THE STYLISH EVOLUTION OF THE MULLET
Back & Better Than Ever
Within the last couple years, the fashion and beauty industry has seen an influx of “retro” styles and culture. From wired headphones, neon outerwear, chunky sneakers, and alternative hair styles — nearly all of our beloved styles of the past eventually come back into play.
Primarily within the beauty industry, the mullet has blazed a trail of popularity that has reinstated it as the template for many unisex, non-conventional hairstyles. With this popularity, the mullet hairstyle also carries some cultural connotation that may sway peoples’ decision to ask for one when getting a haircut. As a barber, it is my job to recognize the line between Nascar connoisseur and pop culture icon. What follows is a brief look into how both ends of the mullet spectrum can be understood and appreciated.
The history of the Mullet
When mullets began gaining popularity in the late 80’s, the phrase that seemed to emanate through the hair community was “Business in front, party in the back!” This saying, usually accompanied by the wearing of oversized retro sunglasses and the loudest windbreakers anyone has ever seen, carries a cultural weight that some could consider unprofessional or too avant-garde for general consumption. Fast forward to present day; a time where most styles that seem unconventional or unique are quite commonplace. We find ourselves in a society where young people, athletes, and business professionals alike may all have the same hairstyle. As it would happen, the mullet has become one of these hairstyles.
Selecting Your Mullet
Just as there are different types of people who choose mullets as their style of choice, there are different versions of the hairstyle that fit these individuals in different ways. For starters, the conventional mullet of the 1980’s has a somewhat bracing demeanor that screams “Yes, that is a Dale Earnhardt signature on my Levi’s.” While not completely out of place, most young professionals of the modern world would not choose this style to communicate their personality to prospective employers or their peers.
What we have found, however, is a version of said mullet that looks less like a weekend byproduct and more of an orchestrated fashion decision. The difference, as I have come to realize, is the intention behind the style. Without intention, or attitude, a hairstyle would be just that. Altering the direction and shape that the hair is cut in can allow for even the most reserved individuals to come off as confident and self-assured. Now, the technicalities of the haircut do not offer much to the understanding of what the hairstyle says about the wearer. However, some other examples of context can highlight the reasons why some might ask for a “Kentucky Waterfall” the next time they visit their hair designer.
Outside of the civilian and business world, there exists a realm of fashion and culture that many emulate but few actually “own.” I’m referring, of course, to professional sports. Every professional sports organization, from the National Basketball Association to Major League Baseball, has been a showcase of elevated fashion choices and unrivaled hair decisions. One of these facets of sports, however, has been the unwavering trailblazer of mullets for decades. The National Hockey League has been home to some of the most unique styles of hair adornment.
Often times, we see haircuts in professional hockey that are very short, so as not to fall in a player’s eyes, or haircuts that are relatively long. The longer the style, the more the fans can see the “flow” come out the back of the helmet. This concept of “hockey hair” has sparked a phenomenon in the sports fan community that has resulted in a multitude of styles that emulate viewers’ favorite players. We see this everywhere from the fans at professional hockey rinks, to high school teams that grow and cut mullets during playoff time. But how, you may wonder, does this pertain to the public and what mullets say about those who sport them?
Mullet Your Way
To summarize, when going to your hair designer with the intent of getting a mullet, it helps to understand where we see the style most often. Knowing how a style originated can help individuals choose what type of said style is right for them. As a barber at Neroli Salon & Spa, I chose to wear a mohawk mullet of sorts. This cut was able to be styled in numerous ways so that my guest could see the range of my understanding of cutting, product use, and enthusiasm in the workplace.
You may want to look like your favorite athlete, stand out from your coworkers, or just try something new. For all these instances, there is a mullet for you! As your professional barber friend, I offer you this piece of advice: the next time you want a mullet, make sure the type of mullet you choose showcases you as an individual in the best way possible. That is the version of you that the rest of the world would be lucky to meet!