 2012. "It was a look mostly reserved for counter cultures because it is so extreme," he says. "It had a big resurgence in the early- to mid-90s, but mostly stayed with a middle part, and then it died down by 2000. Pitt is a sharp guy, but unfortunately he can't be credited with the return of this look. For most men, the inspiration is the menswear icon Nick Wooster, who has been wearing this cut since at least 2009."
To make this cut look as good as possible, McMillen explains it'll probably depend on how your face looks. "With such an extreme look, you would prefer to have more of a square face shape with a very strong jawline," he says. "The extreme cropped sides with a great deal of length highlight such features and normally help this cut look great. Most guys can pull it off with certain variations, but square face shapes are normally best."
Don't have the jawline of Brad Pitt or have no idea if your head is square enough? You have some options. "You can easily achieve a tapered side and back with more length on the top, but still maintain a proper cut," McMillen suggests. "But we are seeing some guys keep a bit more length all over now,” he says, adding that we’ll have to wait to see if it will actually become the next trend. So yes, really — that I-didn’t-just-get-my-hair-cut look might eventually work in your favor.
Whatever you decide on for your next look, just try to remember one thing: You are not Brad Pitt. You never will be. But it doesn't hurt to feel like you are. Luckily for you and for us, McMillen offers some words of comfort: "Most guys look sharp with a proper haircut. So regardless of trend, staying well-groomed has been a valuable piece in our culture today. That trend only seems to be increasing over time."
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