Men grow out hair, adopt man buns
Sprouting atop men's heads this season is a trend that has its roots in ancient Greek mythology and Japanese samurai culture.
The man bun, however, has evolved to simply refer to loosely tied long hair in the shape of a bun, either atop the head or on the lower half. The style is also seen accentuated by a fade on the side of the head, and a smaller portion of slightly longer hair neatly pulled back on top.
Hareton Tejada, a barber at Floyd's 99 Barbershop on University Boulevard, said the trend is a result of an evolution of styles.
"It went from the comb-over, to growing it on top, to pushing it back, to just making it a man bun," he said.
But founding editor of Knight Style Magazine Matte Velvet said it is more a result of men's growing tendency to undercut their hair.
"I think man buns are an interesting trend that seem to have been a natural transition from the undercut trend that guys have been rocking the past couple of years," Velvet said.
Regardless of the origin, Tejada said the style has become popular and can be rocked in many different ways depending on the wearer's preference, including a fade straight from the hairline or disconnected.
"I think it looks better when you fade from the sides because it looks cleaner and you have two haircuts in one," said Tejada, who has been a barber for the last 16 years.
Yet, for some UCF students, such as junior environmental studies major Juan Olivares, the man bun was not an intentional style decision, but a result of long hair in general.
Olivares said that coming to UCF finally granted him the freedom to grow out his hair after having been required by his previous school and employer to keep it short.
"It's been growing for about a year and a half, and the bun just came because I got tired of the hair being everywhere," Olivares said. "I get compliments on the bun somewhat often, which is nice, and I now have longer hair than my mom and older sister. So, of course, family picks on me in a friendly way."
Velvet said there is no wrong way to rock the man bun.
"I think any guy can rock this or any other trend they want," he said. "The key is confidence. If you exert confidence in the way you present yourself to the world, you can really do whatever you want with fashion."
Aside from the occasional loving tease, longer hair on men does tend to present limitations in the work field and professional settings, but Olivares said he would not let his hair hold him back.
"I've applied at jobs that asked me to cut it because of company grooming policies and I've been willing to do so," he said. "I'm not too attached to it since it's just hair and it'll grow again. I just hope when I do cut it I can donate it."
Senior UCF soccer player Matt Gaskins, who recently cut his hair for reasons unrelated to work, agreed that grooming standards are important, but said that the current job market allows for flexibility and freedom of expression.
"It's nice to have a clean-shaven face and short hair, but there are so many jobs today that a lot of employers don't care how you look," said Gaskins, who works as a personal trainer at Northside Sportsplex, and previously had hair that reached a foot and a half in full length.
Gaskins said the unprecedented maintenance required to keep longer hair eventually drove him to cut it, in addition to the lack of hairstyling options present in long hair due to greater room for error.
"I liked being able to pull it back into a bun, I think it looked pretty sweet, but guys with short hair have a lot more options because there is less room for error," Gaskins said. "I cut it because I had to waste a whole towel drying my hair every time it got wet."
Olivares said he was also surprised at the maintenance his long hair requires.
"Long hair is really fun to have, but washing it takes longer and is more of an arduous chore than I expected," he said. "Clogging drains with my hair is a new experience for me."
And out of the shower, long hair can also present slight inconveniences with certain activities, which is another reason that has prompted the rise in man buns.
"If I'm playing a sport or out in the sun, it has to be in a bun, otherwise it gets in the way and my neck gets too hot," Olivares said.
Gaskins, who is currently training to play professional soccer in Europe, said soccer players have the flexibility to have long hair and it has become a common trend among them.
"I think soccer players definitely tend to have longer hair, and I don't see a lot of athletes that have long hair, probably because they can't, due to limitations such as helmets," he said. "When I play soccer, I run so much that it always pops out of the bun and I have to look after it, but it's definitely worth it – just takes some getting used to."
Daniela Marin is the Entertainment Coordinator for the Central Florida Future.