In Passionate Defense Of The Man Bun

Digital Fashion News Writer

Jason Kempin/NBCUniversal

I don’t dig a full-fledged lumberjack look when it comes to my men. My boyfriend, a kindergarten teacher, is as squeakily clean and groomed as you’d expect a dude of his profession to be—and I do enjoy that about him, honestly. I’ve never been one for the stereotypical “Brooklyn” types who flaunt their affinity for tattoos and dirty sneakers, the same types who exclusively drink craft beer and maintain a record collection.

Which is why Jared Leto’s man bun at January’s Golden Globes took me by surprise. Granted, plenty of people were peeved that he’d hid his luscious ombré by tossing it up into a messy ponytail. But alas, an equally sizable contingent voiced their—our—preference for the man bun.

Of course, men have opted to grow their hair out for as long as hair's been in existence. For both men and women, buns were an invention of utility so to keep hair out of one's face. But the man bun has never been a prevalent cultural fixture, by any means. It wasn't until Leto's Golden Globes appearance that I first developed a heightened sensitivity to the long-haired bro. It’s not just me, though: the man bun has become as much a “thing” as “ugly shoes” and “Canadian tuxedos" (two equallty utilitarian trends). Love ‘em or hate ‘em, man buns are to stay—for the time being.

Kevork Djansezian/NBC

Let the record show that I am passionately pro-man bun. Despite my aforementioned preference for clean-cut gentlemen, Leto’s man bun struck a definite chord with my ovaries. And if you took one swipe through your Twitter feed when Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington hit last night’s Emmys red carpet in an A-plus man bun, you’d have seen I’m not alone.

There's a distinct category of people who love it. To them, it’s sexy. But, why?

Upon a quick office poll, a number of buzzwords came floating my way, including “primal,” “unconventional” and “macho.” As I see it, ladies enjoy the man bun’s innate femininity that, by turns, makes them look super-masculine. Especially in juxtaposition with a buttoned-up tuxedo, the style gives said men something of a devil-may-care vibe—oh, how we love a “bad boy.” Plus, it proves they’re not afraid to take a fashion risk, so there’s that devil-may-care thing again.

On the flip side, man bun hair does have a tendency to look little gross, and understandably so; Jared Leto’s own hairstylist Aaron Grenia told him not to shampoo it “too much.” Some Lucky staffers weren’t into the man bun’s occasional greasy nature—especially when it veers into unkempt territory. On that point, I definitely agree: there’s a fine line between dreadlocks and, well, everything else. And for every man bun-fanatic voicing their affection for the style on social media, there's someone who'd like to see the same hair kept traditionally short.

via Twitter/@Nouisgonedark

To be a movie, pop or TV star and slay the man bun says something about your take on personal style. Mr. Harry Edward Styles is known for his wildly curly, Simba-like mane. Now in the final stretch of One Direction’s Where We Are Tour, Styles’ hair is probably the longest it’s ever been—and as a recreational 1D historian, I can say that with some certainty. On stage, he a) lets it flop around like the beast it is, or b) secures it off his face with a bandana. But when he’s off-duty, he’s often spotted with it pulled back and artfully contained by a rubber band. Just on the verge of looking too disheveled, Styles pulls it off swimmingly. His hair is messy, definitely, but that's intentional: the 20-year-old heartthrob's hair is as reckless and nonchalant as he is.

There's Leonardo DiCaprio's teeny ponytail that he's been busy growing this summer, and his pal Orlando Bloom's perfectly groomed bun, too. This year's World Cup presented quite a few quality contenders, as did last night's Emmys: director-producer Cary Fukunaga's braided situation—no, not cornrows—has been gaining quite a bit of traction today.

And with Harington’s aforementioned man bun, a debate surrounding the look’s zeitgeist-y nature has resurfaced once again. In all other departments (clothing, demeanor, etc.), Harington is as adorably tidy as can be. But his hair is something new, something exciting and perhaps most relevantly, something controversial for which people can—and will—voice their opinion.

That being said, are you pro- or con-man bun? I’d truly like to know. Drop us a note in the comments below, or let us know on Twitter!

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