Style buzz: Houston men are taking it off the top with military haircuts
As summer descends upon Houston, the shear of electric clippers can be heard echoing across barber shops and salons across the city. As evidenced by a handful of local style icons, voluminous coifs are suddenly trumped by sleek military-style buzz cuts. More Justin Timberlake than Timothy McVeigh, the look is being hailed as the season's preferred male style statement.
At the forefront of the trend is stylist Edward Sanchez, who previously sported an iconic pompidour. "I've always considered my hair an accessory," he tells CultureMap. "I could slick it down for a society event, or I could do something wild and crazy. Now, it's just me — and it's very liberating."
He was drawn to the style as part of a charity event for pediatric cancer directed by Dynamo defender Mike Chabala. Sanchez left the "Bald is Beautiful" benefit with not just a new 'do, but a new outlook on his public persona. "Going from having longer hair that was about four inches to millimeter-length hair was a pretty tough transition, but because we were doing it for charity, I didn't mind," he says.
Also spotted at Chabala's shave-a-thon was event planner Christian Miranda. "What can I say? Bald is beautiful," said Miranda, who, along with Sanchez, was personally approached by Chabala to participate in the buzz-off. Also finding the shorter hair incredibly liberating, he decided he wanted to take it all off.
"I came home and took a beard trimmer to my head, but my hair is too thick," he recalls. "I had to drive over to a girlfriend's house who helped me buzz my hair over a bottle of Veuve. The rest is history."
The crew cut keeps body temperature down and frees up time otherwise spent composing the most brilliant hair configurations. But for some, baring one's head also comes as a personal revelation. "It changed my image," affirms Miranda. "I wanted to redefine my masculinity. Now, people don't recognize me."
For those with exquisite skulls, the bare look can accentuate a solid jawline, elegant eyebrows or even a well-defined nose. Explains Sanchez, "Fashion-wise, I think a lot of guys are getting into buzz cuts because of the low-maintenance and that it honestly exposes certain facial features. But also . . . I think people like to touch it. They like the feeling. Everyone wants to touch my head."
He intends to experiment with an EaDo-based barber to engrave compelling geometries into the side of his buzz cut.
The Houston men aren't the first to celebrate abbreviated haircuts. With roots in the American military, the buzz cut enjoyed a renaissance in the late 1990s as the default style among skateboarders, ska rockers and upwardly mobile dot com moguls. Like Kevin Costner, George Michael and David Mamet in the 1990s, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman and Frenchie Davis of The Voice are making the crew cut a contemporary sensation.
Says Miranda, "It's a style within itself. I'm happy that not only am I on trend, but that people are embracing another definition of beauty."
See Channel 26 report on the Dynamo "Bald is Beautiful" event earlier this month: