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01 July 2021

Grooming Trends for Summer 2021

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic, with its attendant lockdowns and restrictions, has had a major impact on all aspects of our lives, not least on our grooming routines. The summers of 2020 and now, of 2021 have been significantly different to all other summers of our lives and forced us to face momentous challenges the pandemic brought with it. Our priorities have changed and it is the times we live in that have dictated what we wear, what grooming routines we have chosen to follow and what we look like, rather than the abstract diktats of the fashion industry.

This pragmatic new era has been born out of the necessity and forced us to look after our own appearance for extended periods of time, with no recourse to the usual army of professionals, who were previously always at hand to tend to our grooming needs. The results of this long period of self-care are evident everywhere, and in some areas of our lives not necessarily negative. For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a profound re-assessment of their value systems, and in some cases, this has been both liberating and creative.

During the lockdown many men have grown their hair to lengths that they would never normally contemplate or which were last seen in their early twenties, and some are reluctant to go back to their pre-lockdown hair styles. This reluctance has now germinated into a significant hair trend of summer 2021 - think 1970s and a young Robert de Niro with the iconic style of long hair tapered into shorter back and sides. This retro take on longer hair reflects the relaxed, less conventional mood of the post-lockdown world, at the same time, it ensures that men will still look well-groomed rather than dishevelled and unkempt.

By contrast, some men have dispensed with hair styling altogether during the lockdown period and have taken a radical step of shaving their heads. This no-nonsense approach to haircare may have been practical and efficient at the time, although the overall effect for many might be rather brutalist and perhaps not suited to returning, albeit gradually, to their more formal lives. With the barbershops functioning again, the majority of these men are now glad to embrace a well-cut, short hairstyle and are turning to barbers to make a professional job of trimming their back and sides and shaping their hair, so that it will gradually grow back in a desired style.

Beards have been big news over the last few years and, while their popularity was beginning to wane in the run up to COVID-19, the pandemic has ensured that they have returned with a vengeance. Their rugged masculinity and uncompromising style affirm our release from the daily rituals of office routines. There are two main shapes of beard that are a feature of the summer of 2021. One is trimmed so that it is the same length all over, while the second style is inspired by King Edward VII, one of Truefitt & Hill’s famous royal patrons, and is short on the sideburns and longer, with more pointed shape, on the chin. Whatever the choice of style, an initial visit to a barbershop to give the beard a good shape is a must, thereafter men should spend time maintaining the style and use clippers, beard balm or oil as well as a comb to keep their beards neat and tidy.

Designer stubble, which does not require the full commitment of the beard, has become a default look during lockdown and continues to be hugely popular. This may well be because, during this highly unusual year, conventional demands on men’s appearance, such as high-powered meetings and smart business lunches, have been suspended, or at least migrated to the virtual world of video calls. Men have become relaxed about the perceived necessity to shave every day and have chosen to shave less regularly. However, it is important to bear in mind that stubble also requires work and regular maintenance, especially if it is going to be subject to the close and unforgiving scrutiny of work colleagues on regular Zoom calls. So, if designer stubble is the look you favour, you will have to use an electric beard trimmer to define the shape of your stubble on your cheeks and neck area and use a razor, such as Truefitt & Hill Wellington Double Edge razor, to eradicate any stray hairs. Finally, an application of Truefitt & Hill’s Gentleman’s Beard Balm should ensure that your skin and whiskers are well maintained and that any recalcitrant stray hairs are swiftly brought under control.

This has been the year when the fickle world of fashion has revealed itself as ephemeral and inconsequential. Bespoke tailoring and expensive accessories have somewhat lost their impact in a world where civic spaces have been closed and rendered inaccessible and the public persona has become an irrelevance. It is scarcely surprising therefore, that as we return, agonisingly slowly, to semblance of normal life, we are tending to cling to the more nonconformist and laid-back styles of the lockdown, while at the same time most of us long for the suave normality of our precious summers to return.

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20 July 2021

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