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TBT: The Mullet Returns (No, Really!)

Collage of public figures with mullets
Business in the front. Party in the back.

It is almost impossible to believe, but in June of this year, the iconic American monthly fashion and lifestyle magazine Vogue did an article on the return of the mullet. For those who aren't sure, the "mullet" is a hairstyle where the hair is cut short at the front and sides but is longer at the back. It has been the butt of jokes for years, so why would the mullet be making such a (stylish) comeback on earth?

Rhianna, Zendaya and Scarlett Johansson sporting mullets
Rhianna Zendaya Scarlett Johansson

Stars such as Rihanna, Zendaya, and Scarlett Johansson have worn mullets in recent memory. Still, the hairstyle hasn't received as much attention in decades as it has in 2021. We can thank Ella Emhoff for that.

Ella Emhoff modeling the mullet
"I feel like in the past, the mullet was deemed unattractive and kind of odd, and I'm really drawn to that almost ugly-chic look." ~Ella Emhoff.

Since the presidential inauguration, Ella Emhoff, Kamala Harris' stepdaughter, has been on the fashion world's radar. She was able to get attention sitting amongst style icons Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga. In February, Ella showed off the idiosyncratic hairstyle in her runway debut for Proenza Schouler.

You may be wondering how someone as stylish as Ella would come to adopt such a polarizing hairstyle. It turns out that while she was stuck at home in Brooklyn during the pandemic, she decided to sculpt her own curls into a helmet-like mullet snipped high and tight above her ears.

Clearly, Ella is not the first star to sport the look. As anyone who lived through the 1980s will tell you, the mullet was quite the rage. Celebrities such as John Stamos, Patrick Swayze, and Billy Ray Cyrus proudly brought the look to the forefront of fashion. However, even in the 80s, the mullet was nothing new.

John Stamos, Patrick Swayze, Billy Ray Cyrus with mullets
John Stamos Patrick Swayze Billy Ray Cyrus

The hairstyle has been around for centuries. Used as a practical military tactic among Vikings and Romans, the long hair in the back kept soldiers' necks warm on the battlefield. In contrast, the shorter hair in front was less likely to grab an adversary in battle. However, the style's resurgence in the 1970s was thanks in large part to David Bowie's spiky red brush cut for his alter ego, Ziggy Stardust.

David Bowie as his alter ego Ziggy Stardust
Bowie as Ziggy Stardust

As for today, there is one good reason why the mullet is making a comeback—it is one of the few hairstyles that can be worn regardless of gender. Men, women, and non-binary persons can all sport the look with style.

What do you think of the mullet? Would you ever sport one?


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