ODE TO THE POMPADOUR
Justin Bieber has instantly and dramatically changed his image (for the better) with his fantastic new hair style, the pompadour…which isn’t new at all. In fact, the rebellious hairstyle has had a pretty successful track record since the 1950s (and way before that if you count it’s originator and namesake Madame De Pompadour). It’s been a go-to hairstyle for bad boy rockers and movie stars for more than half a decade. It may be because I’m a sucker for rebels, outsiders, rock and roll and classic films…but those boys with pompadours have always gotten my attention. Elvis Presley, James Dean, Marlon Brando, Chet Baker, both Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon of The Clash and all three members of The Stray Cats: Brian Setzer, Slim Jim Phanton and Lee Rocker are among the greatest examples of men who have had truly inspired pompadours and lived the life that goes along with having the bad ass hairstyle. Brian Setzer, in particular, rocked, and still rocks, a very advanced version of the style.
Interested in trying the look for yourself? There are a few things you need to know:
1. Go to a good barbershop like Sweeney Todd in Los Angeles to get the right cut. According to www.details.com, you want to keep the arrangement contained, with the back and sides cropped to around a half an inch and the top no longer than four inches, a length that works best with thick, straight locks. (If you have fine hair, go an inch or two shorter; with curls, ask your stylist to thin them out with a razor.) Ideally, the longest section should be one length—not choppy or layered—but you don’t want it to appear too tidy.
2. Get a good pomade or paste and a comb. Murray’s Pomade or Dax are classic, inexpensive products used for this particular hairstyle, but using them does require some skill and they are greasy and will ruin your pillowcase and upset your wife or girlfriend or partner or boyfriend. Crew also makes a good product for this hairstyle. It is more of a paste, so less shiny and greasy. This is good for a more “post-modern” pompadour like the Biebs has.
3. Dress the part. This is not a hairstyle for a khakis and loafers guy. The classic look to accompany a messy pompadour would be a black vintage leather biker jacket and a worn in t-shirt with dark denim cuffed jeans and well worn boots. Pop into Filth Mart, Hollywood Trading Company or Mister Freedom in Los Angeles or Stock Vintage in NYC to find most of these pieces. Alternately, a fashionable, stylish, well-cut, preferably slim, suit will always work.
4. You’re gonna have to have some swagger and confidence to make it all work. But I have faith in you.
Superstar hairstylist Diana Schmidtke demonstrates here how to get what she calls the “James Dean” look in about 5 minutes.