An Ivy League haircut is a slightly longer variation of the classic crew cut that has enough length to be worn in a side parting. A clean-cut and professional hairstyle that will never go out of fashion, it’s a favourite with stars like Ryan Gosling, Matt Damon and Ryan Reynolds.
As you can probably tell by its name, the trend started out in US Ivy League schools, so you might also hear it referred to as a ‘Harvard Clip’ or a ‘Princeton’. Here are 11 ways to style the Ivy League haircut and everything you need to know about this popular men’s hairstyle.
1. Classic Ivy League haircut
The Ivy League haircut fuses together the dapper aesthetic of a traditional crew cut with the slick vibes of a side part. However, unlike the crew cut, the Ivy League retains a little bit more length at the front, allowing you to brush it upwards, backwards, or part it to the side to create the signature groomed look.
2. Short Ivy League haircut
The good news is, this cut is short enough that unlike several other men’s hairstyles currently trending (like man buns), you won’t need to worry about growing out your hair in preparation. To get the look, you’ll need to have an inch of hair on the top and just over an inch at the front, so we’d recommend making sure you’ve got at least an inch and a half all over before heading to the barbers.
3. Tapered Ivy League haircut
Another key feature of the Ivy League hairstyle is its taper. Unlike most other haircuts for men, which usually taper down the back and sides, this cut tapers at the sides, back and top, which gives it its smart, shaped look.
Next read: What is a taper fade?
4. Textured Ivy League haircut
Unlike the crew cut – which tends to be cut with clippers – the Ivy League is usually cut using scissors on the top section of hair to retain a little extra length and give you more texture. Ask your barber to keep between half an inch and an inch on top (depending on how you want the end result to look), and leaving the front a little longer.
Editor’s tip: Because this style all about minimal maintenance, you shouldn’t need too much product to successfully style your Ivy League cut. A touch of styling wax – we recommend the VO5 Styling Wax – worked in between the palms of your hands before application is usually enough.
5. Medium Ivy League haircut
When it comes to the sides and back of the cut, we recommend opting for anything between a number 2 and a number 4 cut. Just be sure to let your barber know how gradual of a taper you’d like.
6. Ivy League haircut for a receding hairline
Great news for guys with a receding hairline – you don’t have to shave all of your hair off. Ryan Reynolds shows that the Ivy League haircut can help to conceal a receding hairline while still maintaining some length.
Editor’s tip: When it comes to hair products for guys with thin hair who want to make their locks look fuller, apply a golf ball-sized amount of the VO5 Big Volume Mousse to damp hair before blow-drying. The finished look will appear “product-less” and your hair will instantly look thicker as a result.
7. Long Ivy League haircut
Have long hair and looking for a new way to style it? Try wearing it parted to the side and swept back into a quiff so that it’s off of your face.
8. Ivy League haircut for thick hair
Thanks to its tapered cut, the Ivy League hairstyle is great for those with thick, unruly hair as it will lighten up your style while still making the most of your luscious layers at the top.
9. Ivy League haircut for long face shapes
If you have a long face shape, the Ivy League is a perfect match. The side-swept look creates the illusion of a faux-fringe effect which will distract from your forehead and balance out your features.
10. Slick Ivy League haircut
This dapper haircut is incredibly versatile and can be styled in numerous ways to suit your hair type, face shape and personal style. Traditionally, the look is styled with a side parting but you can also brush it back, or even combine the two and go for a brushed back, side-parted look.
Editor’s tip: Take a small amount of gel, such as the Alberto Balsam Wet Look Gel and work it through with a comb to give your hair a slick and shiny look.
11. Messy Ivy League haircut
Even though this style is known for being smart, that’s not to say it can’t be casual too. With just a quick ruffle through with your fingers after getting out of bed, you’ll be set.