Comb Overs, New And Improved

Gisele Bündchen for Balenciaga by Steven Klein FW14
Gisele Bündchen for Balenciaga by Steven Klein FW14
Michelle Williams for Louis Vuitton spring 2013
Prada Spring 2014
Rihanna by Inez and Vinoodh for Balmain SS14
Rihanna by Inez and Vinoodh for Balmain SS14

I’ve always been mindful of the comb over’s magnetic power—at least ever since David Cross and his lonesome, grease-soaked strands of hair stole my heart in Scary Movie 2. There was just something about the ignorance of it all that made me want to cuddle up to him on his wheelchair and tell him that everything’s going to be OK.

Still, I can’t imagine anyone has ever strived for the comb over. I doubt many people hand a magazine cutout of Donald Trump to their hairstylists and are like, “THIS.” No—comb overs were always rather pitiable, in an irrevocable, George Costanza kind of way. But that was all before fashion hijacked the look. Now even Gisele has a comb over. It’s in Balenciaga’s Fall 2014 campaign and, as you might imagine, looks better on her than it did on David Cross.

How to wear thy comb over? Let us count the ways. We have the longhaired side-swept comb over, most often seen on Sky Ferreira, and what I like to call the one-eyed comb over, which Rihanna wore in her Balmain campaign. There’s the low-pony comb over—which can be worn tight or loose fitting. The bang-over, which Rodarte used in their S/S 2013 show; the pixie cut comb over à la Michelle Williams; the old Hollywood comb over; the Tilda Swinton/David Bowie comb over—and yes, they are their own category. And finally we have the Don Draper comb over, which Gisele is wearing in the new Balenciaga ads, and which she manages to pull off in her casual non-human way. Werk.

—Rachel Hodin

Images via Vogue ItaliaMarie Claire UK, W Magazine, InStyle UK, and T Magazine

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  • Haiku Jew

    Most middle-aged men
    have tried to cover bald spots
    I'd just wear a wig.

  • Krystal

    What exactly is the difference between a comb over and a side part? I always thought that a comb over was just an excessive side part that sought to overcompensate for lack of hair and/or volume. It seems that side parts (at least, my interpretation of them) have also been included in this slideshow. Are side parts as stigmatized as comb overs? Are they the same thing? Have they always been the same thing? Have I been sporting a female comb over since childhood?

  • zaamissbowtie

    wow! Looks almost exactly like him!

  • Tiffany S.

    Fine line between a side bang and comb over.