11 Best Ivy League Haircuts For Men

Brush up your knowledge on this classic cut. 

An Ivy League haircut is a slightly longer variation of the classic crew cut that has enough length to be worn in a side partingA 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

Ivy League haircut: Matt Damon with a short Ivy League haircut, wearing a black suit
Matt Damon is an obvious example of the Ivy League haircut. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

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

Ivy League haircut: Channing Tatum with a short Ivy League haircut, wearing a grey shirt and blazer
The Ivy League haircut is a form of crew cut. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

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. 

Next read: 5 essential barber terms every guy should know

3. Tapered Ivy League haircut

Ivy League haircut: Jensen Ackles with brown hair in a side-swept Ivy League haircut, wearing a tux
Spiked-up, slicked over or kept au naturel, you can play with different textures. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

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

Ivy League haircut: Brad Pitt with a textured Ivy League haircut, wearing a tux
Textured cuts add shape to your hair and make styling a breeze. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

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

Ivy League haircut: Calvin Harris with a dark blonde Ivy League haircut, wearing a patterned blazer and a black shirt
You can’t go wrong with this medium length haircut. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

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

Ivy League haircut: Ryan Reynolds with brown hair in an Ivy League Haircut, wearing a black top and jacket
It’s a great option to consider if you’re self-conscious about hair loss. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

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

Ivy League haircut: Zac Efron with brown hair in a long Ivy League haircut, on the red carpet wearing a suit and tie
With an Ivy League haircut you can let your hair grow out longer on top. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

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

Ivy League haircut: Justin Timberlake with a long swept over Ivy League haircut, wearing a tux
An Ivy League haircut is great for taking weight out of thick hair. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

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

Ivy League haircut: Jim Parsons with a comb over Ivy League haircut, wearing a tux
Balance out a larger forehead with a side-swept Ivy League hairstyle. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

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

Ivy League haircut: Ryan Gosling with light brown hair worn in an Ivy League haircut, wearing a blue blazer, white shirt and tie
Look dapper with a slicked over style. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

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

Ivy League haircut: Liam Hemsworth with brown hair in a textured Ivy League haircut, wearing a grey suit
Got wavy or curly hair? You can opt for a more ruffled, messy texture. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

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.