Donna Kim-Brand

Men in Buns

Summertime conjures up many images- surf, sand, free-spiritedness, fashion freedom, sun, fun, and hair in buns! Let’s especially consider MEN in buns, as this appears to be a popular trend the last few years.

Do you feel an immediate shift to a sense of ooh-la-la? What’s that all about? We don’t seem to react that way to women in buns, top-knots or chignons, where images of tomboys, schoolmarms, debutantes and prim princesses come to mind at both ends of the spectrum.

Interestingly, there’s quite a style range of men-with-hair-in buns, from the easy nape of neck sloppy or sensual look to tight top-knot nerd or martial artist look. Surely there are utilitarian or functional uses for keeping one’s hair out of your face, as chefs, yoga instructors and athletes know. But the versatility extends to other functions or images as well:

  • Bohemian-Barefoot-at-Burning-Man-Actor-Artist: think Orlando Bloom, Brad Pitt, Olivier Martinez….. One gets the sense these are men of supreme self-confidence, without arrogance or pretense. They are simply comfortable in their own skin, and exude natural sexiness.
  • The Maestro: Zubin Mehta- conductor, Placido Domingo- opera singer, or other silk scarf and cape wearing artists or Rockers, whose elevated or elite professional status jives with aristocratic effect man-buns or ponytails.
  • Martial Artist: Think Stephen Segal and Japanese Samurai where hair in buns is both symbolic and functional on many levels, symbolizing self-discipline, self-control and ‘don’t mess with me-ness’.
  • Rapper: Bob Marley coolness abounds, where gathered dreads represent power, grooviness and free-flowing creative expression.
  • Hippy-Lackadaisical: Hey man, loose spaced out easiness or uneasiness, minus the music focus, a la Joaquin Phoenix and probably your neighbor.
  • Country: Willie Nelson and Blake Shelton- man buns, ponytails and whiskers portray scruffy chic, grounded in earthy energy.
  • Androgynous look: Jared Leto at the Golden Globes might have been expected to sport a man-bun, given the character he won prizes for, but he’s not the only metro or androgynous type to sport the edgy, neat, high-hair look.
  • Religious symbolism: Sikhs and others whose uncut hair wraps inside a turban, lying in wait to represent the rite of passage of masculinity and manhood.

So, take a new look at what the man-bun evokes in you, whether male or female. You might simply want a less sweaty option at the gym, a convenient place to tuck your pen or maybe a way to demonstrate your feminine side. But don’t underestimate what tucking your hair up and back could do for your image, and the reaction it provokes as well. In any case, clean hair helps the look, in whichever style, be more acceptable. Yes, it’s summertime, and as the song goes, ‘the living’ is easy…’ Oh yeah!

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