Harvard Vs. Princeton — The Haircut Showdown

What’s an “Ivy League” haircut when there are eight schools, each with its own quirks and distinctions? And so, according to one barber, at least two schools were known for their particular cut.

Here’s the Harvard:

And here’s the Princeton:

And the young man pictured at top getting fitted in New Haven, with what looks like some Brylcreem holding it together, could be sporting a Yale. 

10 Comments on "Harvard Vs. Princeton — The Haircut Showdown"

  1. A haircut that is even more under the radar than these cuts would be “The UVA”. I can’t understand why it went out of style…

    My hair was getting a bit on the longer side recently so this is very timely inspiration!

  2. Thanks for that, Morgan. He bears an eerie resemblance to my grandmother.

  3. The characteristic I associate with the generalized Ivy League cut is that the sides are disproportionately short compared to the top and, mostly,the low part which allows the top, originally combed back, to fall forward casually across the forehead. The Princeton was nearly a crew cut with a tuft in front that, like the longer Ivy League, was allowed to fall forward.

  4. Nothing special about then these days. One vestige of the Heyday that’s now ubiquitous. The favored haircut(s) of Everyman in America. Nowadays the Princeton is known as the “Anderson Cooper.”

  5. Jonathan Sanders | December 2, 2017 at 8:31 am |

    Really enjoyed the video on the Harvard cut. That’s the cut I should have had….when I had hair! How disappointing.

  6. At a barbershop in the 80’s, I think on Brattle, you got the Dukakis cut from his barber Gus. What a glorious time it was to be a gov major.

  7. My favorite cut? The “Peter Gunn.” If your barber knows what this is, you’ve struck gold.

  8. Charlottesville | December 5, 2017 at 1:00 pm |

    Don — The “Peter Gunn,” assuming you mean the cut Craig Stevens wore in the old TV show, is indeed a good look. If our fellow commenters want to view some episodes on Netflix or YouTube they can enjoy looking at Lola Albright and listening to some cool jazz, as well as the well-known Henry Mancini theme. Count me a fan. As an historic note, I note that the UVA cut, as sported by Mr. Jefferson, does not seem to be very popular in these parts currently.

  9. Great videos. Thanks for sharing. A quick story:

    Now well over thirty years ago my mother took me, my brother and sister on a trip to see our grandparents. My mother was from Boston (Roslindale) and my dad from Brighton across the Charles from Harvard. You could literally see Harvard football stadium from their house in the then working class enclave across the river (My father’s uncle, a Polish immigrant with little English-speaking skills, was a laborer on Louis Leakey field expeditions.) Naturally a day or two before we left Florida my mom had my brother and me get haircuts. I didn’t know much about these things and the barber, there in South Florida, told me he would give me a Princeton. A few days later, now in Boston, my grandmother told me she liked my haircut. I told her that the barber had given me a Princeton. She said she had never heard of a Princeton but had heard of a Harvard. That night I mentioned my grandmother’s comment to my brother in the room we were sharing at our grandparents house. I asked him if he knew the difference. He said he did not, but speculated that because our extended family was from the Boston area the style was called a “Harvard” and that if we were in the New Jersey area that same thing would be called a “Princeton.” Until now I never knew there was a difference!


  10. One thing overlooked by most haircutters in the US is that the smallest detail(s) can make a major difference, even in a crew cut! For example, the side length and graduation can literally change the character of a person. Haircutters in Europe know about detail more than haircutters in the US. If you are planning on travelling to Europe let your hair grow and then go to a haircutter when you get there for a real treat.

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