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A crop is a short hairstyle worn with the hair cut very close to the head. It is frequently sported by both men and women, though the style is usually only named as a crop when sported by a woman. Men entering the armed forces in many countries have their hair cropped during Recruit Training. In the Western world, cropping the head of a prisoner was traditionally a symbol of their subjugation and a deterrent to escape.
The crop first became fashionable in Europe and America during the 1920s, as many of the flappers who had cut their hair short were trying these as well as the early bobs. The Eton crop, one of the shorter and more drastic cuts of its day, was the most popular.
The crop (sometimes known as the pixie cut) became fashionable again in the late 1970s and 1980s, with one of its most notable wearers being the actress Jacqueline Pearce in the British TV series Blake's 7. The crop also was big in the mid 1990s, and Halle Berry appeared in the 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day wearing a crop. In 2010, Cate Blanchett cropped her hair and Hayden Panettiere also sported cropped hair. Cropped hair was also popularized by actresses such as Carey Mulligan.
In modern Western culture, a woman can use cropping her hair as a symbol of leaving the past behind, of making a new start.
The Eton crop is a very short, slicked-down version of the crop, worn by Josephine Baker, among others.
A crop involves layering and tapering of the hair so it will be closely cut to the head. The hair is typically pre-cut to a short length, and then cut shorter from there using either scissors, a razor, or sometimes clippers, depending on what the person is looking for (more of a choppy look, super short length, etc.)
A crop will usually require regular trims (usually between 4 to 6 weeks) to keep its shape.