TV’s Most Iconic Men’s Hairstyles

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TV’s Most Iconic Men’s Hairstyles
When Mad Men debuted eight years ago, Jon Hamm was an unknown actor playing an ad exec on a little-watched cable network. But faster than Don Draper could chain-smoke a pack of Lucky Strikes, his gray suits and starched pocket squares became our default way of dressing. And from the neck up, we cloned his haircut—sleek, Brylcreemed, with that razor-sharp part—which replaced the bed-head look of the early aughts and reminded guys that a perfectly groomed exterior can camouflage a mountain of anxiety and self-doubt.
But now what? The show’s over, and we’re left wondering: Who’ll lead the next style revolution?

Fashion trends, of course, are spotted on runways—but when it comes to haircuts, keep clicking that remote. Television has always been a reliable barometer for what’s popular on men’s heads, with landmark cuts amplifying prevailing tonsorial tendencies: the Monkees’ hippie hair, Clarence Williams III’s black-power Afro (The Mod Squad), those troubling father-son curls (The Brady Bunch), David Cassidy’s heartthrob shag (The Partridge Family), the I-pity-the-fool mohawk of Mr. T (The A-Team), the magnificent mullet of John Stamos (Full House), Will Smith’s high-top fade (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), Jason Priestley’s retro sideburns (Beverly Hills, 90210), the bald badassness of Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation), and the bed head co-owned by various stars, from Ryan Seacrest (American Idol) to Bart Simpson.
(The Monkees, 1966)
TV characters often tend to wield more influence than film stars, for obvious reasons: “You see them more, they’re in your living room, you feel you know them,” says hairstylist Francesca Paris, who won an Emmy Award for her work on Boardwalk Empire, transforming Michael Pitt into gangster Jimmy Darmody with a Prohibition-era undercut based on vintage mug shots.
Granted, it’s rare for a male character to pull a Jennifer Aniston, whose “Rachel” cut on Friends launched a million copycats. In the past 50 years or so, it’s arguably happened only twice: once with Hamm, in 2007, and once in 1995, when George Clooney adopted a Caesar cut as Dr. Doug Ross in ER’s second season (three times if you count the mop-topped Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964). In each case, the locks helped launch their stardom.
Ask a hair pro, and you’ll likely hear that men’s styles are about to loosen up and get longer. “We’re heading toward the ‘organic haircut,’” says Martial Vivot, owner of a gentlemen-only salon in New York City. By “organic,” he means cuts less rigidly defined by product and parts—longer looks with bangs, where wavy hair is allowed to wave, curly hair to curl. “You respect the nature of the hair; you’re true to it.”
Which might signal that the future lies with another AMC character—one who has Draper’s dark, intriguing antihero thing going on. Saul Goodman, Bob Odenkirk’s title character on Better Call Saul, AMC’sBreaking Bad prequel, is already America’s favorite slippery lawyer. If anyone can make the comb-over stick, he can.

10 More Legendary Locks

1. Walter Cronkite, 1969
2. David Cassidy, 1970
3. Don Johnson and Philip Michael, 1985
4. John Stamos, 1987
5. Will Smith, 1990
6. Jason Priestley, 1990
7. Jared Leto, 1994
8. Bart Simpson, circa 2000
9. George Clooney, 1995
10. Ryan Seacrest, 2002