Stuck in the Middle

Honestly, I had plans for a couple more Hunger Games posts (a Sam Claflin Spotlight has been in the hopper as long as the Josh Hutcherson one, it will happen one day), but I’ll probably just redistribute at this point.

On one of my other recent posts, I got a question about growing hair out, but maybe not committing to man-bun length locks. Growing hair out can be tricky for anyone- there are always awkward stages along the way – but mid-length hair can also be some of the best.

So I picked a couple stages in the middle, starting with…

mid-length.jpgThe Shaggy Stage

Now, fair warning, I was in middle school in the mid-2000s, so I’ll always have a soft spot for that surfer boy vibe (I was over it by Bieber, but it is back in a big way with men like Bob Morley).

The main rule of shaggy hair is that it has to stay out of your eyes, and not because you’ve developed a hair-flip-twitch, like so many of my middle school classmates. If you plan to keep it shaggy, consider cutting it so it stays at your eyebrows or a tiny bit lower.

If you are in the process of growing it out, comb it or style it in a way that sweeps it out of your eyes.

If you are working a combo style, like an exaggerated quiff, either style it to be pushed back or be prepared to have your hands in your hair a lot, which might not be a bad thing.

Having naturally textured hair helps this look a lot. If you’ve never grown your hair out before, you may be surprised at the texture that presents itself, and that it will vary continually based on the length and day. If your hair is smooth and straight, you can try to add some texture with product or – and I hesitate to say this, although its what I do – you can try not combing your hair. My hair goes straight if I comb it, but has a wave/curl if I don’t, so after a morning shower, I just let it be. Do not do this if your hair tangles easily, it will just look unkempt and dirty. If you do try it, you have to wash your hair, often.

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A Little Bit Longer

So, some of these guys could probably go with a man-bun at the length their hair is, but these show ways to wear it down.

Again, texture and body go a long way with longer hair, but basic rules still apply. Keep it clean, out of your face, and never ever go the mullet route.

If you’re looking to add some body to your hair, consider adding layers. This will lessen the weight and allow any natural texture and lift to flourish. Eoin Macken is a perfect example of this. His hair is relatively smooth, but it has a lot of movement because of its layers. (I have a post saved in my drafts from like three years ago that is about Eoin Macken’s hair…I might need to dig that back up, I’m not sure why I never published it).

I’m terrible at getting my hair trimmed regularly, and that is a huge understatement, but my rule is that when my hair starts to bother me, becomes unmanageable, or I’m constantly trying to get it off my neck and shoulders, then it is time for a haircut. You don’t have to cut it all off when you get to this point, but you at least need a trim or a new style.

mid-length2.jpg

Your Go-To Guy: Gaspard Ulliel

This French actor has had some variation of shaggy or mid-length hair for the past decade. He uses it to change his looks from boyish to manly to mildly terrifying. Most of the time he keeps it solidly away from smarmy and creepy – the exceptions being for roles (like a young Hannibal Lecter), this is done primarily by keeping it clean – even when it has product in it, you can tell the difference between that and just dirty – and keeping it out of his face without being totally slicked back.

If you are pushing your hair back off your face, please, please, do not make it slick and hard with product. Movement and some lift are key.

Good luck!

 

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This and That

Let’s play a game of This and That, a game I’m inventing where I give you a picture or two and we talk about the differences and whether or not one is better.

Round 1: Let’s Start at the Top Fran and his lovely locks Okay, here we have two pictures of the lovely and ever talented Fran Kranz. In both pictures his hair is disheveled, but one is elegant and the other eccentric. Now the right picture is still charming in a quirky, Fran Kranz-ian way, but I think we can all agree that the left is more appropriate for most occasions. Really the left is a good demonstration of what I love in a hair style, long enough that it has texture without looking dirty or like a mad scientist.

Round 2: The Chambray Shirt

Chambray ShirtsThis pairing actually has no clear winner, it is just a question of location and appropriateness. The left has an inherent raw rock and roll feel to it, with skinny jeans, boots, and a white V-neck. It is a casual and confident look. The right is a more sophisticated look that may even be appropriate for more casual workplaces. By buttoning the shirt all the way, like one would a dress shirt, and pairing it with non-denim trousers it becomes a more polished look.

Round 3: The Waistcoat / Vest

Logan and Andy and VestsThis one is also less of a “better or worse” case and more of a “read the room” scenario. Logan Lerman’s (left) look is more formal with a tie and a tucked in shirt, while Andy Murray’s (right) is willfully casual with a slightly rumpled shirt. I would give some preference to Logan’s look because the fit is spot on and the outfit holds more visual interest with the stripes and noticeable buttons. Also this is apparently the standard “I’m wearing a vest” pose.

Round 4: Same Event, Different Take

Daniel and Tyler Go to a PartyAt a recent Comic Con connected event, Teen Wolf costars Daniel Sharman (left) and Tyler Posey (right) chose very different outfits. While both are casual, and as far as I’m aware, appropriate for said event, one is the clear winner in my (and WAMSW’s) book. Daniel’s simple grey button-up tucked into dark jeans and a leather belt is an understated classy. Posey’s t-shirt fits well, but it and his hat are inherently more casual, especially when bedecked in logos. If Daniel’s shirt looks inadequately tucked in, that’s just because he is exceedingly tall.

Round 5: Too Classy and Cool

Zac and John Look Better than YouPlain and simple, you should own both of these outfits; these men look incredible. Zac Efron (left) is dressing up his comfy airport look with a textured (possibly tweed) blazer and a sophisticated take on a duffel bag. John Krazinski (right) on the other hand is turning a crisp white shirt and well pressed trousers a little dangerous with a leather jacket and wayfarers. Well done, sirs, well done.

Final Round: The Classic WAMSW Focus on Fit

Fitty FitObserve. One is unnecessarily huge, the other fits. One Jacket nips in at the waist, one hangs like an old sack. One has legs, the others has tents that may contain legs. If this isn’t enough for you, look to Steve Carell’s makeover by Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love and how much better he looks once he actually buys the right size suit.

How did you score in my made-up game? In this version, like Who’s Line is it Anyway, the points don’t really matter. But in real life:

My friend sent me this lovely graphic…or man’s, or your own….

Keep it or Cut it

Okay, so this post has been a long time in the making for many reasons. First of all, my feelings have become more and more complicated on the matter. It’s a big topic and I want to treat it fairly. Also, and perhaps weighing most heavily on my mind, is how to address Kit French and Eoin Macken on this blog (Let’s put this out there now, there will be more posts on both of them, also Ezra Miller). So now I am ripping off the bandage, WAMSW is tackling long men’s hair in three parts with the help of actor Ezra Miller, musician Kit French, and actor/model/director Eoin Macken.

Let’s start with Ezra because to me at least, his case is the simplest. If anyone is king of personal style and owning life and self it is Ezra Miller (you might recognize him from Perks of Being a Wallflower, We Need to Talk About Kevin, or just being “a young, bizarrely awesome technicolor dream of weirdness”). First off, I would never try an dim Ezra’s personal flair because that is who he is, but he looks better with shorter hair. Just putting that out there. When it is shorter he can pull off the crazy dishevelment without looking dirty or homeless. It is still as fun as he is and keeps him looking young.Exhibit A: Ezra Miller

What you should take from Ezra: There are more options than long or buzz cut. Find a length in between that shows your personality without misrepresenting you.

Next up is the man who made me question my dedication the anti-ponytail tribe, Kit French. But stay tuned, the issue is, as I said, complicated. Kit French provides saxaphone, keyboards, and backing vocals in the band Parachute (featured in Double Denim). And I’d be lying if I said he didn’t catch my eye right away and my complicated relationship with his hair derives mainly from the fact that it wasn’t always long. When I first encountered the band back in 2009, namely their “She is Love” video, he was fresh out of college with dreamy elegantly disheveled hair, cue weak knees. But then his hair kept growing and he did nothing to stop it. Although he has the facial structure that will always be good looking, the long hair distracts from his naturally strong features, which ironically is why ponytails work on him. I am ashamed to admit, but that man can rock pulled back hair.

Exhibit B: Kit FrenchWhat you should take from Kit: Okay so you have strong enough features to not look terrible in a ponytial, that doens’t mean you should wear one. Kit’s enviable bone structure was highlighted by his shorter hair. Like Ezra’s, it was still shaggy and looked rock and roll, plus it is way lower maintenance. Demetri Martin puts it best:

from Demetri Martin's "Person."

And now, for the master class on hair. Not just long hair. Not just men’s hair. ALL hair. Eoin Macken is the god of hair. Literally there are sites devoted to his hair, in fact I was going to devote an entire post jsut to his lustrous locks as well before I decided you would benefit best from a comparitve study. What, you’ve never heard of him? Well he was Gwaine on BBC’s Merlin and has a new pilot of US tv coming up this fall. It is best if we all keep in mind that Eoin has some natural gifts that mere mortals just cannot achieve, but let’s break down what he does best hair-wise:

1) It is neither straight, nor limp. He’s obviously got a little curl that comes out when his hair is longer, which is lucky genes, but he helps it by having layers. This is a real style; he hasn’t just forgotten to get a hair cut. The different lengths of hair give it body, movement, and play up the natural curl.

2) He washes it. Please, I don’t care how long or short your hair is, make it clean. His only looks greasy after a week in a dungeon having to literally fight for food to keep himself and two other men alive, what’s your excuse?

3) Ponytails are only allowed when safety is an issue. Like Kit, he has the face that can pull it off. It doesn’t mean he should.

4) During the off-season he cuts it a little shorter, but similar principles apply. It has texture, purposeful disshevelment, and even at its shortest, different lengths.

Exhibit C: Eoin Macken

Seeing as Eoin is an actor and a model, I’m sure there has been product in his hair for work, but here’s what he has to say:

“I don’t use hair products. It’s probably something in the Irish water. And bread. I eat a lot of bread. And chocolate and coffee. Probably apples too. Yes, bread, chocolate and apples. That’s it.”

Did I mention he is Irish? And has a sense of humor about all this hair business:

Eoin Macken hairWhat you should take from Eoin: Unless the hair gods have personally blest you, keep it shorter. If you are going to have longer hair, or not, keep it interesting with layers. And don’t take your beauty too seriously.

What you should take from this post: It’s long, so is your hair. I didn’t cut this short, you can avoid making the same mistake. As someone who was a life-long long hair haver who sort of recently cut off a bunch, it can be freeing. Also, long hair isn’t always bad. These men proved me wrong, you’re welcome to try as well. But keep it in check, out of the creeper style, and never a mullet.