Is stylish sophistication your thing?

You know what, forgive me for asking. Of course, it is. And by acknowledging this, I present to you the Ivy League haircut.


When it comes to combining sleekness, class, and a hint of athleticism, I dare say that no other haircut comes close.

Also referred to as the Harvard Clip or Princeton Cut, this haircut is popular with students from Ivy League universities and with icons such as Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling.


This haircut owes much of its popularity to its classic yet urban look, making it an ideal choice for an office setting and a casual night out.

Simply put:

If what you want is a clean, fresh cut that you can rely on, this timeless hairstyle is for you.

However, before you ride off into the sunset – or warm up your clippers – it is wise that you have some references and inspiration.

So, I have rounded up some of the best variations available for this hairstyle to help you choose one that bests suits your personality.

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

What is an Ivy League Haircut?


I can almost hear you asking; what exactly is the Ivy League Haircut?

Well, here’s the thing:

When it comes to hairstyles, popularity often brings with it a lot of variations.

As such, serving up a standard definition is problematic. But here is the central concept behind the Ivy League haircut:

You have short hair – usually tapered – on the sides and back of the head and relatively long hair on top. The sides shouldn’t be too short, and the top should be long enough to fit a side part.

So, to clarify:

You have relatively short hair on the sides and back with long, side-parted hair on top.


I know it sounds like a Crew Cut, but it’s not, and here’s why.

Crew Cut vs. Ivy League Haircut

The two haircuts are incredibly similar to the point that the Ivy League haircut is classified as a type of Crew Cut.

Therefore, most people tend to confuse the two.


While both haircuts are classy, smart, and dapper, they do have some fundamental differences.

So, it’s true that both hairstyles feature shorter sides and back – usually tapered – with relatively longer hair on top, but the Ivy League generally features longer hair all over.


The standard Crew Cut features hair so short that it stands up and can’t be combed over. Meanwhile, you can easily comb the Ivy League’s longer top into a side part.


Let’s see some examples of the Ivy League Haircut.

2021’s Most Stylish Examples of The Ivy League Haircut

#1 Classic Ivy League Haircut

Classic Ivy League Haircut
Source: @beantown_barber

From the American Ivy League schools comes the Classic Ivy League. It features tapered sides and a side part on top.

This hairstyle is polished, smart, and not to mention classy.

How do you get it?

  • Start by putting in high and neat tapers on the sides to section off the top
  • This then allows you to add a side part for a neat and polished look

For styling, opt for a matte product with a low sheen to enhance your professional appearance.

2. Modem Ivy League Haircut

Modem Ivy League Haircut
Source: @thisisatravesty


For a modern spin on the traditional haircut, try and infuse your appearance with a casual, effortless style.

To do this, you’ll want to start with a nice taper or fade on the sides. The top should then have medium to long hair.


As you’ve probably guessed, it’s all about the styling with this one.

Thus, you can section the top into a side part but remember not to keep it too tight.


Use some texturizing cream while styling to enhance your casual appearance.


To avoid a neat and tidy look – which will always read Classic Ivy League – run your fingers through the hair.

3. Undercut Ivy League Haircut

Undercut Ivy League Haircut
Source: @clarksbarberlounge


Want to take your Ivy League hairstyle to the next level?

If so, then consider paring your newfound hairstyle with an Undercut.

So, how do you get it?

  • Start by trimming down the sides and making them short
  • Next, you’ll want to keep the top reasonably long
  • This design – longer top with shorter sides – is what essentially defines an Undercut

To style, use a matte product with a low sheen or some texturizing cream.

Thanks to the contrast added by an Undercut, an Ivy League Undercut is always impressive and eye-catching.


For an edgier appeal, consider a Disconnected Undercut.

4. Curly Ivy League Haircut

Curly Ivy League Haircut
Source: @hairbyennieskola


Do you have thick, curly locks?

Well, you can show them off by rocking an Ivy League hairstyle.

While most variations of the Ivy League work with smooth and straight hair, combining this hairstyle with curls will bring some eye-catching, unique, and fascinating results.

Awesome, right?

So, to nail this look:

  • Start by tapering the sides
  • Optionally, you can add a soft temple fade
  • The length on top should be determined by your preference, personality, and the type of curls you have


Opt for a short-cut if you have light waves and a lengthier one for heavier, bouncier curls.

5. Long Ivy League Haircut

Long Ivy League Haircut
Source: @barberstylemcz

Get this:

If versatility is what you are after, then the Long Ivy League hairstyle is a great option to consider.


Due to its extra length, this hairstyle gives you much more flexibility in styling. It also appears eye-catching and fashion-forward.

To get it:

  • Make sure you don’t trim the sides too short
  • Leave the top relatively long


If you leave your hair too long, it will cease being an Ivy League. But once you finish cutting, you can experiment with different styles.

6. Short Ivy League Haircut

Short Ivy League Haircut
Source: @_buzzhawk

The Short Ivy League is a clean-cut and all-rounded fresh hairstyle.

What’s more?

Because of its shortness, it will require little to no maintenance.

So, how do you get it?

  • Start by tapering or fading the sides and reducing the top to resemble a Crew Cut
  • Next, make sure you maximize the part and comb the hair off to one side

To style, opt for your favorite pomade, wax or, gel.

7. Textured Ivy League Haircut

Textured Ivy League Haircut
Source: @thehairguys


To get an elegant yet contemporary look, consider adding some texture to your Ivy League hairstyle.


This variation is versatile and works with thick and thin hair.

For instance:

Those with thin hair will find it adds character and bounce to your look, while those with thick hair can enjoy a new level of dimension to their hair.

8. Messy Ivy League Haircut

Messy Ivy League Haircut
Source: @flatmax

Lastly, you can always do messy, right?

If you are not into the polished and neat aesthetic, then the Messy Ivy League will fit you perfectly.

This variation features short sides and a messy or tousled top.

To get this cut:

  • Use some clay or putty while styling to add some texture
  • Then run your fingers through the hair before finishing off with a blast of hairspray

This style will give you an original, stylish, and relaxed look without appearing unkempt.

And that’s it.

But before, I end this post, here are a few tips for barbers, DIY fans, and curious customers:

How to Give Yourself an Ivy League Haircut

Due to its simplicity, giving or doing the Ivy League haircut is relatively easy.

However, you will need a few things, including:

  1. At least 1.5 inches of hair;
  2. A reference photo;
  3. A pair of scissors or shears;
  4. A comb; and
  5. An effective clipper.

Now, here’s how it’s done:

For starters, make sure you separate the hair on top from the sides/back. You can do this using clips, bands, or pins – whichever you prefer.

Once you’ve created the separation, it’s time to start cutting.

Begin with the sides and back and cut them short – but not too short. I’d recommend a clipper setting of #3 to #5. Here, you can also put in whatever taper or fade you fancy.

Pro Tip:

Start with the clipper over comb technique on the sides and back before applying the clipper directly. This method will allow you to remove bulk without cutting the hair too short.

Moreover, after removing the bulk, you’ll be able to see the clipper blade move through the hair and quickly decide where you’d like the fade to be.


You’ll have to decide on whether you want a high, low, or medium fade. Your reference photo will help you decide. This technique will also make blending much more effortless.

Moving on…

Now that you have the back and sides exactly how you want them, it’s time to tackle the top.

Here, scissors work best.

So, pick up your comb and shears and start cutting.

You can cut the hair according to your preference, but I’d recommend keeping about an inch to half an inch. Also, the hair should get longer toward the fringe.


Make sure the whole haircut is seamless. So, each part should blend into the other with no sharp changes or jagged edges. And remember, slow and steady wins the race. Therefore, take your time and do an excellent and clean cut.

How Do I Ask for an Ivy League Haircut?

Get this:

If you find a DIY Ivy League a bit daunting, you can always visit your local barbershop and ask for one.


However, while the Ivy League is a popular haircut, some barbers may not be familiar with it or some of its variations. But don’t stress. I’ve got you covered with some nifty little tips to help you get what you want, like:

  • Having a reference photo: bringing a reference photo with you is a sure way of getting exactly what you want
  • Terminology: if you can’t get a reference, describe what you want while using the correct terminology. For instance, you could say you want the sides and back to be buzzed with a #4 clipper, while the top should be about an inch long
  • Communication: like in most facets of life, effective communication is key to being understood and understanding others. So, be sure to tell your barber what you like and what you don’t like. After all, he/she is there to help you

Now that you know how to do and ask for an Ivy League hairstyle, let’s get down to styling.

How to Style an Ivy League Haircut

Because this is a low-maintenance hairstyle, you won’t need a lot of products for styling.


Here’s what you can do…

  1. Ideally, you’ll want to start with towel-dried hair.
  2. Next, apply some styling product – as required – to the hair on top and use a comb to distribute it evenly throughout. Go with a matte product to get a more natural finish or some cream to get a nice medium shine.
  3. Next, use the comb to brush the hair off to the side and make a side part. On the other hand, you can brush the hair backward and use a medium-hold product to keep it in place. A third and popular option would be to combine the two.
  4. Although entirely optional, you could run your fingers through the hair to give it a smooth, casual look.


Like I said:

The Ivy League haircut is a low-maintenance hairstyle, so care often comes down to styling and trimming.


As we’ve seen, styling this haircut is relatively easy. As for the trimming part, all you need to do is maintain the sides and top. The trimming frequency varies from person to person but having a trim once or twice a month is ideal.


And there you have it.

Everything you need to about the Ivy League haircut together with some trendy, 2021 variations.

So, whether you are a college student in need of a clean-cut style or a business professional looking for a stylish yet sophisticated look, this is one hairstyle you’ll want to consider.


You can easily customize this style to fit any preference or personality.


You’re now ready to ride off into the sunset with your new, timeless, classy, and sophisticated hairdo.

And remember:

If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know in the comments below.

Thank you & #StaySafe

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