Today, we’re going to walk you through a particularly dapper haircut that’s been increasing in popularity. The style is a combination of elements from classic men’s styles, and the result is a contemporary twist that breathes new life into old standbys.
This style is a combination of a side part, a fade or taper, and a slicked back top. It’s simple enough, but it packs a punch. If you’re tired of your current haircut and need a refreshing style, try this one.
What do I need for the dapper haircut?
This cut works best if you have straight or wavy hair because the hair will need to be slicked back. If you have curly (but not coiled) hair, you may be able to pull of this haircut, but it will be a bit more difficult.
You’ll also need your favorite hair product. A medium hold gel or wax should be fine for most hair types. If you have hair that’s tough to manage, look for a firm hold product. A matte product is also preferable because it looks like no product was added to the hair, so there’s no greasy appearance.
How to Get the Dapper Haircut
First, ask your barber to fade (or taper) the sides and back. The hair should fade up from about a #1 to a #2. This fade should be repeated on your temples, so the resulting look will be a nice overall fade.
Next, ask your barber to blend the clippered hair using the scissors over comb technique (instead of clippers). When this step is done, your hair should look nicely blended together. In other words, you shouldn’t see a dramatic difference between the top and the sides/back.
Finally, ask for the hair on top to be trimmed to the length you want. You can go for any length, but we find that anywhere from 2 to 4 inches is good for this cut. You want to have enough hair on top so that you can slick it back and part it, but you don’t want too much, or else it will become unmanageable. If you’re aiming for a more voluminous dapper haircut, you’ll probably want your hair to be on the longer end of the spectrum, about 3 to 4 inches.
You can also ask for the edges of your haircut to be detailed with clippers so that you have fine lines around the cut. Optionally, you can also ask your barber to shave in a hard part.
How to Style the Dapper Haircut
Start by towel drying your hair so it’s still damp. Work in about a quarter sized amount of product between your hands and work it into your hair. Comb it through and keep working it in with your hands.
Part your hair and brush it as you usually would, then tease the hair in front to get some volume. Finally, comb your hair backward to achieve the slicked back look. Bare in mind: use moderate amount of product to keep the effect and avoid overdoing it.
Classic Tapered Comb Over
This dapper style utilizes the trendy side-swept technique and a more gradual taper, giving it a very full-bodied and neat appearance.
Slicked Back Undercut
The slicked back undercut is a fashionable variation of the timeless dapper cut. The part here is less obvious since the focal point is the backward movement of the hair.
Formal Wavy Texture with Side Part
If you want to put a fun twist on the basic dapper style, this is the haircut for you. The hair on top flows over and out onto the forehead, and it works well with straight or curly hair.
Simple Top with Clean Sides
Prefer to keep it short? This no-nonsense haircut has a very clean and even look that puts a minimal spin on the dapper style.
Side Combed Classic
Brushing a quiff to the side is a tried and true look and for good reason. This is very much a recognizably dapper hairstyle, but the side quiff spices it up just a little.
High Volume Side Swept Strands
This loose, voluminous hairstyle takes the dapper haircut to new heights (literally). Long hair is finger combed for the wavy, windswept look shown here.
Layered Pompadour with Tapered Temple
Here’s a tidy take on the classic pomp. The hair is brushed back and finger combed just a touch to create a sense of motion, while a subtle line up provides extra definition.
George Clooney's Caesar Inspired Business Cut
The Caesar cut has stood the test of time, and as a result, there are many great variations. This short business cut has roots in the Caesar cut but is a little messier and features a gentle part.
If you like your hair to be neat but still want a lot of styles, this straightforward quiff is an excellent option.
Formal Side Swept
Here’s a simple dapper haircut that’s especially good for guys with thin hair. The hair is simply brushed to the side, but the result is formal and stylish.
Justin Timberlake's Classic Taper and Scissor Cut
The combination of a basic scissor cut and taper might sound underwhelming, but in reality, it’s a fantastic pairing that’s never gone out of style.
If you’re after a low maintenance dapper hairstyle, try an Ivy League. This gentlemanly cut will work with any hair type, and you can get it at any barbershop or salon.
Thick Hair Brush Back with Faded Sides
Another minimal-maintenance look that forgoes the hard part and instead focuses attention on the faded sides that blend up seamlessly with a simple and slick brushback.
Sober Quiffed Strands
Some light styling on the considerable length up top creates a relaxed finger-brushed look, and a lowkey taper on the sides doesn’t seek to distract pull focus from the true star of the show.
Tightly Set and Combed Hard Part
A very precise incarnation of a classic dapper military cut, this requires some steely-eyed dedication to styling, or at least to barbershop visits.
Equally at home on the football pitch, as it is in the halls of West Point, the sharpness of this look is sure to garner the respect and admiration of your peers and strike jealous fear into the hearts of adversaries.
Clean Side Part with Puffed Pompadour
When playing stand-up bass in a raucous psychobilly band, an average haircut just doesn’t cut it.
Blow out the pompadour way, way up and keep those brushed follicles straight. Give your barber the go-ahead to drop that impeccable fade to the skin, and part that hair harder than Moses did the Red Sea.
Classy Subtle Drop Fade
A part need not run the length of your crown but sometimes suffices as the slightest split at the hairline, quickly blending in with the textured waves above.
Subtle highlights accentuate the marbled nature of sandy blonde hair, adding color dimension, and you can’t go wrong with a simple taper that moves elegantly down to a drop fade.
Classic Side Brushed Tapered Hair
One of the best things about the dapper part/taper/brushback combo is that it allows for endless shaping options for heads of all shapes and sizes.
If worried that any length up top will make your already long face longer, set a hard part high enough to put a break in the outline of your head, creating a distinct separation of head and hair. Finger brush the length directly away from that part at a sideways tilt, and you have the makings of a fine-textured take on this classic look.
Tightly Styled with Tapered Bust
The silhouette of this hairstyle suggests the wearer rows crew, is probably named Blaine, and ironically has no idea what a Big Boy restaurant is. But the wildly off-center, transverse hard part makes this cut a horse of a different color.
The tapered sides and styled top are both traditional enough, but when paired with the avante garde placement of that hard-part, they become something exceptional.
A more modest version of the hard part. The lightly tapered sides don’t distract from the textured pomp above. This is a robust look that takes minimal morning styling to achieve easily.
Classic Taper with Brush Up
Wavy length on top is not a prerequisite for the dapper look. A shorter brushed up crop achieves an equally refined look with minimal upkeep. A clean skin fade compliments dark or even salt-n-peppery hair.
Thin Part with Combed Side Brush
As seen on many a fashionable lad in the UK, this side-brush is combed and shaped to perfection with an elegant high part.
Classic Hard Part with Side Brush
Another cut that makes use of an unorthodox placement of the hard part, a little higher than standard. Both the tapered fade below and the wavy length up top are brushed away from this part at a sideways angle, adding movement to the wave’s curl.
Layered Top with Undercut Fade
An undercut fade can look just as grand with no part at all; instead of dramatic contrast, smooth cohesion between the short and the long. Keep the edges trim and really blow out the pompadour for a big, lifted and textured style.
Despite its strict, military-inspired name, the regulation cut is one of the most versatile formal styles out there. All it requires is longer, neatly brushed hair up top, with shorter, tapered (if not faded) sides. The choice to hard-part or not and the placement of the part itself allows for nearly endless choices.
Regulation Inspired Comb Over Style
This version of the regulation cut uses a more typical placement for a hard part, but lowers the skin fade down enough to define the edges into the sideburns and juuuust barely into a near-invisible ghost beard. When personalizing a classic, it’s all in the details.
Similar to the regulation (and all tried-and-true hairstyles, really) the pompadour offers many options.
From the rockabilly attitude of Brian Setzer to the theatrical melancholy of Morrissey, this version would look at home amongst the white tee and Lucky Strikes crowd of the late 50s.
Finely Faded Temple
On a fairer complexion, light hair has the advantage of blending almost invisibly as it fades towards the skin. This can be used to dramatic effect, giving the edges an ephemeral ghostliness, and the finely side-brushed top tonal depth between light and shadow.
Classic Pompadour with Sleek Taper
Another breed of the pompadour, this version puts a textured finger-brushed blowout to use, adding all kinds of layers to the top. Also, proof that the sleek pomp doesn’t always have to be paired with a clean-shaven face.
Drop Fade with Classic Top Crop
You don’t always have to try and reinvent the wheel. Sometimes all you need is a clean drop fade with some rolling waves up top.
Clean Side Swept with Tapered Sides
This sleek style looks good in all hair colors, but especially striking when paired with the tonal variety of a sandy blonde. The hard part leaves enough length below to form a taper of great shape-ability.
Styled Medium Top with Hard Part
Revival dapperness. This cut doesn’t shy away from its heavy styling, opting for a non-matte product for maximum glow. Get your zoot-suit pressed and polish the pocket watch because this cut says you’re going out tonight!
Compact Styled top and Hard Part
If Vanilla Ice ever had to make a court appearance in the 80s, he might have had his barber hit him up with this respectable version of his iconic flat top.
To be sure, there’s no reason to always go for the soft waves of the standard brush up. Mix it up with sharper angles up top and neatly burst-faded sides.
Long Top Slick Back
With any slicked back style there is always the risk of it appearing…greasy. This breezy matte finish finger-brushback avoids that by keeping it’s textured volume up off the scalp. A tasteful part and burst fade round out this casual take on the usually more aggressive throwback look.
Medium fade and Classic Business Cut
Now this is the more traditional take on the slick back. It suggests assertiveness, decisiveness, intelligence; the creeds of the powerbroker. Mix it up while maintaining the sharp appearance with a smooth fade in place of the typical hard part.
Comb Styled Top and Tapered Sides
About as quintessentially dapper as a haircut can get. The immaculate low drop fade with no sideburns under a practical hard part, with a tidy side-brush up top that would make your great-grandpa proud.
High Drop Fade and Long Top Hard Part
This unique cut says to hell with a standard hard part and opts instead for an oblique angle starting well past the top temple, running the full length of the crown. The long crop up top is brushed to the side with a wide-tooth comb, giving it texture.
Classic Taper and Comb Over
A deconstructed part, simple taper and a medium length side-brush up top. What’s not to love about this relaxed, low maintenance style?