Dressing Up Men's Hair

Short hairstyle for men and a turtleneck
Photo: Shutterstock
Tips For Dressing Up Men’s Hairstyles
When it comes to "dressing up," the rules for men are generally much more clear-cut than those for women. "Dressy" means "no jeans", "no khakis", polished shoes, a button-front shirt, a tie, and a jacket (or waistcoat at the very least). A turtleneck instead of a button-front shirt with a tie is considered dressy as well. "Formal" means a black suit or, preferably, a tuxedo suit with the appropriate accoutrements. Yet the one area where many men seem to fail in dressing up is their hair.
It’s understandable, since so many men’s haircuts are super short. They often don’t realize what they SHOULD do. Even those with longer hairstyles seem at a loss, and the guys who wear truly long hair are often the worst offenders when it comes to "dapper" grooming.
Let's take a look at some common hair situations for men, broken down by hair length, and discuss tips on dressing them up.
Short Hair
With men, even short hair can be widely varied. How short is short? Buzz cut, flattop, Caesar cut, standard short-back-and-sides, Collegiate cut, etc. This list can be long and unwieldy. But the fact of the matter is that most of these are styles that can be flexible and dressed up for special occasions. Okay, okay! A buzz cut is pretty much the only exception to this, because when you have less than a quarter of an inch of hair all over the scalp, it's going to do what it's going to do.
But the rest need a little extra attention in a dressed-up presentation. The easiest way to achieve this is with hair products. For those shorter lengths among the "short" (Caesar cuts, and flattops, for example) try using a styling wax or pomade. These products will give the hair added gloss, and crispness and definition to the style. With just a dab of pomade, you can give your hairstyle the appearance of being carefully crafted, with just a little effort.
Use a strong pomade or wax and work it carefully through the longest parts of the hair, then comb the hair as normal. The look you end up with should show crisp strands of hair arranged in the sharp lines of the cut, rather than the brush-bristle look of non-treated hair.
Man with short dressed-up hair
Photo: Minerva Studio/Canva
Caesar cuts and similar:
Use mid-weight pomade or styling cream and work it through the hair, then use your comb to direct the hair as you desire. Try using different tooth-widths to see the different results and choose the one you like best. You can even use the comb(s) to create patterns in the hair and add texture and detail for visual interest.
The result will be a glossy look that flatters and looks like you put in real effort even though your hairstyle is one that is designed for ease and utility.
Collegiate cuts and Traditional short-back-and-sides cuts:
These haircuts generally have longer lengths of two to three inches in the top and front sections. They are usually chosen because they are neat and tidy, but leave the wearer with some "play room" for styling. This means that when dressing up, you have more options for styling your look.
Take a bit of lightweight pomade or styling cream and work it through the hair. Then experiment with a few options. You can slick the hair back smoothly for a classic dress look, or even play with flipping the bangs area back into a mini-pompadour or perhaps carve yourself a curl on a part of the forehead.
The bottom line is that you want the hair to look like you've put in the effort. You don't want to show up giving the impression that all you did was throw on some dressy clothes and rush out the door. The image of being sharply groomed is the first thing people will see, long before they get close enough to engage in conversation and notice things like your aftershave or cologne. You don't have to spend hours, but you do have to put in some effort.
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