The haircuts that work extra hard by allowing you to vary your look, whatever you’re wearing.
Simple, classic, easy to style . . . and yeah, fine, perhaps a little boring — but isn’t a big part of versatility being uncontroversial? The tapered cut pleases everyone — from your boss to your Tinder date to your grandma — because no-one has a problem with this straightforward style, where short back and sides gradually taper to slightly longer strands on top. The taper is super low-maintenance but can be subtly tweaked with a bit of product — styling paste, for example, offers plenty of hold without being too shiny — and this conservative cut can be modernised with a short beard or stubble.
A tight crew cut doesn’t suit everyone — you need a square jaw and a smooth, blemish-free noggin to look going under copping the clippers — but the crop provides a little more volume on top, offering more versatility when you style it. There’s not a facial shape or a type of hair that doesn’t suit this ‘do, which is essentially a buzz cut on the sides with a scissor-cut defined fringe on top. The modern style is messy, with a more severe fade and angled fringe, but a more neutral cut can be easily styled for different occasions — clay for a casual matte finish or pomade for a more formal, stronger hold.
Similar to the crop but boasting much more length on top, meaning it doesn’t suit blokes with a long face who don’t need any extra volume stretching it out, but flatters square and circle faces. The quiff can be ad dramatic as you like, depending on the severity of the fade and the length on top — the modern style is to leave it long and textured on top, but it can be reigned in for something a little more subtle. This style should be swept back using a product that offers solid hold — either a moulding cream for that slick style David Beckham rocks so successfully, or a pomade or sea salt spray for a more relaxed finish.
A close cousin of the classic taper, and another style that’s timeless and easy to maintain. The major difference between the taper and the side part is the styling — the side part is worked into place by a comb and usually held tight by a product — but they both differ from the crop and quiff by being less dramatically faded on the sides, and normally reserved for straight hair. Apply gel or wax to thicker hair for that slicked-back Don Draper look, while thinner hair can be held with a less shiny pomade combed through damp hair — a little effort for a sophisticated end result on any face shape.