The Wings haircut or flippies or flow is a popular hairstyle used in the skateboarding, surfer, and preppy community. Typically long, the style can range from long and drooping below the eyes, to a shorter length.
The haircut is typically wavy and, if straight, the length comes to halfway down the ears. Instead of lying on the wearer's ears, the hair flips up and comes straight out like an airplane wing, hence the name. The hairstyle was popular among men in the 1960s, 1970s, 2000s, and 2010s.
This hairstyle was first worn by Victorian gentlemen from the 1830s until the 1890s, usually with a beard or muttonchop sideburns. From the end of World War I until the pompadour became popular in the 1950s younger men cut their hair very short for an athletic look although the longer hair continued to be worn by some older men born before 1890, such as Western actor George "Gabby" Hayes.
During the 1920s the wings haircut was worn as an alternative to the bob cut and pageboy hairstyle by flappers and young children of both sexes. It remained popular during the war years for its practicality when women worked in the factories. After the war, women's hair grew increasingly longer until the 1960s when it made a comeback among younger women like Twiggy and continued to be worn into the 1970s.
Popularity among youth subcultures
In the early 1960s the wings haircut made a comeback among the Beatnik and surfer subcultures who allowed their hair to grow out bushy and unstyled. Rock bands like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles copied this look, which spread to America during the British Invasion and was worn by bands like The Monkees and The Byrds.
By the mid-1960s the wings haircut was worn by the mod subculture to set them apart from the older generation and the Rockers who favored Brylcreemed hair like the pompadour. In the late 1960s hippies grew their hair shoulder-length in protest against the Vietnam War.
From the early 1970s until it was supplanted by the quiff in the mid-1980s the wings hairstyle was common among teenagers and young men, while those with curly hair wore afros. By the 1990s, however, hair was buzzed short, remaining so for teenagers until the mid-2000s when the wings haircut, together with 1960s inspired vintage clothing, made a comeback among fans of indie pop. Scene kids imitated the look, dyeing their hair with bright-colored streaks and growing the back longer. Emos incorporated a fringe or bangs and dyed their hair black while preppies copied the neater, more styled version worn by pop singers such as Justin Bieber or Harry Styles from One Direction.
This hairstyle can also be done by wearing a hat, causing the hair to flip out and up, or styled with a hair curler  The easiest way to achieve this look is to first have the hair cut to a shorter length, most often just above the ears. Before having it cut, ask for a razor layered cut, and for the hair to be feathered at the end. This will make the hair able to flip up with ease.
Once the hair is cut, wet the hair by taking a shower. Then take a towel and dry the hair by rubbing the towel vigorously until the hair is mostly dry (it should still be somewhat wet) and stands up. Put a hat on forwards (backwards does not usually work as well) and blow dry the hair until the hair is flipped up as desired. To maintain it, hairspray may be used, although if the hair is short enough, it should be able to stay flipped up by itself.
Mid-length wings haircut worn by Classical composer Giuseppe Verdi, 1886.
Actor Drake Bell in 2007.
Zac Efron, 2007
Chace Crawford, 2007
Actor William Moseley, 2008
Wings haircut worn by popular singer Justin Bieber in 2009.
Irish actor Cillian Murphy with a short wing cut, 2010.
Actor Jimmy Bennett, 2010
YouTube star Lucas Cruikshank also with a short wing haircut, 2014.
- 1840s Men's Fashions – c. 1840 Men's Fashion Photos (Daguerreotypes) with Annotations
- Sherry Youngquist (4 May 2006), "Magazine starts buzz for old barber shop", The Item
- Wings at the Internet Movie Database
- Slater, Anna (September 13, 2009). "Twiggy at 60; The super-skinny model who found fame in the Sixties has finally come of age. Anna Slater lists the triumphs, the tragedies and the trivia". Independent on Sunday: p. 48.
- The Nearest Faraway Place: Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys and the Southern California Experience, Timothy White, c. 1994.
- Rogan, Johnny, The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited, Rogan House, 1998, ISBN 0-9529540-1-X
- Pendergast, Tom; Pendergast, Sara (2004), "Hippies". Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages., Gale Virtual Reference Library, 5: Modern World Part II: 1946–2003, Detroit: Gale.
- Garland, Phyl, "Is The Afro On Its Way Out?", Ebony, Feb 1973 Last retrieved February 20, 2010
- "Crew Cuts Forever", Stephan Talty (April 19, 1998), The New York Times
- "The Scene Kid Subculture vs. Emos - News Article" Absolute Punk, retrieved 2008-10-18
- Wings Haircut and Hairstyles