The Editors
Updated on March 09, 2021

The Ivy League haircut, also known as the Princeton clip, certainly has its roots in everything preppy and Americana. But this look has evolved to suit a variety of styles. It can skew as hipster or athletic as you like.

Ivy League Haircut

Go for a classic Ivy League or introduce some modern touches to the style – combine it with a fade, try a shaved part, style with spikes or pair with a beard. Here’s a good list of ideas on the subject.

1. Long Ivy League

This is the classic version of the preppy cut. We see this often on professionals and on celebrities too. To get this high-end appeal, get a semi-short or medium taper on the sides and back. Keep the shortest hair at a quarter of an inch and the longest hair at two to three inches.

2. Stylish Quiff

While the Ivy League haircut typically incorporates a side-part, it can be styled in many ways. The difference in length between the longer hair on top and the shorter hair on the bottom isn’t too drastic, but the quiff stands out. This modern version is swept forward for volume.

3. Short and Spiky Haircut

A short haircut is low maintenance and easy to style. But you have to make sure that it isn’t boring. This look uses just the right amount of pomade or styling cream to create volume. For a messy, imperfect effect, use your fingers—not a comb.

4. Ivy League with Comb Over

Because of the side-sweep, this version reads a little more classic, but it’s also modern thanks to the low fade. Notice how the styling is perfectly smooth? That’s the work of a comb. Learn which tools help to provide the desired effect. You can add gel to the hair and then sculpt it with a comb.

5. Classic Smooth Hairstyle

This Ivy League haircut has a key element—volume in the front. It’s not really that hard to achieve day-to-day when your stylist leaves that part of the hair longer, and your hair isn’t too thin. Simply use your fingers and some gel or holding spray. Five minutes with a blow dryer will also do the trick.

6. Clean Cut with Fade

To ask your stylist for this cut, say you’re looking for a deep side part and a regular fade that cuts to the skin at the temples and in the back. With the top hair about an inch and a half long, you can style it to the side, to the front, or (like here) a combination.

7. Ivy League with Mid Fade

This middle-high fade looks very modern with a beard. The clean lines around the temples and along the forehead keep the style city-approved. Use gel or pomade to style hair forward. With your fingers, pull hair upwards so it has texture and volume.

8. Ivy League with Clean Lines

This Ivy League haircut has clean lines and smooth styling—so it reads more urban and less preppy. For men with thicker hair, it’s easier to pull off very short lengths. Ask your barber for a fade that tapers down towards the nape instead of going straight across.

9. Close Cropped Ivy League

For a classic take on this hairstyle, don’t let it get too stiff. Use just enough product to achieve the side part. The front and upper sections of hair should be as soft and touchable as possible to stay true to the original look.

10. Forward Combed Hair Style

Combing hair straight forward onto the face was very popular in the nineties, and it’s quickly making a comeback. Why? It’s a playful look that is universally flattering. You’ll need to style your hair when it’s damp. If you wait until it’s dry, you’ll have a much harder time.

11. Short Cut Styled to the Side

With this Ivy League haircut, the hair on top is kept to a medium length, about one inch. The fade curves around the head, dipping towards the nape. With thick hair, you don’t have to do too much to achieve volume. Just use some mouse and you’re good to go!

12. Short Gelled Hair

For a super clean style, go ahead and reach for some gel. You’ll need a fine toothed comb and wet hair. Rub a bit of gel on your palms before applying so it goes on evenly. Then comb it through. Once it sets, don’t mess with it!

13. Spiky Style

This cut looks great on thick dark hair. The styling strikes the balance between messy and perfect. To achieve that difficult balance, comb everything forward with pomade and then, once it’s perfect, mess it up with your fingers a bit. With long hair, it’s easier to get the spiky look.

14. Side Part and High Fade

This high fade goes all the way to the side part for a look that is classic and modern all in one. Get the shaved part as an accent and enjoy your Ivy League haircut with a hipster vibe.

15. Rebellious Style

With a medium-high fade and long textured hair on top, this haircut style has tons of personality. While the spikes are defined, the overall styling is still touchable—not overly stiff. The trick is to use a texturizing cream instead of gel. You’ll be surprised at how well such products hold up throughout the day.

16. Faux Hawk Fade

Here’s a haircut that will show that you’re not too shy to be different. It tapers at the neck and fades to the skin on the sides. You get a subtle faux hawk effect that is just the right level of punky: your girlfriend will love it, but your boss might not even notice.

17. Faded Cut for Wavy Hair

Here’s an Ivy League haircut that works well with natural waves. While often considered a good haircut option for straight hair, clearly it looks great with waves too. Because wavy hair has natural texture and volume, you might not even need to use any styling products.

18. Ivy League and Full Beard

Well, hello beard! Ok, back to the haircut. Invisible side burns and temples that are cut to the skin are modern additions to any haircut (particularly those that are coupled with a beard). What’s really working with this cut is how the hair is styled both to the side and upwards. Genius.

19. Side Combed Crop

Super short takes on the cut look great with hair combed over to the side. Your daily maintenance will be a matter of minutes. The real commitment is going to your regular cuts. Plan to sit in the barber’s chair for half an hour at least once a month (twice if you can fit it in).

20. Short and Simple Ivy League

This Ivy League haircut has upper hair that doesn’t grow much higher than an inch, giving the whole look a much more athletic feel. Because it’s so short, this style looks great on a variety of hair types, from thick to thin and from straight to curly.

So, which Ivy League haircut is your favorite? Suggestion: pick your girlfriend’s favorite (you’re welcome). No fancy degrees are needed—all you have to do is committing about five to minutes of daily styling and you’ll look stylish and professional.

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