Walk up and down the streets of New York or Los Angeles today and you’d think you were transported back to the ‘70s — more specifically, on the set of Charlie’s Angels alongside Farrah Fawcett. On the fashion front, you’d be hard-pressed to miss fringe jackets and flared jeans out in the wild. And from the beauty side of things, there’s one particular look from the decade coming back in full force: shag haircuts. As it turns out, experts ensure, no matter if you have long or short strands (or bangs!), there are plenty of different iterations of the low-maintenance style that will be trending for fall 2021.
“Trends come and go, but I’m definitely seeing a revival of retro hairstyles like the shag, curtain bangs, and mullets,” Sally Hershberger, a celebrity hairstylist and the mastermind behind Meg Ryan’s iconic ‘90s shag as well as Miley Cyrus’ shag look from 2020, tells TZR. “Shags are really popular right now because they’re super easy to modernize with blunt bangs and textured layers.” Adding to that is Adir Abergel, a celebrity hairstylist who works with Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Garner, who believes part of the reason this style is so popular is that it helps people express themselves through hair. “The shag is a classic haircut that represents freedom — fun, effortless, layered, [and] tousled,” he explains.
And according to Angela Soto, owner of Baja Studio in Soho, New York, the trend perhaps started with the French girl curtain bang craze a couple of years ago. “That slowly started turning into heavier face-framing layers which then turned into full-on shags,” she tells TZR. “I think, more and more, we are accepting natural textures so it was this resurgence of a style and shape that made curly or wavy hair a little more creative and different.”
Plus, Lauren Bailey, founder of Fever Few Hair in Los Angeles, says the layering of the haircut is tailored around each client’s individual bone structure. “Unlike a one-length bob that can add volume to the client's face or jawline, a shag can add softness and texture to emphasize cheekbones or perfectly frame out the eyes,” she tells TZR. “All lengths and textures look great with this cut.”
If you’re sold on the throwback look, keep scrolling to find seven shag haircut ideas for fall to show to your hairstylist. Don’t forget to pull out your fringe jacket and cool flared bottoms, too.
Bailey says her favorite take on the hairstyle is the “shullet.” The expert explains that this look consists of “blending the mullet and shag together to create a soft feminine shape that is edgy but still refined.” Therefore, if you can’t decide between the two trendy cuts, this one allows for the best of both worlds.
“I tend to lean towards what I call a ‘modern shag,’ which is taking the essence of the cut, bangs, and a face frame, but leaving the layers long in the back,” Soto explains. The New York-based hairstylist especially adores this approach to shag cuts on bobs and long hair.
Bailey is also loving a longer curtain fringe take on the trend. “You can still have a shag without committing to a full bang,” she explains. “Sometimes a cheekbone-length curtain bang is perfect to keep the client in their comfort zone, but can still give them all the effortless styling and charm of the shag haircut.”
Another sought-after iteration of the cut that Soto is seeing is the curly shag, which she says is ideal for all curl types. “By cutting a fringe and lots of layers, it’s instantly so much cooler and adventurous,” the hairstylist explains. “It’s hard for curly hair to have a different shape, so the curly shag is definitely a way to have more fun.”
Cherin Choi, a Los Angeles-based hairstylist, says one of the trending looks she’s noticing at the moment is heavy fringe down the middle, which she notes, “definitely adds for a framing shag vibe with an easy grow out.” Read: Give this particular style a whirl if you’re worried about your shag growing out a bit wonky.
Abergel created Anne Hathaway’s shag look above back in 2019, however, he says it remains a popular version of the trend today. “This style is perfect for anyone who is looking for a change,” he explains. “I kept the layers a bit longer and layered around her face making it more versatile and easy to style.”
Hershberger is into the shag with short, blunt bangs, as exhibited above on Maisie Williams. “Since the shag is typically a softer cut with lots of layers, it looks cool when contrasted with blunt bangs,” the hairstylist explains. “Being different and edgy is so in right now, and this variation definitely gives you that cool, lived-in look.”
Now that you’re familiar with the trending styles for fall 2021, it’s time to decide on a cut and book your appointment.