While you may not be able to afford Harvard’s tuition, you can easily get the Harvard style

The high-class ivy league haircut is a stylish variation of the classic crew cut. Also known as a Harvard clip or Princeton, the cut balances the smartness of a crew cut with the slickness of a side part. It’s an ideal for style for men aiming for a classy, sophisticated appearance.

Brad Pitt, Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

What is the Ivy League haircut?

The ivy league haircut is cut in the same way as a crew cut. However, unlike a crew cut, the Princeton haircut leaves enough hair on the top of the head to be parted. It gives the face a defined appearance, making it best for men with strong cheekbones or a prominent jawline.

The Ivy League haircut is versatile and can be styled various ways. It’s a great low-maintenance cut that goes well with any outfit. It’s also ideal if you have a stubborn cowlick, since this cut will keep your hair short and tidy.

Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com

What do I need for an Ivy League haircut?

Since this is a short style, you won’t need much. The Ivy League haircut requires an inch of hair on the top of the head and a little more than an inch in the front. We recommend that your hair is at least 1.5 inches long for the Ivy League haircut.

You won’t need much product, either. Like a crew cut, the Ivy League is known for its simplicity and ease. If you do want to use product for styling, a casual styling wax will do the trick.

Matthew Goode crew cut ivy league by JStone e1534921552340

How to Get the Ivy League Haircut

First, check with your barber or stylist to see if they’re familiar with the cut. It’s a fairly common style, but not all stylists may know it. In that case, we recommend showing your stylist pictures and describing the characteristics below.

Whereas a crew cut requires the hair to be buzzed with clippers, the Ivy League can be cut using scissors on the top of the head. This gives it the extra length that differentiates it from the crew cut.

Tell your stylist you want a half an inch to an inch (depending on your preference) on top of your head and a little longer in the front. The longer hair in the front will facilitate the brushing back of the hair, which is one of the notable characteristics of the Ivy League haircut. You can also style it with a part if you wish.

Kathy Hutchins Shutterstock.com_
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

One important facet of the Ivy League haircut is its taper. Unlike other styles that only taper the sides and back, the Ivy League tapers the sides, back, and top. A gradual taper is key to getting the classy look that an Ivy League haircut can provide. When you visit your stylist, make sure to inform them of the taper if they’re unfamiliar with the style.

For the sides and back, you can choose a length that suits your personal style. We recommend you request either a shorter clipper setting (#2 to #4). The sides and back are cut shorter than the top or front, but they’re also tapered. Let your stylist know how gradual of a taper you’d like.

Ivy League
@dannyandcobarbers / Instagram

The taper on your neckline is blocked, meaning that it ends in a straight line across the neck. However, you can go with a different type of tapered neckline.

Make sure the entire haircut is one seamless style. There should be no jagged edges or sharp changes. Each part of the haircut should blend into the other. The only exception is the crown, where the taper on the top of the head comes to an end.

Zac Efrons Ivy League
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com


Because the Ivy League is low maintenance by design, you don’t need to do much to style it. Traditionally, it’s side parted. Style the hair with your fingers or a comb to achieve your desired look. You can also brush it back and use some light product to hold the hair in place. You can also combine brushing the hair back with a side part.

See our gallery below for more examples:
James Van Der Beek’s Ivy League
James Van Der Beek's Ivy League

A very classic way of sporting the Ivy League is by having it cut short. There are many modern spins of this hairstyle but if your goal is to keep it timeless, the short version is your best choice.

presslinephotos / Shutterstock.com
Zachary Quinto classic gentleman business hairstyle
Zachary Quinto's Ivy

You don’t always need a clear side part, try a more relaxed style and take a page out of Zachary Quinto’s book.

Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com
Jim Parsons’ Ivy League
Jim Parsons' Ivy

It’s no surprise that Jim Parsons, who plays the quirky scientist Sheldon Cooper in CBS’s sitcom The Big Bang Theory chooses to wear an Ivy League haircut. Sheldon is extremely methodical and very adverse to change outside of his regular routine, so this classic hairstyle is a great fit for both the actor and Sheldon’s character.

Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com
Liam Payne’s Ivy League Hairstyle
Liam Payne's Ivy

Another great example of clean-cut Ivy league, the short sides are a vintage staple of this style and Liam Payne is known to keep a healthy mixture of classic and modern influences when it comes to his personal style.

Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com
JFK's Voluminous Ivy

There isn’t a more iconic wearer of the Ivy League than John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the United States.

His look consists of a smooth balance between length and styling. If you pay attention, the hair is barely weighed down by thick hair products, it rather sits lightly and in place. To achieve this, you’ll need a slight amount of hair gel to comb the hair into the desired form. Remember, sometimes less is more.

Daniel Radcliffe’s Casual Ivy
Daniel Radcliffe's Casual Ivy
s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
Jensen Ackles’ Long Ivy
Jensen Ackles' Long Ivy
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
Nick Jonas’ Long Tapered Ivy
Nick Jonas' Long Tapered Ivy
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
Ryan Reynolds classic regular taper with side part
Ivy Comb Over
DFree / Shutterstock.com
George Clooney short side part hairstyle with grey hair
Clooney's Modest Cut
Matteo Chinellato / Shutterstock.com
Kellan Lutz short choppy textured crew cut
Informal Short Top
s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
Ivy Zayn
Zayn Sways Short to Side
Side-Brushed Ivy
Side-Brushed Ivy
Olena+Yakobchuk / Shutterstock.com
Styled Ivy with Undercut
Styled Ivy with Undercut
fonti / Shutterstock.com
Nicholas Hoult’s Ivy
Nicholas Hoult's Tousled Ivy
Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock.com
Zachary Quinto Business man short side part
Combed Side Brush
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com
Ivy League + Crew Cut + Skin Fade Undercut
Skin Fade Undercut Ivy League
Ivy League + Crew Cut + Skin Fade Undercut, by ballesterbarbershop / Instagram
Slight Quiff Side Swept Hairstyle
Simple Rolled Brush with Short Sides
Formal Ivy League with Drop Fade
Formal Ivy League with Drop Fade
Blonde Side Brushed Ivy League
Side Combed Ivy League
Ivy League Fade
Modern Regulation Cut with Burst Fade
ivy league haircut Side
Textured Ivy League
Messy Ivy League
Messy Ivy League
ivy leauge
Packed Pompadour with Faded Sides
Tapered Ivy with Beard
Tapered Ivy with Beard