The Modern Crew Cut: What It Is And How To Style It

Crew Cut

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Crew cut or tight cut is also often called "college cut haircut", "Ivy League style", "marine crew cut for men"… but no matter what you call it, it's all about the classic style for guys, which includes sideburns, longer hair on top of the head, and a classic shape inspired by the 1920's university sport team members.

First invented for and by students 100 years ago, the classic crew cut along with the updated versions are firmly fixed in the 2020's fashion as a timeless trend of chic elegance.

What keeps a crew cut hairstyle one of the best-loved cuts for men of all ages - from the point when Harvard, Yale, and Princeton were beginning their way of glory till nowadays when fashion is so fast and changeable? Probably, it is the relative simplicity of crew cuts, which makes the style basic and neutral. Also, crew cut haircuts are easy- maintenance, work with any face shape, making the facial features more expressive, and with all hair types too.

What is a Crew Cut?

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What is a Crew Cut

If you don't exactly understand what does a crew cut look like, imagine a popular haircut for men, with extremely short hair on the sides and back and with length on top.
Yes, a "crew cut style" is usually applied to the majority of short hairstyles - it's a generic term. And it's often confused with the fade, tight cut, and buzz cut.
Let's figure out the main differences between the crew cut and other short and neat hairstyles so that you know for sure how to ask for a crew cut in a barbershop.

  • Crew Cut vs Buzz Cut

Both of them take their names from the military background. However, in a buzz cut, the hair has the same length in all directions, while a crew cut features a varying length (fade) at the sides and back. If talking about the crown, the hair is longer in the front and shorter at the back. What they have in common is that both are done with clippers.

  • Crew Cut vs Fade

A crew cut is a more general name for these army-inspired masculine haircuts. The fade is only a part of the men's crew cut meaning the gradual contrast, bleaching from longer hair to bare skin in the back and sides.

  • High and Tight vs Crew Cut

Despite both High and Tight cut and Crew Cut were invented as a part of the military uniform, which easily creates a neat and clean appearance, the crew cutting is more often worn by soccer players, rowing crews, and other sportsmen too. Also, while High and Tight cuts feature the same length on top (even if spiky), Crew Cuts tend to have a quiff-like style (longer in front, shorter in the back).

Crew Cut Styles

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Crew Cut Styles

Classic Crew Cut

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Classic Crew Cut

Does the crew cut look good? With a classic crew cut, things will never go wrong - you'll just look appropriate for any occasion with faded sides and a bit of volume on top. This Ivy League classic is chosen by young and old because it is timeless, masculine, clean, and eye-catching.

Modern Crew Cut

gottalovecos

Modern Crew Cut

Any modern clean-cut hairstyle is highly compatible with a rebellious unruly beard and a mustache. Make sure that among numerous variants of crew cuts, your hairdresser chooses the perfect one, which works best with your appearance, face shapes, hair length and texture.

Crew Cut Fade

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Crew Cut Fade

A short crew cut fade doesn't require a hair wax, a hairdryer, and even a comb at hand. It explains the popularity of styling a crew cut haircut as buzz cuts. The smooth transition on the sides contrasts with the sharp hairline in the front. However, note that if you have irregular head shape, you should better not show the scalp and make a choice of a longer top area in your crew cut.

Side Swept Crew Cut

barberologywoden

Side Swept Crew Cut 1

This side-swept variation of medium length crew cut is loved by guys who enjoy standing out of the crowd and don't mind spending extra ten minutes in front of the mirror styling the pomp from the picture above. Another cool thing of such a voluminous textured crew cut is that it adds up another couple inches of heigh (which is a find for short men).

Short Crew Cut

zwannepoel

Short Crew Cut

As we've already mentioned before, crew cut hairstyle is a kind of military style as well. It can be clean, nice, without any twists, but on the other hand, if you cut short your hair, it doesn't mean you're doomed to look boring and conventional. If you change the angle of the hairline and add a trendy beard, this cut goes far beyond the army borders.

Long Crew Cut

ingnon_tian

Long Crew Cut

You can also experiment with the length of your crown. That allows for endless styling options from a hawk and an extraordinary pompadour to Ivy League comb-over and quiff.

How to Do a Crew Cut

How to Do a Crew Cut

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Ok, you've already seen a lot of cool hairstyle examples and wanna ask your hairstylist to make it. But how to explain what exactly you need?

What do I tell my barber for a crew cut?

If you don't have a photo of the cut you dream about, you can ask your barber for "short sides and back". The difference in crew cut lengths between the top and sides should be about an inch.

What number is a crew cut?

Usually, haircut clipper guard sizes are about 2 on sides and 5 on top, but you can play with the crew cut variations. For example, your fade can be sharp and aggressive, or it can be pretty subtle and gradual.

Wanna know how to get a crew cut? Watch this tutorial.

Wondering how to give yourself a crew cut? These days there is great equipment that makes self-cut a super easy process. Just watch this video to make sure.

How To Style A Crew Cut

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How To Style A Crew Cut

Well, now you've got your ideal cut, and here another question arises: How to style a crew cut?

The question is especially popular if you leave a few inches on top that allow you to play with shapes and styles. You can fearlessly opt for:

  • side parts
  • pompadours
  • comb overs
  • faux hawks
  • quiffs

When styling your top of the head, bear it also in mind that crew cut hairstyles make ideal matches with oval, round, and square face shapes. While oblong faces are absolutely incompatible with long crew cuts.

Best Crew Cuts

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Best Crew Cut

Crew Cut Taper Fade Haircut

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Crew Cut Taper Fade Haircut

Let's start our fantastic crew cut gallery with a classic crew cut and recall why the hairstyle was called like this. Originally, this style was worn by Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell universities' crew team members. So, initially, it was meant to feel comfy but look hot so that neither male nor female sports fans were disappointed.

Short Crewcut for Men

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Short Crewcut for Men
Men with naturally high hairline can wear this hairstyle with confidence. The short sides and longer top are the traditional components of this cut - they frame the face and focus the attention of people on facial features, beard, and mustache rather than on the receding hairline.

Long Crew Cut Hair

mens.crew

Long Crew Cut Hair

And what about such a relaxed French romantic style? Side-swept long wavy locks with scissors fade will work especially great for a man with the outstanding jawline and bright facial features.

Side Part Crew Cut for Guys...

Side Part Crew Cut for Guys

tommy.barber28

… or another cool technique on how to show your bald spots in a favorable light instead of hiding them.

Step 1: Ask your barber for a bald high fade crew cut and a shaven side part.

Step 2: Take some hair product and a comb to sweep the crown to the side so that your hairstyle automatically shifts into the 21st-century trends.

Messy Crew Cut

Messy Crew Cut

mens.crew

A little bit of hair pomade, gel, or wax will not only fix your unruly strands in a necessary direction but also give extra shine and structure to your hair. Natural movement on top can look perfectly imperfect!

Textured Crew Cut Hairstyle

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Textured Crew Cut Hairstyle

Meet the Little League style for thick and stubborn hair. The short sides with a shadow fade and a disconnected top make it easy to maintain the style clean and attractive. Razor line design above the ears gives an airy and dreamy vibe to the whole image.

Crew Cut Long on Top + Fade

Crew Cut Long on Top and Fade

aleksei_astrahantzev

This comb-over hair definitely makes men look younger and fresh-faced. You will hardly find any disadvantages of this style as they just don't exist at all. Smart, cool, fresh, clean, nice, easy to do…what else do you need?

American Crewcut

American Crewcut

the.freedom.barber

To get this upswept masculine cut you have to take some wax and sweep the hair at the top of your head up. The thicker your hair is the firmer the hairstyle is. You can also use a texturizing spray to give this solid height to your thin hair.

Male Crew Cut with Beard

Male Crew Cut with Beard

mens.crew

For an office look or for a casual street outfit, a beard is always a good idea… But only if it suits your appearance and face type. Let these photos be an inspiration for you in the choice of your perfect beard shape among the variety of trendy beard types.

Side Swept Crew Cut

Side Swept Crew Cut 2

mens.crew

Wanna some update in your image? Sometimes, it's enough just to swap the way you style the top of your hair and sweep it to one side.

Tapered Crew Cut

Tapered Crew Cut
mr_kmk

Be always young and stylish with an updated Princeton haircut. It will hide all your flaws like receding hairline and greying hair, and emphasize your cool sides. Awesome crew cuts like this are a kind of panacea for balding men.

Spiky Crew Cut

Spiky Crew Cut
nikoskak_

What can make your 50's crew cut not so boring? We've got a plan: just spread a small amount of hair product over the top to make it spiky and fix it into a shape you like most of all.

Crew Cut Flat Top

Crew Cut Flat Top

sergey_burlev

You can easily make this attractive style at home with minimum effort. Bald fade on the sides, relatively short flat top crown, and a nice Caesar-like fringe at the front - that's everything it takes. Remember that a mixture of styles is the easiest way to become a trendsetter.

Medium Crew Cut Men

Medium Crew Cut Men

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No matter if you're 20 or 43 years old, medium-length waves flowing down the forehead always make the right impression on girls.

Traditional Crew Cut Hair

Traditional Crew Cut Hair

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This is a solution for a guy with thin hair. If you wanna visually make the problem not so obvious, try balancing the amount of hair and its length.

Crew Cut High Fade

Crew Cut High Fade

mens.crew

This crew cut hairstyle is full of contradictions and contrasts. Thick hairy top and high bald fade, total mess on the crown, and smoothly-shaven sides. The main challenge is to balance the opposites and get a harmonious final look.

Boys Crew Cut Low Fade

Boys Crew Cut Low Fade

mens.crew

A low fade with high top works well for men with round or heart face shapes. The height on top will elongate the face, and the closely-cropped sides will slim the head down. As a result, you have a perfectly balanced look.

Mid Fade Crew Cut

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Mid Fade Crew Cut

A skillfully-made fade can become the key element of the whole hairstyle. Want your hair look on point? Find the best barbers to get a perfect bleach.

Crew Cut Undercut

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Crew Cut Undercut

This brutal and dramatic undercut is easy to copy and easy to wear!

Skin Fade Crew Cut

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Skin Fade Crew Cut

This up-to-date crew cut variation features an incredibly clean high fade, a long spiky crown, and a kind of quiff at the front.

Curly Crew Cut

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Curly Crew Cut

As we've already mentioned before, the crew cut fits any hair type and texture. So, if your hair is curly or at least wavy, you're in an advantageous position for sure. Natural curls at the top of the head look eye-catching even without special fixing. And if you use some shining spray, you'll look absolutely flawless.

Brush Cut Fade

mens.crew

Brush Cut Fade

To get this top volume, you'll need a round brush, a hairdryer, and some styling product. If your hair is naturally too silky or thin, you should also use a texturizing spray before you start blow-drying your hair.

Crew Cut Comb Over

Crew Cut Comb Over

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Comb over is a win-win option if you're not sure what hairstyle to choose today. Just gel your top hair backward with a comb or sweep it to one side.

Crew Cut with Bangs

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Crew Cut with Bangs

Short bangs can be a good variant for guys with high forehead or oblong face shape.

Ivy League Crewcut

thejonpinkston

Ivy League Crewcut

Here is a short crew cut with a thinly shaved parting, which separates the crown and the tapered sides. This small accent makes a huge change and gives the whole cut a fresh, unboring touch.

High and Tight Crew Cut

tidyazbarbershop

High and Tight Crew Cut

Meet the last idea of a modern, versatile, and classy crew cut for a true macho.