It was acceptable in the Eighties, and now the mullet is back en vogue

Emma McCarthy
Miley Cyrus / Instagram

Here’s a surprising development for the new decade — the Eighties footballer look is back.

Not the short-shorts (unless you’re asking Miuccia Prada) but the short-front-and-sides, as the mullet has gone from mockery to must-have thanks to a new cool AF fan club.

Among them Miley Cyrus, who recently revealed a freshly mowed mop — initially hacked by mum Tish, before being finessed into a “modern mullet” by celeb stylist Sally Hershberger — along with star of zeitgeist teen drama Euphoria Barbie Ferreira, who debuted her new cut on Instagram (where else?).

Billie Eilish’s lime-green-rooted mullet also incited borderline hysteria among her followers after an appearance on the Lacma Art and Film Gala red carpet. The fact that the singer later revealed the look was an accident and the result of a dye job gone wrong has done little to deter her loyal band of admirers.

(BARBIE FERREIRA/INSTAGRAM)

Because as unlikely as it may seem, the modern mullet is not solely the preserve of pop-culture icons with more than a million Instagram followers to their name, but an increasing faction of Londoners in search of a style to make them stand out.

At Portobello Road’s agenda-setting Blue Tit hair salon you’ll find mullet-mad stylist Jemima ​Bradley (aka @mulletbabyy) whose Instagram feed serves as a love letter to the style. “There are so many things to love about a mullet,” she says. “I think the biggest thing would be that it’s gender neutral — it’s for everybody. I think we all could agree it’s an ‘ugly’ cut but somehow that makes it the most beautiful.”

The modern mullet in Toni & Guy Trend Report 2020 (Toni & Guy)

Among the recent variations she’s shorn and shared on social are a bleached micro-fringe mullet left long at the back with face-framing tendrils and a shorter, choppier style that’s heavy on the bangs and highlights. “It’s evolved so much because there really are no limitations creatively,” she adds. “Masc, fem, classic Eighties, modern, punk, sharp lines, soft edges — sometimes it’s so subtle it’s questionable to even be a mullet. There’s a shape for everybody. It’s so customisable.”

Further proof of the mullet’s progression back into the mainstream can be found at Toni & Guy. The hairdressing empire, which has been dictating and documenting London’s hair habits since the opening of its first salon in 1963, has highlighted several business-at-the-front, party-at-the-back styles within its 2020 Trend Report.

Jemima Bradley (Jemima Bradley)

Among the key styles include long, wavy lengths defined by a feathery fringe with mullet-esque layers to the sides, as well as a blunt step-layer geometric bob which trails down the nape of the neck.

“Today’s attitude of individuality has massively evolved the mullet into 2020,” believes Cos Sakkas, creative director and a regular fashion week session stylist, who helped mastermind the report. “More than ever, clients are expressing who they want to be through their style. If that means going for a unique cut such as the mullet, they will — mullets are a fashion statement now. Having said this, there are plenty of softer variations out there. They’ve become more stylised and defined — you don’t always have to look to David Bowie as inspiration.”

Mullet Baby's Instagram (Mullet Baby / instagram)

Sold? If you’re booking in for a short-front-and-sides with Bradley, she recommends bringing in a picture reference of your vibe — “everyone’s idea is different so consultation is key,” she explains. For everyone else, Sakkas advises avoiding use of the M-word altogether.

“The term ‘mullet’ is a red rag to most hairdressers so I would advise staying away from calling it that. Instead, ask for a cut that meets the signature shorter at the front and longer at the back shape with a fringe and strong, face-framing layers.”

Toni & Guy Step Mullet from the Toni & Guy Trend Report 2020 (Toni & Guy)

Salon owner Georgia Bell also suggests that those new to the style may want to ease in with a longer, shaggier model of mullet. “By keeping a little more length and the disconnection softer, you have more to play around with and it just becomes a style that’s easy to wear every day.”

Finally, consider condition before committing to the cut. “A healthy base of hair is everything when it comes to cutting styles like this,” says Bell, who recommends KeraStraight’s Moisture Mask (shop it here, £26.50) and Moisture Mist (shop it here, £26) among her hydrating headliners. As suggested in the names, they bring a boost of moisture back into the hair which creates a great place to start when restyling. If the hair is weak and unhealthy, the ends will fray, and that’s not a look anyone wants!”