Men's Hairstyles in the '30s

Updated April 17, 2017

In the 1930s a man's hairstyle could determine whether or not he was considered a respectable gentleman. Going to the barber regularly for a trim was an important part of keeping up a good reputation and could be the decider between whether or not a man got a date with a special lady friend. Unlike today, when there are many acceptable and fashionable hairstyles for men, in the 1930s men's hairstyles centred around only one type of haircut, which all men were expected to have.

Short Back and Sides

In the 1930s the classic hairstyle was very shortcut hair on the back of a man's head and around the sides. Long hair was frowned upon and it suggested that a man was unkempt and ungentlemanly. According to Retro Hairstyles, you could check if a man's hair was too long by asking him to look straight ahead and see if it touched the colour on the back of his neck.

Longer On Top

While a man's hair in the 1930s was short in the back and on the sides, the style was to keep it longer on top so that it could be combed right back and held in place with hair product. In the late 1930s, it was fashionable to let the hair on top grow so it was medium to long and slicked back smoothly on the top of the head, says Retro Hairstyle.

Facial Hair

Facial hair as part of a man's overall hairstyle became less popular in the 1930s, and beards were rarely kept, according to Joeri. Moustaches were common, but it was more fashionable to keep a thin, sleek moustache rather than a large, wide one.


Hats were the essential accessory to a man's 1930s hairstyle, and they were worn by most men when leaving the house for work or leisure, says Joeri. The hats were usually dark-coloured, made out of felt and were worn by men of all ages and social class. The hats were designed to sit just above the top of the ears, says Retro Hairstyles, complementing and showing off the shortcut sides and back of the classic "short and sharp" hairstyle.

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About the Author

Emily Watson started writing in 2008. Watson has been published in "Children & Young People Now," "Youth Work Now," "Accent magazine," "The House Hunter," "Gap Year Business," "Timeout Education" and online at and She holds an honors degree in history from Newcastle University and has a PMA-Group postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.