By Kim Fuller Published in Vail Lifestyle Magazine
Mountain towns aren’t known for runway style, except when the world comes to visit. Vail’s naturalist fashion sense tries on cutting edge with the inspiration of international and big city visitors, and hairstyles always follow suite.
“People come here from all over the place to ski, so we’re seeing people who have different looks and variations through that,” says Nick Mahaffey, stylist, salon manager and educator at Bliss Studio in Edwards.
Mahaffey says the “staying power” of fashion is sustained from an effort that is both intentional and ever-changing.
“The effort to look interesting and to be a maven and to be rad is at the top of their priority list,” explains Mahaffey of those who put fashion forward. “We have these cool trends in and out, but they don’t have as much staying power as they would in the city.”
Hair follows fashion, according to Mahaffey, and while many mountain men have lifelong hair-wearing tendencies, visiting style also gets a nod here in Vail. Mahaffey elaborates on how men can manage or free their locks this season:
Rough & scruff
This is the quintessential Colorado, fashionable outdoorsman look, especially when it’s worn with facial hair.
As more of a uniform cut, there’s a more consistent fullness of hair all over the head with this style, and it’s loosely tousled in a way that looks low-maintenance, although it usually requires a little attention.
“It’s interpreted as being undone, but it generally requires a form of product,” shares Mahaffey. “Paired with a form of facial hair, this fuller cut contours and adds structure to the face.
Keep this one growing, and it’ll soon make its way into a style that’s familiar to ski towns everywhere: the snowboarder flow.
Long & Flowy
Man buns have gotten a lot of attention recently, but Mahaffey predicts long hair is going to start flowing again on men — another 1970s-era inspiration.
“I think man buns are coming down,” he says. “We’re going to see a lot more guys letting their hair flow.”
While the bun is functional for an active lifestyle, a lot of men are loosening up the grip around their pulled-back hair and letting it down to get a bit “edgy,” according to Mahaffey. He says long hair is a look that works well with strong jaw lines.
With the flow, Mahaffey says there will probably be a hard side part, moving hair over the eyes — to make the long-haired style look more masculine.
This Great Gatsby look makes hair longer on the top and shorter on the sides, which is known as a fade. Low fades are done on the lower portion of the head, and high fades are more distinct, on the high portion of the head.
Mahaffey calls this style “handsome and masculine,” with the longer top of the hair pushed back and held by a hair product. He recommends something like pomade, which controls large amounts of hair and offers some shine.
The high fade was in for a while, but it seems to be moving to low fades now.
“There is going to be a dapper and tailored gentleman’s cut that’s going to stick around,” says Mahaffey. “And some guys are going to opt for a low fade in exchange for a high fade.”
Grown out faded
Mahaffey says the mainstream faded style has been worn for four or five years now, and many of those men who have had it are starting to grow out their fades into a more understated and casual look.
“The tops will stay long, but the sides are going to grow out and become more casual,” he explains.
This is the look for men who aren’t looking to make a big statement or a commitment to a huge change, but who are letting their faded cut grow out for several months so that their hair starts to sweep off their head and around their face.
Out of the mountains and onto the runway, textures start to take off in the hair.
Fashion-forward looks are finding inspiration from the 1970s, sporting a lot of fullness, curl and texture on the top part of the head. Shorter on the side, bangs start to come out in this style, as the hair drops down on and around the brow line.
“Softness meets structure with the crop,” Mahaffey says, “so with that, curls come to mind, and a denser, fuller top — that’s runway.”
Textured Crew Cut
Mountain minimalists rejoice with this athletic style that looks shaved, but adds in a little height to elongate the face. Think of this cut as a subtle “mohawk meets a shaved head.”
“A minimalist haircut means you don’t have to do much to it,” says Mahaffey.
A bold — yet very no-fuss — style is another that is on the runway for spring fashion: the head fully shaved.
“These men have been wearing a dapper look for three to five years now, and all they have to do is take off the top, because they already have short sides,” he explains.