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What Is the Eton Crop?

Dan Harkins
Updated May 21, 2024
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The Eton crop was born of necessity and perhaps a little rebellion in the 1920s. This type of haircut often involved trimming off a woman's flowing locks in favor of the tapered look sported by men. It included small twists of hair on the sides to resemble sideburns and a slicked-back look in the front and on the crown, also similar to men. Depending on the woman, a wave of curly texture may have provided a feminine touch, though the ears were typically exposed.

Women embracing this hairstyle is partly due to the popularity of the choche hat, which tightly clung to a woman's head like a bell and flayed out into a subtle brim at the forehead. Brylcreem and other popular pomades were employed to keep the hair slicked close to the scalp, a practice already used by men. In America, the star/seductress Josephine Baker helped to make the style more accepted, though Great Britain is where it originated.

The name Eton crop was apparently embraced by Roaring '20s writers for the hairstyle's similarity to another close-cropped style of the era — one favored by students at England's prestigious and all-male Eton College. Etiquette observers decried seeing the style on women, which often required the back of the neck to be shaved to give the hair a clean and uniform appearance. The style also was reportedly popular among the lesbian community at the time, which was another cause for alarmist concerns.

Women of 2011 still can be spotted with the Eton crop hairstyle, though they are not likely to be met with the same reaction of scorn. It is not the only hairstyle of the 1920s to endure, though it was the shortest. Some variations of the Eton crop include the shingle style — with a pronounced shorn back but one or both of the ears covered; the Dutch boy — with bangs giving the cut a squared-off appearance; and the bob — with the ears covered. The bob is also credited with forming the basis of all the other short styles of the era. Often, what is known as a Marcel wave was incorporated, which gave the hair a wavy, more feminine texture.

Another popular women's hairstyle of the '20s is named the earphone. It involves a part down the middle, with each side ending at a bun over the ears. This style was made famous by Princess Leia in the Star Wars trilogy.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dan Harkins
By Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his journalism degree, he spent more than two decades honing his craft as a writer and editor for various publications. Dan’s debut novel showcases his storytelling skills and unique perspective by drawing readers into the story’s captivating narrative.
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Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his...
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