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The Crop, From ASBO to High Fashion

The Crop, From ASBO to High Fashion

Back in the (very) early Noughties in when I was finishing secondary school there seemed to be two main looks – The Chav or The Liam Gallagher Wannabe.

Of course, there were numerous other sub groups, but in the times before the main boom of smartphones and; well; the internet primarily, choices were thinner on the ground when making a style choice.

On the large I opted for the latter of the two, donning more than the odd Fred Perry polo with skinny jeans, and wearing through the soles of many a pair of Gazelles on the makeshift concrete football pitches of Leicestershire.

And that’s before we get started on the hair – left intentionally longer at the sideburns, nape and fringe and GHD’d to within an inch of its life for about half an hour before I got stuck into my cornflakes.

At the time I would’ve put my theoretical house (approximate value of £50k back then) on it being the look that would stand the test of time better.

However, fast forward some twenty odd years (ouch) and it turns out I was wrong. Whilst a Britpop inspired look isn’t a complete rarity nowadays, it’s a little more niche and you definitely see more of the tracksuits, hoodies and large logo’s that were synonymous with the other main group of the time.

Christ, I even saw some Kappa stuff in Goodhood recently, and that was even seen as shit back in the day! And I certainly still cut more crops than I do mod cuts.

All of this has led me to think, what is it that has made this haircut stand the test of time? How has something that was originally thought of as the haircut of choice for teenagers roaming Bluewater in a hoodie become such a longstanding staple?

And it turns out that there are actually more reasons than you may think….

The simple answer would be that there’s the very real possibility that I am actually old enough that the fashions of my youth have come “back around”, just like our parents told us that they always did.

Whilst this is highly likely to be one aspect of the crop’s popularity, I feel like there’s more to it than this. Firstly, there’s the fashion thing.

Because of its round shape and framing cropped fringe, it tends to particularly suit faces that are angular and long with pronounced cheekbones or jawlines, therefore, it suits a lot of models.

And because it suits a lot of models, you see it a lot on billboards, adverts, runways etc. which appears to keep it fresh and on trend.

Secondly, you have the fact that, as it is worn forwards and the length of the fringe can be tailored, it’s a great option for those who’s hairline has started to recede.

This means that it is no longer associated with just being a look for the younger generation alone. Then there are the numerous iterations that have sprung from the original – some super choppy, some super sharp with a blurry fade and some much softer and more natural, as if they’ve been grown out for a couple of weeks.

This makes it a more flexible style option for more people and more hair types.

Finally, you have the jewel of the crown for any essential classic men’s haircut – it’s super easy to style.

Unless you’ve got the Mother of all cowlicks at the front of your lid then the blunt fringe pretty much styles itself, the overall length is pretty short so drying is a cinch and the texture is cut in (uniform if worn slick or irregular for a matt, choppy look).

All of this makes for a low maintenance trim as long as you’re willing to make regular trips to the barbershop.

We recommend Ruffians salt spray and maybe a little matt clay if you’re going for a textured look or a bit of styling paste applied to damp hair and run through with a wide-toothed comb if you’re after a more preened, neat style.

Be warned though, the crop doesn’t tend to suit everybody seamlessly.

If you have a naturally rounder face shape then it can accentuate this, and if your hair is a bit wavy or unruly then it can be hard to adopt the sharper version of this style.

It also seems to look better, particularly the shorter iterations, when teamed with a more casual, laid-back look; something to consider if you have to dress formally on a regular basis.

Overall, though, the crop is certainly a modern classic that has stood the test of time, and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon.

You don’t even have to play truant from P.E. or get caught smoking behind the bike shed to rock one these days.

Should you wish to go for this style then, as always, we recommend coming armed with some pictures to show your barber or stylist exactly what look you wish to achieve.

TJ, barber in Ruffians Shoreditch


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