The ultimate in uniformity, the crew cut is a prime example of when the right tools come along at the right time and help spawn a trend. The introduction and subsequent popularity of electric, hand-held clippers in the 1920s meant that barbers could quickly and easily cultivate a reliable precision cut.
The neatness and practicality of this style made it a popular choice for athletic types in America, particularly those on rowing crews at Ivy League schools – hence the name. The short, neat cut was perfect for rowers and other sporty types who couldn’t be letting the side down by stopping to flick hair out of their eyes – no matter how romantic such a vision might be.
The uniformity of the crew cut meant it went to become a popular choice in the US military, with thousands of young recruits in World War II given the same straightforward style. As well as being a no-nonsense, hygienic option, the cut also created a unified look for soldiers – and eventually for kids across the country, admiring the buzzed styled of their GI Joes.