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Crew cut

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Title: Crew cut  
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Subject: List of hairstyles, Ivy League (haircut), Flattop, Hairstyle, Hairstyles in the 1950s
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Crew cut

Crew cut

A crew cut is a type of haircut in which the hair on the top of the head is cut relatively short,[1] graduated in length from the longest hair at the front hairline to the shortest at the back of the crown.[2][3] The hair on the sides and back of the head is usually tapered short, semi-short, or medium.[3][4]

A short crew cut is sometimes referred to as a butch, though with the exception of variant forms, a butch differs from a crew cut in that the top hair is cut a uniform short length.[5] A long crew cut can be referred to in the US as an ivy league crew cut or ivy league.[6][7] A long crew cut might be graduated in length on the top of the head from one and a half inches(38mm) at the front hairline to one half inch(13mm) at the back of the crown. A short crew cut might have a similar proportional graduated difference in the length of the hair on the top of the head. If a short crew cut is three fourths of an inch(19mm) at the front hairline, the length of the hair at the back of the crown might be one fourth of an inch(6mm.) A crew cut where the hair on the top of the head is graduated in length from the front hairline to a chosen point on the mid to back part of the crown as a flat plane, of level, upward sloping or downward sloping inclination is known as a flat top crew cut or flattop.[8][9] Crew cuts, flattop crew cuts, butch cuts and ivy leagues can be referred to as buzz cuts; all are traditionally groomed with hair control wax, commonly referred to as butch wax.


Crew cut, 2011
Crew cut, 1943

The term, originally crew haircut, was most likely coined to describe the hairstyles worn by members of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell and other university Crew teams, which were short to keep the hair from being blown into the face of the rower as the boat races down the course opposite the direction the rower is seated with both hands on the oars, making it impossible to brush the hair out of the face.[10][11][12][13] The name drew a contrast to football haircuts, which had been long since 1889 when Princeton football players began wearing long hair to protect against head injury, thereby starting a trend, not altogether welcome; mop haired football players were frequently caricatured in the popular press.[14] In 1895, the championship Yale football team appeared with "close-cropped heads" and subsequently long hair went out of style for football. Almost concurrently, the first helmets began to appear.[14]

The crew cut, regardless of the term applied to the hairstyle, was not limited to, nor did the style originate in the United States.[6] In English, the crew cut and flat top crew cut were formerly known as the pompadour or short pompadour, as well as the brush cut, and had been worn since at least the mid 18th century.[6][3][15] The style went by other names in other languages; in French, coupé en brosse; in German, bürstenschnitt. A short pompadour with a flat top was considered the standard while a somewhat curved appearance across the top was suggested for wider foreheads and face shapes.[16] The style with a flat top acquired the name brush top short pompadour and the style with a more rounded top, round top short pompadour.[17] Prior to the invention of electric clippers with a motor in the handle in 1921 and their ensuing marketing and widespread use, barbers considered the perfect short pompadour to be the most time consuming style to trim.[16][18][19] [20] Crew cuts were popular in the 1920s and 1930s among college students, particularly in the ivy league. The style was often worn as a summer haircut for its cooling effect.[11][12][13][21] Men inducted into the military in World War II received G.I. haircuts, crew cuts, and a significant proportion continued to wear a crew cut while serving and after, as civilians.[22][23][24][25][26] As long hair became popular in the mid 1960s, the crew cut and its variants waned in popularity through the 1970s.[27][28][29] Crew cuts have almost exclusively been worn by men and boys, especially those of high school and college age who want to be perceived as clean cut and athletic.[30] [31]

See also


  1. ^ Trusty 1971, p. 108.
  2. ^ Trusty 1971, p. 107.
  3. ^ a b c Thorpe 1967, p. 132.
  4. ^ Trusty 1971, p. 107-108.
  5. ^ Trusty 1971, p. 113.
  6. ^ a b c Trusty 1971, p. 97.
  7. ^ Trusty 1971, p. 102.
  8. ^ Thorpe 1967, p. 133-134.
  9. ^ Trusty 1971, pp. 110-111.
  10. ^ "John Hay Whitney Philanthropist, Film Producer, and Father of the Crew Cut".  
  11. ^ a b "Pompadours Passe Says Barber; Collegetown Condemns Crew Cuts".  
  12. ^ a b "Obecure Origins of the Crew Haircut Revealed by Harvard Square Barbers".  
  13. ^ a b "Two-Fisted, Stout Jawed Movie Idol Plus Crew Haircut Resembles Composite Undergraduate".  
  14. ^ a b Beau Riffenburgh, The Official NFL Encyclopedia: "The Helmet"
  15. ^ Moler 1911, p. 82-83.
  16. ^ a b Moler 1911, p. 82.
  17. ^ Thorpe 1958, p. 141.
  18. ^ History of Andis
  19. ^ Andis, Our History
  20. ^ Thorpe 1967, p. 120.
  21. ^ "Crew Haircut With Back Sheared Is The Male Method For Beating The Heat".  
  22. ^ "The Men 300,000 New Sailors Will Make The Navy Their Career".  
  23. ^ Gordon L. Rottman (2007), Fubar: Soldier Slang of World War II, p. 52,  
  24. ^ George Thomas Simon (1974), Glen Miller and His Orchestra, p. 343,  
  25. ^ Victoria Sherrow (2006), Encyclopedia of hair, p. 194,  
  26. ^ "The Great Hair Hangup".  
  27. ^ "The Great Hair Hangup".  
  28. ^ Victoria Sherrow (2006), Encyclopedia of hair, p. 54,  
  29. ^ Kaminsky (10 May 1974), "Long Hair-Style Trends Cut Short", The Cornell Daily Sun 100 (Number 141) 
  30. ^ Victoria Sherrow (2006), Encyclopedia of hair, p. 101,  
  31. ^ "MANNERS & MORALS: Teen-Age Moderation".  


  • Moler, A.B. (1911). Standardized Barbers' Manual. Unnattributed Publisher. 
  • Thorpe, S.C. (1958). Practice and Science of Standard Barbering. Milady Publishing Corporation. 
  • Thorpe, S.C. (1967). Practice and Science of Standard Barbering. Milady Publishing Corporation. 
  • Trusty, L. Sherman (1971). The Art and Science of Barbering. Wolfer Printing Co. 

External links

  • Yale Alumni MagazineA brief description of the term's history in the
  • Yale Daily NewsA brief description of the term's history in the
  • Dec. 10 1956. Includes photos of crew cut Olympic Gold Medal winning Yale oarsmen.LifeAgonies Of Victory For Comeback Crew
  • July 14, 1941. Includes before and after photos.LifeCrew Haircut With Back Sheared Is The Male Method For Beating The Heat
  • November 23, 1935.Harvard CrimsonObecure Origins of the Crew Haircut Revealed by Harvard Square Barbers
  • March 25, 1937, Page 1Cornell Daily SunPompadours Passe Says Barber; Collegetown Condemns Crew Cuts
  • May 24, 1939The Daily PrincetonianPrinceton Oarsmen Pick Bayard To Lead 1940 Varsity Crew. Includes photo of crew cut Crew Captain.
  • March 27, 1940The Daily PrincetonianStout Jawed Movie Idol Plus Crew Haircut Resembles Composite Undergraduate
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